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Stretching vs. sizing


#1

Opinion please for an interesting bit of conversation took place
between myself and someone else and would love to hear others
perspective.

My thought is that if a wedding band can be stretched up to 1 size
if the thickness allows than it is better for the integrity of the
ring not to be cut.

Same goes with shrinking it down.

It is her opinion that in a “fine jewelry store” the customer
expects the same ring to be cut and a piece either added or
subtracted and that it is cheap way

out to stretch or shrink the ring.

Thoughts?
Laurie


#2

Just choose, do you want to cut and put a solder seem in a ring or
leave itas it was made as one piece? You are correct, they are wrong.

David Geller


#3

If it can safely be stretched up or down that is the way to go. Why
cut intothe ring if you don’t have to? It will be stronger without
the cut seam. Just my two cents worth. I hope everyone is having a
busy holiday season.


#4

Hi Laurie,

Some customers like that a wedding band does not have a break in it
for symbolic reasons. Some customers like that it costs less to
stretch a ring.

Stretching an average wedding band up one size would be almost
imperceptible.

If the customer wants it cut and sized charge her accordingly.

Her opinion of what a "fine jewelry " store would do does not make
it an industry wide standard.


#5
It is her opinion that in a "fine jewelry store" the customer
expects the same ring to be cut and a piece either added or
subtracted and that it is cheap way out to stretch or shrink the
ring. 

She does not know what she is talking about


#6

I am new at the jewelry game, but feel it depends on the ring and
the equipment used to stretch or compress.

Some rings were designed to be stretched or compressed such as the
Neissing line of wedding bands and the machine they designed to do
them with. Their methodology was such that rather than stocking all
16 standard sizes of a ring design, they only needed to stock four
sizes and could enlarge up or down to the proper size, plus quarter
or half sizes. These were seamless bands and obviously would not work
with soldered.

There are times when the customer wants the ring just a hair bigger,
a skootch smaller, or will insist on splitting the 1/8th or 1/16th
size you offer. Then there is the patterned band that will be ruined
if you cut it.

Or the pierced band. I’ve had very good luck stretching or
compressing GENTLY those styles. What does not work is the stamped
out rings that are then formed, sized and mass-soldered. They almost
always break at the join.

Extra easy soft solder I suspect.

As for being cheap, I would prefer to wear a ring that might be a
thousandth of a mm thinner from stretching up a half size than
wearing one with a seam and possibly suspect solder touching my skin.
Not everyone has the scruples of the average orchid reader and uses
lead-free or cadmium free solder. The original ring kept in its
purest state I would think is more preferable. If we are sizing more
than a whole size, there may be no choice than to cut and
weld/solder.

If you are able to stretch or compress a customer’s ring, re-polish
and make it look and fit like new, and do it for free while they
wait, I’ll bet you gain a new customer for life. For maybe five
minutes of your time.

My two cents and I owe you change.
J
Charlie


#7

We stretch or shrink only plain bands up to 1/2 size in our shop.
More than that we cut and solder.

The integrity of a ring shouldn’t be compromised if you size it
right. We fuse rather than solder on plat, 18kt, and continuum
silver. To size 14 kt I like to mix half 14kt solder with 1/2 14 kt
gold for my solder seam.

My sizing routine is as follows…

ALWAYS loupe and clean it first in front of the customer. You can
save your butt “But my stone wasn’t chipped/flawed when I brought it
in.” You also have the opportunity to make more money. “Your center
stone could use some tips.” Before putting on the mandrel I always run
my finger on the inside to check for a culet poking through and I
always look for engraving on the inside. I’ve seen large stones
shattered and sentimental engraving cut through. " Sorry sir but what
year did your grandfather get married?" “Uh Ms. X, did you know your
center stone is chipped?” Some phone call you just never want to
make.

I then cut and add or remove metal and then solder. File the inside
and round up if appropriate. Sometimes it’s best to not round up.
Wait til AFTER rounding up to file the out side or it will pop apart
when rounding.

Remember gang. always file no more than 80% off the seam and edges.

Then emery and polish. That way the shank isn’t thinned.

Yes stretching and shrinking are easy and fast. Those jobs often get
cherry picked by the boss or the shop foreman. I’ve worked in shops
where they would stretch rings because they were afraid of heating
stones. With lasers this should no longer be an issue.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry
Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#8

How about giving the customer the choice? Explain the pro’s and cons
of each and then tell them that it’s so many dollars to stretch, so
much more to cut and size. It’s their ring, it should be their call.

I get kind of tired of people professing that they are the authority
as to what a “fine jewelry store” can and cannot do or sell. In my
opinion, if the customer wants something, a truly “fine jewelry
store” will explain all of their options and then provide what the
customer wants.

Dave Phelps


#9

In my opinion also, a wedding ring should not be cut. It is one kind
of repair only which will spoil the originality of the design and
aesthetics.

Thanks and Regards,
K. Karthikeyan


#10

Stretching is much better for the ring, especially if it is a
patterned 2 tone. Not having a seam is always superior to having a
seam. Shrinking you have to be careful to use paper to cushion
against the ring and not to go more than a size and a half ish. This
of course only applies to continuous bands and nothing with gems.

SD


#11

Something to try to remember is that your goal should always be to do
an undetectable repair or sizing. That includes not altering or
thinning the band at all. Over stretching or over filing can give
equally bad results. Just because the customer doesn’t notice that
you have thinned out their band doesn’t mean it was well done. Mark


#12

Thank you everyone for confirming what I knew.

Let’s hope she does not push that issue, if she does then I will
have to take other steps to do what I know is right for the customer.

Happy holiday’s to all.
Laurie


#13

My choice on upsizing a band depends upon whether it was cast and
has never been sized. If cast - stretching works well. If there is
already a solder joint(s), I’d be more cautious because stretching
might pop the joint(s). Had that happen and it made resizing up more
difficult.

Judy in Kansas, where final week is ending and traffic will really
decrease. Not that there is ever much traffic here :wink:


#14
Stretching is much better for the ring, especially if it is a
patterned 2 tone. Not having a seam is always superior to having a
"seam." 

Not true, the band becomes smaller and separating lines (if any)
will become less destinctive.

Details get losed and patterns will change.

Concernig the hardness. Yes you get a point but you’ve to anneal the
ring anyway before you stretch it.

In that case you’re back to about the same hardness or even softer
as you started with.

Stretching a ring without annealing is asking for trouble and then
you still have to solder it.

A goldsmith (male or female) who knows what he/she is doing will
ALWAYS finish a ring without leaving any marks behind.

That’s not a service but that is a must.

If you can’t, you better tell people why and with a good reason
explaining it.

Best regards


#15

Check for old seams before you stretch, though! Heat the ring before
hand to make sure you aren’t going to pop somebody else’s solder
line. and never ever ever stretch a ring with stones in it.
Patterned rings can be safely compressed by putting a thick tape like
masking or electrical tape over the patterned area before compressing


#16
Stretching is much better for the ring, especially if it is a
patterned 2 tone. Not having a seam is always superior to having a
seam. Shrinking you have to be careful to use paper to cushion
against the ring and not to go more than a size and a half ish.
This of course only applies to continuous bands 

You need to be very careful with the two tone ones, often being
something like a yellow gold band with a center stripe of white, for
example. Often, that center stripe is a fairly thin band that’s been
fitted over the other (you can tell these because the center stripe
color does not extend to the inside), and the wider ring stretched
until the center stripe is tightly fitted to it. Often, the pattern
is then cut in a manner that more firmly burnishes or fits the edges
of the stripe for a seamless look, such as pressing in a millgrain or
the like.

While these can be modestly stretched, you’re taking a big risk if
you try to shrink them more than a rather small amount. Most of the
ring shrinkers out there push the ring into a tapered die, so the
shrinking action is more at the edges, with the center kind of
following along. Do that to one of those two tone rings, and there is
no shrinking action applied to the center stripe, which is just
pressure fitted, not soldered or fused to the wider band. the two
will separate, and you’ll never get them quite fitted together again,
even if you stretch the inner band back up again. I don’t think I’d
want to shrink one of these more than a quarter or half size at most,
which amounts to shrinking at the edges, so the ring dishes in at the
edges but the centerline is untouched. Not a great solution. The way
to size these that avoids all this involves cutting out a piece. But
very carefully, so as not to dislodge the center. Anneal the ring
first, so the center is not under some sort of spring tension, as
sometimes just cutting the ring can get the center to spring away.
Anyway, after cutting out the needed piece, before bending anything,
flow a tiny bit of solder along the cut edges so the solder ties the
center ring to the wider band. Do this to both cut edges. Now you can
bend the ring smaller, smooth/fit those cut edges (don’t go through
the solder) so you can solder the ring closed again. Annealing again
before heating the ring joint enough to flow your new solder is a
good idea so the prior small solder joints don’t let go. If you have
a laser welder, the same method works even better, with laser welds
to tie the two rings together before bending the ring smaller and
joining the seam.

The other sizing method worth considering on these two tone rings
works well if it’s a brand new ring. Contact the manufacturer and see
if you can exchange the ring for the right size. Certainly, if you’re
the retailer of the thing, that’s normally possible and assumed for
the major manufacturers. Even if not, sometimes that’s an option.
it’s also the best way to size some of the class rings that can be
problematic.

Peter


#17

Here’s a tip.

To shrink extremely detailed patterned bands without damaging the
detail youcan do this. Note that’s it’s a little tricky.

You take a piece of pvc pipe with an outside diameter a little
bigger than the band. Cut a length a hair wider than the band. Trim
the outside of the pvc section into a cone that fits into to shrink
plate hole desired. Trim the inside of the pvc section into a cone
that allows the band to fit mostly inside, a tight fit. It ends up
fairly thin.

Then shrink it, taking the band out and flipping to shrink evenly.
You’re trying to get the band to drop into the hole a little more
than half way. The pvc is good for about one shrinking before it
cracks. It’s time consuming butI’ve shrunk very detailed bands with
nothing but a little bit of orange peel. No pattern damage at all
even under a scope, the pvc protects it.

Mark


#18
In my opinion also, a wedding ring should not be cut. It is one
kind of repair only which will spoil the originality of the design
and aesthetics.

Reality, most womens wedding rings eventually will need to be
re-sized due to pregnancy…


#19

Ha! I have had to size up many more rings for married men than
ladies post pregnancy. One of my favorite lines I use while cutting a
too snug ring off a married gent is. “What is the difference between
a boyfriend and a husband? About 30 pounds.” Sometimes I add" And 30
minutes." Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer
timothywgreen.com


#20
Reality, most womens wedding rings eventually will need to be
re-sized due to pregnancy... 

I must have been lucky then. Four children and my wedding rings still
fitted the same afterwards. Now middle age spread - that’s a
different story! I’ve had to size up my wedding rings a couple of
times in the last eight years.

Helen
UK