When you're buying something as special as an engagement ring or wedding band, fit is important for a number of reasons. If the jewelry's too small, it won't sit right—or worse, it'll mess with the health of your finger. If the piece is too big, it'll slide off more easily, which puts you at risk of losing it. Ring sizes matter—that much is clear. But how do you measure yours? We asked two experts to answer the commonly-asked question, and offer up some related tips. Use their advice to ensure that your ring rests comfortably on your hand for years to come.
How Do You Measure Your Ring Size?
"The best way to measure is to get your finger sized at a jewelry store," says Bri Hartgers, of Hartgers Jewelers. "Your jeweler will have ring sizers that typically measure by the full and half size," making the process as exact as possible. That being said, "you have to ask yourself a few questions before you start trying on ring sizers," shares Jennifer Gandia of Greenwich St. Jewelers. Those include "Will I wear my wedding band on the same finger as my engagement ring?" and "Am I looking to add several other rings to a stack that'll make my rings fit tighter?" The professional that you're working with should be aware of these sorts of things.
"On top of how you wear it, the type of ring that you're choosing will make a difference, too. Make sure that you're trying on ring sizers that reflect the millimeter width and type of fit your band of choice has to receive the most accurate size," Gandia adds. In the end, though, "It's about finding the size that works for you the majority of the time," she acknowledges. Bodies fluctuate, so don't stress too much.
Can You Measure Someone's Ring Size Discreetly?
If you're planning a surprise proposal, you're probably wondering how to estimate the right size for the engagement ring. Both Hartgers and Gandia recommend an easy method: find a ring of your partner's, and do one of two things. Either bring it to a jeweler, or put it on and mark where it falls on you. An expert can then make a guess based off of what you've provided. If you can, also share which finger your partner wears the ring on.
"Guessing based on height and weight isn't recommended," according to Gandia, because "the structure of the hand and knuckles is also a factor." Those without access to a ring can turn to men's and women's averages for guidance, says Hartgers, but again, they paint an imperfect picture. When in doubt, "it's always better to guess bigger than smaller, because you definitely want the ring to slide all the way down the finger when you're down on one knee," she advises. "It's okay if the ring doesn't fit perfectly from the get-go, as long as it's able to be put on after you pop the question," Gandia agrees. Once your partner says "yes," you can go in and get it altered if necessary.
What About Resizing?
Resizing engagement rings and wedding bands is a different story altogether, but there are ways to make that process smoother. Material and design are two factors that might influence resizing (from how difficult it'll be, to how much it'll cost, to whether or not it's even possible). Consult a jeweler about these things from the start if you're worried about making your ring smaller or larger in the future. (Gandia points out that "most rings will eventually need to be resized" to continue being worn properly.)
Hartgers offers this example to someone surprising their partner with an engagement ring: if you're planning to put diamonds on the band, "keep some open space for plain metal on the bottom of the ring." "It's very easy to resize a ring that has open metal on the bottom, and most people find this to be more comfortable, too," she explains.