Before you put a ring on it, let’s make sure it fits! Keep reading for your all-in-one guide to ring sizing, including:
- Ring sizing basics: the numbers, the fit, average sizes
- How to figure out her ring size (in secret or if she’s in on it)
- Common rings myths busted
- Everything you need to know about resizing rings
What do ring size numbers mean?
Ring sizes in the US and Canada range from size 3 to size 15, with half sizes and quarter sizes available all the way up. These numbers are linked with either the diameter or circumference of the inside of the ring’s band. For example, a size 3 has a diameter of 14 mm, while a size 13 has a 22.2 mm diameter.
The difference between a nail-bitingly loose ring and an uncomfortably snug fit can be as small as 1 mm. Even a ½ size adjustments can be very noticeable in terms of comfort.
International Ring Sizing
Most areas of the World measure rings in the same way, however their sizing grades can look a little different. The UK, Australia, and South Africa use an alphabetical sizing system, while other parts of the World like India, Asia, and areas of Europe use numbers (however their values look different from the US system).
To convert your US ring size to another country’s size measure (or vice versa), you can use this easy size conversion chart.
What are the average ring sizes?
In the US, the average ladies ring size is a 6, and the average men’s size is about an 8.5. These are usually the display sizes in jewelry showcases.
What does a perfect fit feel like?
A flawlessly fit ring will slide over the knuckle easily, but still fit snugly enough to stay on (and not spin). You should have to wiggle the ring slightly to get if off. If it slides off too easily you're at risk of losing your ring!
Of course, everyone’s fingers fluctuate throughout the day (and definitely throughout their lifetime), but a well-fit ring should see you through most regular daily (and seasonal) changes.
Ring Sizing Myths
Both ring fingers are the same size
The truth: the fingers on your dominant hand are usually larger than those on your non-dominant hand. So, if she’s right handed, the ring she wears on her right ‘ring finger’ will likely be too big for her true ring finger.
Her ring size is the same as her shoe size
We hear this one surprisingly a lot! The truth: shoe sizes and ring sizes have no connection to each other – any similarities are pure lucky coincidence.
All fingers are the same size
So often, well-meaning gents bring in one of their lady’s middle finger cocktail rings for engagement ring sizing. The truth: all your fingers vary in size, and they usually even vary between hands!
Your ring size stays the same all through adulthood
Our bodies (and fingers) can fluctuate or permanently change as you get older, with pregnancy, and with weight gain/loss. Your ring size may go up or down according to your life situations.
How to figure out her ring size if she's in on it
Get sized at a jeweler
The most reliable measurement will come from an in-person visit to a jeweler – they’ll know exactly how a ring should fit and can recommend the perfect size. If you’re local to San Francisco, stop by the Gem Breakfast showroom anytime and we’ll get you sized up! If not, many jeweler's can do this whether you’re buying from them or not.
Purchase a ring sizer online
For ring sizing at home, we recommend ordering an adjustable ring sizer online (ours even ships free). You can find out her (or his) size to within a quarter of a size - no venturing to the store necessary.
How to make this moment fun from Danielle Mainas, The Ring Whisperer:
“If your partner knows you’re going to be proposing to them at some point, I would just order a ring sizer online. Once it arrives, sit down with a bottle of wine, present them with the ring sizer, and be like ‘just in case, for the future…’. It can be a flirtatious, fun, and exciting moment. Then have her try it on when’s she brushing her teeth the next morning, or right after a shower so you can check her size multiple times as her fingers fluctuate. Have fun with it and make it a little game! She’ll love it, I promise.”
How to figure out her ring size in secret
Pick up a flexible tape measure, and measure the inside circumference of the ring in mm. Then you can convert that measurement to her ring size online (or let your jeweler know the mm measurement and they can do the work for you!)
Ask the ladies in her life
Many ladies have been Pinterest-ing their engagement ring forever and they 100% know their ring size. And, many women have of course shared this tidbit with all the ladies in their life (I mean, in case their man happens to ask). So, check with her mom, best friends, sister, and if they’re not sure, have them covertly ask in casual conversation or while shopping. Tip: don’t give this job to the worst actor or major gossiper in the group!
Make a game of it
Say you heard that the size of her palm divided by three equals her ring finger size. Almost everyone feels the need to test these theories out! This might be a dead giveaway for some ladies and gents, but for those who love some trivia, they might not immediately suspect.
Send us a picture of her hands
Show us a picture where we can see her hands, and let us know her shoe size, height, weight, and whether she’s left or right handed, and we can guess her ring size for you!
Pick a ring that can be resized
To ease your mind, pick a ring that can be easily resized (most rings can be - confirm this with your jeweler). That way, it’s no big deal if you’re off by a bit. See more on resizing down below!
Pro-tip: lean towards larger rather than smaller – that proposal will be much sweeter if she can slide the ring on her finger and not have to stop at the knuckle!
Things to keep in mind when sizing
Time of Day
Our fingers tend to swell overnight, so it’s better to measure in the middle of the day.
Our ring sizes can also fluctuate depending on our food and water intake. If you’ve just eaten a massive amount of salt, your hands can swell up to a half size larger than usual. So, no measuring after an all-night junk food binge!
To get it perfect: try to measure her finger at room temperature, in the middle of the day, when she’s had a fairly normal day of eating and drinking.
Wider bands fit tighter, so if you’re considering a thicker band (5mm and larger), you’ll likely have to go up a quarter or half size for the perfect fit. And keep in mind, if you’re stacking multiple rings, that means more width also!
Climate and Season
Since your hands expand in the heat and shrink in the cold, try to measure her (or his) finger at room temperature. Don’t pull out the tape measure right after ice skating, or after a mad dash through an overheated mall!
If you do get the size totally wrong, it’s really not the end of the world! Most jewelers offer free resizing, and the majority of rings can easily be resized (with the exception of eternity bands). What you need to know about resizing:
Know your jewelers' resizing policy
Many jewelers offer free resizing. For local clients, Gem Breakfast offers complimentary resizing within the first 90 days. That includes resizing rings either larger or smaller!
How many times can you resize a ring?
Rings can be resized up to 2-3 times in their lifetime depending on the complexity of the design and gemstone placements. Any more than that can be potentially damaging to the ring – it’s sort of like minor surgery – better to do it once, not again and again.
The ring you can’t resize: eternity bands
Most rings can easily be resized if you’re a little bit off. The one exception: eternity bands (rings with diamonds all the way around the band).
So, if you aren’t totally sure of her size, and want to keep the ring a secret, we recommend skipping this style to be safe.
How much can you resize a ring?
Typically, the maximum size adjustments are 2 to 3 sizes up or down. Usually, any more than that will compromise the integrity of the ring. To be safe: avoid splurging on a size 10 ring when her finger is a 6.
Can a ring be resized both smaller and bigger?
Absolutely, a skilled jeweller can size a ring up or down fairly easily.
How do jewellers resize rings?
To make a ring smaller, a jeweler will cut out a small portion of the band and solder the pieces back together again. To increase a ring’s size, it can either be stretched (if it’s within a half-size) or cut at the back where additional metal is soldered into the gap.
After the adjustments are made, the ring is cleaned, polished, and restored to its flawless finish. You won’t be able to tell that any alteration was made once it’s done.
There’s also other options like sizing beads, spring inserts, and sizing bars that can help with ideal ring fit. Your best bet: trust in your jeweler to help you make the best decision for you!
Fun fact:the custom of wearing engagement rings on the left hand comes from the Egyptians who believed that the ring finger vein connects directly to the heart. Awww, love.
Have any more ring-related questions? Send us a message anytime, we’d love to chat with you! Also, check out our blog ‘Planning the Perfect Proposal’ for help on choosing designs, deciding on budget, and popping the question with panache!