Do I get the leftover gold when my ring is resized?
February 17, 2012 11:56 AM   Subscribe

When you get a ring resized smaller, where does the "extra" metal go?

It just occurred to me that while I've gotten several silver rings resized smaller, I've never gotten any of the metal back. I mean, it's not as if it's worth much, so I've never thought about it.

But now I'm getting two wedding rings resized much smaller (from 13-9 and 8-4) and gold is worth something. Should I expect to get the extra back? Is there even any extra in this process? When a tenth of an ounce of 24K gold is worth over a hundred dollars, even the little pieces are probably worth something. I guess it's true that I have no idea how rings are sized, and I'm just assuming that some is removed to make the ring smaller.

Do I just ask for it? As in, "When you resize these down, can I have the leftovers?"
posted by juniperesque to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My dad is a jeweler and has been for over 40 years. I have seen him size plenty of rings when he worked out of the basement.

He just puts the cut-out piece of gold/metal into a box. Then, once the box is full, he melts it down and gets a few bucks out of it. And I mean only a few.

That cut out piece of gold probably isn't worth anywhere near as much as you'd think; it's not solid gold, anyway.

I guess if you want it back you can ask, but my dad has never had anyone ask for it back in the tens of thousands of rings he has sized. I can't see it doing you much good anyway, unless you have hundreds of rings sized to melt down and get a buck or two.
posted by TinWhistle at 12:02 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

I think it is factored into the cost of the repair and while you can ask for the leftovers, the price for the resizing will increase.
posted by acidic at 12:04 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

I got the platinum back when I had a ring resized; I didn't ask, the jeweler just gave me the platinum in a little box.

Other than that, I have always felt like it was just the jeweler's lagniappe. Especially with silver, which is so cheap.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:05 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Perhaps it depends on the jeweller. I just had a large man's ring sized to fit a woman's hand, and the jeweller took the largest section out of the tapered band and gave it back to me. She said it may be useful if the ring ever needed further adjustment.
posted by GreenEyed at 12:15 PM on February 17, 2012

A size 13 ring is 69mm in circumference; a size 9 is 59mm. So yes, the jeweler will be removing a 10mm length or so. Effectively, this is less, because some material is actually lost in the cutting (at least this would be true for any other kind of sawn metal cut, but I'm not a jeweler, and I don't know what their tools look like) Say you might get back a 9mm section of a ring.

If the band is 2mm thick and 6mm wide (a moderately hefty man's wedding ring), that makes 108mm^3 of material. 18k gold is about 75% gold and 16g/cm^3. Thus your 108mm^3 section weighs 1.72g, and contains 1.3g of gold. At about $50/gram, that's $65 of scrap. I can see why you'd be concerned.

My delicate girly wedding ring, on the other hand, is about 1mm thick and 2mm wide. That 9mm section would only be 18mm^3, or worth about $11. I can see why people say it's no big deal and that's part of the jeweler's fee.

Note that the jeweler would be doing more work on the wide band, to completely smooth out the wide flat surface over the joint end s/he just spliced together, so that takes more time on a heavy band than a thin one... but is that $54? Who's to say but the jeweler.

Basically, if the ring isn't heavy, it won't be worth it (in fact, you can, roughly speaking, say 59mm/69mm=0.85, and take 1-85%=15% of the weight of the ring at size 13 as an estimate of how much material you're talking about.) but 15% of something hefty might be enough to be worth asking about. If the jeweler thinks you're nuts for asking, find a different jeweler.
posted by aimedwander at 2:03 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]

p.s. - math is not guaranteed to be right, but I tried! :)
posted by aimedwander at 2:04 PM on February 17, 2012

For another data point, I've had the same ring sized down twice, and both times the jeweler just gave me the extra gold in a little plastic bag with the ring when it was done. I didn't even ask for it, so, I think it depends on the jeweler.
posted by Kosh at 4:54 PM on February 17, 2012

My dad, a jeweler, did as TinWhistle described, except that he kept unusual pieces in case he needed to downsize a similar ring. Resizing doesn't usuall remove much, but for one this drastic, I suppose it would be reasonable to ask for it back. The piece is "yours", after all.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:58 PM on February 19, 2012

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