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As much as you may think you know what you are doing, guessing your partner’s finger size is one of the hardest things to do. I personally never recommend a size for clients looking to surprise their partner. It is simply too difficult for anyone other than the wearer to determine the right size. You only need to be out by a fraction of a size and the whole ring needs to be resized again. An increase of one size usually equates to 1 mm in the circumference of the circle – which, if you are not familiar, is about the thickness of a credit card. If you do choose to try to pick the ring size without your partner, my general rule is to go for a standard size – for women, this is in the range of L to M. (In Australia, as well as Ireland and the UK, ring sizes are specified using an alphabetical scale.)

The ideal tactic, however, is to take your partner in for a fitting prior to the proposal. At the fitting, your partner can keep in mind the following tips to help you pick the perfect size:

Try to make sure your partner’s fingers are a comfortable room temperature. When our hands are hot, they can generally swell up, and can be as much as a ring-size larger. Likewise, when we are cold, our fingers shrink, which usually explains why a lot of people lose their rings around water activities when the water is cold. Making sure your partner’s hands aren’t too hot or too cold will help ensure the ring size is correct. (The best way to see how hot or cold your partner’s hands are to feel their fingertips.)

Work out whether your partner’s finger changes in size from one season to the other. Some people’s hands can change as much as a full size from summer to winter. One way to find out if your partner’s hand fluctuates with the seasons is to look at the rings, they may be wearing on one of their other fingers. One of their other rings feeling tighter than normal at the time of sizing is agood indication that their hands may be at the upper end of their sizing spectrum at that time.

If your partner’s hands do change significantly when they are hot or cold, try to choose a size that is in the middle. The aim here is to avoid a ring that will be uncomfortably tight in summer and one that is falling off in winter. If having the ring too loose is a worry, you may need to consider changing the shape of the ring – covered in this section.

What to look for

When sizing a hand, you want to see the ring grip the finger a little. But the ring shouldn’t be so tight that it looks like a napkin ring squeezing the napkin and making it bunch up. This can really detract from the aesthetics of the ring. The second thing is that when you turn the ring, it should grip the finger slightly and then release. The ring gripping the finger and not releasing is a good sign that the ring is too tight. Likewise, if the ring spins without grabbing the finger at all, it is too loose. When trying to work out the perfect size, it is usually a good idea to go past the size you think you are, and then go back one (just to rule the incorrect size out).

Sizing wide or thin rings

Wide rings take up a lot more surface area on the finger and, there- fore, will generally feel about half to one size tighter than a standard ring. A standard ring is usually around 3mm wide. The store your partner is having their finger sized in should have a separate set of sizing rings for rings 5mm and wider. If choosing a wider ring design, this set should be used to ensure the ring size is correct.

Thin rings are usually around 2mm in width and will feel about half to one size looser. Getting the size wrong for a thin ring will mean it will tend to flop and spin around more – which is likely to be extremely annoying to your partner. This means you may need to have the ring a little tighter if the band is super fine.

Sizing a ring around big knuckle

This is one of the hardest hands to size, because the ring needs to be big enough to get over the knuckle, but not so big that it will flop around when it is on. The best thing you can do here is to make sure the ring is as tight as possible when it is going on over the knuckle. If this doesn’t solve the way it sits, you may need to consider having the ring shaped or choosing a hinged ring.

Changing the shape of the ring to change the size.

This is a technique for special cases where the resizing of the ring hasn’t helped the way it sits on your partner’s finger. Changing the shape of the ring involves flaring out the bottom corners of the ring. This will make the inside shape of the ring look like a triangle, with the flat part being on the bottom of the finger. The flat bottom then helps keep the ring upright. But don’t worry, the shape will hardly be noticeable from the top, but it will certainly make a difference to the way the ring feels and looks.

Sizing inside comfort fit or hollowed out rings.

Rings with inside comfort fittings need a special set of sizing rings. While the comfort fit feels more comfortable, taking the inside edge of the ring out means there is less surface area to grip the finger. Depending on the width of the ring, the comfort fit can make the ring feel half a size looser compared to a flat bottom ring, so you will want to choose a size that is a little tighter.

The trick to sizing rings with a hollowed-out head is to go more on feel than the actual size. When you put on a ring with a hollowed out top, the top part of your knuckle fills the void, making it feel bigger than you imagine. The best way to pick the correct size is to choose the ring size on the normal ring sizing set that feels the most comfortable. The jeweller should then take that sizing ring into the workshop when they are ready to start the resize, cutting out only as

much as needed to create the same feel on the finger as the sizing ring that your partner tried on.

Hinged rings

If some of the preceding options haven’t worked, or your partner has injured their finger badly in an accident, a hinged ring may be your only other option. Much like a hinged bangle, the ring needs to be crafted with a hinge that allows it to open and close. For a hinged ring, the hinge allows the ring to open only as much as needed to get over the knuckle. The hinge can then be closed and locked in. Crafting the hinged mechanism is incredibly difficult and time-consuming, so this is usually a last resort if all other options have failed.

Tips for taking off a ring.

A chiropractor once told me that before an adjustment I should wiggle my toes. The effect of this actually has nothing to do with your feet – it just forces you to take your mind off what is happening to another part of your body. I often see the same kind of distraction tactics with clients when they are trying to take off a ring that is a little too tight. It is often quite funny to watch – it almost appears as if they are trying to pull their whole knuckle off. Twisting and turning, holding their tongue to one side and jumping on one foot are all common techniques I have seen – and all of these will prob- ably hurt your finger more than help you remove your ring.

The first simple thing to do is relax. By relaxing you allow all the tendons and muscles in your finger to go down. The second step is to bend your finger slightly. This helps remove all the excess skin from the top of your knuckle, which tends to bunch up when you straighten your finger. The third step is to push up from the bottom of the ring with your thumb. Then, using your index finger on the top of the ring, gently rock it over your knuckle as you are pushing up with your thumb.


The ring only needs to be out a fraction of a size for it to have to be resized, but almost any ring can be sized up or down three sizes. So, although the chances of you getting the size spot-on without your partner are pretty slim, getting it more than three sizes out is even more unusual. My advice is to go for an average size – between L and M for women. If their hands and fingers are particularly small, maybe go down one size to K. Likewise, if you are worried that your partner won’t be able to get the ring on during the proposal, you might want to go a little bigger to be on the safe side. From a jeweller’s perspective, going down a few sizes is a little easier than going up.

If you have spoken about getting married, but still want to maintain as much surprise as possible, have your partner go to a local jewellery store to have their finger sized. Again, depending on when you plan on proposing, try to do this as early as possible, and give away as few details as possible, so as to maintain some element of surprise.

Can I use an old ring to guess the size?

The only ring that will be helpful in determining the engagement ring finger size would be a ring that your partner wears on the ring finger on the other hand. (If you’re still unclear, this is the finger next to the pinkie finger on the right hand.) Never use a ring that your partner wears on their two main pointer fingers, because the size of these have no correlation to the ring finger on their left hand. For most people, the two ring fingers will only be about half a size different. If she is right-handed, the right hand is usually a half size bigger, so make sure you take off half a size. If the only ring you can find is a ring that she wears on one of the two middle fingers, just stick with the standard finger size option (between L and M for women).

Want More Help?

You can contact the team via email here and we can arrange a complimentry ring sizer to be delivered to your home or workplace. You can also call the showroom on 07 32106288 or make an appointment to chat with one of our experts here.

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