Engagement ring styles for large fingers that may shrink?
June 3, 2012 5:26 PM   Subscribe

What style(s) engagement ring should I get if I intend to size it down (potentially significantly) in the future? Any tips on where to buy larger than standard size rings? Bonus points if they sell non-conflict diamonds or similarly pretty stones at reasonable prices.

Maybe he just wants people to stop asking how long we've been married (if they don't know us) or when we're finally getting married (if they do)... but after nearly three years of dating and one year of joint home ownership, the Mr. and I are in the beginning stages of wedding planning for next summer. But before we get too far, we're looking for an appropriately pretty ring that fits me now and will fit me in the future. Thing is, my current ring size is about a 10, which is a larger than standard size (i.e. larger than many websites sell). As I'm losing weight, I'd like a ring style that will be re-sizable down the line — potentially significantly smaller (if I'm really successful!). Has anyone done this? What snags did you run into? Any jewelry experts know if particular styles lend themselves to this, or on the other hand, what styles we should avoid.

Second, related question: Where do we shop? We live in Indianapolis and haven't yet explored the many jewelry stores here because it's sort of intimidating and we'd like to know more first. Many websites' ring sizes top out at 8 or sometimes 9. I've thought about just telling him to buy 9 and I'll wait to wear it when it fits, but that loses some of the initial fun. ;) Otherwise, our options are pretty limited. We also want to avoid conflict diamonds. I'm totally open to lab-grown diamonds or even moissanite, but can only find a handful of places that sell them in my size/price. We're trying to keep the engagement ring under $1K. (We're both practical people and even that is a lot to spend on a ring, even if I'll wear it daily the rest of my life.)

A few extra thoughts:
• After browsing online, I'm leaning toward three-stone styles or one stone with small stones beside it, but I wonder how resizing would affect those multiple settings?
• I'm assuming any kind of band engraving/band of diamonds would be a no-no from a resizing standpoint? I like the look though. Anyone tried this?
• I have kind of fat fingers (see ring size). So styles that make a not ginormous stone look not tiny would be good.
• I'm not a big fan of the plain band solitaire tiffany-style setting, as I'd worry about it catching on everything or scratching me. I'm OK with the solitaire when it's more flush with the band or if there's a curve or some interesting accent leading into it.
• I like the three-stone look, but really dislike the look of multiple small stones to comprise what is typically the center stone. I also dislike the halo style with metal or small stones circling the main stone.

Feel free to tack on general engagement ring buying advice. I'm sure he'll appreciate it.
posted by ilikemethisway to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
FWIW I have a "heavy half" carat diamond in a really plain, traditional setting (pardon the super-fast googling to find an image, I know nothing about this site at all, just chose for the image) -- in fact my engagement ring looks very literally like this. I cannot think of anything I've caught it on, ever, excepting maybe ONCE in a loosely-woven scarf. Seriously. My wedding band is a "ring wrap" style, so, it *looks* 3 stone, but it's two rings. Because the bands are plain, I'd think this would be a style you could look at that would resize fairly easily.

Good luck and congrats! You can have a nice ring and not have a "fancy" band - I get compliments on mine all the time, and SHHH. It wasn't THAT expensive.
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:49 PM on June 3, 2012

Amazon is neat because you can shop by size, and they have a wide range of engagement rings from CZ to diamonds. Here's a set of size 10s, with some quite nice-looking options.

If you're going to resize significantly, you'll want to avoid any channel-set stones. Or, alternatively, you can buy a crazy cheap CZ ring and then sub it out for a "real ring" after you've settled at your new size. This ginormous one might be fun-- I know someone with larger fingers who wears giant gem rings that look fantastic on her (but might overwhelm smaller hands).

Also, I really worried about my solitaire-style engagement ring catching on things when I was first engaged, but it was really a non-issue unless I was in lab and wearing latex gloves.

Congratulations on your impending engagement!
posted by charmcityblues at 5:52 PM on June 3, 2012

You may not lose any weight in your fingers when you lose weight elsewhere. My weight has varied by a total of more than 100 pounds at my current height, and my ring size has only varied from 8 3/4 (at my highest weight) to 8 1/4 (at my lowest weight).

A center stone with baguettes is probably easily resizeable; as others have said, channel-set isn't going to stand a resizing of more than two ring sizes.

Lots, lots, lots of women wear size 10 rings, but jewelry websites tend to cater to the middle 60 percent of sizing (just as many shoe websites ignore women who wear US size 5 and size 11 shoes). A jewelry store isn't going to see size 10 as odd or have to make a special order or anything.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:58 PM on June 3, 2012

Also, in terms of a lower-profile setting, I really like the look of Cross Jewelers' Lady Captain's Ring. My ring is from my husband's family, so I didn't get to pick it, but if I had I think I would have gone for something like that.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:00 PM on June 3, 2012

Mine came from etsy, which means they're often made on demand, and very customizable.
posted by small_ruminant at 6:13 PM on June 3, 2012

I got my wedding and engagement rings from jewelers on Etsy, made to my size on demand. Your average independent or local chain jewelry store can do this, too, unless you really want an antique ring. I don't know how flexible the big jewelers like Kay etc. are, though. From what I've heard from jewelers, though, is that rings can't/shouldn't be resized more than 2 sizes one way or the other; after that, you're looking at having the jeweler recreate the setting on a new band.

For what it's worth, I've gained weight and I have a ring that still fits the same finger for the last 18 years. My fingers didn't really gain in proportion with me (but they were kind of fat to begin with). Everyone is different, but I wouldn't necessarily expect your hands to change significantly.

I would ask around for jeweler recommendations in your area, go in and make it very clear you're not buying yet, but you have questions. Jewelers tend to be very friendly about helping you even if you're not prepared to buy that day. They want to develop a good relationship so you'll come back to them.
posted by asciident at 6:28 PM on June 3, 2012

If you insist on going the traditional "diamond in gold" route, buy used. Diamonds have very little resale value ("Diamonds are forever" because you'll never, ever sell it for much more than the weight of gold in the ring itself), and you can pick a really nice ring up for a tenth of what you would pay new.

Or better yet, give the diamond cartels a great big middle finger and buy a parcel of land suitable for a future home, and have a random small pebble from it set into a ring. See if that doesn't give her something to talk about - "Oh, your husband bought you a diamond, how... quaint. Mine bought me a place to live and raise our children, and gave me this 'worthless' trinket as a token of our furture".
posted by pla at 7:04 PM on June 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

North Star has moissanite rings in size 10 and a very good return policy. I think you are correct in wanting a larger/chunkier ring to look properly balanced on your hands. And to counteract the other comments, I lost ten or twenty pounds and my wedding ring became so loose I was worried I would lose it, I began wearing my 21st birthday ring but gained ten pounds and now can't get either off! So some people do gain/lose weight in their fingers significantly. Have you considered treating this ring as a nice gesture but not necessarily one you wil wear daily for the rest of your life? I know several women that got a "new" engagement ring on a significant anniversary and put their "starter" ring away. Just because there is a recent tradition that it seems a lot of people follow doesn't mean you can't do something you feel more comfortable with. Except for those people really close to you no one is going to notice your engagement ring changing over time.
posted by saucysault at 7:34 PM on June 3, 2012

I can't advise on styles, etc., as I have a stone-free wedding band only, but my husband and I got our rings from Brilliant Earth and had a great experience. They have conflict-free diamonds and environmentally friendly sourced metals, etc. Also, at least when we got ours in 2010, they made each ring to order (so your size not being in stock wouldn't be an issue). They will work with you on design, I think. Congratulations!
posted by pupstocks at 8:49 PM on June 3, 2012

> • After browsing online, I'm leaning toward three-stone styles or one stone with small stones beside it, but I wonder how resizing would affect those multiple settings? • I'm assuming any kind of band engraving/band of diamonds would be a no-no from a resizing standpoint? I like the look though. Anyone tried this?

It depends on how the side-stones are set. If they're channel-set or bezel-set (two different styles, neither have prongs), the ring can be resized but you have a greater risk of someone screwing that up because it may place a lot of stress on those settings if it's a big change.

You're correct, band engraving is not a good match with resizing.
posted by desuetude at 11:47 PM on June 3, 2012

You have another option, which is to decide you are not going to be precious about things and just have the stones re-set as needed. There are a lot of advantages to this. One, it's relatively cheap - bands are by miles the least costly element (unless it's platinum). Two, the stones are easy to reset. Three, "upgrading" your engagement ring is a thing, so the ring someone was married in isn't always the ring on their finger, by a long shot. Four, ring designs date - when I got married bezel settings were the shit, now it's halo settings, etc. It's nice to be able to refresh the ring, and I am re-setting my stones for our 10th year anniversary.

So what I'm suggesting is: get a setting you like and that fits and flatters you as you are right now. If your hand size changes significantly, you can always have your stones re-set if and when re-sizing isn't practical.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:47 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I got my engagement ring made, and it ended up being less expensive than similar-ish rings we looked at online - plus it is exactly exactly perfect and what I wanted. If you get your ring made, it will be easy for the jeweler to make it fit you perfectly, no matter your ring size.

In fact, my fiancee's ring size is actually about 6.25, so the jeweler made her wedding band just right to fit her, rather than making a standard size (6 or 6.5).

Another bonus of getting the ring made is that you can pick the stone - my ring has a sapphire in the middle, and moissanite stones on either side.

Or, you might want to look at the rings at Better Than Diamonds - they're all (or mostly) in your price range, you enter any ring size (I just tried a size 10 and successfully made it to checkout), and I've heard good things about the website though I haven't used it myself.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:17 AM on June 4, 2012

Thanks for the replies and places to look, all. I think you're right that maybe we should go with something nice that I like and fits now and worry about the resizing down the line — if it becomes an issue, as apparently it hasn't for several of you. I'm not worried about the style aging since I'm not planning to do anything trendy. But DarlingBri's idea of resetting the stones later if the ring band won't work is an option. I'm not sure I (or he) would want to "upgrade" later, but it's a thought. I just doubt when we have kids and college, plus our retirement, to save for that I'm going to be less practical about spending money on an expensive non-essential thing than I am now when we have more disposable income. But that may change in 10-20 years. ;)
posted by ilikemethisway at 9:07 AM on June 4, 2012

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