One of the most popular questions we get from our customers; how many ring sizes can you go up or down? The answer isn’t perfectly straightforward, because it depends on several factors. Read on to find out how many sizes can a ring be resized.
The Ring Resizing Process
To understand how this works, you’ll need to know how jewelers size rings. The traditional method is to cut into the ring at the back, where it won’t affect the design, and add or remove metal until the ring is the correct size. Then the jeweler solders the cut shut, and polishes it to remove any signs of work.
There are two other methods used for sizing in addition to cutting. One is stretching, which can only be used with plain bands to go up or down a half or full size. The jeweler puts the ring in a specially-designed machine and cranks it to pull out or compress the ring.
The second method is an alternative process that is only used for sizing down. It involves soldering beads or a strip of metal to the interior of the ring in order to fill in the space between the ring and the wearer’s finger. This method is typically used for rings that cannot be sized down via the traditional method.
What affects a ring resizing?
Several factors determine how many sizes a ring can be resized.
1. The Design
The design is the most important factor for determining how the ring can be resized. Is it a simple solitaire? Are there channel-set baguettes on the sides? The more complex the design, the more complicated the job as the entire ring will be affected by the bending of the metal in the sizing process.
Bands are the easiest to work with, provided that they are plain and do not have any stones set in the design. A plain band can be sized up or down as much as six or seven sizes.
Solitaire-style rings can also be sized up and down significantly from 4 to 5 sizes, provided that they do not have complicated shoulder designs. The shoulders of the ring are the portions of metal on the left and right of the ring’s design. Plain shoulders will not be significantly affected during the sizing process, but shoulders with stones or intricate metalwork will be damaged as the jeweler needs to bend them in order to size the ring.
Eternity rings can only be sized on a case-by-case basis, and the original design will be lost if sizing up. They usually can be sized down significantly if using the alternative method of attaching sizing beads or strips to the interior, and sized up to two sizes if you’re willing to break the eternity design. When sized up, a blank patch of metal will be noticeable at the area of work, unless if the jeweler is able to set stones in the location to match the rest of the ring.
Signet rings and class rings pose a unique challenge to the jeweler. While many signet rings are plain looking in construction, with no stones, the flatness of their design will crumple if sized up or down significantly. A skilled jeweler may be able to circumvent this by cutting off the back of the ring and replacing it with a new piece of metal to accommodate the requested size, but this is done on a case by case basis. Class rings can be sized up and down with a 3-5 size difference, but the process may break the center stone, requiring the jeweler to replace it.
2. The Shank
The back of the ring is called a shank, and it plays a big role in how many sizes your ring can go up. While the jeweler does add a small amount of metal to the shank in order to size up 1 to 2 sizes, a thin shank cannot be sized traditionally as it will be too structurally weak to withstand daily wear after the process.
In order to size up rings significantly, a half-shank replacement will be necessary after 2.5 to 3 sizes. This process involves cutting off the existing shank, and attaching a new, thicker shank in the correct size. The jeweler matches the replacement shank to the ring’s metal type in order to keep the design consistent.
The half-shank replacement is a good investment for two reasons. It can help the jeweler to size the ring up to 4-6 sizes larger than the original size, and it strengthens the durability of the ring. In some situations, it’s the only process that can be used to upsize a ring. While costly, its benefits make it a worthwhile investment.
3. The Stone
Stones and their setting styles can greatly affect a sizing. Certain stones are very brittle and heat-sensitive in nature, such as emeralds, opals, turquoise, and pearls. If prong-set, these stones can be removed and replaced after the sizing process.
However, if stones in your piece are bezel-set or channel-set, that will cause some issues. The jeweler may have to disassemble and rebuild the setting in order to remove the stone, and this can cause damage to the gem. Channel-set stones are usually the most affected during the sizing process, as the bending of the metal will warp the setting.
The Number of Sizes Your Ring Can Go Up or Down
Now that you have some background on what affects a ring resizing, the general rule is that most rings can go up or down two sizes with minimal fuss. However, that’s clearly not a strict guideline, and you can get away with some drastic upsizing or downsizing if your ring’s design allows for it. Many jewelers will usually turn down these jobs because it requires a lot of skill and time, but if you’re prepared to spend a little more to get the right fit, it can be done. Don’t be limited by their initial evaluation; make sure to explore all options by suggesting a half-shank replacement or ring sizing down alternatives. And if you want an assessment from us on how many sizes can a ring be resized, hit us up in the comments below and we can help you out!