How Many Sizes Can A Ring Be Sized Down? Definitive guide
mage by Katiekk via Shutterstock - 2 hands measuring the size of a ring

Can you size a ring down? How many sizes can an engagement ring be sized down? or up? 

It’s a fact of life. Sometimes rings will just be too big.  Maybe it was bought as a surprise, or maybe something went wrong in the sizing process.

When it happens, while it can be a bummer, it’s a problem that can be fixed.  It’s all about simply re-sizing.

How to resize lager ring

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Why Would You Want to Resize a Ring?

Basically, if a ring consistently spins on your finger, it is clearly too big.  If you have to melt butter and slather it on your finger to get it off, it’s too small.  But more seriously, before you go to resize a ring, be sure that the snug fit is consistent and that it may not be due to temporary swelling. 

Having too much sodium and other common health or dietary issues can cause just a bit of swelling.  It may not be necessary to re-size in this case.

Ring Resizing Process

You can’t usually make a coffee table bigger, or an ipod.  You can easily make clothes smaller.  But how do you make a ring smaller?

Basically, no matter what metal  the ring is made of, the first thing that has to happen is that the metal must be cut.  This can be done with snips or similar hand tools.

In some cases the metal has to be melted, and sometimes laser cutters are busted out.

Whether the ring is going up or down, it’s going to get opened up first.

Stainless steel ring cutting

Image by Lakeview Images via Shutterstock

If you want to make the ring bigger, the jeweler will take the appropriate metal to use as a bridge.  In this case, there will probably be soldering and the jeweler might apply something called a fire coat to prevent discoloration.

If the ring is to be smaller, after the cut is made in two places, the ring is then scrunched back into place. Some sort of heavy-duty tool like a torch or soldering iron will be used here.

No matter whether you’re going up or down, the jeweler will then thoroughly clean and polish the piece—they make sure to return it to you looking absolutely sharp.

Female jewelers ahnd resizing a silver ring

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What Can Affect the Ring Resizing?

The basic process we described above is relatively inexpensive and won’t take more than a day.  It would apply when there’s a pretty simple band and either a solitaire setting or a simple one.  There are some other traits of rings that can make them a bit more complicated.  These are:

Round sapphire platinum ring

Image via Tiffany

Can You Size a Ring Down: the Importance of Design

The design of the ring has to do with the shape as well as the setting.  It can deal with any sorts of adornments added to the band.  For example, if you have an eternity ring, with that angelic host of tiny stones on the band, you can do a resizing, but things may get a touch hairy. 

I mean, picture making this bad girl bigger—the jeweler can’t just put in additional diamonds! And if you re-size up, you’re going to be seeing the bridge, which won’t exactly match the original band.

Clash de cartier ring diamond

Image by Cartier

As another example, class rings or similar signet rings can certainly be resized, but when resizing them upward, there’s danger of busting the main stone.  Don’t increase that danger by taking your ring to a stranger.

Tension rings almost certainly can’t be re-sized, period, due to the fact that the ring is held in place by the shape of the ring and when you change that, no more ring, you see?

Tiffany schlumberger rope engagement ring

Image by Tiffany

How Many Sizes Can a Ring Be Sized Down: the Shank

The shank is the underside of the ring, the curve directly opposite of where the main stone is. It is what the underside of the finger rests on.   Now, if you’re downsizing, don’t even sweat it.  But if you’re upsizing, the ring’s shank has to be kind of thick.  If it’s a dainty little bird, it won’t be able to hold the bridge.

In that case, you can do a shankectomy, cutting it off and putting in a new one that’s just a tad bigger.  That’s called a half-shank replacement. Do it!

Pave bezel ring with champagne citrine

Image by David Yurman

Can You Size a Ring Down: the Stone

The stone is kind of the whole deal, right? Now, if your jeweler wants to remove the stone before doing the resizing, that’s a good way to go.  If it’s a prong-set stone, that’s no problem.  Stones like turquoise, pearl, and emerald, that are heat-sensitive are a good candidate for this treatment.  After the resizing, back in they go.

But, if you have a channel-set or bezel-set jewel, things will get a bit more complicated, the stones harder to remove.  They may be damaged due to their setting.

How Many Sizes Can a Ring Be Sized Down: the Ring Material

Gold or vermeil or silver sterling rings are very easy to resize, as are some of the soft metals.  Things can get complicated when one gets into some of the sturdier metals, and ones with high melting points.  For example, stainless steel will get a bit tricky, and platinum may be impossible.  

Girl measuring her ring size

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So Can You Size a Ring Down?

Well, there are a couple of answers to this question.  First off, you can physically resize rings about four sizes.  But there’s the question of getting a jewelry to actually do it for you.  That number may be more like two.  That’s a kind of safe number that won’t hurt anything.   That’s why jewelers feel comfortable going down one or two sizes.  If you’re in need of going down further, you’ll probably have to go with someone who specializes in these shenanigans beyond a regular jeweler.

The good news is that it’s rarely necessary to resize down that far, and besides, there are ways to make a large ring fit better without going through the actual re-sizing process.

Alternatives to Resizing Rings

Basically, if that ring is too big, all you’re going to need to do is beef it up with something that makes a cushion between your finger and the metal.  Some existing products:

Engagement ring with sizing beads

Image by Christine Alaniz

Sizing beads- These are tiny metal beads a jeweler can insert on the inside of a band.  These cuties press against the finger to effectively downsize a ring.

Ring transparent lining

Spring insert- This is a thin insert that arcs around the interior of the band but not all the way around. It’s a cushion—not just little beads—between band and finger to prevent a ring from spinning or moving around.

Now, you can also just use string to make the ring more snug on the finger, you just can’t think you’ve tied a string around your finger to remind you of something and get stressed about what you’re supposed to remember.

Cost of Resizing a Ring

This is not a process to break the bank, but it can get slightly more expensive if you have some of the more complicated types of re-sizing mentioned above.  Because it’s not very time-consuming, with a basic resizing running only a couple of hours, you can get one done in as little as $20.

But once you get into redoing enameling or moving stones around, the price will go up, and you can end up paying more than a hundred.  If you have metals like stainless steel or others with a high melting point, you’ll have to pay for special machinery, and this will run in the $200 neighborhood.

Can You Size a Ring Down: Faq

Q. Does Re-Sizing a Ring Damage It?

A. That would be quite a bummer, wouldn’t it? After all this, we say, “oh, by the way, re-sizing a ring damages it so don’t do it.” Way to bury the lead, website.

No, it doesn’t damage it.  Re-sizing a ring  involves making an incision in the metal and either putting more material in or closing it down so that it’s now smaller than it had originally been.  Reputable jewelers know how to do these things in a way that is safe and does not damage the ring.

If there are elements of the ring that would be damaged in the process, such as stones in a halo ring or any kind of setting involving stones all around the band, you will probably be advised not to resize the ring.

If a part of the ring does get damaged, it is the responsibility of the jeweler to repair it for you, and any jeweler will know ahead of time what damage may be possible and will make arrangements with you, including the option to not take the risk.

Q. Can I Resize My Ring at Home?

A. It is possible, yes.  There are simple tools a non-jeweler can use, such as pliers and silicon.  However, you’ll have to seriously consider whether or not it’s worth the risk of possibly damaging the jewelry, lowering the value, and maybe not even getting the fit you were looking for.

Q. How Can I Re-Size a Ring at Home and Make It Bigger?

A. This is called  upsizing a ring.  One of the most important tools for this is called a mandrel.  This is a metal rod that starts off small at the top and gets bigger as it goes down. It is used to figure out ring sizes. Well, if you lubricate a ring with soap and slide it down far enough on the mandrel, being stretched like that will upsize the ring. So that’s cool, right?

Q. How Quickly Can a Ring Be Resized?

A. Two hours.

Q. Should Your Engagement Ring Be a Little Loose?

A. A finger can change just a bit in size during the day.  On a hot day, your finger can swell, then shrink back down after the sun falls. Also, knuckles can swell with age.

Therefore, when your fingers are in small mode, its OK for the ring to be a tad loose. You should be able to put it on and take it off without real difficulty, and it shouldn’t make a heavy mark.  But the ring shouldn’t be loose enough to spin, and really shouldn’t move much at all during the day.

Q. Should My Engagement Ring Spin?

A. We’ll give you one guess.  Just as it’s unpleasant for a person’s head to spin, no, silly, you’re frigging engagement ring should not spin.  Not even if you fidget a lot and are too cheap to buy a fidget spinner. 

Tags: ring resized, rose gold, sterling silver, precious ring, ring shank, resize titanium rings, ring larger, tungsten ring, local jeweler, most rings