February 2005

Bench / Defining Quality

Alternative Ring Sizing Techniques

Knowing alternative ring sizing techniques demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop

By Mark B. Mann
Technical Contributions by Steece Hermanson, Shop Manager, Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC

Ring sizing is one of the most common procedures bench jewelers perform. Its mostly done by cutting the rings shank and reducing or enlarging it. However, some ring designs make common techniques less useful. In this article, Steece Hermanson will demonstrate how he sized three rings that required alternative approaches to retain the integrity of the designs and security of the gems.


Job Instructions: Size down 11/2 finger sizes

Experienced jewelers realize sizing down this ring 11/2 sizes using common techniques will cause the baguettes to loosen or dislodge from their settings. Hermanson uses the following technique instead:

1. He saws the ring shank at the bottom and removes the material required to make the ring 11/2 sizes smaller.

2. Then he saws a relief cut into the inside of the ring on each side between the center stone and baguette setting and another after each baguette. The depth of the relief cut is about 20% of the overall thickness of the ring.
3. Next he uses half-round-flat pliers to bend the ring shank inward incrementally and working opposite sides until the two ends of the shank meet. The majority of the bending should be done at the relief cuts. No bending should occur under the gemstones.
4. He uses a laser welder to rejoin the ring shank at the bottom then welds the relief cuts he created inside the shank. To ensure complete weld penetration, he uses a small round ball bur to open the relief cuts before he fills them. Hermanson prefers using palladium white gold wire as a filler wire at the sizing joint and to fill the grooves. The sized ring is slightly out-of-round on the inside, so he confirms the size using a hollow soft ring stick (see below), then completes the finishing.

Hollow Flexible Soft Ring Stick

The hollow soft ring stick makes it possible to determine a ring size of an irregularly shaped finger hole. The ring size portion of the mandrel is hollow and flexible so it conforms to any inside ring shank shape. The handle is solid and rigid. These ring sticks are available from Jules Borel, Kansas City, MO; (816) 421-6110.


Job Instructions: Size up 1 finger size

This ring needs to be increased one finger size. Hermanson sizes it using the following alternative technique:

1. Invisibly set sapphires cover the top half of the ring. He cuts the shank at the bottom and then cuts two grooves inside the ring shank about 2mm below the termination point of the sapphires.
2. He bends the ring shank outward on each side and inserts a piece of white gold sizing stock. He protects the bottom of the sapphires using a double thickness of black electrical tape. He laser- welds the sizing joint then fills the relief cuts using palladium white gold wire. He checks the size, then finishes the ring.


Job Instructions: Size down 1 finger size

This amethyst ring requires sizing down one finger size. Hermanson sizes this ring using the following alternative technique:

1. He cuts a groove just below the ridges. The depth of the relief cuts is about 30% of the ring thickness.

2. He packs material underneath the amethyst to protect it from flashes of energy from the laser. He re-forms the shank and uses the laser welder to complete the sizing. As always, he checks the size and finishes the ring.

Photograph by Mark B. Mann
Illustrations by Lainie Mann
Visual Commuunications Inc. © 2005

Professional Sizing Using Alternative Sizing Techniques

By Mark B. Mann

A. The finger hole may not be perfectly round, but its symmetrical and shaped evenly.

B. There are no tool marks, visible solder or visible weld joints.

C. Sizing grooves inside the ring shank have been welded successfully, and their location is not visible.

D. The gemstones are tight and secure in their settings and are not damaged.

E. The shank thickness remains sufficient to withstand normal wear.

F. The ring is sized correctly, fits on the finger and does not turn.

Illustrations by Lainie Mann
Visual Commuunications Inc. © 2005

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications