How we measure finger size
Incorrect sizing is a common problem, which is why measurement is so important when placing the initial work order. We can measure your finger size, but you are the only one who can feel the tightness of the fit while sliding the ring onto your finger. It cannot be measured or judged just by looking at it.
Even an experienced jeweler or salesperson can be mistaken by observing how tight or how loose a ring fits. What we will do is suggest a range of sizes that seem to fit, but ultimately let you make the decision.
The majority of stores measure a finger to increments of 1/4 or even 1/2 of the full size. This is not precise enough to assure a good fit. We measure finger size in 1/8 increments.
Here are some examples:
- size 4 "plus" is 4-1/8
- size 5-3/4 "slant"(variations: "scant", "tight", "just under") is 5-5/8
- size 7-3/4 "minus" is 7-5/8
- size 3 "full" is 3-1/8
Most of the time the right hand is larger than the left hand. The corresponding size difference between the fingers is about 1/4 of a size. People also have varying preferences for the tightness of their engagement rings and wedding bands. Finger sizes further vary with the weather.
The shape of the finger is also important when determining size. For some- with knuckles larger than the joint above- narrow or wide rings of the same measured size may fit equally well, only requiring a tight push over the knuckle. For others-with very tapered fingers- a wide ring can be as much as one or two sizes larger than a narrow ring to achieve a similarly comfortable fit.
When it is not possible to find out the exact size, you can use a paper strip wrapped around the finger for measurement. You can also use a plastic cable tie, or an existing ring worn on that finger.
The two most common ring size measurement systems are:
The American (US) and the UK systems. Ring sizes are based on numbers 1 - 19 with 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8 of each size. Sometimes plus or minus signs indicate a tighter or looser fit instead of the eighth of a size. A 1/2 size US is roughly equivalent to one whole size UK.
The UK ring sizes are measured by alphabetical letters A - Z, although it is often necessary to go above size Z as in Z+1, Z+2, Z+3, etc. These sizes are evenly spaced with half sizes in between.
The European ring sizes are based on the circumferential measurement of the ring in millimeters. UK and US sizes do not bear any sensible relationship to actual linear measurements. Russian and Ukrainian sizes are based on the inner diameter of the ring in millimeters.
Ring sizes are measured with a ring gauge or a ring stick. It does not make any sense to commission a custom made ring in the wrong size. Any single measurement produces a "snapshot" of a size and does not necessarily represent the correct average.
Changes in size
Everyone's finger size fluctuates. Sometimes these fluctuations are extreme and the finger size could change dramatically in a matter of days. Changes are due to:
- Air temperature and moisture
- Atmospheric pressure
- Season (smallest size in the winter; largest in the summer)
- Time of day (larger in the morning; smaller in the evening)
- Feminine cycle
A poor fit will cause the ring to slip off a finger without warning. It will make the ring prone to bending, twisting, cracking, and loosening stones as a result. It will cause the ring to spin around the finger making it difficult to wear and enjoy.
Sometimes low tissue volume will cause the ring to spin even if the finger size is measured correctly. Asking for expert advice on potential remedies such as sizing balls or a spring will be necessary in this case.
A ring that is too tight might restrict proper blood circulation. It will also make soft tissue puff up around the ring, making the finger appear too fat and blocking a side view of your beautiful ring.
Traction inserts (balls, bars, liners, etc.) and springs are the most common. A custom made shank that opens and closes is another solution, but is very labor intensive and the cost might be prohibitively expensive. Patented devices such as “Finger-Mate” or “Sure-Fit” are rarely used in fine jewelry, but if necessary can be added to any plain shank that is wide enough to accommodate it.
The simplicity of a sizing job varies by design. A plain solitaire ring has greater flexibility in sizing than a three-stone ring. Similarly, a three-stone ring can be sized to a wider range of sizes than a ring set with pavé.
- Filing: removing excess metal inside a shank. By doing this we can gain a modest increase in size which depends on the initial thickness of the shank. This is the preferred method of sizing.
- Cutting: a more drastic measure than scraping is cutting a section of a shank or inserting an extension in the cut. This is the usual way of sizing any ring. It allows us to gain or reduce up to a full size or sometimes even more.
- Stretching: extending a ring to a larger size is not a viable option for any ring except a plain wedding band.
Any custom made ring will be sized for an additional fee with no exceptions. Sizing could be a difficult job that involves a certain amount of risk and we cannot afford to do it free of charge
To measure the size of a ring: Download PDF (923Kb). Make sure to set scaling to "None" when you print.