You may have already gotten to grips with the art of cutting and filing to produce a beautifully handcrafted precious metal ring, but have you mastered the art of how to size a ring? Or how to make a ring fit tighter or looser for your customers? The art of resizing rings takes some time to master, but as it’s likely to form a large part of your business as a jewellery maker, it’s well worth taking the time to perfect this skill.
In our ring sizing guide you’ll receive all the tips and tricks you need to learn how to make a ring fit better for your customers. Complemented by our accurate ring size chart below, complete with standard UK ring size measurements and handy images and tips to help you get your customer’s ring size just right, first time.
Click on the image above for a full view of our UK ring measurement chart.
Before you get started
Here are some expert tips before you resize your customer’s ring:
- Inspect the ring carefully before making any cuts. Make sure you check to see if it’s actually been resized before, as you’ll need to cut through the solder joint that was previously made.
- On inspection, it’s also worth checking whether the ring is slightly misshapen using a ring mandrel. If the ring is not completely round due to regular wear and tear, then you could mistakenly measure the ring as smaller than it actually is. Return it to its original roundness using your mandrel and rawhide mallet to ensure you get as accurate a size reading as possible, before making any further adjustments.
- Remember it’s vital to ensure that no part of the hallmark is cut as this could devalue the piece you’re working on. Wondering where to make the cut to avoid any hallmarks? Try cutting the band at least 90 degrees away from any hallmarks.
How to size a ring
Learn how to make a ring smaller and how to make a ring bigger with our step by step guidelines below.
How to resize a ring smaller
- Wire cutters
- Flat nose pliers
- Hand torch
- Charcoal block
- Vice/clamp or ring clamp
- Pickling solution
- Mark the ring shank. Mark the underside of the ring (the central part that sits on the palm side of the finger) to make sure you’re cutting the ring in a central position that can be easily followed and re-soldered.
- Cut through the ring shank. Take your wire cutters and line it up with your mark before applying pressure and cutting through the shank. Lining this up will ensure you cut as evenly as possible across your mark. If the ring needs to be made considerably smaller, perhaps by more than a couple of full sizes, you may want to cut the ring shank in two places to remove a small chunk of the ring for a quicker ring resizing process. Keep in mind, however, that you will need to consider the style of the band before you take a larger piece of metal from it.
- Tease the ring open. Using flat nose pliers, open the ring further to leave a slightly larger gap between the two ends of the ring shank.
- File the edges smooth. Take your file and work on smoothing the two cut edges of the ring. Ideally, you’ll want to create a flat surface at each end so that once you bring the two ends together to re-solder the join you’ll be left with a cleaner finish. A great trick for filing the two sides at the same time is to keep the join closed, and gently push your file through the join – you can then file away, leaving each side flat and flush.
- Check your measurements. As you’re filing, make sure you continuously measure the size of the ring, whether that’s with a triblet or the customer’s finger. Continuous checks as you file will ensure you don’t make the ring size too small.
- Position the solder and flux ready for soldering. Take your solder pallions and flux. Apply a small amount of flux to the pallions, then position the pallions across the joint so that the solder will run through the join with ease.
- Solder the new join. Turn on your hand torch and ignite the flame. With your ring in a stable position (most jewellers opt for a charcoal block and a clamp/vice to hold the ring in place) slowly move the flame of your torch across the entire ring in a circular motion, ensuring the flame hits the join as you move it around. Moving the flame in this circular motion will ensure that the full force of the flame will not blow the soldering pallions out of place.
- Monitor the join. As you move the flame over the ring, keep a close eye on the join. The residual heat from the ring will transfer to the pallions and start to flow with some help from the flux. Once all of the pallions have slowed through the seam of the join you can stop heating the ring with your torch.
- Quench and pickle. Now you’re ready to quench the ring in water and pickle it to help remove any oxidisation that’s occurred. Remember: if you’re working with a ring that features a gemstone, you’ll need to check that it’s compatible with heat and pickling, before resizing rings for your customers.
- Finish and polish. Happy with the new join you’ve created? Now you can file away any excess solder that’s been left behind and polish up the ring, ready to be presented to your customer.
How to make a ring larger
Additional things you’ll need:
- Sizing stock
- Repeat steps 1 to 3 above.
- Take your sizing stock. Not familiar with sizing stock? This is the additional metal you’ll be using to add to your customer’s ring to make it larger. Some jewellers will make their own sizing stock whereas others will rely on suppliers for ease and a quick ring resizing process. The main thing to remember is to use sizing stock that closely mirrors the existing width of the ring. This will mean less time cutting and filing to match the original ring band.
- Cut your sizing stock. Using dividers is an excellent way of accurately measuring the amount of sizing stock you need to get the size you require.
- Check the size. Slide the ring onto your triblet and put the sizing stock in place to make sure the size of the ring is correct. Not quite right? You can always use your file to flatten the join or cut an additional piece of sizing stock for a more accurate size and finish.
- Flux the joint and solder. Now apply a small amount of flux to your pallions and begin soldering. Use the same technique as described above in points 6 to 9. Remember that you must solder two joins this time, so make sure you’re happy with the position of the sizing stock and the size of the ring before you start. Applying a little pressure to the sizing stock once soldered and pickled with your flat nose pliers should help you round out the sizing stock so that it fits flush with the curvature of the band.
- Buff, smooth and finish. Now you’ve finished the soldering process, you can file and buff the ring to complement its original finish. Keep in mind that the sizing stock may have been slightly larger than the original ring’s width, so you may need to take your time to ensure the additional metal is completely flush with the rest of the piece.
Not comfortable soldering just yet? Or feel you need more soldering experience before you can use the ring sizing techniques suggested above? Read our guide on how to resize a ring using other tools and techniques.