jYa’ll, we need to talk about ring resizing. It may sound tedious, but understanding the ins and outs of this oft-ignored practice can help you save a lot of money in the long run. 

The Story

I was eating dinner last week with some friends from college. Okay, okay – so we were actually eating pizza and drinking beer at 2:30 in the morning on someone’s back porch. The point is that my friend Jose, who was married two years ago, told us that he had recently purchased a new wedding ring. This new ring, which he displayed in all its glory, was made of black titanium, which NASA apparently uses to build space stations. 

Black titanium rings are all the rage among millennial aged nerds.

“Why did you get new ring?” I asked. “Did you lose your old one?”

“No, I got too fat for it. Because I love food.”

His abrupt honesty is one of the reasons that Jose and I get along so well. That, and he always parallel parks my car.

Jose’s decision to buy a new ring highlights a significant, if under-discussed, question in the lifecycle of a ring wearer. When is it viable or reasonable to resize a ring, and when should you just buy a new one? I don’t remember what Jose’s first ring was made of, but I’m pretty sure it was gold, which is totally resizable. I think he just wanted a space ring. 

The Details

The easiest rings to resize are plain metal bands, or plain bands where the gemstone is set in a crown on top of the ring. If the band has stones in it, then the style of the ring could possibly – though not necessarily – prevent the resizing of the ring. Sometimes, a jeweller can only go up a few sizes before resetting the stones. If the ring itself has a pattern (like filigree) then it cannot be resized. Titanium rings, like Jose’s new band, are often too hard to alter. Non-metal bands, like those made of quartz or wood, cannot be resized.

If you need to make your ring larger, your jeweller can use one of two techniques. The first, which is not usually recommended, is called “stretching.” This technique pulls the metal apart like a rubber band to add space. It makes the metal thinner and weakens the ring. Technique two is called “adding a bridge.” The jeweller cuts the bottom of the band, pulls the two sides apart, and solders a new bridge made from the same metal as the original. This is better for the overall integrity of the ring. 

Soldering a ring back together.

Typically, sizing the ring smaller is a much easier process. The jeweller cuts out a piece of the ring, and then solders the remaining ends together.

If ring resizing is important to you, then double check with your jeweller to ensure that the ring you buy can be altered. Keep in mind that changes in your body, like arthritis or pregnancy, can affect how a ring fits. When your ring is resizable, it is also adaptable.