Finger size changes throughout the day depending on your level of activity and also depending on the time of day. Atmospheric pressure, weather and even your mood have an impact of the girth of your fingers.
While it is common to take rings to the jeweler to be sized up, there are many instances when rings need to be sized down. The first reason that comes to mind is a loss of weight. Typically, we gain a bit into middle age, but after this many people actually become a bit thinner.
Heirloom rings, those passed down from one generation to the next or acquired from a departed loved one, often need to be re-sized. When there is a strong emotion attached to the ring in question, it is sometimes difficult to agree to have it modified in any way.
Sizing is not merely about making a ring fit, after all. It must be done in a manner that respects the vision and values of the owner of the jewelry as well as the integrity and beauty of the ring itself.
I recently asked Silvio if he could resize my late husband’s wedding band. I have been wearing it on a chain for the past two years. About a year prior to his death, Roderick had asked Silvio to incorporate the stone from his earring into his wedding band. Silvio did so by nestling it in a gold setting that offers an elegant contrast with the silver of the band. This has special significance both because it is my companion’s ring and also because the stone in question is my birthstone. I wear his birth stone on my left ear.
The ring needs to be sized down so I can take it out of hiding on the chain and give it a proper resting place on my hand, but because of its significance I do not want Silvio to cut into it. I also do not want to use a ring guard because they are made of flimsy metal, do not work very well at all and I do not feel it is fitting for the ring that used to belong to the most important person in my life.
“I’ll make an inner sleeve,” suggested Silvio in a matter-of-fact tone. “It will sit snuggly on the inner surface of the ring. I don’t need to cut anything out, not even a notch, and it can be removed if you ever change your mind.” Who knew there was such an elegant alternative? Perfect.
“For a silver ring, I will use fine silver. It will hardly show at all,” explained Silvio. “It is not uncommon for people to not want to cut into rings that have great sentimental value.”
In truth, even sizing up sometimes requires cutting to add some length. There is just a limit to how much you can stretch a ring. And both processes require soldering. If the ring has stones, the high heat from soldering can damage them. A good jeweler would be very meticulous, of course, and this also means being creative and seeking alternative solutions.
An inner sleeve may be the most appropriate solution, also, to size down a gem bearing ring, so that it may be modified without any impact on its outer design and appearance.
Finally, an inner sleeve can be used in a ring that does not need to be re-sized at all. This would be the case when someone has an allergic reaction to alloys in their jewelry. The sleeve, in this instance, can be made very thin and used as a shield.
In the next article: Sizing by Number and The Scribe’s Ring, Take 2