Don’t know how to measure ring size? Use our ring size chart and get tips on how to measure ring size for engagement rings, wedding rings and promise rings.
by Carrie Anton
Wedding rings have long been exchanged as a symbol of love, honor and devotion. The circular ring has neither a start nor finish, which is emblematic of the everlasting union. And the custom of wearing it on the left hand is said to stem from the ancient Egyptians' belief that the fourth finger's vein connects directly to the heart. With such rich meaning and symbolism, engagement rings are designed to last a lifetime. Since it's a good guess that you plan to be together forever, it only makes sense that your ring size is spot on.
In this article:
- Understanding Ring Size
- Professional Ring Sizing
- How to Measure Ring Size at Home
- Jewler’s Ring Sizing Tips
- How to Measure Ring Size Without Her Knowing
Understanding Ring Size
When it comes to engagement rings and wedding rings, one thing is for sure: size matters. Standard ring sizes are given in millimeters based on the inner circumference of the ring. Just like clothing, rings are sized on a standard scale so that a woman's size 6 is the same from jeweler to jeweler. With that said, if you've ever bought jeans from different brands, you're well aware that a clothing size 6 doesn't always fit the same way—and it's no different for rings.
Ring sizing becomes a little more complicated when you factor in regional variations. The US and Canada follow a numerical scale with half and quarter sizes; however, other countries may follow an alphabetical scale, which only uses whole sizes or includes a set circumference adjustments. There are also some deviations of ring size charts among jewelers regardless of location. “All the jewelers in the world go by two different metrics of sizing," says David Ryan Pomije, cofounder and CEO of Bijouxx Jewels. “The metrics have to do with the starting point of your ring size—either on the side edge of the ring or the center of the inside of the ring. It's up to the jewelry company to decide what metric they want to use."
And to add one more wrench in ring sizing, the style needs to be considered. “Some designs, like those with diamonds all the way around, cannot be sized after they're designed because it will stretch the metal holding the stones in place, causing them to fall out," says Emily Duke, creative director and design consultant of DiamondEnvy.com.
To Measure Ring Size, Go to the Source
Don't know how to measure ring size and thinking it might be simpler to skip the ring and opt for a more permanent finger tattoo? Don't fret! There are a variety of ring sizers, ring size charts and other tools to measure your ring size at home. But possibly the easiest ring sizing method of all is to skip the ring size chart and go straight to the source—a jeweler.
“In store, jewelers use a mandrel—a graduated metal wand with markers for size—to determine the size of a ring," Duke says. “We simply slip the ring on and wherever it stops tells us the size." By working directly with a jeweler, you won't need to worry about ring size charts or measurement methods, as they'll measure using any unique specifications they require.
If the in-person method logistically won't work, consider purchasing your own mandrel set or a plastic ring sizer to use at home while following a ring size chart. "While getting sized by a jeweler is more accurate, purchasing a ring sizer online can be more convenient and will only set you back a few bucks," says Monil Kathari, founder of Antandre.
How to Measure Ring Size at Home
If the mandrel set and plastic ring sizer seem like overkill, try a printable ring sizer, paper ring sizer or the string test, using the ring sizing chart below.
Printable Ring Sizer
This ring size method is based on the inside diameter measurement of a ring that fits the fourth finger of the left hand.
- Print the the ring size chart. To make sure it's printed to actual size, choose "Scale 100" when selecting your print options.
- Place the ring over the circles, lining up the inside edges of the ring to the circle that best matches on the ring size chart. If the ring is in between two sizes, choose the larger ring size.
Printable Paper Strip Ring Size
This ring size method uses a tape measure approach with specific ring metrics.
- Print the ring sizer, making sure that it is printed to actual size.
- Cut out the ring sizer and open the slot where marked.
- With the numbers facing out, slip the tip of the ring sizer through the slot.
- Place the sizer on your ring finger and carefully pull taut to read the finger size.
String Ring Sizer
This ring size method provides a flat measurement tool to be used with a plain piece of string.
- Print the ring size chart, making sure that it is printed to actual size.
- Wrap a piece of string around your ring finger and cut it at the point where the end overlaps.
- Line the string up with the ring size guide provided on the ring size chart. The one that best matches is your ring size. If the ring is in between two sizes, choose the larger ring size.
While each of these ring size methods is fast, convenient and free, there may be accuracy discrepancies due to things such as printer settings or stretch of the string. Consider using more than one ring size method for a “measure twice, cut once" approach to ring sizing. And always use any tools or follow any tips provided on the jeweler's website.
Jeweler's Ring Sizing Tips
Try these ring sizing tricks of the trade to find the perfect fit.
- Go for a snug fit. "As jewelers, we always say the ring should 'go on easy, come off hard,' " Duke says. "This means you have the right fit and the ring is sized properly for the finger, minimizing the risk of loss."
- Keep seasons in mind. "Your fingers tend to change size throughout the course of the year, especially during summer and winter," Kothari says. "They'll swell up a bit during the summer so keep that in mind so the ring doesn't become uncomfortable to wear during those months."
- Consider the width of the band. "The wider the band, the tighter it will fit," says Duke, who recommends going up .25 to .5 size for rings with wider styles.
- Warm up your hands. If you've just come in from the cold or naturally have colder hands, Pomije recommends warming them to room temperature for the most accurate ring sizing.
- Go big. If you get two different finger measurements or find that a ring you wear often fits differently from time to time, Duke says it's best to choose a slightly larger ring size, and, if you can, consult a professional.
How to Measure Ring Size Without Her Knowing
Wondering how to measure ring size withour her knowing? Don't worry! You don't have to ruin a surprise proposal by asking your partner their ring size. Find an insider source who might have the scoop on what ring size she wears. A mom, best friend or sister may know, or can work their magic to find out her ring size without her suspecting a thing.
"Also pay attention to the jewelry she's already wearing," Duke says. "Does she have a ring she loves that fits on her left ring finger or even her middle finger? If so, wait for her to remove it and secretly take it to a jeweler to be sized. If she only takes it off to work out or shower and you have limited access to the ring, buy a bar of soap and press the ring in to make a mold. Your jeweler should be able to use the markings to identify the correct ring size."
If she literally only takes her rings off to lotion her hands for five seconds, slip the ring on your finger and note exactly where it fits on your finger. Using the various ring size charts and sizers, you or a jeweler should be able to replicate the fit.
And when all else fails, go for a larger ring size; it's easier to resize a ring smaller than it is to go bigger.