How To (and how not to) Determine Your Ring Size
Ring sizing may seem straightforward, but it’s riddled with potential pitfalls. Whether you are purchasing an engagement ring, a wedding band, or a special occasion ring, getting the right size is crucial for comfort and wearability. Though re-sizing a ring is possible, getting it right in the first place makes the whole experience less stressful for both of us. And who needs more stress?
Let’s dig in to how to correctly determine a ring size and avoid common mistakes that can lead to a poorly fitting ring.
How to determine your ring size:
- Purchasing a fitting service with your ring order.
The best way to determine your ring size is by ordering a fitting service along with your ring. Ring sizes can vary depending on the shape of your finger, the shape and style of your ring, the finger you’ll be wearing it on, how often you’ll be wearing it – for engagement rings and wedding bands, that means every day for most folks – and personal preference. For this reason, no one has just one ring size. The only way to know for sure if you’re ring is going to fit is to use something that is the same width and shape of the ring you’ll be wearing and to wear it for at least one day and night – longer is preferable.
While the fit for statement rings and art rings is less critical since you generally wear these as more of a fashion accessory, with engagement ring and wedding bands you want to be sure. We don’t live our lives sitting down in an air conditioned jewelry store, so while going to a jeweler is a great way to get a good base size, it’s not a great setting for determining long term fit and feel. The only way to do that is to live in your ring and the best way to do that is with a fitting service. Keep in mind that skinnier bands are more forgiving. Many people can wear within 1/2 size either way and still feel good, but the wider the band, the more important it is to be able to wear your ring before all the final details and finishes are applied.
- Understanding how your ring size may fluctuate
Your fingers can fluctuate in size throughout the day, so this is yet another reason why a single sitting fitting can result in errors and an uncomfortable ring. Your fingers are typically larger in the morning and smaller in the evening, larger when it’s hot and thinner when it’s cold. Each person is different in how they like their ring to feel, some prefer the safer feeling of a snug fit, others must have some breathing room. Regardless of how you determine your ring size, it’s always good to keep these things in mind. And for those who have never worn rings, remember that something feeling foreign or odd on your finger should not be confused with a poor fit. If you’d never worn a ring, it’s going to take some getting used to, but trust me – you will! For most folks, after a few months, they feel strange NOT having a ring on their finger.
- Using ring gauges purchased online
While not perfect, as set of RIGID ring gauges ordered online can be a good way to at least get a base line ring size. Try to find ones similar in width to the ring you hope to purchase. And be sure to pay attention to whether the gauges are standard fit or comfort-fit. For the best fit, send the ring gauges to me to put on my mandrel as they are not all accurate in their marking.
Note that most, if not all, online ring gauges online come in whole and half sizes (the “dash” or minus mark on the gauge means “half”. If you are in between a whole and half size, quarter sizes are an option.
- Consider the width of the ring
The width of the ring can affect the size you need. A wider ring will require a larger size than a thinner one, as it will fit tighter on your finger. Be sure to try on rings that are similar in width to the one you are interested in purchasing to ensure the right fit. A fitting service is especially recommended for wide bands.
- Don’t forget the inside of the ring
I make my rings a standard fit but always with an inside beveled edge for additional comfort. However, a true “comfort-fit” ring must use a large amount of additional metal to create a convex surface on the inside. This style of ring usually takes 1/4 to 1/2 size LESS than a standard fit because less of the metal is coming into contact with your finger. If you desire or require (for some folks with arthritis or larger knuckles, a proper comfort-fit may be necessary) a comfort-fit for your ring, get in touch. The majority of my rings can be made a deep comfort-fit on request for an additional fee.
- Measuring a ring that already fits
Despite what you might read online elsewhere, while note perfect, using a ring that already fits can actually give you a good baseline size. Keep in mind that there are many limitations to this method. The ring must be measured using the right tools and must be perfectly round on the inside and not warped. The best tool to use is digital calipers. However, if it is not an expensive piece, an even better option is to send the ring to me. I can make sure it’s the right shape and width and, use calipers and mandrel to double check the size, and send it back with your new ring.
- International sizing
Making an engagement or wedding ring purchase online does complicate the sizing process, but don’t despair! I have my ways. I even offer an international fitting service where I create silver dummies of your rings that you won’t need to return. You can also send me internationally sized ring gauges that fit you well. You will need to convert your international size to a US size. When doing so, there are lots of online conversion charts, but they often do not agree, so look at a few. You know best if you want to err up or down. Note that while many online charts will have 1/8 size, I only make rings in 1/4 size increments.
How NOT to size a ring:
- Visiting a jewelry store
Many online sources will tell you this is the best way to get your ring size perfect. Not so. It is the best way to get a ring size if it is also the place where you will be purchasing a ring. While visiting a store is a good way to get a base line size, the accuracy of that size will vary on a number of factors. I’ve had folks go to three different stores on the same day and get three different ring sizes or have a store be a full size off.
Surely people don’t do this? Well, you’d be surprised.
Guessing your ring size can be a recipe for disaster. Think about buying shoes. You’d never buy someone a pair of shoes without knowing their shoe size because an ill fitting shoe is impossible to wear. While there are more common ring sizes, there is no such thing as universal ring size or a “fits most” option. If you are planning a surprise and worry that trying to determine their ring size will let the cat out of the bag, maybe consider a ringless proposal.
- Using a DIY sizing kit
While Google and youtube will provide you with any number of at home options for getting your ring size, these are ALMOST NEVER accurate and in my experience have cause people to order rings as much as 3 sizes off. Most folks don’t realize that ring sizes vary by only fractions of a millimeter. Particularly in the US with it’s antiquated imperial system of inches and feet, any tool that does not use 10ths or preferable 100ths of a millimeter leaves far too much room for error. Print off charts, strings, paper, rulers – any of these methods will result in a correct size only by accident. Statistically even a random guess will occasionally be spot on (but don’t rely on this, see #2 above).
- Using the size of a different finger
FYI – all your fingers are different ring sizes. For almost everyone, every single finger on your two hands is a different size. Don’t think because you know the size of your special person’s right hand ring finger that this will fit their left hand. In some unusual cases – especially if the person is left-handed – this may be true, but it is a risk.
- Assuming it can just be resized
Yes, rings can be resized, but the ease with which this can be done varies depending on style, shape, material and gemstone placement. Don’t guess at a ring size and just assume it can be resized as this can result in both disappointment and a costly process of resizing or in some cases even re-making a ring. Indeed, every time you resize a ring, you risk diminishing its structural integrity, especially if you resize more than once.
Not only is getting the right size for your ring essential for comfort and wearability, it reduces stress and frustration. I’m guessing you already have enough stress in your life, and if you are purchasing an engagement ring or wedding band, the last thing you need is to deal with the headache of resizing a ring. It will take a few extra steps to get it right, but consider it an investment in future peace of mind. Need more help? Consider booking a private consult and I’ll walk you through the process and answer any additional questions you may have.