Can You Resize Stainless Steel Rings?

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Stainless steel has become increasingly popular nowadays for all types of jewelry. Whether it’s a pendant, a necklace, a bracelet, or even a wedding band, the durability of stainless steel and its sleek, masculine look is very appealing to many people. On the downside, stainless steel ring lovers find themselves struggling to resize their beloved jewelry, and even wonder if it’s possible. Fortunately the answer is yes, you can definitely resize stainless steel rings! Let’s take a look at how it’s done.

Why Are Stainless Steel Rings So Difficult To Resize?

Stainless steel consists of several grades of a particular steel alloy, a mixture of metals containing steel, iron, chromium, and molybdenum. It’s designed to be corrosion-resistant and incredibly tough, making it perfect for industrial and manufacturing purposes. However, this toughness means that stainless steel has an incredibly high melting point, making it incredibly difficult to work with without the proper equipment. This is the reason as to why so many stainless steel rings are turned away by jewelers, fueling the belief that stainless steel rings cannot be sized at all.

Standard Stainless Steel Ring Sizing Procedure

Many of our customers come to us saying that their local, small-shop jewelers cannot size stainless steel. This isn’t surprising, considering the fact that larger facilities and manufacturing companies are more likely to have the correct equipment to work with the metal. These companies put the rings through the same resizing process as silver and gold rings; the only difference is the greater amount of time it takes to size stainless steel.

In order to size up or down, the ring is cut into and an appropriate amount of metal is either taken out or added until the ring is the right size. The jeweler closes the cut, and removes any rough patches or signs of work by sending it to polishing and cleaning.

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A stainless steel ring that was resized down.

Complex Stainless Steel Ring Designs

While the process to resize stainless steel rings is straightforward and easy for simple designs, some rings can be quite complex. This becomes an issue when it interferes with the resizing process, which requires cutting.

Designs That Cannot Be Normally Sized

  • Inlay: An inlay is a strip of alternate material all around the ring. This design feature prevents the jeweler from cutting into the ring, because it will noticeably affect the inlay and possibly destroy it.
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    This stainless steel ring has a cross-hatch inlay running down the middle.

  • Eternity band: If your band has stones set all around it, it’s incredibly difficult to resize, and most of the time we really don’t recommend it. This type of ring is easily damaged, especially when sizing up.
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A stainless steel eternity band set with diamonds.

  • Patterns: Patterns will be distorted and damaged when cut into, leaving behind a noticeable spot of repair.
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A stainless steel ring with the Lord’s Prayer on the exterior

Designs That Can Be Normally Sized

  • Finishes: Stainless steel is often treated with coatings and other applications in order to give it a certain color. This treatment melts off during the resizing process due to exposure to heat, requiring re-application in order to restore the ring to its original state. Other finishes include textures on the metal, such as satin, hammered, or brushed finishes. These can be redone in the polishing process to maintain the look of the ring.
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    A black stainless steel bear’s head ring

  • Enameling: A lot of people ask; “Can stainless steel be painted?” It absolutely can be painted!
    The “paint,” or enamel, is a type of powdered glass composite that’s heated and fused to the surface of jewelry in order to give it a color. Enameled designs are very common in stainless steel rings, especially for class rings. When exposed to heat, the enamel will melt off, requiring re-application.

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    This boy scout ring has enamel on the top.

     

Stainless Steel Ring Resizing Alternatives

As mentioned above, stainless steel rings containing inlay, patterns, or full-band stones cannot be resized via normal means because these features interfere with the cutting in the resizing process. However, there are ring resizing alternatives for sizing down.

  • Sizing Balls/Sizing Beads: A small, sterling silver ball is soldered to the interior of the ring. The ball fills in the gap between the ring and the finger, allowing the ring to stay on. This method of sizing is efficient and affordable, but a tighter fit can be uncomfortable due to the ball pressing into the wearer’s finger.
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    Two stainless steel eternity bands that could not be resized normally; here they are with sizing balls.

  • Sizing Lining: A more comfortable and expensive alternative; a strip of sterling silver is placed all around the inside of the ring. This fills in the gap between the wearer’s finger and the ring, without the uncomfortable nudge of the sizing balls. Soldering marks are visible from this procedure, but since they are on the interior of the ring, many people opt for this alternative.
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The Lord’s Prayer pattern on the outside of this ring was preserved by sizing down with silver lining.

Finishing

Once the ring is sized, it goes through a few more processes before the jeweler returns it to you.

  • Polishing: Rough spots, blemishes, and marks from the resizing process are polished away at this step. This part of the process also restores any metal finishes, such as a satin finish.
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    This stainless steel ring has a satin/brushed finish around it.

  • Cleaning: The ring gets very dirty from the resizing and polishing procedures due to soot and other grime. The jeweler takes the item and places it in the ultrasonic cleaner, a tank that blasts the item with bubbles to knock out all the dirt.
  • Plating: If the stainless steel ring had gold plating, or any other kind of coloration such as black rhodium, this stage reapplies the color. The resizing process can disrupt coloration by cutting into the ring and revealing bare metal underneath, making this step a necessity.
  • Enameling: The final step- if an item has enamel, it must be reapplied after the resizing process damages or removes it. The enamel is placed onto the surface of the ring, and baked or cured in order to harden the consistency and make it durable for daily wear.

You’re now properly equipped to resize stainless steel rings! To get started, check out our featured services below.

Stainless Steel Ring Resizing is Possible with Quick Jewelry Repairs

As one of the few (note: very few!) jewelers that can resize stainless steel, we love telling customers that we can indeed size their prized possessions even if other jewelers told them otherwise…

Do you have a stainless steel ring in need of sizing?
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    Ring Sizing Down Service

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    Ring Sizing Up Service

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