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Adjusting ring sizes for internet sales

For those of you who do sales over the internet - I am wondering how
you can provide a quality and accurate sizing/resizing service for
your clients. I know you could give instructions on how to measure
one’s finger for a ring, or wrist for a bracelet etc, but I am sure
there will always be some who would take the measurements
inaccurately. Does this result in dissatisfied customers? How are
multiple shipping costs resolved if the goods have to come back and
be resized and then sent again?

Also, I am wondering how many people on this forum have ever had
items lost in transit - it occurs to me that no amount of insurance
money can really compensate for a one off, unique piece that is
lost… not to mention that customers may not believe that the goods
have actually been shipped and lost - they may lose faith and start
to believe that you are not a reliable business person.

I think selling over the internet is a great concept in that it
makes your work available to a much larger community… but the
thought of selling in this way makes me nervous because it seems
that there is so much that could go wrong.

R.R. Jackson

Many times I will have customers that do not know their ring size
and ask me how they should go about measuring. If they can’t get to
a jewelry shop, I will tell them how to measure their ring finger. I
ask them to be as exact as they can be in the measurements - in
either inches or millimeters. I’ve only had a couple of resizing -
sometimes because the measurements have changed since they last
purchased a ring. Ring sizes are very hard to work with - just a
couple of millimeters and you are already up to the next size. If
they are unsure or can’t be exact with the size, to be on the safe
side I will go a half size smaller. It’s much easier to size up a
ring than to size down a ring. Although - this all depends on what
type of ring design you are selling. Right now, I’m selling rings
that can be resized (at least up a size). I’ve been pretty generous
with resizing rings without charging the customers - for the time
being. I know this probably isn’t the best business practice, but I
have had so many customer referrals from these customers that have
had rings fixed and resized by me - that right now, I think it’s to
my benefit.

As far as shipping charges for rings coming to me for resizing - the
customer pays to have it shipped and I will pay for the shipping
back to the customer. This is just my practice - and I’m sure others
have different ways of doing this.

As far as items being lost in the mail - I’m not going to get into
the horror stories that I have. I would say that right now I am
having a 10% loss in transit - which is quite a bit. However,
luckily for my customers, it’s for supplies coming to me. I have
had an occasional HUGE Federal Express lost package… Just be sure
to insure your packages. Of all the carriers, I trust the postal
service the most. If I had the choice between Fed Ex and UPS, I’d
go UPS…

What we do is we send out finger gages to the client when the order
is placed. We send them with a postage paid return envelope. For
inexpensive rings this is probably not an option but for custom
rings it is essential. There is just too many sources of error in
having the customer give you their ring size without actually
measuring them on a known set of gages.

Jim Binnion

James Binnion Metal Arts
Phone (360) 756-6550
Toll Free (877) 408 7287
Fax (360) 756-2160

Member of the Better Business Bureau

I sell lots of rings on the Internet and by mailorder. Customers have
a natural reluctance to buy this way because the ring seen only as a
picture, you can’t hold it or try it on. To overcome this my stated
policy (you probably are not going to want to hear this) is that they
can return the work for a full refund within 30 days and I will do
free sizing for 90 days from purchase. About 20 percent of the rings
I sell come back for sizing. This can be a problem when the customer
is in another country, because the customs and tax collectors as
well as shipping costs can get messy and expensive. A chart with
international ring sizing equivalents with diameter and circumference
helps. I see some websites that have calculators.

Things get lost when they are shipped, sometimes, but not very often.
Certain places are worse than others to lose things in shipment. A
good rule to follow is to ship in a box large enough that someone
can’t slip it into a pocket or purse. This seems like a waste when you
are sending a small item, but the risk is greatly relieved as the box
gets bigger. If you only ship to the address that the customer’s
credit card is billed to you will also have a lot fewer problems.

Steve Walker


I sell rings, mostly, and what I do is tell my customers to have
their fingers sized by a local jeweller, if at all possible. I also
specify the kind of gauge to use, or ask which one was used, since I
make wide rings and that makes a difference.

I give detailed instructions on how to measure one’s own finger if a
gauge isn’t available, too.

Recently a customer wrote back and told me that one of the pair
they’d received was a little tight, and I gave him the options of
having it resized there, sending back to me, or resizing it himself,
with, again, detailed instructions. He chose the latter and was
successful, but I have gone so far as to make an entirely new ring
when the original turned out to be the wrong size.

If I have any dissatisfied customers, they haven’t mentioned it to
me or to anyone I’ve been in contact with.

No package has ever gone astray, either. One flighty young bride
gave me the wrong zip code and her rings were in limbo for a week,
but everything turned out fine.

My experience so far is that the internet works the way people
expect it to. If someone who knows the web shops carefully, there’s
no problem. People can mess it up to where they can’t buy or sell
anything successfully, by not providing adequate channels of
communication or allowing flexibility in payment, for example. I
know people who are so frightened of spam and scams that they won’t
tell anyone their email address, which means they don’t have an
email address as far as anyone can tell. I knew one person who
refused to use any online form of payment, i.e., PayPal or Kagi or
any other 3rd party payer, wouldn’t set up a credit card account, and
spent most of his time complaining that nobody bought anything from
him. Astounding.

One can also go the other way, being too trusting and open. I spoke
with one lady who had sent thousands and thousands of dollars worth
of art to Nigeria. The guy barely had to work at it at all, she just
jumped at the chance to let him take advantage of her, it seemed.

I don’t tell my customers that I’m screening them for legitimacy,
but by the time I send them anything, I already have a very good idea
of what sort of person I’m dealing with. Most times I’ve already
been paid, with the check cleared, since I’m doing custom work and I
get paid at least fifty percent up front. The closest I ever came to
losing money, a scammer from Moldova gave herself away by her
reaction to the picture I sent of her bracelet. “How much does it
weigh, in grams, and how fast can you send it?” – that’s not the
reaction of a delighted customer… I immediately sought
confirmation from the 3rd party credit card company, and they just
shrugged, figuratively, and said “No problem for us, it’s only been a
month, and if it turns out to be a fraud, we’ll just take our money
back from you.” I canceled the credit card charge and apologized
profusely, blaming the CC folks, and offered to send the jewelry as
soon as I got a valid payment by other means. Never did hear back.


This can be tricky. In my experience, sending a client to a jewelry
store to get a size will get you in the ball park. However, I’ve
seen ring sizers-- both wide and narrow-- and mandrels vary widely,
from a quarter size to almost a size. Add to that the fact that
people measure rings on ring mandrels differently, taking the
measurement from either the leading edge or the middle of the ring.
On a wide ring this can really matter.

When I have a long distance client and enough lead time, I’ll mail a
set of sizers to the client and have them mark with twist ties which
sizer(s) fit best. I also ask them to jot down their comments, such
as “the blue twistie fits a bit snug, but the red is a bit loose”.
Since sizers are measured in 1/2 size increments, this narrows things
down considerably: I often have to make rings that are say 6 1/8 or 9
5/8, etc. I keep multiple sizers on hand for this purpose.

Given the vagaries of loose or tight sizers, oddly tapered mandrels
, the time of year or climate where the client lives and issues of
cyclic bloating, it’s amazing that rings fit as often as they do.
The best way that I’ve found to hedge my bets is to remove as many
variables as possible by sending out my own measuring devices. Even
cheap plastic ones can work in this regard, as long as you have them
back in your shop or studio to work with.

Take care,
Andy Cooperman

I wonder if you could put on your website a PDF that contains a
chart of ring sizes (circles, with size labels) that the potential
customer could download and print, then hold up a ring they have to
the circles, or even cut out the circle(s) to try rough sizes. Print
size might vary a mm or so but enough to get in the ballpark? PDF
keeps it all standard - anyone can download a small PDF and it’s
universally printable. Presumably since your sales are by internet
then customers have basic computer/printer setup.

If I ever do rings by internet, I might try it!
Roseann Hanson
Desert Rose Design Studio
Tucson, Arizona
520-591-0508 voice/message
866-421-1813 toll-free fax

 A good rule to follow is to ship in a box large enough that
someone can't slip it into a pocket or purse. 

This seems like a very good tip that I would never have thought of.


The problem with printing a set of circles for long-distance ring
sizing is that, even if the customer cut out the circles accurately
and slipped them over their finger, the sizing wouldn’t take any
account of the width of the ring. This can be an important
consideration as it can affect the ease with which a ring slips over
the knuckle and thus the size required. A more useful solution may
be to print a flat, graduated strip which could be cut out and
wrapped around the knuckle and maybe even stuck together to make a
paper ring. One sheet could have a number of widths corresponding
with different ring widths and a set of plain circles for the very
thin rings. Ideally, the customer could be persuaded to print the
strips out onto photographic paper, the stiffness of which would
give a much more lifelike impression of putting the ring on and off.

best wishes,
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK