How to Resize a Ring

Inevitably when you start making jewellery, it won’t be too long before someone asks you to resize a ring and so the following information is a basic guide to ring sizing for beginners. It is intended to be used for plain rings only. Rings containing stones are best given to an expert to deal with, unless you are experienced and proficient at ring sizing as they can be fraught with dangers and often it simply isn’t worth the risk.

How to Work Out How Much to Add or Remove

This can be determined by measuring the ring in its current size, and then working out the difference between that and the new size required. The difference in each UK ring size can be equated to approximately 1mm or 1/32 inch. For example, if the ring is currently UK size M and it needs to be a UK size O that would be a difference of two sizes or about 2mm. However, this is a rough amount so the size does need to be checked, but to be exact you can generally do this with binding wire using the below method.

Measuring ring size with a ring gauge

Wrap a piece of binding wire around your ring gauge/stick at the current ring size, by twisting the ends together to make a tight fit. Remove and snip it open at the top of the loop, and flatten it out so you have a straight line to measure. This will give you the length of your ring. Next, repeat the process but using the new ring size required. Once you have the two pieces of wire side by side, measure the difference between them and this will give an accurate measurement as to how much metal to add or takeaway as required.

Enlarging a Ring

There are several ways to enlarge a ring. It can be done simply using a mallet and mandrel, a commercial ring stretching tool or by adding an extra piece of metal to the shank. The method you choose depends on the design of the ring itself but also the size of the alteration.

Mallet and Mandrel

  • Anneal your ring and place it on a smooth ring mandrel.
  • Start to hit the ring with either a wooden mallet or metal hammer. As you hit the metal, keep turning the ring to ensure it is even.
  • Remove the ring, turn it over and place it back onto the mandrel to repeat the process and even out the profile of the ring. During this process, you will need to check your progress with a ring gauge at regular intervals and anneal as required. A metal hammer will get quicker results, but leave indentations in the ring which will need to be removed.

This method is more suitable for smaller alterations, providing there is enough metal thickness in the shank to stretch.

Ring Stretching Tool

Again, this method is suitable for small alterations (up to 1 size), and involves a vertical mandrel attached to a lever which opens up the sides of the tool to widen the circumference.

Ring Stretcher Reducer Pro

Ring Stretcher Reducer Pro (999 8011) 

The ring must be annealed beforehand, and care must be taken with thin shanks as they can snap very easily when put under this amount of pressure. Most ring stretchers also come with a reducing plate, to enable you to reduce the size of rings as well as increase it.

Disover how to use a ring stretcher by watching the following video, which also shows how a ring reducer tool works – a process which is covered in more detail later in this article.

Soldering in an Extra Piece of Metal

  • First you will need to saw open the ring along the previous solder join. If you can’t see it, gently heat the metal and it should soon become apparent.
  • Open out the ring a little to allow you to line up the extra piece.
  • Work out the extra length needed using the method above, and then allow a bit extra on top of this to help with fitting.
  • Ensure the ends are fitting flush, apply flux and then solder the new piece in using hard solder.
  • Measure the new piece to the exact length needed and mark with dividers.
  • Saw the new piece to the exact length, and bend it round to meet the opposite end ensuring a snug fit.
  • Flux and solder the two ends together. You can use a lower grade of solder or use hard solder again, as long as you re-flux the previous join.
  • Pickle, file, re-shape and polish to complete the process.

Reducing the Size of a Ring

Reducing the size of a ring can be done in two ways; either by removing a piece from the shank, or by placing it onto a ring reducing plate of a commercial ring stretching tool.

Ring Reducing Tool

A reducing plate sits at the base of a ring stretching tool and contains a series of tapered holes which effectively squash the ring into a smaller size. The ring should be placed into a hole which allows the top edge to sit a little bit proud of the surface of the tool.

Ring Stretcher Reducer Pro

The base plate then revolves until the ring is directly underneath the flat plate, which is at the bottom of the mandrel. The lever is then pulled until you start to feel some resistance. At this point, the pressure is increased which will push the ring into the hole. You can then remove the ring, turn it over and repeat the process to even out the profile. Anneal the ring as needed.

Don’t forget, you can watch the above video to learn more about how to use a ring stretcher as well as the ring reducing part of this jewellery tool.

Removing a Piece of Metal

  • Saw open the ring along the previous solder join.
  • Measure and mark exactly how much metal you want to remove to achieve the new size, using the method detailed at the start of this article.
  • Saw through the shank to remove the unwanted piece and bend into shape using half round pliers, ensuring the two ends fit tightly together.
  • Flux and solder together using hard solder.
  • Pickle, file, re-shape and polish to complete the process.

Ring sizing is a useful skill to master and regardless of the method you choose, providing you work steadily and slowly you should be rewarded with successful results. If you are ever unsure, don’t be afraid to politely decline the job and always abide by the saying; measure twice, cut once!

To help you to resize rings, a variety of ring resizing tools and ring gauges are available at Cooksongold. Browse our selection today and start adjust the size and shape of your rings with ease.

Share this article: