Are you in the market for your first ring? Or maybe an upgrade on the thrift store one you're currently sporting? You've come to the right place. No, this obviously isn't a jewelry store — we do have plenty of recommendations, though — but you shouldn't just show up there without the proper knowledge. A professional there will of course be able to assist you through every step of the purchasing process, but they'll also probably try to upsell you or steers you in the direction of items and styles they are incentivized to sell.
Shopping for jewelry online can be a whole hell of a lot easier, especially since you can discreetly order an item and track its arrival if it's for someone else or find faraway styles you really like that are only available from stores you otherwise can't visit in-person. Plus, online shopping gives you the freedom to stash something for later, leaving plenty of time in-between that first encounter and your final add to cart. (It's for your own good.) Jewelry buying is a big decision after all and one with stakes that only heighten as the price goes up.
So, what's the proper knowledge I was talking about before? Sure, you could study up on materials, stones, gems, cuts and shapes, but the most important information to know before buying a ring is your correct size. It sounds obvious, right, but sizing isn't as straightforward as you'd think. Some rings run the gauntlet — meaning they follow traditional men's sizing standards and range in size from 7 to 13 — while others are only available in intermediates like small, medium, large or small/medium and medium/large. That's why it's important to know the circumference of the finger you plan on wearing your ring on. This measurement will prove universal, meaning no matter where you're shopping from you're sure to order the right size.
A Few Tips Before Getting Started
- Always measure in millimeters
- Always account for your knuckles
- Never pay for a ring sizer; most brands will send you one for free
- If you're between sizes, always go up; it's easier to work with a ring that's too big than it is to get a stuck ring removed
Measuring Your Ring Size, Explained
There are surely a dozen different ways you could measure the circumference of your finger. However, these are the three ways to do so most accurately, because if you wear a ring that's the wrong size for you you risk losing it or getting it stuck on. YouTube videos aplenty detail different ways to shrink your fingers in order for the ring to slide right off, but they don't always work — especially if you don't ever take it off. It's OK to let your ring become a part of you, but we never mean that literally.
Save yourself the panic a purple finger, or the embarrassing urgent care trip, a truly stuck ring can cause by using one of these three easy methods to measure your finger.
Measure Your Finger Using String
What you'll need: string (or floss), a ruler or measuring tape and sharpie/pen.
First, grab a piece of string. (Floss works too.) Be sure that you're able to make visible marks on your string with a standard pen. Don't make any marks on the piece you've reserved for measuring, though. Make sure it's free from anything you could confuse for one.
Wrap the string around where a ring would sit on your finger — not all the way down on the base knuckle but certainly below your middle one.
Make sure the string isn't too tight. Pulling too intensely can stretch the string, too, meaning your measurement will be entirely off. Imagine it's a ring. Mark where the string overlaps.
Remove the string and straighten it out. Line it up alongside measuring tape or a ruler. Tip: be sure to do your measurements in millimeters. They're far more precise, and unlike headwear, all brands use them instead of inches.
Use a size guide to figure out your measurement's equivalency. According to legacy jewelry company David Yurman, this is how you figure out your ring size: 7 (17.3 mm), 7.5 (17.7 mm), 8 (18.1 mm) 8.5 (18.5 mm), 9 (18.9 mm), 9.5 (19.4 mm), 10 (19.8 mm), 10.5 (20.2 mm), 11 (20.6 mm), 11.5 (21 mm), 12 (21.4 mm), 12.5 (21.8 mm), 13 (22.3 mm). Again, if you're between sizes, always size up.
Size Match a Ring You Already Wear
If you already have a ring that fits you perfectly, you probably know your size. If you don't, it's likely you bought it at a flea market, thrift store or pawn shop, or it was passed down from a parent, grandparent or older sibling. (Please, don't tell me if you stole it.)
There, you tried a few on until one fit just right. You liked how it looked so you left with it. I get it. I've done it too — long before I knew my official size as well. But if you plan on upgrading to something more substantial or sentimental, it's important to know your size. You could work your way through every store's inventory until one fits, but that'd be a waste of your time — and the person waiting on you, especially if it's someone at a thrift or pawn shop with plenty of other customers (and inventory) to tend to.
If you want to figure out your ring size using a ring you already own, it's a mere matter of matching that ring to the right size. It's easiest to do so on a printed piece of paper. Rather than drawing out precise circles, though, which would increase the likelihood your final measurement is incorrect, trust an expert's pre-made guide.
David Yurman has a handy one that not only lists the ring's matching numerical value, but confirms the printed page is scaled correctly by asking you to place a credit card in a box before measuring. If the credit card fits, your page is scaled and you can go about finding the match.
The equivalencies remain the same, so as long you have that ring on hand, you're good to go. You can David Yurman's paper size guide here. Just match your ring to one of the 13 circles you see there, but be sure to check your scale using a credit card first.
Order an Official Measuring Tool (or Visit a Jewelry Store)
Honestly, this is the easiest way to ensure you make the correct measurement. I don't trust myself with floss or string, and surely I'd screw up the printed paper process. If you're like me, an expert's opinion is always welcome.
Whether you opt for one of the ring sizers available on Amazon, which, like zip ties, click into place until they fit your finger perfectly, order a free one from a brand you're considering buying from or visit a jewelry store near you, the processes are largely the same. It's just a matter of who makes the measurement and whether you want the tool on hand for future orders.
On Amazon, you'll find tools that look zip ties that start around $4 bucks, while the keychain-style ones (which have rings in every size for you to try on until one fits like an accessorial Goldilocks) run for around $11 dollars. There are plenty of free ones you can access as well. David Yurman, who we mentioned before, offers a free sizing kit. Printed on hefty card stock, you can match a ring to the sizes on the sheet or punch the rings out. Each one is perforated for easy removal. Once off the page, slip one on like a ring. It's a matter of trial and error until you find the right one.