resizing rings

Can rings (specifically silver, but I’m curious in general) be “resized” at most jewlers and if so, how? Do they expand it with a tool using pressure evenly applied to the ring? If you wish to reduce the size, how is that done?


I seem to recall going with my dad to have his wedding band reduced in size. If I recall correctly, they cut out a small piece, then welded (I’m sure jewelers have their own name for this) it back together. The weld was barely noticeable, and meant to be worn closest to the palm.

The cut the ring open, take out - or add - an appropriate piece, and put the ring back together. If it’s done well, it shouldn’t be noticable at all. Adding is the most tricky, especially with regards to gold, because it can be difficult to match - or that was what I was told by a friend of mine, who is a goldsmith.

From a tour of a goldsmith’s, ISTR that they solder. This is difficult because they are obliged not to alter the gold content of the object, which means the solder must contain the same proportion of gold as the object, which means it melts at only a slightly lower temperature than the object. But then, no-one ever said that goldsmithing was anything but a highly-skilled occupation.

Interesting. Some other sites said they just bang, gently, the ring down on a metal pylon shaped tool to expand it. Is this only for certain amount of resizing (e.g., less than a full size step)? Or a possible method for certain materials?

Maybe a smithy will come along…

A good “goldsmith” (jewelers is what we call them in our shop) will NOT just bang the ring–makes it thin. Also the comment about “stretching” is dead on. Very rarely will it be done. You cut it and put in a new piece. That’s how it’s done.

Is there a special tool to reform the ring so that it is perfectly round after inserting the new piece?

And the join then cracks unless it’s done correctly, and it’s hard to do correctly.

They cut the shank of the ring, insert the new piece, solder it in place, put it on a mandrel and take a leather? mallet and beat it lightly into round, then professionally buff(on a high-speed wheel) the ring. It looks like new, better than when it came into the shop.

I have a ring that has a somewhat fragile setting, in that the stones are set against each other*. This makes resizing very difficult, if not impossible, so what they did was solder two gold balls into the inside bottom. It makes it smaller and isn’t uncomfortable in the least.

That’s pretty rare though, all the common techniques have been covered above.


I have tiny fingers. I’m at the lower limit of what most rings can be re-sized down to (I’m in the children’s range of sizes).

I decided to get a ring for my 21st birthday, as a gift from my parents, and had great difficulty in finding one that could be re-sized to fit me. I have a lovely silver band with a gold-set blue topaz, which had to have a fairly substantial piece taken out of the band, the join is barely visible.

When it came to my engagement ring, the jeweller wasn’t confident he could re-size it, but promised that if the worst happened, he’d make me a new ring from scratch at no extra charge, thankfully he didn’t have to, and I can’t find the join on the band.

The wedding ring was easier, as it was made from scratch, in the end, my ring cost half as much as my husband’s, because there was less than half as much Platinum used to make mine!

I used to work in a jewelry store, and there is a long cone-shaped tool with sizes marked on it, that we used to check ring sizes. It can be used to re-round rings that have gotten slightly smashed out-of-round, but it was never used to re-size a ring.
The jeweler would put the ring on it and tap gently with a rubber mallet to get it back in a true round shape.

For regular sizing, a piece is either cut out or put in. The solder mark should not be visable at all. After sizing, the ring is buffed and shined. You would never know the ring had been sized if it’s done properly. There shold never be any kind of ‘weld mark’ left behind.

There are a number of ring stretchers and reducers on the market. In general, if the shank has sufficient metal, a ring can be increased one size without any problems. Most stretchers work by literally pulling. You can envision this as placing your hands together with an elastic band over them and then separating your hands. Another method uses a roller that compresses the band thus stretching it. Again, you can envision this as rolling pastry dough for a pie. The third method, as mentioned, is to remove or add additional metal. With golds, this becomes a bit more complicated as there are a number of different colours. Karat weight should be on the band, can be confirmed using an acid test against known karat values, but to be really accurate requires a fire assay. GRS in Kansas makes a very neat resizer that accurately shears using a set of different dies to size up or down versus the traditional way of sawing the shank. Rounded corner or finger shaped rings are formed on steel mandrels using a rawhide hammer to shape the ring unless being size adjusted. It is not uncommon when fabricating a ring to ‘tweak’ a ring to size using a planishing hammer to slightly stretch the shank.