Ring maintenance: ring re-sizing

Here is the second article in our series on ring maintenance.  In this piece, we will cover ring re-sizing.

sizing a ring.jpg

First things first though -- and the first thing you want to do is build a relationship with a jeweler that you trust and respect -- and that also offers extensive repair and restoration services.

To toot our own horn, we've been in business for 30 years and our shop manager (in charge of repairs and restoration) has been with us for over 20! We are also members of organizations like Jewelers of America and the Jewelers Board of Trade. We say this not so much to brag, but to illustrate some of the qualities you should look for in a jeweler to handle your ring repairs!

The most common ring repair is re-sizing. It's just a fact of life that we loose weight, gain it, or develop swollen knuckles as we age. So don't be too surprised if you find that at some point in the life of your cherished ring, you have to take it to a jeweler for re-sizing.

Sizing down

This image from GIA shows a platinum band with a piece removed from the ring shank. It's in the process of being sized down.

This image from GIA shows a platinum band with a piece removed from the ring shank. It's in the process of being sized down.

Let's cover sizing down first. Sizing down a ring is usually less expensive than sizing up. The reason being that the goldsmith is subtracting precious metal from the ring rather than adding to it.

When we size down a ring, we cut out a small portion of the bottom of the shank and solder the remaining sides back together. Then, if the ring has stones, they will need to be re-tightened since they often shift during the re-sizing process. Finally the seam as well as the rest of the ring is polished and refinished to make it smooth and pretty again.

Sizing up

Sizing up is a little more complicated and various qualities of the ring come into play and affect pricing.  Some of the initial things your jeweler will take into consideration when evaluating your ring for sizing up are:

  • How many sizes up does the ring need to go for a good fit?
  • How wide is the ring?
  • What metal is the ring?
  • How many stones does the ring have?

All of these factors affect the cost of the sizing.  But there are several other characteristics that can come into play and can affect the cost.  Keep in mind that the following concerns also apply when sizing a ring down.

Sizing a ring with shared prongs can be difficult indeed.  And it might add to the cost of having your ring re-sized.

Sizing a ring with shared prongs can be difficult indeed.  And it might add to the cost of having your ring re-sized.

  • Gems.  Some rings have gems that are delicate or heat-sensitive and have to be removed before re-sizing such as pearls, opals, and emeralds.  Additionally, inlaid stones can be challenging because they can come loose during the re-sizing process.  And channel-set gems can become unaligned. Most of the time, these obstacles can be overcome but they take more time and expertise on the part of the goldsmith.
  • Prongs. The more a ring has be made smaller or larger, the more likely it becomes that the prongs may get compressed or too spread out during re-sizing.  Rings with shared prongs can be difficult.
  • Inscriptions.  Depending on the placement of those special words, the goldsmith may be able to avoid them when re-sizing but frequently the inscription has to be redone. And sometimes, the shop doesn't have the appropriate equipment to duplicate the script exactly.
  • Patterns and engraving. Ornate rings with intricate patterns, filigree, and other methods of detailing can be difficult to work with because when sizing up the design might have to be replicated in the portion being added to the ring.  Sometimes the jeweler will quote an alternative price for simply adding the metal to the shank and finishing it appropriately but smooth.  This means that the back of the ring, the part you don't usually see, would not have the pattern that the rest of the ring does.  You will also notice that some rings are designed this way, the shank is smooth and the pattern does not continue around the entire circumference of the ring.  The designer does this on purpose so the ring can be re-sized easily.