It is a very common problem when the engagement ring spins or slips on your finger.
We talk through the reasons, and what you can do about it.
Would you like to know the worst kept secret in ring wearing?
The finger is not round... Rings are round, basically because it was easy to make a round ring back in ancient times, nice symbolism and for most people, a round ring will go on. The downside of all this is that just because it goes on, doesn’t mean it stays in place. As everyone who’s ring spins, slips and spins on the finger will attest. (..Tsk tsk, jewellery should behave nicely!) There aren’t that many reasons, and I’m sure that if you have this issue, you will fit into at least one of these explanations;
- The ring is too big. It’s that simple.
- The setting is top heavy. This is pretty common, especially on rings designed to be lighter on metal to cut costs. A well designed ring will often have a slightly thicker or wider base than the top of the ring, as counterweight to the stone setting.
- The knuckle is larger than the actual finger. Again, this is very common. I have put a quick anatomy lesson at the end of this blog, but suffice to say about half of the ring wearing population will encounter this. I have helped young and old clients.
- The fingers are prone to swelling. At different times of the day, finger size can vary because of fluid in the hand. For most, this is not an issue, as the difference is no more than half a ring size. But for a few, the change is more significant, and when the finger swelling reduces, the ring spins.
Addressing ring spin issues
My ring is too big
When planning a surprise engagement I often advise chaps that it is better for the ring to be a bit on the big side, so at least it goes on! Good news is that for the majority of settings there are several options here, depending on how big the ring is. It is important that you do something, as it is likely to come off your hand otherwise.
- An immediate trick is to wrap the inside of the ring with some surgical tape, or a plaster (band aid) or similar. There are lots of videos online on this, it does provide a quick fix and is still comfortable. (cons : you don’t want this as a long term solution, there is a strong risk of picking up a rash from nasties collecting in the tape.)
- Having the ring resized is very straightforward. Get your finger measured, and ensure you check your knuckle as this is the key point. You want the ring to sit firmly, but not tightly – the finger measure should not be pinching your skin in.
My stone setting keeps slipping
Some rings are just top heavy. Which means that gravity is always calling on your setting. This can get rather frustrating, if you are fussing with your stone setting a lot. In addition, I see lots of ladies moving their ring back into place pinching the top and bottom, so the stone gets grubby after a while with all those finger prints. Here, you either want to create a counter-balance, or ‘lock’ the finger in place, once the ring is on.
- Adding a counter-balance basically involves adding some more metal to the base of the ring. This is a good solution for very thin bands and doesn’t need a lot of metal. A lot of modern bands already have this factored into the design.
- You may wish to take the diamond setting down a little. There is a school of thought out there that the higher the stone is elevated, the more light it is going to attract. This is useful for poor quality diamonds, but with a good quality stone in a good setting, it makes no difference.
My knuckle is larger than my finger
As I said earlier, this is really common. While it is associated with arthritis in older wearers – it comes down to the hand makeup. I have helped clients in their early twenties who have found their rings spin once they are on. The options here are either to increase the band diameter and add inserts, choose a hinged band, or to change the shape.
- Changing the band diameter is the more predictable direction taken. Here the knuckle is measured as the ring ‘entry point’. Once the ring is on the finger (which invariable is slimmer) it needs to be stabilised. There are several options here, dependant on the size difference. The main con for changing the band diameter is that it can feel very large on the finger.
- Ring beads (which can also be used to stabilise rolling rings). These are good when it is not a really large size differential. Sometimes known as ‘speed bumps’ two metal nodules are added to the ring. They sit snugly just on the side of the finger, and act like a brake. [CONS – these can be uncomfortable if your finger is prone to swelling, and also if your knuckle is over one and a half sizes larger than your finger.
- Tapered inserts, or ‘sleeping policemen’ are similar to ring beads, but a softer shape. They are less intrusive and better for larger size differences.
- Permanent ring inserts are attached to the inside of the ring. These either look like a little hinge or are a caliper shape and are attached to the base of the ring. They act like a spring, giving to allow the ring to be put on, and then returning to their original shape, preventing movement of the ring. [CONS – These can only be made in gold, platinum does not flex sufficiently. They also cover any engraving or messages].
- Hinged bands have been around for decades, but are expensive. They are a really good option if you have a very large knuckle, and a very dainty finger. The ring shank has a tiny hinge and catch on it, which is usually opened by a tool specifically designed for the purpose. This bypasses the whole need to slide the ring down the finger, instead it is just clicked into place. [CONS – this can be an expensive solution to do well, and you are looking at a minimum depth of 2mm on your band to accommodate the hinge].
- Changing the band shape is a less common technique, but jewellery remodelling does produce a more intuitive way of addressing finger shape. Here the ring is made into a more trapezoid shape, narrower at the top and wider at the base. By placing four soft corners on the ring, it creates a wider space to move the ring over the knuckle and then twists the ring back upright, effectively locking it into place on the finger. The weight of the wider base also keeps the ring upright. [CONS – when not worn, this looks very contemporary, which may not appeal to all].
My fingers are prone to swelling
Swollen fingers can create discomfort for ring wearers, where the ring either constricts or slips around. Sometimes the duration is just a few hours every now and then, but if this is a daily occurrence it is worth considering the best outcome for comfortable and secure ring wearing. Any of the above solutions will work, dependent on the the size difference is. While you can buy ring sizing gauges online – just snapping some images of your ring at different times of the day, and noting the duration it is too loose/tight will help a jewellery expert work out what the right solution for comfortable wearing will be.
What ring option is best for me?
As you can see, there are numerous ways to make your ring fit even if it’s shape doesn’t feel that accommodating to start with. There is no one right answer, as all hand shapes are different, and what works well for one may be uncomfortable for another. Check out our evaluation for the various solutions in our Arthritis section (not just for arthritic fingers), A good jewellery consultant or store will be able to provide you with practical advice based on your preferences. What is most important is Comfort. Pinching, twisting, digging in or pushing out are not desirable if you want to wear the ring every day. In addition, can you still make adjustments if your finger shape changes? Cost is also important, but for a valuable ring you intend to wear every day, you should not cut corners.
Basic hand orientation for ring wearers
I promised a little technical jargon (if you are a hand specialist skip this paragraph!).
The anatomy of the hand is something we take for granted which is pretty amazing given how useful hands are! But the key thing is that we hopefully have four fingers and a thumb (pollex). From outside in, is the pinkie (Digitus Mi’nimus Ma’nus), ring(Digitus Annula’ris), middle (Digitus Me’dius) and index(Digitus Secundus Manus). They are all different shapes, which is why like Cinderella, it is not unusual for a ring to only perfectly fit one finger.
If you are right handed, all the digits on this hand will be about a size bigger than all the digits on the left, because you use this hand more. The index finger sometimes looks a bit odd with a ring on, because it is the most muscular finger on the hand, being used the most. Going into the makeup of the fingers, I will spare you more latin, but basically the band bones are called carpals and metacarpals, and the three finger bones are phalanges (singular – phalynx). The knuckles are the finger joints. This is the sweet spot for ring wearing!