November 1998

For Your Staff:Selling Quality

Keeping Rings Upright on Fingers

Knowing how to help customers keep their rings from slipping demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop

Underwood Jewelers, Fayetteville, Ar

People with thin fingers need rings large enough to fit over their knuckles, but then the rings tend to be too large to sit upright and straight on the finger.

Often the difference in size is not great enough to warrant the expense of installing an arthritic ring shank, but it's still enough to annoy the customer. Over the years jewelers have developed several devices that "take up space" to compensate for the discrepancy between the diameter of the knuckle and that of the thin finger.

This article presents three of these options, along with advice for installing them. These devices are inexpensive, can be made in your own shop and are simple to install.

Sizing Beads

Soldering two beads on the inside of the shank is the simplest way to keep a ring from turning when it's a half-size or more smaller than the knuckle it must pass over.

1. Enlarge the ring one-quarter size larger than the knuckle. Using the same karat stock as the ring, make beads about 2mm in diameter.

2. Use a ball bur to cut two depressions into the shank at the 5 and 7 o'clock positions. Solder balls in these positions, polish, clean and prepare the ring for delivery.

Considerations? Sizing beads are the most economical way to keep rings from turning on the finger, but they're not always perfect. They take up only about a half-size of space and tend to be uncomfortable to wear, so the customer may be dissatisfied.

  Spring Insert

Installing a spring insert is an excellent way to keep a ring sitting straight on the finger. The spring, made of white gold, resembles a horseshoe and snugly holds the ring onto the finger. It's flexible, comfortable to wear, and affordable for most customers, making it superior to sizing beads.





 1. The first step is to size the customer's finger at the knuckle, making sure the sizer fits gently over the knuckle not too tight! This is called the compressed size. 2. Determine the size difference between knuckle and finger by using a tapered strip of paper or acetate as a measuring gauge.  3. Center the wide end where the ring rests on the finger, wrap it around and mark where the wide end protrudes on both sides. Wrap the strip around a mandrel to check the size.

4. Size the ring a half-size larger than the compressed size. The spring works best when made using a 14k white gold wire with nickel alloy. You can roll it easily to a thickness of 35mm; it should be the same width as the ring shank. To harden the wire, don't anneal it during the last two passes through the mill.

5. Bend the flattened wire around a ring mandrel about two sizes smaller than the ring and then cut, leaving an opening at the top. Polish the edges of the insert.

 6. Solder the insert where it makes contact with the bottom of the ring shank. About 4mm of soldering is enough. An easy-flow solder is recommended so excessive heat doesn't anneal the spring.  7. Pickle, clean and lightly tap the ring insert to remove any annealing left from soldering; bend the two legs of the insert inward to compensate for the difference between the customer's knuckle and the size of the finger where the ring rests.

Considerations? The amount of space the spring insert can take up is limited to about one full size. Also, repeated bending of the insert's legs eventually will overharden the white gold, causing it to crack.

Foldover Device

The foldover device is another inexpensive modification the bench jeweler can create to take up space between the ring and the finger.







 1. After properly sizing the ring to fit over the knuckle, mark the bottom of the shank at the 4 and 8 o'clock positions. Notch the ring at one of the marks and solder a gold tube with an inside diameter of 70mm. Flush the tube off to the sides of the shank and polish.

2. At the other mark, solder karat stock on a small section. This stock will become the lock for the foldover. After the stock is soldered in place, feather it into the shank on the lowe side; on the upper side, make a small depression.


3. Insert a wire measuring 0.70mm through the tube, bend on both sides to 90° and then wrap it around the lock. Solder and join together the two ends of the wire.

Considerations? The foldover is similar in function to a temporary clip-in ring guard but with many advantages. It can be opened when going over the finger, so it won't cut or scrape the skin. It's stronger and won't tarnish like base metal guards. The foldover even has an advantage over sizing beads and the spring insert because it can be made to take up a larger amount of space behind the enlarged knuckle.

 Being Prepared to Sell

Making samples of these three devices will allow your customers to try on each one. Solder a jump ring onto the three samples so they can hang from a larger ring, as sizers do. Your customers will appreciate being able to try the samples before purchasing a device.

Tom Weishaar is JA's First Certified Master Bench Jeweler.

Illustrations by Lainie Mann

JA Quality Assurance Guide

Keeping Rings Upright on Finger

Director of Certification
Jewelers of America, New York City

This edition of the JA Quality Assurance Guide shows you properly executed methods and devices to keep rings upright.

Sizing Beads

1.This assembly is suited for fingers with a knuckle or finger joint larger than the finger position where the ring will be worn. However, the difference can be only about a half-size or less.

2.The beads are soldered at about the 5 and 7 o'clock positions.

3.Each bead is in a slightly flattened round shape and is 1.5mm to 2mm in diameter; the beads are equal in size and symmetrical in placement.

4.The beads can be made smaller after installation for a more comfortable fit.

5.The overall finish is smooth, highly polished and free of tool marks.

Spring Insert

1.Springs are the most comfortable modification when the differences in knuckle and finger diameters measure from 1.5 to 2.5 full finger sizes.

2.The spring assembly is made of a nickel white gold alloy, offering the best possible retention of tension.

3.The assembly is attached to the ring by easy soldering with a contact distance of about 4mm.

4.The overall finish is smooth, highly polished and free of tool marks.

5.The horseshoe tension spring is "fitted" to the customer's finger because constant adjustment would break it eventually.



  Foldover Device

1.Foldover modifications can accommodate discrepancies in knuckle/finger diameters of three or more ring sizes. These devices offer maximum security and comfort and are easy for your customers to use.

2.The wire is custom-made and custom-installed to fit the individual ring.

3.The foldover assembly is made of the same alloy and color as the ring.

4.When assembled properly, the wire "snaps" into position.

5.The overall finish is smooth, highly polished and free of tool marks.

Illustrations by Lainie Mann

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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