If you’ve got a special ring that no longer fits, resizing can be the perfect option. But before entrusting your precious wedding or engagement band to a jeweler, it’s worth understanding what will happen to it.
Here we take a look at everything you need to know about how rings are resized. Read the facts, and you’ll be able to get your ring adjusted with confidence.
What is Ring resizing?
Resizing is simply the process of changing the circumference of the ring. If you’ve gained or lost weight, it can make a tight or loose ring fit comfortably and securely once more.
For rings like wedding and engagement bands, that are worn for years, it’s a particularly good option. Few of us stay exactly the same size throughout our lives, but we still want to wear our rings. They are, after all, symbols of a life-long promise.
And in some cases, people may want to wear a treasured ring on a different finger. A wedding band may move to the right hand, for example, if a spouse dies and the remaining partner remarries. Or new jewelry may sit better on the finger currently occupied by a well-loved ring.
When should a ring be resized?
Before deciding to resize your ring, it’s important to know whether it’s actually necessary.
A ring that fits correctly should slide onto your finger fairly easily, but will be harder to remove. You’ll feel a little resistance when taking it off, but it shouldn’t be painful.
If you’re new to wearing jewelry and your ring feels tight, it may be sensible to give it a couple of days. It may simply be that you’re getting used to the feel of a ring on your finger. That’s often the case for men wearing a wedding ring for the first time.
But if the ring is cutting into your finger and causing you pain, don’t delay! You may need to use a lubricant to remove it. Soap, washing up liquid or even butter work very well. Slide some over your finger and gently ease off the ring.
And if your ring is loose, get it resized before you wear it. A short delay is a small price to pay when compared with the distress of losing it.
If you’re getting married, it’s sensible to try on the rings well ahead of your wedding day. If any resizing is required, you’ll be able to get it done before you wear your rings.
Can a ring be made larger or smaller?
Rings can be re-sized to make them either smaller or larger. The process is different, depending on which direction the size will change. And the potential limitations and pitfalls are different too.
A basic rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t try to adjust a ring by more than two sizes. But different rings will have their own unique properties. With some, it may be possible to make a larger change. Others may only be able to be adjusted by half a size.
We’ll discuss some of the factors that influence this in a moment. But it’s always a good idea to get the advice of a jeweler before deciding whether resizing is appropriate.
What happens if the ring needs to be made smaller?
If a ring is going to be made smaller, the jeweler will cut a piece of metal out of the band. They will then solder the join so that the ring is once again complete.
The next step is to clean the ring. Soldering can leave marks on the metal, so this stage will remove them. Finally, the jeweler will polish the join so that it’s smooth against your skin. When the job is finished, there should be no sign that your ring was ever a different size.
If the ring being made smaller has a plain band, the process is fairly straightforward. If it has an ornate design, however, it will take considerably more time. And for the most intricate designs, it may not be economical to do. If the design has to be reworked from scratch, it can be prohibitively expensive.
What about making the ring bigger?
If, on the other hand, your ring needs to be made larger, the process will depend on how big a change is needed. If the metal band is thick and the adjustment is small, it may be possible to stretch the ring. This will usually be possible if you’re increasing the ring by around half a size.
For larger increases, the jeweler can insert a new piece of metal. As with shrinking a ring, they will need to cut the band, then solder the ends back together. This is easy with a plain band, but considerably more difficult with one that has an intricate design.
The ring will then be cleaned to remove any marks left by the soldering process. Finally, it will be polished so that the surface is smooth and uniform. And as with a ring that has been made smaller, a good job should be invisible to the naked eye. This YouTube video shows the process step by step.
Does this work for every ring?
We’ve already seen that there’s a limit to how big a change can be made to ring sizes. And it’s considerably more difficult – and expensive – to resize a ring with a patterned band. But there are some other restrictions it’s worth being aware of.
The first is that the resizing process is only effective with soft metals. Rings made of gold, silver or even platinum will be able to be resized using heat and solder. But harder metals will be very difficult to work with.
Titanium wedding bands, for example, aren’t possible to alter. Titanium is an exceptionally hard metal, and it isn’t amenable to resizing. The same goes for rings made of tungsten.
But note that, contrary to what some jewelers may say, it is possible to resize a stainless steel ring. This requires far higher temperatures than gold or silver, and standard resizing equipment won’t cut it (pardon the pun). But there are specialist jewelers who can do the job. Search online for options.
Note that rings that aren’t made of metal at all won’t be able to be resized. Wood, quartz, glass or plastic rings can’t be adjusted.
What about rings with precious stones?
Rings set with jewels – as engagement and wedding rings, for example, often are – pose challenges for resizing too.
Rings with a number of stones set around the band can be tricky to work with. The jeweler may need to remove and reposition the stones so that they remain evenly spaced. Rings, where the jewels are set into channels in the band, are particularly challenging, and really aren’t suitable for resizing.
If you’ve got a ring with a tension set jewel, adjusting the size needs to be handled with great care. In tension settings, the jewel is held in place by the pressure of the band. It’s a very distinctive look, with the stone appearing to float in the middle of the ring.
But if the band isn’t resized precisely, you may end up with a stone that’s off-center. And because the band is calibrated precisely to hold the stone, resizing can interfere with its delicate balance. The ring will become less durable, and you even risk losing the jewel altogether.
There’s also a relationship between the type of metal your ring is made of and the color of any stone. If your ring is made of platinum, it will need to be exposed to higher temperatures to be resized. And if it has a colored stone, the jeweler will need to take care that the heat doesn’t damage the color.
That can be done by using a laser rather than a flame in the soldering process. Discuss your options with your jeweler and make sure they’ll guarantee the safety of your stone before you proceed.
How much does it cost to have a ring resized?
The cost of resizing a ring will depend on the materials used and the amount of labor required.
Generally speaking, it’s easier to make a ring smaller than it is to make it bigger. A simple gold band can be resized by a practiced jeweler in as little as ten minutes. And because you won’t require any additional precious metal, it will be relatively inexpensive.
If your ring needs to be made only a little larger, stretching it is simple and cheap. But if you need to increase the circumference by more than half a size, there will be additional costs.
And if you want to resize a ring with a jeweled or ornate band, be prepared to spend considerably more.
So remember …
Resizing can be a great way of continuing to wear your engagement, wedding or other treasured rings. But it’s not suitable for every piece of jewelry.
Before you decide whether to go ahead, discuss your options with a reputable jeweler. And if your ring has an ornate or jeweled band, or a tension-set stone, get a second opinion too. It will be time well spent to be confident that your ring will be safe.
And if resizing isn’t suitable for your ring, it’s not the end of the world. Wear it on a chain around your neck instead, and it will look just as beautiful.