There are three different methods for sizing rings.
This method encompasses the majority of ring resizing repairs. The technique is simply explained as cutting through the ring and adding or removing the appropriate amount of metal to make it the correct circumference. The technique is not simple to master, as the resulting seams must be welded/soldered securely, the metal stock be skillfully blended to perfectly hide the seam, gemstones resecured in their settings, as well as numerous other repair considerations.
Most rings can be resized using this method. In fact if a ring cannot be resized with this method, it is quite possible that the ring cannot be resized by any method! However, while this is usually the most appropriate method for resizing, it is sometimes not the best method. Stretching is often more appropriate for heavy wedding rings. Internal surface shaving is occasionally the most appropriate technique.
In the correct situation stretching a ring can be the most cost effective and the best option. However this method is limited to a narrow set of applications and must meet a strict set of criteria to be a candidate for this resizing method. The typical ring that meets these requirements is a heavy gent's wedding band.
The ring must be:
This is only true when the ring has been stretched too far. This resizing method should be only be used for size adjustments up to 1 size on very heavy rings, and 3/4 sizes with regular weight rings. This level of adjustment shows minimal 'stretch' - you wouldn't be able to tell a stretched ring from an unstretched one.
A little known fact is that many manufacturer's of wedding bands routinely use stretching in the factory to achieve final size on many rings. A ring ordered in a quarter or eighth of a ring size has typically undergone factory adjustment to achieve the fine tuning of ring size.
It is true that when a ring is sized, it is forever altered from it's original state. That is the reason a ring once adjusted for size, or special ordered in a specific size is typically non-returnable. In essence the ring is no longer 'new'. The reality is that unless you can have the ring remade from scratch with new metal and in the correct size, there is no way that a ring can be adjusted without some type of sizing process as outlined.
All sizing work alters the ring from it's original state.
However, these alterations do not always EQUAL damage. Damage only occurs when a ring is sized so that it will prematurely break when being worn or the design is effected detrimentally. Stretching or compressing a ring does not always damage a ring. It is over stretching where the ring is excessively thinned out, or design is distorted that is damaging to a ring.
Stretching adjustment may result in the following:
A ring with carved detail may appear slightly different after a stretching is performed. This is most pronounced on angular patterns. This change will be negligible for size increments below a half a ring size.
With small size alterations the metal of a ring stretches quite uniformly. As more stretching is performed, certain parts of the ring begin to stretch more easily than others. This results in some parts of the ring becoming thinner as they stretch, while the more resistant parts stay thick. This over stretching is a practice that will result in a shorter lifespan for the ring.
Tool damage occurs from poor technique, and poor tools. Needless to say, at Buchkosky Jewelers we have skilled tradesmen, and use stretching tools that are uncommon in the industry*. The stretching tools we utilize avoid many pitfalls that come with inferior equipment.
Work hardening simply stated, is a change in the metal structure at a microscopic level, that results in the metal becoming harder and consequently more brittle (brittleness = cracking issues sooner than expected). Work hardening can be removed through a heating/cooling process called annealing.
* Unlike most jeweler's that offer this service, at Buchkosky Jeweler's we have a specialized tool that can both stretch a ring, as well as compress a ring down in size.
This type of adjustment is only used when other methods are not possible, or would be hazardous to sensitive parts of the ring. An example of a ring that would be a candidate for this type of resizing would be a quarter size adjustment upwards of an eternity style ring, where the customer chooses lighter shank weight over the introduction of a 'sizing bar' that would interrupt the eternity ring style of the ring.
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