Ring Resizing: Complete Guide to Resizing Engagement Rings

What if, despite your best efforts, you selected an engagement ring size which doesn’t quite fit your beloved’s finger?

That beautiful ring is slightly too large?

Or worse, because she can’t even look at it on her finger, what if it’s slightly too small?

Because an engagement ring one of the most important purchases of your life, the need to resize plunges both of you into a forest of questions.

This guide will organize you and get you through this challenge, so that:

  • You won’t get ripped off
  • You won’t make a irretrievable mistake
  • You will spend only the amount of money necessary to get the resizing done perfectly (Most often, if you chose to purchase from a reputable jeweler such as James Allen, Blue Nile, or Brian Gavin, your cost for a resizing is )

Alternatives to Resizing an Engagement Ring

Not interested in having you ring resized? Here are a few other options:

Re-Ordering the Correct Size

Check the date of your purchase. Was it within the last 15 or 30 days? Then you’re in good luck, assuming you purchased the ring from a reputable jeweler such as James Allen, Blue Nile, or Brian Gavin.

Most reputable jewelers will let you return the ring for a refund within 15 or 30 days.

  • James Allen 30-day no-questions returns
  • Blue Nile 30-day no questions returns
  • Brian Gavin 15-day no questions returns

You may think, “But I need my ring resized, not returned!”

But returning it for a refund, then re-ordering it, is the best of all possible worlds, assuming you have the time to take this perfect route.

By returning the engagement ring, then re-ordering one of the correct size, you get a perfect ring, perfectly sized, without any of the small risks, headaches, and anxieties involved in resizing a fine diamond engagement ring.

Problem solved.

The truth is that even the reputable jeweler will often prefer this solution.

Here’s why: their systems are set up for that to be efficient.

Returning the wrong size and re-ordering the correct size requires less bandwidth on their end. They merely return a ring to inventory and sell you another of the same ring, just of a slightly different size.

No hard feelings. No awkwardness. They do it all the time.

Sizing Beads

Sizing beads are tiny metal beads added to the inside of the band, usually at about the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock positions, to keep a ring which is only slightly too large from slipping side to side.

How Should You Choose a Jeweler to Add Sizing Beads?

As simple as the process is for a skilled jeweler, take great care in selecting who will do the work.

Choose a reputable local jeweler. Or better yet, send it back to the reputable online jeweler you purchased it from.

Is a Ring Guard a Good Alternative to Resizing an Engagement Ring?

Frankly, no. Absolutely not.

A ring guard is a small metal brace installed on a ring to brace the finger against the ring, so that the ring fits tighter.

It’s like putting a donut spare tire on your car and calling it good. Just not done by sensible people.

Not a permanent solution.

It may work to get you through a ceremony or (less well, if there are close-ups of the hand) a photo shoot.

Most importantly, the ring guard can damage the ring very slightly when used even a short time, and is certain to mar the ring over time. 

Are There Some Rings Which Cannot Be Resized?

Many rings can be resized, and yet some simply can’t be resized.

  • Tungsten. It’s too hard.
  • Rose gold. It can crack.
  • Titanium is iffy, because it always discolors when resized.
  • Any eternity band, for obvious reasons. The stones are mounted all the way around these beautiful bands, and the bands are often ornately constructed.
  • Any ornate band, also for obvious reasons. The cutting or stretching of the band would irreparably disrupt the ornate design of the band.
  • Many custom-designed rings. (This doesn’t include the common “build-your-own” engagement rings at several reputable online jewelers.)

What Is Actually Done to an Engagement Ring to Resize It?

Here are some details about what is actually done to your ring when resizing:

If an engagement ring is too large…

If it’s too large, the jeweler will cut a small section out of the bottom of the band, opposite the stone. Then the jeweler will connect the two remaining ends using a source of high heat. Finally, the jeweler will polish the new seam so that it is invisible.

(If you resize a ring down, be sure to ask that the jeweler gives you the ring cutout — the piece of metal which was cut out of the band. You never know — you may need to size up the ring at a much later date. Having the original matching metal means that job will use metal which perfectly matches the ring.)

If an engagement ring is too small…

If it’s too small, there are two options:

  1. The jeweler may decide to stretch the ring.
  2. More commonly, the jeweler may cut the band opposite the stone, and insert a new piece of metal, solder it in with heat, then polish the result so that it matches the original ring as much as possible. The results are usually almost perfect.

How Much Does It Cost to Have an Engagement Ring Resized?

If you purchased your engagement ring from a reputable online jeweler (we can vouch for James Allen, Blue Nile, and Brian Gavin), you get one free resizing within one year of purchase.

Otherwise, the costs vary according to the complexity of the job. Most engagement ring resizing costs between $50 and $200.

Do I Even Need to Resize This Ring? How Should an Engagement Ring Fit?

An engagement ring should slip over the knuckle with a little effort — not painful, but not super easy. Then once on the finger it should remain in place. It shouldn’t slip easily up and down the finger. Moving it up and down the finger should result in a little friction.

Keep in mind that anyone’s finger diameter changes with environmental and internal conditions. Heat can make fingers slightly larger in diameter, as more blood is flowing through the tissues.

If the ring is ever too tight throughout the day, then it is too tight. For example, in the morning or in cold weather when fingers are generally of smaller diameter, the ring may fit fine. But if it’s too tight after a workout at the gym or after hot yoga, you know that it’s sometimes too tight, so it should be sized up slightly.

How Long Does It Take to Have an Engagement Ring Resized?

Technically, if you found an idle jeweler, it could be done in a day. But that would be a very poor choice, as that indicates the jeweler may have low skills or not a great reputation.

Don’t tempt yourself to make this mistake. The job is too important, and it’s not to be considered an easy job that anyone can do. 

If it’s messed up, it’s not really reversible.

Even for a skilled jeweler, rushing a job is not wise.

If you need the ring for a ceremony, you can use a ring guard for the ceremony. Or a vinyl sleeve that fits around the shank. That will get you through the ceremony. Then you can have it resized later, when you have plenty of time. 

How Can I Avoid Needing to Resize in the First Place?

There are as many ways to find out your beloved’s ring size as there are spies’ methods for getting the other side’s secret documents.

Here are some agency-approved methods:

  1. Ask her.You could just tell her you’re shopping for an engagement ring. Then pull out your free ring sizer from James Allen or Blue Nile, to actually check one of her rings. She’ll be impressed.
  2. Ask her, but tell her it’s for some other ring, not an engagement ring. And again, use the free ring sizer from James Allen or Blue Nile. (And don’t kid yourself. All women agree you must then buy that little birthstone ring or whatever you told her it was, and not just the engagement ring. If you don’t buy both rings, you WILL slip a bit in her estimation, even if she doesn’t say it.)
  3. Much easier and the op we recommend to all secret agents: Get a free ring sizer secretly from James Allen or Blue Nile, and stealthily check the size of a ring you know fits her.

Should I just take the ring to a local jeweler for resizing, rather than sending it back to the reputable online jeweler where I bought it?

It could be tempting to keep it all local and not send the precious ring back in a box, out of your sight, and far away.

But any work done on a ring purchased elsewhere will void the warranty.

Also, sending a ring back to James Allen, Blue Nile, or Brian Gavin is like sending your iPhone back to Apple. You know it’s in the good hands of people who understand it completely.

Keeping everything — purchase and resizing — under one roof makes sure you get service that is responsible to you.

Can a Ring With Engravings Be Resized?

In general yes. But the engravings may have to be redone.

How Can I Judge the Quality of a Diamond Engagement Ring Resizing?

Especially if a local jeweler did the work, don’t simply assume it was done right. Check it closely.

If James Allen, Blue Nile, or Brian Gavin did the work, very likely the resizing was perfectly done.

How to Inspect Your Resized Ring When It Comes Back

  1. Examine it with a magnifying glass. Does it look 99.9% perfect?
  2. Check the mountings. Get a wooden toothpick (not metal). Put the ring in the middle of a large pot lined with a pillowcase. (To absolutely minimize the risk of the diamonds popping out and going missing.) Watching closely through a magnifying glass, gently press and prod the diamonds. Make sure they are still securely mounted. If they move, the mountings need to be redone. Very likely it’s all good, but this is a must-check.
  3. Gently press on the band opposite the stone. It should look and remain perfectly round.
  4. If the ring was stretched, carefully examine the band all the way around. There should be no thin or narrow stretching along the band.

Most Engagement Rings Can Be Resized, and Live Happily Ever After

With the exceptions noted, most engagement rings can be resized with no problems. It’s done every day by expert jewelers. (It’s also done, improperly, every day by less skilled jewelers. So choose wisely.)

Don’t be tempted to save a few bucks by choosing a jeweler you don’t 100% trust to do it well.

And in most cases, the least expensive option is also the most skilled option, given the expertise, capital, and organizational processes at the big three reputable online jewelers.

For any ring which can be resized, James Allen, Blue Nile, and Brian Gavin all offer free resizing of engagement rings within a year of your purchase from them.

And that’s good news that you needed to hear, if you’ve discovered you need your engagement ring adjusted.

Take a deep breath, and pick up the phone and call the online jeweler you bought it from. Help is right there.

If you bought elsewhere, then armed with this information, you can choose a local reputable jeweler and know what to look for.