Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sizing a ring with a gemstone setting

It's hard for me to justify keeping a lot of rings in stock because even if someone loves a ring on sight, it has to fit or the magic is broken. The customer walks away ringless. There are always custom order possibilities but that can lead to more supply orders and I'm still left with that original ring in my inventory.  Looking at me.

I've started making my rings on the smaller side because they are generally easier to size up than down.  Most of the time I can stretch out a band without a stone setting by using hammers. No cutting, no repeat trip through the soldering process.  I don't have one of those ring sizing stretcher things because every time I look at one I gasp at the price.

But recently I needed to add a little bit of room to a ring with a rainbow topaz setting (remember?  Rainbow topaz??) and it can be a problem to stretch the band without loosening the setting.

Enter this amazing little contraption: a "Stone Set Ring Enlarger with Roller Set" (I think they could have come up with a better name, but I guess they were going for descriptive).  It works like a mini rolling mill turned on its side and comes with interchangeable rollers to fit different sized shanks.  I was a little bit nervous because I wasn't sure the rollers would work with the really wide shank on the ring I needed to size but it wasn't a problem - I just used it without any of those inserts.  I got it from Rio Grande for $49. 

(No, this isn't some sort of sponsored advertisement...Rio Grande only knows me as a number.)
I love it.  It worked perfectly and in a couple of minutes I had sized the ring up about a half size. I had to add a little bit of texture back into the shank because the roller flattened that part out but it was quick work.  Then I checked the setting and did a little bit of burnishing just to be extra sure everything was still in place...I can't even say that was really necessary. 

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