When getting engaged or married there are so many things to worry about – it’s hard to imagine sweating the detail of ring sizing. But I recently learned from jewelry expert Shari Reddish just how important it is to get it right the first time. With eight years of experience helping clients select, purchase and service rings at Long’s Jewelers, a family-owned and run luxury jeweler in Boston, Shari had so many insights to share with anyone getting engaged or married this season.
Common Engagement and Wedding Band Sizing Errors
- Assuming All Ring Styles are Equal: When you wear a ring that has a narrow band it sits directly at the finger joint, while a wider style will cover more of the finger – almost always requiring a larger size. The way stones are set can make a ring top heavy or wider at a certain point. There are styles like eternity bands, with stones going all the way around, which allow little to no room for sizing.Each unique design element of the ring in question can impact what the right ring size is, making it important to size rings as close to your final design as possible.Most people don’t know the many factors that go into ring sizing. It turns out not all rings are sized equal – style, stones and how rings are worn can all impact comfort and wearability. Here are the top mistakes people tend to make when figuring out the size for their or a partner’s ring:
- Using the Wrong Sizing Tool: Since ring styles are unique, manufacturers often have custom ring sizing tools to ensure that you can get the right size for the design you are considering. Don’t assume that the do-it-yourself ring sizing tools online will include all the information you need to make the right decision – they can help you ballpark, but not perfect the sizing of a band.
- Forgetting About the Band(s): The majority of men wear just one band, but women tend to wear an engagement ring plus band – some ladies these days are even wearing three – an engagement ring and two bridal bands, one on each side of the engagement ring. When you stack multiple rings, they fit as one wide ring, so you will need to account for a larger size.
- Ignoring the Weather: Hot weather makes hands swell and cold makes them shrink. If you are sizing a ring in the dead of winter, you should plan for a bit of extra room in case your ring fits tighter in the summer months. You may have to adjust the size as seasons change during the first year you are wearing the ring -the key is to find the perfect size for all year long.
- Not Expecting Weight Changes: Whether it’s a crash diet leading up to the wedding or a three-day weekend of binging on salty foods, fluctuations in weight happen to all of us and can cause up to a full ring size of variation.
- Sizing for Roominess: For most guys, a wedding ring is the first they’ll wear making it pretty common that they want something that feels loose and easy to move. The problem is that usually means it’s too large and will easily get lost – probably one of the reasons millennials getting married today are constantly losing their rings.
Best Ways to Get a Ring Properly Sized
If you are among the planners out there who are lucky enough to go ring shopping with your intended guy or gal, there’s really just one way to go – find a local jeweler that you trust. Ensure that they have a certified bench jeweler on staff and go there on a day where you feel healthy, are well hydrated and get your body to a normal temperature while you talk sizing. Keep your ring styles in mind as you get sized and if you identify a manufacturer you like, be sure to ask if they have custom sizing tools for their designs.
For those of you planning a clandestine engagement, it’s a little tougher. In a perfect world, you’d get your lady to a jeweler and trick her into sizing, but given that may not be possible there are a few ideas to try. Enlisting a friend or family member to take him or her shopping and ring dreaming while secretly trying to elicit a size is one option. Another way would be to buy a ring for the other hand – recognizing that it will likely be a size smaller or larger depending on which is the dominant hand. When you are going for the element of surprise, be certain to select a style that will be forgiving to resizing (solitaires and plain bands are easiest while rings with many accent stones and heirloom rings are most difficult).
If you think that you’re likely to need resizing at some point, talk with your jeweler about what styles will allow for that type of post-purchase flexibility or if the manufacturer you are considering offers a size exchange program.
How to Fix a Ring That Doesn’t Fit
First things first. Take the ring off and get it fixed as soon as possible. These first few weeks and months of wearing an unfamiliar ring are the PRIME time that most rings get lost. Don’t let that be you.
If the ring is brand new, your best bet is to communicate with the jeweler and re-order the ring in the correct size. Many retailers are happy to exchange stock pieces as long as they are still in new condition while some manufacturers offer a size exchange for a small fee, usually ranging $60-80. If your ring was custom made, have a heart to heart with the designer to find out how they can work with you to make it right. Ideally they should have advised you and sized it properly in the first place, but if some of the earlier mistakes happened they can find some options to help you fix it ranging from a redesign to adding sizing beads to the inside of a ring that just can’t be touched.
Should you be getting engaged or tying the knot soon, take a step back when you buy your rings – a symbol of your love and life together – and spend the time to select a size and style that you’ll both wear and cherish forever.
PS - If you need to find a lost ring or research insurance, here are some other resources for you.