Shopping for Rings: The Most Important Things You Need to Know

Image of Ceylon Sapphire Ring with Diamonds in Sterling SilverDo you love the look of a ring on your finger? Rings are highly symbolic and can make a powerful personal statement. Think of everything you can tell about a person by the ring they choose to wear, whether they are married, single, affluent, bohemian; the list goes on. When selecting a ring, the first thing you need to consider is what finger you plan to wear it on and how to make sure it fits.

Many factors can affect the way your ring feels on your finger. A weight loss or weight gain, even changes in temperature can make a ring that once fit perfectly feel as though it is in need of resizing. When determining your ring size, it is important to know what a proper fit feels like. The ring should go onto the finger easily without forcing. Expect to push the ring on with just a little resistance. Then, when you remove the ring, it should tug at the knuckle. When you drop your hand to the side, the ring should stay in place. It shouldn’t slip, twist, or feel like it might fall off. The fit should be snug but not too tight. It should be comfortable with some room to turn the ring only slightly. Your skin will expand in hot weather and contract in the cold. Some movement will allow your skin some breathing room. Be aware of this when you buy. The way your ring feels will definitely change a little bit with each season. A wide band is going to feel tighter than a narrow band of the same size. This is because a higher surface area of metal is making contact with the skin.

Image of Faceted Citrine Ring in 14k GoldGenerally the standard size for a woman’s ring is a U.S. size six to six and a half. Also called “stock size,” size six to six and a half fits many women. A jeweler can determine your ring size by using blanks of a known size to get the diameter of your finger. Three sizing methods typically used for calculating ring size are U.S. sizes, metric sizes, and inside diameter. Online jewelers sometimes provide a sizing kit that can be printed, cut out, and fit to your finger. The problem with this method is that rings are not made of paper. The most common sizing mistake using this method is that the ring size that feels the best “on paper” is actually too large because you do not get the resistance that a metal band provides. Keep in mind that is usually easier to increase the size of a ring by a small amount than to decrease it. A jeweler can increase a ring size by gentle tapping with a hammer which stretches the metal. To size down, a ring must be compressed or actually have a small piece cut out. If your ring is set with gemstones all the way around, re-sizing may not be possible at all.

Even if you know your ring size, keep in mind that the way your size is determined may vary from jeweler to jeweler. Jewelers in the U.S. frequently use a tool called a ring mandrel which has sizes marked on it. A ring is slid on the mandrel and the jeweler reads the mark where the ring lands. Ring mandrels are accurate, but not always precise. There can be discrepancies up to a quarter of a size between mandrels. To be absolutely sure of the ring size, the inside diameter is the most precise measurement to take. When shopping online, take into consideration these common discrepancies and make sure to investigate the retailer’s exchange policy before you complete your purchase.

When determining your ring budget, consider the type of gemstones, size of gems, and metal type. For a small gemstone ring in a silver setting, you can expect to pay less than $100.00. Larger gemstones will be several hundred dollars. Rare precious gems and diamonds can be thousands.

Are you ready to commit to a ring purchase? How do you see rings? Are they symbolic representations of the person or just another fashion item? Which finger is your favorite for wearing rings? We want to know.

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