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The size of a ring is one of those things you may not think about until you have to. When it comes time to buy the picture-perfect engagement ring for the love of your life or even just a gorgeous ring you want to treat yourself to; you need to know the proper ring size. Once you have that sorted, you can move on to bigger decisions, such as how much to spend on that special someone. Even if that someone is yourself.

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Standard ring measurements

The first step in determining ring size is understanding standard ring measurements. In terms of engagement and wedding rings, they are usually worn on the left ring finger next to the pinkie. Millimeters is the standard ring measurement for the inner circumference. Jewelers use a standard scale for ring measurements so that every store has consistent sizes. It's similar to clothing sizes that remain the same in every region, although there may be some slight variations in fit depending on the ring itself.

Rear view shot of a man about to propose to his girlfriend with an engagement ring in a box PeopleImages / Getty Images
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Metrics by location

Different countries may have slight variances in their ring measurements. Jewelers in the U.S. and Canada use half and quarter sizes on the numerical scale, while other regions rely on an alphabetical scale with whole sizes or specific adjustments for circumference. Plus, there are two core sets of sizing metrics, and jewelers get to choose what they want to do. Ring size may be measured starting from the side edge or the inside center. Keep that in mind if you're looking at ring designs and feeling confused about the sizing.

The jeweler checks the size of the gold ring, close-up SergeyChayko / Getty Images
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Diamond design

Professional jewelers are the best resource to help you with ring sizing for super fancy designs because not all rings fit the same. Depending on the shape and style of your desired ring, it may need to be sized beforehand. While the simpler designs can be sized to fit if it's a little off, those with diamonds wrapping around the entire band can't be tinkered with too much. Otherwise, the little gems will fall out as the ring is stretched.

diamond ringJeweler polishing the diamond ring. miljko / Getty Images
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Measurement tools

There are a few ring measurement tools to consider. If you want to handle it yourself, buying a mandrel ring sizer set could help. The grooved ring sizes on the mandrel allow you to see which size fits the finger best. When in doubt and you just want a quick measurement without spending any money, grab a piece of string and measure it when wrapped around the finger. Then compare with a simple chart of ring sizes to get a better idea.

Jeweler checking ring finger size of female client. solidcolours / Getty Images
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Evaluating current rings

You can also figure out ring size by taking a closer look at rings you already have. If you're shopping for yourself and you have a beloved ring that fits you nicely, try measuring it with a mandrel or swing by your local jeweler to find out the size. A printed chart could also help you compare your ring and figure out what size it is. If you're shopping for your partner and they have a much-loved and appropriately-sized ring, use that as a guide.

Female seller in a luxury jewelry store presents a ring.
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In between sizes

Sometimes, you may find that you or your loved one are in-between ring sizes. That's pretty normal and nothing to worry about. It's always better to go up to the next size and have the ring be a bit too big, rather than a bit too small. Anyone who has had a ring stuck on their finger would tell you the same. A size up is also helpful if you live somewhere warm as fingers may swell in the heat.

Girl measuring her ring size. Finger ring sizing tool
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Sneaky sizing

If you're planning a surprise proposal for your partner and you don't want them to know, you have a few options. Try sneaking away with one of their rings sitting in their jewelry box. Get it measured quickly, whether it be with a mandrel, plastic ring sizer, or at the jeweler. You can try it on your finger, too, if that gives you a better idea. If you're still stuck, try asking your partner's family or friends if they know what their ring size is.

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Professional ring sizing

Jewelers can easily complete a professional ring size measurement so that you know which rings are possibilities. Even if you have an idea of what the ring size is, your preferred jeweler can confirm it and then help you find the gorgeous ring you've always wanted. This is especially important if you're making an expensive purchase, as you want to get the ring size right to ensure it can be worn for years to come without slipping off or getting stuck.

The hands of girls wearing gold rings Krugloff / Getty Images
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Plastic ring sizers

A plastic ring sizer is a cheap and easy way to measure one's ring size. It's a smart investment if you think you will be purchasing multiple rings in the future, or you want to compare current rings. You can order one online and conveniently check ring size in the peace and quiet of your own home before going to the jeweler to sort out the desired ring.

a handmade jeweler process, manufacture of jewelery
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At-home ring sizing chart

It's easier than ever before to determine ring size at home, as you can print out a ring sizing chart and have it on hand for all your measuring needs. As long as the chart is printed to actual size, you can hold rings up to the paper or take a finger measurement and find the corresponding ring size. Just remember that it's always better to measure a few times to be sure, rather than buy a ring that ends up being far too big or too small.


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