Sometimes shopping for jewelry feels like learning a new language, or least mastering an endless array of unfamiliar scales. But before you straighten out carat vs. karat — one measures gemstone weight, while the other determines the proportion of gold in an alloy — let’s start with how some familiar words are used in a jewelry setting. When it comes to ring thickness vs. width, what’s the difference? They might sound like the same thing and, indeed, they are often confused for each other. But they each describe a distinct aspect of ring measurement.
Take the ring off your finger and check out its side profile. You’re admiring its thickness, which lets you know how much material is used in the ring and how much it is going to stick out from the level of the finger itself.
Now put the ring back on and look at it from above. That aerial shot of the band on your finger is the ring width, and those specs will let you know much of your finger’s real estate it will occupy.
It’s worth noting that both of these measurements are different from ring size; that’s the internal diameter of the ring. That size depends on your own finger. While the size may incrementally fluctuate based on factors like the time of day or room temperature, you don’t have much control over it. Decisions about width and thickness, however, remain in your hands, so here are some things to keep in mind when you make that choice. If you’re looking to measure your ring size at home, our handy guide and ring size chart can help.
Ring widths start at 2mm — roughly the thickness of a nickel — and range up to 20mm — that’s a stack of 10 nickels, should you have that much spare change lying around, However, the most common sizes cluster toward the narrower end of the spectrum, with 2-6mm being the most commonly chosen wedding bands for women and 6-8mm being the most popular sizes for men. It’s worth noting that while there might be some correlation to finger size, with wider rings usually ending up on bigger fingers, ring width is a matter of personal preference.
People often choose narrower rings because they slide off more easily — the rigidity of wider rings limits their ability to flex off the finger. Thinner bands can elongate shorter fingers. On the other hand, some ring wearers simply like the feel of wider bands in terms of how they distribute the ring’s weight. Or perhaps they just enjoy the bold statement of extra width, and their petite fingers give them the chance to relish the dramatic contrast.
For engagement rings, the width might vary based on the size of the stone. The stone comes prominently into play when pairing a wedding band and an engagement ring. Typically, those should be the same width since they are intended to be complementary, but the engagement ring’s band might taper as it approaches the stone. So when matching cross sections, choose the sides of the engagement ring to set the standard width.
Ring thickness is even more important to line up between the wedding band and the engagement ring so that both are at a uniform height. The average thickness of a wedding ring usually comes in at 1.5mm; anything less than that can affect the durability of the ring and its ability to hold its shape.
Measured in millimeters and often mistaken for each other, ring thickness and width might seem like minor details. But since they are facets of a major commitment, it’s important to find the right fit. We know that fit might require a bit of tinkering, which is why we offer a wide selection and hassle-free exchanges.