Monday, February 24, 2014

Ring Sizing, Micro Diamonds are the Devil.

   It has been a while since I have posted here, I got tired of fighting the spam and FB seemed easier. (Morrow Metalwork would like to be your friend) I am very glad I didn't close it down though, I was asked an excellent question today that requires a longish answer.  I thought other people might find informative too.
  " I have a question! I have skinny fingers (4.75) with bigger knuckles. My fiance had my engagement sized without the jeweler sizing my fingers (or even knowing what kind of fingers I have). The result is an oval ring?! It's super tight to get on (doesn't even go past a size 4 on the round circle sizer) and when its on looks really wide. I spoke with the goldsmith who tried to convince me that fingers are actually oval and not round. Is this normal? Or is this something he made up? The ring also has diamonds on the side of the band. I went to Birks and they said they could make it a round ring but know I'm wondering if this is going to be better for me?! I would love you opinion! thanks!"
   Melissa's Fiance bought her a nice new modern ring from a store, it has micro pave (wee diamonds claw set) down the shoulders, and would have come in a stock size 6.5 - 7. From what I size almost daily, I am guessing that her ring looks kinda like the photo I stole from the Internet. It doesn't matter what is happening on top, the problem is the little sparklers that run down the sides of the shank. She needs that pretty thing to fit a 4.75 finger with bigger knuckles.
   The first problem is getting the sizing done. A finger size equals 2.5mm of the circumference of the band, the goldsmith needs to remove between 3 to 5mm from this ring. Usually we can cut out the piece and then taking our non marking pliers, we start bending the shank parts into a tighter circle until the ends meet again. We solder it closed and tap it with a rubber mallet on a mandrel to make sure it is a nice round shape again. But in this case we can not move the entire shank. If I grab the diamond sections, I can chip or break stones, and crush claws, I am limited to bending only the none diamond parts, the ring is very oval at this point. This is not unusual, I can not grab a fancy engraved shank either. The real problem is when I put the oval ring on my mandrel to make it round. As I carefully tap on the diamond shoulders of the ring, the circumference of the circle becomes smaller and the claws spread to match the circle and usually the diamonds closes to the bottom fall out. Aack!
   When a ring with micro diamonds needs to be sized down, the best thing the jewellery store can do is order the ring in the correct size. Of course, that is possibly a 6 week wait, and the customer wants the ring now, and the Jeweller would prefer to sell the one in their showcase. I would probably have done this sizing, I do this a lot, it is less than 2 sizes, I have a healthy ego, and I know how to reset diamonds. ;)    If you bought the ring where I work, we would have done the job for the next day. If she had shown up at my place of employment with her oval ring, the clerks would have brought it into the back to show me, and I would have come out and discussed the problem with her....and discussed her finger with her! Because her ring shouldn't be round!
  That leads me to the second problem big knuckles on a wee finger. No, your fingers are not oval, especially not when the fingers are together - then they are kinda soft cornered squares. (the jeweller was just unwilling to chance popping stones, it takes time and skill to reset them).  If Melissa's ring looks like the picture I supplied, it has a narrow shank and she is going to have a hard time keeping the ring facing upright. I would definitely start by encouraging her to have the bottom of the shank flattened. Then when she came to pick up the now stirrup shaped ring, I would check that the ring was barely sliding over her knuckle so she doesn't have to worry about losing it. Depending on the fit, I might recommend a temporary half ball inside her ring to help keep it upright until she gets her wedding band....but she can do that later.   If she is a typical 'Just Engaged' woman, she doesn't want to leave her ring at the shop for another moment! There are people to show it off to!

P.S. These rings can be safely sized up 2 sizes, the farther the diamonds go down the shoulder, the harder it is to size.    And you can tell the picture I included isn't a real ring but a computer rendering because the far shoulder/shank is twisted.  But that discussion would be a different blog post.