A ring can fit and still be uncomfortable. There are several methods for sizing a ring, but since jewelry making is a precise art, in the end the jeweler needs an accurate measurement. Thus the best way to determine accurate size is by having the jeweler measure your finger using his measuring gauge, which is essentially a set of metal or plastic rings of various sizes. This is used in conjunction with a ring sizing gauge, called a mandrel.
The paper band and string methods are not accurate enough. Another good way to determine size, and especially comfort, is to use a test ring around the desired finger for a few days and then use that, or another ring that you already know fits to perfection, as an example. Rings come in whole sizes and half sizes and the jeweler can fine-tune measurements to other variations, such as quarter sizes.
Ring size is a matter of taste. Some people prefer tighter rings. The type of work you do with your hands, finger injuries or weaknesses may also affect your comfort threshold. When using the jeweler’s measuring gauge, you can determine a good fit by how easily the ring comes off your finger. You want some resistance, not enough that you feel like your finger is trapped, but enough that the ring will not fall off when you wash your hands with soap. Generally, since the knuckle is the widest and least pliable part of the finger, this is where true sizing accuracy is determined. Also, wide rings feel tighter than narrow rings.
In the previous article, I used a personal example to discuss ring sizing options with respect to the integrity of the piece of jewelry itself, as well as the emotional significance to the person wearing it. It is not true that only fools do not change their minds, because I changed mine!
While I had originally felt adamant about not cutting into my late husband’s wedding band, I suddenly realized that the inner sleeve Silvio had suggested he would use to fit the ring to my finger would also create a shield between my skin and that ring. Instantly, having the surface of my finger directly in contact with Roderick’s ring became far more important to me than avoiding cutting it. So I made up my mind at once, handed the ring over to be sized in the conventional manner after all and walked away until it was ready. No regrets. It is perfect. And speaking of comfort, it ended up on a different finger than originally intended.
This brings up another aspect of ring sizing, for now I have a small separate piece of the ring with which to make something else. Earrings are an option that came up, but I decided I should stay in character, and choose something a bit more odd. I will probably ask Silvio to make a small charm with it, to attach to MacGregor’s harness (as you might know or guess this is our dog) so he has a little something from his dad.
This entire process has made it very clear that custom jewelry design and jewelry transformation constitute an act of creative negotiation. When personal beliefs, emotions and values come into play, it is as much an act of negotiation with yourself as with the jeweler, perhaps even more. I suspect that there is a significant level of catharsis in this process, and it is certainly a process of self-discovery. In the end, this adds much significance to the piece of jewelry, because it gives it a true role as a marker of time and change and, hopefully, growth.
Also Read: The Art of Sizing Without Sizing