The Ring Reshaping Field Guide
Written by Annabelle
October 9, 2019
Rings are easily the most popular type of jewelry out there! These pretty bits of metal sustain a lot of damage during wear, however; just imagine all of the things your hands come into contact with on a daily basis. From lifting heavy bags of groceries to clutching onto a subway pole, your rings are constantly struggling against all of these surfaces you touch. Over time, that bends the back of your ring out of shape- or even makes it crack, if the metal is brittle enough. Fortunately, it's a very common repair. Read on to learn more about ring reshaping.
How Does Ring Reshaping Work?
When you bring a bent ring to a jeweler, the first thing they'll do is examine the shank, or the band of the ring. Is it mostly intact? Is there a crack? Is the metal thinning in certain areas? These are all questions that will affect the repair.
If the ring is mostly intact but just out of shape, the jeweler will round it out by placing the ring onto a sizing mandrel. Ideally, the mandrel is perfectly round and made out of metal. The jeweler then takes a mallet and lightly hammers the ring, molding the metal around the mandrel so that it returns to a round shape. Then the jeweler takes it to the polishing machine, where any scratches from the repair process are buffed out. After a quick dip in the ultrasonic or steam cleaner to remove any polishing residue, the ring is rounded out and ready for wear.
If the ring shows signs of cracking or thinning, the jeweler may recommend some additional repairs. For a cracked ring, the jeweler will solder the broken area to fix the shank, and then reshape the ring. This is not always a feasible option, however; if the metal of the ring is very weak, the repair will not hold. In that case, the jeweler will recommend doing a shank replacement.
This is also the recommended repair for a thin shank. If the metal at the back of your ring is too weak, it will eventually crumple and break from usage. To keep your jewelry in the best condition, the jeweler cuts off the back of the ring and replaces it with a piece of the same metal that is thicker and sturdier, making it suitable for daily wear. After the shank has been replaced, the jeweler then ensures the ring is in the proper shape.
3 Things to Keep in Mind for Ring Reshaping
As with all jewelry repairs, it's not always so straightforward! Whether or not the ring reshaping can be performed (or to what extent) will depend on a few factors, and there are always a few things to remember before proceeding with the work.
- The metal of the ring affects the repair: Silver, gold, and platinum are easy to work with, as they are standard jewelry metals. Stainless steel rings are very difficult to work with since the metal is so tough; while certain jewelers can attempt to reshape it, the repair may not be as easy or even doable. Metals made from soft base metals and alloys can also be reshaped, but may react weirdly to soldering. Finally, tungsten rings cannot be reshaped or repaired.
- The design of the ring affects the repair: Certain designs may require more work to be reshaped, or cannot be worked with at all. Rings such as eternity bands or enameled rings will take damage during the hammering process, which means that the jeweler will need to reset stones or reapply enamel after reshaping. As for rings that are hollow in construction, they cannot be hammered at all as the process will cause dents or even crumple the design.
- The repair will change the size of the ring: If you've been feeling nice and comfortable with half of the ring smashed in, that most likely means that your ring size is smaller than the actual size of the ring. When the ring is reshaped, it'll measure differently on the ring mandrel as there is now more space on the interior of the ring. To make sure that the ring will fit you after the repair, ask the jeweler to measure the ring on the mandrel before reshaping, and then reshape and resize to that measurement during the work.
Ring Reshaping Turnaround Time and Cost
On average, the turnaround time for a basic ring reshaping is one business day. If the repair is more complicated and requires either soldering or a shank replacement, expect the turnaround time to increase by one or two days.
Cost will depend on the metal and the work required. It starts at roughly $28 for a basic silver ring reshaping, and goes up for gold, platinum, and stainless steel. If soldering is required, expect a $20-40 increase, and at least an additional $120 for shank replacement as the jeweler will be supplying the metal needed to fix the ring.
Now you're up to date on ring reshaping! If you have a piece in need of some rounding out, check out our ring reshaping service here.