Engagement ring woes for big knuckled...ladies.
March 5, 2012 6:46 AM   Subscribe

My engagement ring hurts like a you-know-what to take off, because I have big knuckles and slim fingers. Help me figure out what to do...resize (again)? Adjust something? Some knuckle reduction surgery? [Bonus Kitten photo for your help!]

A somewhat too long, incredibly irritating summary: I have these long, slim fingers (as my mother always said, 'french fry fingers') and very plump, rock-hard knuckles...and that combo is about the worst thing I've ever experienced in the "really stupid physical problems I never knew existed" category.
My fiance proposed in November, and my ring was originally a size 7, which was better suited for my big toe than my ring finger. We got it sized down to a 5, which cut the circulation off in my finger. Sized up to a 5.25 and it was perfect. Except that is spun around and ended up diamond-facing-my-palm position. So we got those little sizing beads put in and for a few weeks, all was fine and dandy.

Cut to about 3 weeks ago. My finger literally hurts half of the day. I don't remove my ring except for the occasional lotion application and cleaning, but I've wanted it off lately because it's been driving me mad...and just hurting. AND it's started wanting to spin again! Isn't this contradictory? It takes a LOT of pain to get the ring off, because my darn knuckles are so big it won't go over them without a fight! I have done everything but stick my hand in a tub of Crisco to get the ring off in the most painless way possible.
You can somewhat tell in the photo above* of my fingers, there is a line in my skin that is apparently staying there. It's been about an hour since I took my ring off, and the line is still there...though not red like it was when first removed. Just an indentation. The ring didn't hurt before while it was on, the sizing beads didn't bother me (I actually forgot I had them about 4 days after getting them), and it never gave me such a hassle. It doesn't really feel like the beads are what's causing such a problem, because they're not seeming to jab my finger when taking the ring off. My fiance suggested we get the beads filed down a bit, but since it's begun spinning again I'm just at a loss as to what needs done.
*disregard those awful fingernails/cuticles.

Anyone have any ideas? I'm guessing I'll have to get the ring resized yet again, but I just have no clue what would be best. The jewelry store he bought it from is a great place, but they don't seem to be able to help me much other than suggesting "size up/size down," and I was the one who had to suggest those stupid sizing beads. Because you MeFites are so wonderfully helpful, you get BONUS! KITTENS! Please, think of the kittens. They NEED my fingers to be pain-free so that they can get as many pets and scratches as possible. <3

TL;DR: WTF is going on with my ring and my finger, and what can I do/should I consider to fix it? And OMG kittehs!
posted by PeppahCat to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My grandmother has a ring that was altered to have a hinge so that it opens up & doesn't have to be large enough to go over her knuckles. Something kind of like this: http://www.thevillagegoldsmiths.co.uk/Superfit.htm
posted by belladonna at 7:00 AM on March 5, 2012 [6 favorites]

My husband's ring is cut in such a way that it is not a perfect circle, which is specifically designed to keep the ring from spinning around. So, maybe you could get your ring in the size 5.25 you liked but changing the shape would prevent it from spinning around. (I tried to find a pic of the shape, but am not using the right terms apparently.)
posted by halseyaa at 7:06 AM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yep. The hinge thingie is what you want. And, Kittens!!!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:07 AM on March 5, 2012

Best answer: One particularly good reason to figure this out is the variety of medical emergency type situations where your ring would need to be able to come off fast before it causes damage.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:07 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am not really sure of the solution to this, but from my own experience my jeweler told me that the wider the band on a ring, the tighter it will fit. I know the band you have now isn't extremely wide and I'm not saying that you need to change the band, but once you get the wedding band on things will probably fit differently. I don't know if you plan on getting the two rings soldered together or not (I did on mine) but that will change the fit and possibly keep the ring from spinning.

I would go to a jeweler that custom designs/makes rings and talk to them about the whole situation. If you have a line on your finger it would seem to me that the ring is too small, but if it's too tight it shouldn't spin on your hand (I would think). Of course, it may be that the weight of the diamond is too heavy for the band that it's on...maybe they could build up the band somehow to balance everything out.
posted by MultiFaceted at 7:10 AM on March 5, 2012

My mother has arthritis and it has settled in the knuckle of her ring finger. Her orthopedist suggested a silicone ring liner/guard that can be slipped out/replaced when the ring is down on the finger, and then the ring easily passes over the knuckle. I like the hinge idea, too. Thanks for the kitties!
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:11 AM on March 5, 2012

When talking to jewelers, the terms you want to use are things like "hinged shank" and "arthritic shank".
posted by belladonna at 7:11 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If it helps at all, I have incredibly slender knuckles for my fingers, so no problems getting any of my three rings on or off. BUT, my rings spin anyway. My wedding band will often spin with the jeweled side facing the inside of my hand. Same with my engagement ring. And if they were any smaller, they'd be too tight, so it's not a sizing issue. I think it's a having-circular-items issues.

I mostly just spin them back, but I'm a bit fidgety, so doing so doesn't annoy me at all. People are right in that a jeweler could probably do something for you, but I just wanted to let you know that the spinning thing may or may not continue anyway....
posted by zizzle at 7:24 AM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: When I put my hand to the screen, it matches the shape of yours nearly exactly - I'm knuckley too. And I'm formerly a jeweller, so I can tell you a few things.

First, your ring is just plain going to spin because they do. Yours is going to spin more than most, because the pronounced solitaire style on a thin band like yours is they type in particular that most does that. It's a combination of being a bit top heavy, and things bumping it, and the fact that all rings spin. It's just that it's more easily noticed with a thing on top.

Putting a wider wedding band next to it will help more than anything.

In fact, when I used to sell engagement rings, I'd size them with both rings on together because then they fit different parts of your finger, depending on whether you wear your band on the inside (closest to your heart) or outside (as a keeper). If yours is doing this with your wedding band, consider having them joined and that will help quite a bit.

It's hard to see, but yours may already have a comfort fit interior? That really can help going over the knuckles, because there are no sharp edges.

Sizing beads are not my favourite method - for arthritic or seriously huge knuckles, the hinged shanks mentioned above are the best method (but only for getting them on and off, not wearing them), but they're expensive and won't stop the spinning. Most of the other methods are uglier and more temporary though - the little silicon tubes, the adjustable metal ones and there are foldover devices that are awful-looking... but they all work better than the balls because of how they're shaped. I'll get to that later...

My favourite quick method, because they can be made in gold or platinum if you have metal allergies are the U-shaped spring inserts. They're more invisible. But - they can hurt a bit more sometimes, and are still fussy to size. My advice with those is to put the ring on sideways, then spin the solitaire to the top. This is probably the next step that I'd recommend for you, if you're not going to be wearing your wedding band with it soon.

The "putting the ring with the U-shaped sizer on sideways" and the former inserts I mentioned I preferred are because, well - fingers aren't round. So, another method I'd do for my clients was to have their rings sized to an oval shape. But that doesn't work if your wedding band is round too, and you want them to sit perfectly next to each other. (Many clients switched their solitaires to the right hand, and then wore a wider, more significant wedding band.)

One other trick is to get your ring sized to fit below the knuckle, and rather than grease or lotion to get it on, use saran wrap or a plastic bag to reduce friction (you can do this with tight bangle bracelets over your hands too). You can always use grease to take it off, then clean it.

Last, what's happened to you is what you'll see on any woman who has worn a ring for years. I have it too - the fat/flesh (whatever) just gets compressed, and there's an indent like a tan line. I think it's kind of lovely, like an invisible wedding band. I used to have to go and cut rings off people in the store and at hosipitals and homes sometimes, and some people (men and women) hadn't had their rings off since the day they were married. This just happens, and it takes ages to return to normal after years of compression. I'd say if the circulation is fine, don't worry about that part of it.
posted by peagood at 7:40 AM on March 5, 2012 [16 favorites]

I am also a 5.25 finger, giant knuckled gal. A couple of things that I was told when I got my engagement resized. Always relax your hand when putting on and taking off the ring. As in, relax the hand so the fingers are curved. It's like a billion times easier to out on/take off the ring when I do that. I'd use lube or some other silicone-based solution (like makeup primer) to help remove it from your finger if it feels really stuck.
Personally, I'd get the sizing dots filed down, because I think that is what's causing the pain issue. Then I would just deal with the ring spinning until summer. Reasoning: In the cold my ring spins like crazy and drives me nuts, but in heated rooms and out in warm weather it is borderline tight, so given what I have to work with, I just accept that in those climates/temperatures that my ring is going to be a little uncomfortable.
I'd also consider halseyaa's idea about having the ring bent ever so slightly into an oval shape. My other rings, the ones that are made of softer metal like silver, all eventually hammer themselves into a slight oval shape to conform to my natural finger shape over time.
posted by 8dot3 at 8:38 AM on March 5, 2012

My fingers are bigger than yours, but shaped identically, I just got the ring big enough to go over my finger and accepted that it was going to spin. It's a fiddle now and almost never bugs me (except occasionally in gloves). The spinning really isn't that bad, once you get used to it! In fact, I'm currently annoyed because this question is making me want to fiddle with it, but it's on a necklace around my neck right now because pregnancy swelling made it so it can't be on my finger right now.
posted by katers890 at 8:44 AM on March 5, 2012

Best answer: Seconding belladonna's idea. I had a ring once that I bought at a flea market that had one of those and honestly it was the most comfortable thing ever. I should have thought to get it done to my wedding rings, but I was a fool.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:53 AM on March 5, 2012

Oh: the other thing I noticed with my ring and spinning: Mine is not a solitaire, it is a center stone with an oval stone on either side of the center stone. When it starts to spin, the side stones bump on the fingers next to them and kind of keep it from continuing the spin. If you and your partner are open to looking at alternate rings (and I would test this theory with a costume jewelry ring first to see if it makes a difference) maybe that would be one thing to investigate? I know that's a drastic option so feel free to completely disregard it.
posted by 8dot3 at 8:53 AM on March 5, 2012

Response by poster: Peagood, you are my HERO! I've only ever seen the silicon tubes for helping size, none of these other awesome inventions. The ring doesn't have a comfort fit interior, and as far as the wedding band goes I have to admit...I never thought about the fit with the band. /facepalm. I think we are going with something similar to these types of things so maybe it will help the spinning and overall fit when it's all together. And I personally don't mind the indented line on my finger, I was just concerned it was a sign my finger was falling off at some point. LOL. This is literally the first ring I've owned (for either hand) that I keep on more than a few hours. My circulation seems perfectly normal, but it was a little disconcerting to see considering I'm not used to it. =p
The spinning was actually such that the ring would almost 'dangle' diamond-down on my skinny finger days. I hated the way it felt, it got in between my other fingers, and it was probably not at all safe for the ring/diamond to be where it would spin at the drop of a hat and could get bashed up against lord knows what.

And Blasdelb, that's actually something I was thinking about while writing all of the above stuff. Very good point. =)
posted by PeppahCat at 8:54 AM on March 5, 2012

My wedding ring spends most of its time spun, it never sits right, even though it is a band without a heavy stone. Also, I got the indent in my finger early on, and it has only gotten worse as the years have gone on (I've worn an engagement ring since 1997, wedding band since 1998.) Every man or woman I know who has worn a ring for more than a couple months has the same thing, even if the rings are loose. (My husband's band is not very tight, at all, and he has one.)

If I go without wearing my rings for a couple weeks (due to illness or surgery, or things like that) the first few days wearing them again feels odd, but I get used to it again, quickly.
posted by SuzySmith at 9:23 AM on March 5, 2012

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