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Understanding Ring Sizing

Understanding Ring Sizing
(Well, at least how we do it.)

Ring sizing is the biggest mystery to our customers. Frankly it can be a huge mystery with those of us who make jewelry too. There are different ways to measure. There are different tools to use, and those tools are made by different people. It gets tricky!

We're gonna try to make this matter a little less of an enigma. Read on and learn a little about our thoughts and our methods when it comes to sizing...

Measuring centerline versus true diameter...

They say there's more than one way to skin a cat (we've never skinned a cat, so we can't speak to the validity of that statement.) But when it comes to measuring a ring, there are two real ways to do it - centerline measurement and true diameter.

Check out the pic below. It shows a ring on the actual mandrel we use in our shop. Each mark is a quarter size. When you measure using the true diameter method you look to see where the bottom of the ring hits the mandrel. If you use the true diameter method, this ring would be a 6 1/2.

When you measure using the centerline method, you look to see where the center of the ring makes contact with the mandrel. Using that method, the ring would be size 6 1/4.

Why two methods?

The simple answer... Because life is never that simple. Why do we drive on the right side of the road in some countries and the left in others? Why do some vehicles take gasoline and some take diesel? The simple answer, like we said before, is there is more than one way to skin a cat!

The more complex answer... Because rings are made in different ways, and jewelers have different opinions on how to measure their work. With that in mind I guess we should all be happy that the industry has settled on only two options on not fifteen or something. Generally speaking, jewelers making a good old basic ring will measure using the true diameter method. Those making "comfort fit" rings will mostly measure using the centerline method. However, these are only generalizations. In the end each ring maker will do what they think is best.

Oh... and to make it just a little more interesting, there are a ton of companies that make mandrels. That means there can be slight variance between equipment as well!

How does we measure our rings at Art and Soule?

We've settled on using the centerline method when measuring our rings. First, we have found over the years that most people order too small. (Hint: If your finger is bulging out around the ring, it's too small.) Second, wood and resin rings are simply not as strong and metal. That's not because of material quality or manufacturing methods. It's simply a fact based on the materials. So, having a little extra breathing room with our rings is a good idea.

The ring sizers that a jeweler will use are based on the true diameter method. So, by using a centerline measurement, we automatically adjust up about a quarter size from what people measure. They helps account for the extra breathing room that wood and resin rings really need.

What can I do to get the best ring size for me?

We have a few recommendations, and here they are:

1) Don't overthink it. You know now that we use a centerline method. You might be inclined to adjust your ring size up or down a bit to adjust for what we do. Don't. Leave those details to us :)

2) Understand your fingers. As we point out here, fingers are in a constant state of flux. You can change an entire ring size through the course of a day. Weather, diet, physical activity, and other factors can all contribute to that change.

3) Get measured by a couple of different jewelers, and do it at different times of the day. If you get two matching measurements, run with it. If you get two sizes that are close (like within a half size) you are probably best off to go with the larger size as it was probably taken during one of those times in the day when your fingers were more swollen. If you get two sizes that are more than a half size apart, then something is possibly wrong with a measurement. Time to go get a third and fourth opinion.

4) Don't use an app. They are a bunch you can use, but they simply don't work. We tested them, so we know. Read about our experiment and you will see why we just say no when it comes to this.

5) Consider the width of the ring. If you are getting a width larger than 8mm, the ring is going to fit tighter by default. You'll want take that into account. Most jewelry have both skinny sizers and wide sizers. If you are going to order a wide ring, make sure they are sizing you with their wide sizers.

6) Comes to terms with the fact that there is no "perfect" size for you. Your body will change over time. Your body has already changed a couple times just today! You are always in a state of flux. Sometimes your ring will fit perfectly. Sometimes it will be too tight. Sometimes it will be too loose. That's just how it goes. You can order the same ring in a couple sizes and fight it that way, and many people do that very thing. But short of doing that, to a certain extent you're gonna need to just roll with things and leave the ring in the jewelry box if it's too tight or too loose for comfort on any given day.

I did all that and my ring still doesn't fit quite right. Now what?

Well, when you do business with use we've got you covered. We allow for a one-time exchange for size. You can read about that here. (The only exceptions to our exchange policy are clearance items and custom orders.)

Bottom line...

There's more going on than meets the eye when it comes to ring sizing. Your best bet is to follow our advice on getting sized, and then leave the other details to us :)