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Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Trouble with Rings

The trouble with rings is, there's such a small margin for error in sizing. For a long time (as in 95% of my jewelry making career), I could count on one finger the number of rings I ever made and listed.

Then a couple years ago, I made a few rings as part of a workshop at Hadar's.

I eventually pulled most of those off the market when I realized my methods of sizing were inconsistent.

So here's what I've discovered so far...

I took two rings that should be about as perfect in specific sizes as can be. Both are ring blanks from Rio. A size nine and a size seven.

The size nine happened to fit my thumb perfectly.

So I took my ring sizer...

... and found that the size nine on there also fit my thumb perfectly.

Off to a good start.

But things went south quickly. I took my ring sizer and put size nine on my steel ring mandrel and it showed up as a smidge over 8½.

Then I put my ring sizer and put size nine on my plastic ring mandrel and it showed up as a wee bit past size 9.

The actual size 9 ring from Rio also read as an 8½ on the steel mandrel and just past 9 on the plastic mandrel. At least the errors are consistent.

And then I did something magical. Ha ha ha! I took my digital calipers and measured the inside diameter of the rings.

BTW, if you get digital calipers, look for ones that have this thing on top (that's for measuring interior diameter).  I got these at Harbor Freight for less than $20 (use their coupons!).

When I googled "ring band measurement chart", I found that you can tell a ring's size by the interior diameter (d'oh!).  This looks like a good chart.  Here's another chart by Art Jewelry Magazine. According to this (and similar charts), you can tell a ring's size by the interior diameter.

Lo and behold, the size 9 came to 18.8mm and the size 7 came to 17mm (is supposed to be 17.2mm, but this is good enough for me considering the alternatives).

So for now, out go the measuring methods of ring mandrels and I shall begin to make use of my digital calipers.

Tomorrow I get to measure/size the 100 rings I just made for the show I'm doing next week.  At least I feel better about the results now.  Only half the rings in this shot (47 actually).

So that solves one half of the equation, but what about the other half... fingers.  What are people using to measure their fingers?  We'll look at that another day.  Sigh...

Okay, that's it for today.  Back to work (so much to do to prepare for this show!).


  1. What great Sherlock Holmes-ing you do! I can't even imagine having 100 rings at one time! Did you just make a number in different sizes, and now have the perfect way to size? Hooray for you! Great tip.

    1. Ha! I think I've always been interested in research. And don't be too impressed about 100 rings. I just added another photo to the blog post. They're just simple textured stacker rings. Yep, made a bunch of different sizes and will just measure and tag them.

  2. Excellent post about ring sizes! Thanks!!
    LindaBobinda :)

  3. thank you for posting this! I have considered rings in the past, but was always certain I would not be able to size them correctly. Thanks for the insight because I thought buying a ring sizer would do it for me; not correct :)

    1. Julie, I'm so excited that sharing my experiences is of interest to others. Thanks for taking the time to let me know!

  4. Fabulous info. I just resorted to the same process...calipers ... After five ring sizing sessions with a friend . I felt like I was fitting a wedding gown before I was finished. So many variables in making rings...yikes;0). Sallyhoffmandesigns.com

    1. Thanks for the nice compliment!

      I'm thinking of writing up a little blurb that I can direct potential customers to in regards to rings. Just basic stuff, but you never know what may be important.