The Diamond Pro

A Complete Guide to Ring Resizing

By Michael Fried
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Bottom Line Recommendation:

When it comes to ring sizing, the closer you can get to your partner’s exact size, the easier it will be to adjust the engagement ring to provide a perfect fit. The best diamond stores online provide generous resizing policies. James Allen provides a 60-day free resizing policy as part of their guarantee on every engagement ring and wedding band. Blue Nile also offers complimentary resizing for all customized engagement rings.

An engagement ring is one of the most important, meaningful and special purchases you’ll ever make.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sliding an engagement ring onto your partner’s finger for the very first time. However, if the engagement ring feels a little bit too loose, or a little too tight, there’s a good chance it needs to be resized before it will fit your partner’s hand properly.

Working out a person’s exact ring size can be a challenging process. Even if you’ve held your partner’s hand hundreds of times, translating a guesstimate about their ring size into a precise figure isn’t always a perfect process.

Because of this, it’s far from uncommon for your engagement ring to feel a little too tight, or a little too loose, when your partner first tries it on.

Luckily, it’s almost always possible to resize your engagement ring to offer an exact fit for your partner. Below, we’ll walk you through:

  • How an engagement ring should fit
  • How a jeweler can resize your engagement ring
  • How long it takes to resize an engagement ring
  • What you’ll need to pay to get your ring resized
  • Which engagement rings can and can’t be resized

We’ll also cover some simple tactics that you can use to work out your partner’s ring size (or at least their approximate ring size) before you purchase anything.

How Should an Engagement Ring Fit?

An engagement ring should fit just like any other ring – it should slide on fairly easily, but resist enough when sliding off that there’s no risk of it falling off without your partner noticing.

A good way to check the fit of an engagement ring is to put it on, then try to take it off. If it slides onto the ring finger easily but needs one to three seconds of pressure to get over the knuckle on the way off, it’s probably a fairly good fit.

If it gets stuck behind your partner’s knuckle and needs to be pried off, it’s probably too tight and needs to be adjusted to a larger size.

If it slides off without any pressure (for example, by angling your partner’s fingers towards the ground), it’s probably too loose and needs to be adjusted to a smaller size.

Remember, your knuckle is the largest part of your finger. An engagement ring should feel light and comfortable when it’s on the finger, without any obvious squeezing or discomfort, but it also shouldn’t be able to slide over your partner’s knuckle too easily.

Not sure if your engagement ring is a good fit or not? Ask your jeweler. They’ll be able to quickly let you know if your ring fits properly of it it needs to be resized by watching it slide onto and off of your partner’s finger.

How Do Jewelers Resize an Engagement Ring?

Jewelers use several different methods to resize rings. There’s no “best” method for every type of ring, but two methods are typically used for engagement rings because of their design.

If the ring is too large, your jeweler will remove a small part of the shank (the part of the ring that goes around the finger), then carefully attach the ends of the ring back together with solder. The jeweler will then clean and polish the ring to remove any signs of the resizing process.

The end result is a smaller, tighter shank that better fits your partner’s finger, without any major signs that the ring has been resized.

If the ring is too small, your jeweler will normally cut the bottom of the ring and add a small piece of metal to the shank. This is done carefully and precisely to increase the size of the ring without any obvious visual signs that it’s been resized.

Because your jeweler will need to add more material to the ring in order to resize it up, it usually costs more to make an engagement ring larger than to make it smaller.

You may have also heard that it’s possible to resize a ring through stretching. While this method is usually fine for wedding rings and other rings that don’t have gemstones, it can easily damage the diamonds and other gemstones in an engagement ring.

Stretching the band of the ring can also thin the metal and distort the ring’s shape, making it an option that’s best avoided for engagement rings and other valuable jewelry.

It’s also possible to resize a ring using items called sizing assistants. These are small balls that sit inside the shank of the ring and keep it on your partner’s finger. Sizing assistants are usually fitted to engagement rings that fit slightly too large and rotate on your partner’s finger.

How Long Does it Take to Resize a Ring?

Resizing an engagement ring normally takes one to two weeks, depending on the complexity of the work and your jeweler’s schedule.

For a simple ring without gemstones, the resizing process can be much faster. If your ring only needs to be adjusted by a half size or less, it might only take a few minutes for your jeweler to stretch it to the correct size.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Ring Resized?

Every engagement ring is different, meaning there’s no set cost for getting your engagement ring resized.

Most of the time, the jeweler you use to purchase your engagement ring will offer a resizing service free of charge. Some major jewelry chains include free resizing as part of the ring’s warranty.  

For example, James Allen provides a 60-day free resizing policy as part of their guarantee on every engagement ring and wedding band. Blue Nile also offers complimentary resizing for all customized engagement rings.

If you’re worried about the fit of your partner’s engagement ring, it’s worth asking your jeweler about resizing costs and warranty coverage before you buy.

If you use a third party jeweler to resize an engagement ring, the amount you’ll need to pay can vary depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • The style of the ring. An engagement ring with complicated detailing is usually harder to resize than a simpler solitaire diamond ring. This means you might need to pay a little bit more for resizing if your ring has multiple gemstones or complex detailing.
  • The thickness and style of the band. Thicker rings can be more difficult to resize than thinner rings, meaning you might need to pay slightly more if your engagement ring has a fairly thick band.
  • The amount the ring needs to be resize. Resizing a ring becomes more complicated when it needs to be made significantly larger or smaller, meaning you’ll usually need to pay more for significant adjustments.
  • The jeweler you choose. The price of having a ring resized can vary depending on the jeweler you go to, their experience and their location.
  • The ring’s material. Some materials, such as titanium, are quite difficult to resize. This means you might need to pay slightly more for ring resizing to compensate for the extra time required to adjust your engagement ring.  

In short, there’s no specific cost for getting an engagement ring resized. If your ring has a fairly simple design and only needs minor adjustments, it could cost less than $50. If it needs a major adjustment and has complex detailing, resizing it could cost several hundred dollars.

Most of the time, you shouldn’t need to pay for resizing, provided you take the ring back to the same jeweler that you purchased it from.

Can All Engagement Rings be Resized?

The vast majority of engagement rings can be resized. However, rings that have gemstones on the entire band (for example, an eternity band) usually can’t be resized.

The reason for this is simple: eternity bands just don’t have enough exposed metal available for a jeweler to work on. This means it’s important to know your partner’s ring size before you buy a ring with this type of setting.

It’s also usually impossible for a jeweler to resize a tension ring. This type of ring has a diamond or other gemstone held in place by pressure from the two ends of the ring. Most of the time, this type of ring needs to be custom made to provide a perfect fit.

There are also limits on how much a ring can be adjusted. Normally, you can adjust a ring up to two sizes smaller or larger. Beyond this, the risk of damaging the ring and affecting the diamond (or other gemstone) setting increases.

Finally, some materials are too hard or brittle to resize safely. Rose gold, for example, can crack easily when exposed to stress, meaning jewelers will usually avoid resizing any rings made from this metal.

Tungsten rings, on the other hand, are usually too hard to resize effectively. Stainless steel rings are also too hard to resize by hand. If you’re considering buying an engagement ring made from these materials, it’s important to make sure you have your partner’s exact ring size beforehand.

How to Get Your Partner’s Approximate Ring Size

When it comes to ring sizing, the closer you can get to your partner’s exact size, the easier it will be to adjust the engagement ring to provide a perfect fit.

If you’re struggling to work out your partner’s ring size, you can try one of the following tactics:

  • Ask her directly. If you’re not worried about your partner figuring out your intentions, you can ask them directly for their ring size. This tactic is the simplest but doesn’t have quite the surprise effect of the others.
  • Ask her friends or family. Try asking one of your partner’s close friends to find out her ring size for you. Enlisting a friend to work as your “spy” and ask your partner about ring sizing can help you get the information you need without having to ask directly.
  • “Borrow” her jewelry. If your partner has a ring she wears on her ring finger (preferably the ring finger of her left hand), try “borrowing” it for a day, then take it to your jeweler to work out her exact ring size.
  • Trace one of her rings. If you’re worried about losing your partner’s ring, you can also make a tracing of the ring to take to the jeweler’s. Make sure you trace around the inside and outside of the ring several times for accuracy.

It’s important to remember that you don’t need to get your partner’s ring size absolutely correct before you buy an engagement ring online. Instead, focus on finding out their approximate size — for a perfect fit, you can easily resize the ring after you’ve proposed.

About the author
Michael Fried
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more.
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