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How Ring Size is Measured: A Helpful Guide

Let’s face it, it’s never a good idea to buy a ring without being certain of your correct ring size first. This is especially important when buying something as monumental as your wedding band. Some wedding bands may not have the ability to be resized later. Custom rings can cost a pretty penny and it would be a shame to spend all that money only to find the ring is too small and you can’t wear it. Or worse, it’s too big and you wind up in a constant state of anxiety, afraid you’re going to lose it. Which leads us to a natural question…

How Is Ring Size Measured, Anyway?

Basically, the circumference of your finger is translated into a rating on a scale. In the US and Canada, the scale runs from size 0.5 right up to size 14. In the UK, Australia, and South Africa, sizes start at "A" and end at "Z."

Many other countries have weird and wonderful ring sizing scales—including countries like France, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, and of course, Japan. To the untrained eye, none of these measurement scales seem to make any sense.

Fortunately, there are many ring size conversion charts available online—for example, sites like RingSizes.co.

Therefore, asking questions like "what is ring size measured in" is largely irrelevant. As long as you know the circumference of your finger that you want to wear the ring on, or you know the diameter of an existing ring that fits you well, you will be able to determine your correct ring size easily. When in doubt, seek the help of your local jeweler.

With that being said, typical US sizes may range from sizes 3 to 8 for a women’s ring, and sizes 7 to 14 for a men’s ring. The shape of your finger can also play a role in sizing your ring accurately. People with larger knuckles may have to go a half size larger than the actual circumference of their finger and modify the fit with sizing beads.

Considerations on How to Determine Ring Size

Remember that there are some rings that cannot be adjusted at all. Maybe it’s a custom ring, or maybe it’s a ring made from materials like tungsten or titanium. Metals like these are very difficult to work with, making resizing a wedding ring all but impossible.

That means it’s important to get your measurements right from the outset. Other examples of rings you can’t resize are wedding rings made of wood, stainless steel, or silicone.

While silicone rings are fairly inexpensive to replace, hard metal rings can cost much more, especially if they contain precious gemstones.

Another consideration is how quickly your jeweler can even resize a ring, provided it’s resizable. Sometimes resizing takes longer than planned, and if you miscalculate this timeframe, you might find that your wedding ring literally misses the wedding.

Of course, as mentioned, the shape of your finger can also factor into sizing a ring properly. Though some people have fingers with larger knuckles and find they have to size up a half size, other people might have fingers that are shaped wider at the base and narrower at the knuckle. This can cause problems because even if the ring seems to fit snugly at first, it can work its way down and then slide right off your finger without you even realizing it’s gone.

Finger shape is one of the reasons you should try to repeat your measurements under different circumstances. Fingers tend to swell in the heat or after heavy exertion, while cold weather can cause your fingers to shrink in size. It’s also a good idea to measure your ring size later in the afternoon when your ring size is usually the most stable. If you attempt to measure ring size too early in the morning or too late at night, your fingers might be somewhat swollen.

One last consideration in how ring size is measured is deciding how wide a ring you want. Wider rings take up more real estate on your finger, so they require you to go up in size slightly so that the ring fits properly. Otherwise, your ring may feel more snug than you are comfortable with. Slim wedding bands don’t have that problem, because they cover less of your finger.

Finding a Ring Size That Works for You

So, how is ring size measured? There are actually three ways you can do it. Pick whichever one works best for you, but if you’re in doubt or having a hard time, consider seeing a professional jeweler for help.

Method one: Measuring Your Finger

To measure your finger, start by measuring its circumference with a piece of string, ribbon, or a narrow strip of paper to wrap around your finger. You’ll need a pen to mark the spots where the two ends meet, as well as a ruler or measuring tape.

Once you have wrapped the string, ribbon, or strip of paper around the base of your finger, use a pen to mark the point where the ends meet. Do this on both sides and measure the distance between the marks made by the pen. Be careful not to use a marker with a wide tip, because that can lead to inaccurate measurements. A narrow-tipped pen works best.

Once you have the circumference of your finger, you can use a ring size conversion chart to determine your "official size."

Remember to repeat this measurement exercise a few times, preferably at different times of the day. You can average your results together.

Method Two: Measuring an Existing Ring

In some cases, you might already own a ring that fits perfectly. That makes it even easier to determine your ring size. However, don’t use this method to measure ring size if the ring you own now is one you wear on your middle finger or index finger. It has to be a ring you wear on your ring finger, because that’s where you will be wearing your wedding band.

Use a ruler to measure the inside diameter of your existing ring and use a ring size conversion chart to translate those measurements into an actual ring size.

Be sure to take an accurate measurement, especially if it’s a small ring. Getting it wrong by as little as 1mm, or 0.02 of an inch, could mean you measured it too large or too small by one whole ring size unit.

Method Three: Get a Measurement Tool

Fortunately, in today's day and age, ring size measurement tools are readily available. You can easily order them online for under $20 bucks. Depending on the flexibility of your fingers, the cheaper models may prove difficult to use. This is because these are often merely flat, rectangular pieces of plastic with rows of holes in them. Men with solid hands may find them challenging.

You might also want to consider a printable ring sizer. It’s the same as a measurement tool, but it’s printed at home. You can print it on thick paper to ensure the best accuracy, but keep in mind that multiple measurement attempts may actually widen the holes you use.

When in doubt, see a pro. Professional jewelers have all the tools necessary to swiftly and accurately determine your ring size, with zero hassle. You may still have to pay them a visit more than once, just to be certain your fingers weren’t “off” that day, but at least you know they are being measured properly.

Comfort Fit or Standard Fit?

One last thing to keep in mind when figuring out how to find your ring size is that rings come in two types of fits. One is called a ”standard fit" and one is called a “comfort fit.” A ring with a standard fit is flat on the inside. It’s adequate for most women and some men but may not be the comfiest.

Comfort fit refers to a ring with the inside slightly rounded (towards the finger). This makes it easier to slide on and off, which is why it’s dubbed “comfort fit.”

You’ll find this type of fit most popular among men, especially men with large hands and large knuckles. For people who engage in strenuous activities while wearing their ring, a comfort fit design can make a huge difference. Instead of battling to get your ring off because your finger is swollen, you can slide it off comfortably.

Moral of the story? How ring size is measured is important, including factors such as lifestyle choices and the shape of your fingers. If you size your ring right the first time around, you will save yourself a world of stress and heartache and find your perfect ring.

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