Ring re-sizing is a common practice in the jewelry industry. Generally, rings that were made of finer metals, like karat gold and platinum, were sized to fit, rather than having a whole new ring created. Sterling silver rings can also be sized, but depending on the price of silver and in turn the price of the ring, sometimes the cost to size a silver ring can out-value the ring itself.
Ring sizings are done by cutting into a ring and either adding a piece of metal stock and soldering it in place to size the ring up, or cutting a length of the ring band out to size it down. Some rings can be stretched by hammering the band larger, but this is only recommended when sizing a ring up slightly and providing there is enough metal there that it will not thin out the ring shank.
(Sterling silver swirl ring - easy to size)
Sizing a plain silver ring (without gemstones) is generally a simple task. There are exceptions, such as silver rings that have enamel or finishes such as oxidization. The issue with any ring sizing, and where problems can arise, is in the heat applied to the metal during the sizing process from a jewelers’ torch.
Sterling silver conducts heat far more than metals like gold or platinum - so when the heat from a torch is applied to the bottom of the ring, and as far away from the gemstone or finish as possible, it will still travel throughout the entire ring and will cause most gemstones and certain finishes to become damaged or destroyed.
(Silver bezel set gemstone ring - Difficult to size)
Even a gold or platinum ring sizing can damage a stone, but it is far less likely. If this happens, it is usually because the ring itself is very heavy and the stone set into the metal such as in a bezel or gypsy setting.
There are ways to size certain silver gemstone rings, but again the cost can often exceed the value of the ring, as such sizings are more labor intensive:
- Rings with prong set gemstones can be sized easily if the stone is removed and re-set after the sizing is completed, but the additional labor comes in to un-mount and re-mount the stone.
- Rings with thinner bands can be sized with the gemstone submerged in water. Because the water acts as a heat sink, this generally only works with narrow bands that do not require as much heat in order to get the solder to flow.
- Laser welders have become common in many jewelry stores and repair shops. Laser sizing is also a great option for sizing silver rings as the laser does not create excess heat like a torch does, but like other sizing options for silver rings, there are some rings that cannot be sized using this process.
(Silver gemstone ring with thin band - Sizing may be possible)
Another caution with silver ring sizing, is that many silver rings are plated with rhodium these days. Rhodium is a metal in the platinum family, which can keep silver from tarnishing and has many positive attributes. Unfortunately, because it is a surface plating, this can also be burned off during sizing and repair work and can ruin the look of a ring.
An experienced jeweler can give you all your options for sizing silver rings. While most of our rings are silver with gemstones, we will always offer to create a new one in your size, or to adjust the size when possible.
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