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Ring Sizing Beads: Do They Work?

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Ring Sizing Beads

If you’ve bought a ring that’s too big for your finger, the first solution you might consider is resizing it. A jeweler will cut a piece of the band, and reform it into a complete circle.

While this is an effective way to keep a ring from spinning, it won’t work for many types of settings, such as ones that include small diamonds on the shank.

Another popular choice is ring sizing beads.

We’ll explore everything you need to know about ring sizing beads, including how they’re added to the ring, if they work, costs, and alternatives.

What are Ring Sizing Beads?

Ring sizing beads involve two small metal spheres that are soldered inside the shank to reduce the amount of room between your finger and the band. They’re often created with sterling silver.

Beads of Metal in Ring Shank

Once the jeweler cleans the ring, they’ll place a mark in two places on the ring to identify where the beads will sit. Two strips of solder are placed under intense heat to attach them to the ring.

They’ll form a small indentation in the ring using a drill bit. This is where the solder is positioned after they’ve been heated and molded into small spheres.

The ring sizing bead is then placed on top of the spheres. To present a sleek finish, the  beads are polished and often plated with a new coat.

In most cases, the beads reduce the size of the ring by one quarter to one half, but some are large enough to alter it by a full size.

Large ring sizing beads can be uncomfortable to wear, so they’re often used for minor adjustments.

Do Ring Sizing Beads Work?

Ring sizing beads are an effective way to reduce the size of a ring.

It’s often used by those who have arthritis or swollen knuckles because it causes the ring to slide over your knuckles but have a loose fit at the base of your finger.

Ring Sizing Beads

For example, if your ring size is five but you have large knuckles, you might have to buy a size 5.5 to slide it over them. But when it’s over your knuckles, it’s loose.

The beads allow it to slide over your knuckles but then keep the ring from spinning because they reduced it by one half of a size.

They’re also helpful if your fingers get swollen when they’re cold and it’s unable to slide all the way down your finger. 

They generally don’t work on metals such as tungsten, titanium, or ceramic carbide because the beads don’t stick. The soldering process is ineffective in melding the beads to the shank.

If you decide ring sizing beads aren’t the right solution for you, they can be removed. You can have them placed on your ring temporarily to learn which size is most comfortable for you.

How Much Do They Cost?

You can expect to pay between $75-$200 for ring sizing beads. The cost depends on the size of the beads, the type of metal used to create them, and any additional services like polishing or replating.

It requires the work of a professional jeweler. There are many ways it can go wrong because it involves applying intense heat to the ring, and the beads must be the right size to allow it to slide down your finger but no longer spin.

Most jewelers can add the sizing beads within a couple days, so the turnaround time is quick.

Alternatives

There are several alternatives to ring sizing beads. Some are permanent solutions, but others are temporary in case you’re trying to discover the right size.

We’ll discuss the details of three other options.

Ring Guards

Ring guards, also referred to as ring noodles, are small tubes of plastic placed over the ring. It’s a cheaper option than resizing your ring or having beads soldered onto the shank.

Ring Guard

You won’t notice them unless you’re viewing the ring up close, because most ring guards have a transparent color.

One advantage is they come in multiple sizes. Whether your ring is one-half or three sizes too big, you can find a ring guard that’s right for you.

They’re easily removable and won’t cause any damage to the diamond or ring as you slide it on and off.

Spring Insert

Spring inserts are placed inside the shank. When you put on the ring, it tightens to hold it in place, but when you take it off, it loosens to allow the band to slide over your finger.

Spring Insert on Ring

It’s shaped like a horseshoe and covers most of the bottom part of the ring.

While the exact size of the spring insert will determine how much it shrinks the ring, you’ll often see them used to reduce the ring by one half of a size.

Spring inserts are generally more comfortable than sizing beads, but they take up more room on the shank. It’s more noticeable than two small metal balls.

There are permanent and temporary options, so we recommend starting with a temporary spring to learn if it’s the right solution for you.

Sizing Bar

Another alternative to ring sizing beads is a sizing bar. It’s a fold-over device that uses a U-shaped bar on the bottom of the shank. On one side, there’s a hinge, and on the other, there’s a latch.

Sizing Bar

To put on the ring, open the latch, place it on your finger, and close it.

This method is most often used when a ring needs to be reduced several sizes. 

This gives it an advantage over ring sizing beads, in addition to most people finding they don’t notice the device when wearing it.

Are Ring Sizing Beads Right For You?

Ring sizing beads are one of the many ways to tighten a loose fitting ring.

If you’re considering whether they’re right for you, here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Does your ring need a slight adjustment in size, or is it multiple sizes too big?
  • Are there diamonds on the shank that would make resizing it difficult?
  • Is your ring made of the type of metal where beads can be added?
  • Are you interested in a solution that’s more permanent than other options like ring guards or spring inserts?

Fortunately, the beads can be removed if you learn they aren’t the right fit for you, so it’s a reversible decision.

While the most effective solution to a ring that won’t stop spinning is resizing your ring, if this isn’t possible for any number of reasons, ring sizing beads are worth it.

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler is the founder of TeachJewelry.com.

He earned an Applied Jewelry Professional Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America and now brings you essential information about diamonds, settings, and more.

Devon has consulted with leading jewelry brands, and his work has been cited in Diamond Nexus and other industry publications.

He's also a member of the International Gem Society.

Devon enjoys discussing jewelry with readers, so contact him with any questions at tyler.devon@teachjewelry.com.

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