Learn about ring stretching and how ring sizing works
Ever find the ring that you have been wearing for 10 years has “shrunk?” Or you were given a ring as a gift and it is too big or too small? This is something we see all the time. Customers want to know their options: Can a ring be stretched or resized to fit their hand?
Can a ring be stretched or resized?
It depends, but always consult an expert. This is not something that can be done at home, so visit a local jeweler and discuss your options with him or her.
When a ring can be stretched, it’s a process that involves (at the very least) a stretching machine and polishing wheel. Depending on the ring, this can be an easy process or very complicated.
Details on ring stretching
If you have a gold or platinum band with no gemstones around the band, then you’re in luck. These are without a doubt the easiest types of rings to resize. If they need to be larger, they can easily be stretched on a jeweler’s stretching machine to almost one size larger.
When a ring features gemstones or diamonds on the band, the bottom part of the ring, known as a shank, will have to be cut and the jeweler will either remove or add a piece depending on if the ring is being sized up or down. The piece of metal added would match the metal the ring is made of; if the ring is platinum, for example, the metal added to size the ring up would be platinum.
If you aren’t familiar with the various parts of a ring, I encourage you to read our article, The Anatomy of a Ring, to learn about the parts of a ring. The information in that article will be immensely helpful when you’re talking with a jeweler about stretching a ring.
How much does ring stretching or resizing cost?
Ring sizing charges start at $45 for sterling silver and go up depending on metal type, the number of sizes to which the ring is being altered, and the risk. For example, resizing a white gold band with diamonds all the way around would be more expensive than resizing a plain sterling silver band.
Risks in sizing your ring
Every time a ring is sized, there is a risk. Sometimes the risk is so great that a jeweler won’t size your ring. If this is the case and if you purchased the ring from the jeweler, that jeweler will order the ring for you in the right size or offer a ring guard. A ring guard is an inexpensive piece of thin metal that is attached to the shank of your band and will make a ring fit tighter. This option would be offered only if the ring is too big. A ring guard is generally considered a temporary fix, since it breaks easily and needs to be replaced. The good news is that ring guards are inexpensive, usually around $11 depending on the thickness of the shank on your ring.
Another potential issue with stretching rings is that they can crack in weaker spots, such as thinner areas of the ring or areas that have worn down over time. Either way, weak spots are more prone to breakage. Additionally, when sizing a ring that contains gemstones or diamonds, the prongs can shift, causing your stones to loosen or fall out.
The good news is that these two problems are routine fixes for an expert jeweler. Cracks can be soldered, stones can be tightened, and you will get your ring back in the correct size and it will be good as new!
The bigger problem is when heat-affected gemstones are in play. Diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are generally OK, but other gemstones are at risk when heated up. The heat used after adding a new piece of metal to size a ring up, or when removing a piece of metal to size a ring down, can discolor or crack these sensitive gemstones.
Find a trusted jeweler when resizing your ring
A seasoned jeweler will know how to handle your ring, so be sure to do your research. If you aren’t sure what sets some jewelers apart from the rest, check out our How to choose a jeweler article to learn more.
Remember to ask the sales associate how the store handles any issues that arise when a repair goes wrong, such as if a resized ring still doesn’t fit or, in rare cases, if a stone gets cracked. Will the store resize the ring at no charge? Will it replace the gemstone with another of the same size and quality at no charge? Here at Braunschweiger Jewelers, the answer is yes to both, but you might not be that lucky at other jewelers.
To learn more about resizing rings, feel free to visit either of our New Jersey jewelry store locations in Morristown or New Providence to talk to any of our expert jewelers.
If you’d like to talk to someone sooner about ring resizing, contact us online anytime by emailing us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply fill out our contact form and we’ll answer your questions quickly.