Ring Sizing

Selecting a correct ring size is not as simple as it might at first appear.

For one thing, fingers are not round but instead have a cross section like the first image in figure 13.3. In addition, we all know that our fingers swell slightly in the course of the day – for some people this can be a significant change. And of course on hot days our fingers swell even more, while in cold weather our fingers might seem to shrink. No wonder it’s difficult to make rings fit well!

Possible measurement mistakes a) finger form b) ring size c) ring with projecting pointed stone d) non-circular shanks

Possible measurement mistakes: a) finger form b) ring size c) ring with projecting pointed stone d) non-circular shanks

There is an additional challenge for people with slim, bony fingers. The ring must of course be large enough to slip over the knuckle, but if there is little skin at the base of the finger the ring slips around uncomfortably. Also, wider bands will need to be a little larger in size than narrow ones because the wide bands trap skin beneath them. Bands that have an opening under a stone or in some other way allow the finger skin to swell upward can afford to be a little smaller than the same ring without that opening.

Perhaps it would be better if all rings took the actual shape of the finger rather than a perfect circle, but for better or worse, that is the system that is in widest use. In the end what matters is to create a comfortable fit, regardless of its size. Customers who insist that they wear a specific size are condemning themselves to a poor fit. Similarly, when a ring size is handed over as a length of string or a mark on a strip of paper, this information must be taken only loosely since those devices have more flexibility than the metal of the final ring.

What is Ring Sizing and how does it work?

A ring fits well when it is no longer felt on the finger. If in the course of time the size of the finger changes or if the ring is to be fitted for another wearer, a sizing of the ring is necessary. The first step is to determine the finger size, which is done with a ring sizer, a set of about 30 steel rings in graduated sizes.  If the customer has a comfortable ring to use as a guide, its size is measured on a graduated ring stick.  In Germany, ring sizes are described by the diameter of the finger hole or inside circumference; in France and the United States, sizes measured by a number, with higher numbers indicating larger sizes. The systems are compared in the image below:

Ring sizing systems compared.

Ring sizing systems compared.

There is more!

We have a couple of additional topics related to ring sizing, so be sure to read about Enlarging Gem Rings and Enlarging Wedding Rings to obtain a better understanding of the many variables involved with the ring enlargement process.