AYJ-header2

Here at Sands Company Jewelers, we have nearly thirty years’ experience in creating and caring for fine jewelry. In our Ask Your Jeweler section, we will answer some of the most common questions from our clients. Some you may have asked yourself, and some you may not have thought to ask.

To submit a question for Ask Your Jeweler, please visit us on Facebook and send us a message. Or stop by our showroom to ask your question in person!

Why is getting a ring sized important, and how can I get it done properly?

ring_sizingQs

What do you think the most important feature of your ring is? The style? The precious metal? The stones?

Did you guess it was the SIZE?

Some rings are pieces of fashion and some represent a lifelong commitment. No matter what purpose your ring serves, chances are it stays with you all day. So it’s important that the ring isn’t too tight to get over the knuckle, or so big that it rattles around.

We think about these things when we first buy a ring — but that’s not the end of the story! Our fingers change size and shape throughout our lives. A ring that fit comfortably five or ten years ago might be a struggle to remove now, or it might slip right from your finger.

Fortunately, a good jeweler can resize your ring so that it fits you perfectly again.

Exclamation  

If your fingers are swollen, DO NOT WAIT to remove your ring! A ring that is too small will make swelling worse and will eventually require cutting the ring from your finger. Save your circulation and your ring!

How Resizing Works

The best way to resize a ring involves adding or removing precious metal to/from your ring. For enlarging, a cut is made at the base of the ring (the part facing your palm). The same type of precious metal is then inserted into the gap. When done properly, the seams are invisible.

Making a ring smaller is a similar process, but metal is removed instead. The two cuts are then joined together, and the ring is soldered closed.

Things to Consider

No matter where you choose to have your ring resized, there are important things to keep in mind:

– Except in rare cases, it is NOT appropriate to “stretch” or “shrink” the ring. This causes stress fractures in the ring, and more delicate metalwork may break.
– “Continuous band” rings, or rings that have a design all the way around, may be more difficult to resize. Discuss your options with your jeweler.
– Multiple resizings may damage the integrity of the metal, due to the soldering required to close the cuts. A good jeweler will use the minimum solder necessary to complete the resizing.

Remember to always ask if you aren’t confident about how your ring will be resized. A good jeweler will always be happy to answer your questions!

What is white gold, and why does it turn yellow?

We often get the question “why is my white gold ring turning yellow?” A basic understanding of what white gold is will clear up any misunderstanding of what to expect from your white gold jewelry, and what maintenance your ring will require over time.

The first thing is, there is no such thing as “white gold” in nature – all gold that comes from the ground is 100% “yellow”. Since the standard gold content amount for fine jewelry sold in the United States is 14k, here is one of the various formulas for 14k white gold:

white_gold_blobs

58.5% Gold (yellow) + 23.7% Copper (pinkish-red) + 8.8% Zinc (white) + 9.0% Nickel (white) = 100%

So you can see the majority of your white gold is actually not white but a combination of at least 3 colors of different metals. So it is nearly impossible to make it white, and it will always have at least some yellowish cast to it. The added metals are referred to as “alloy” and are used in different combinations to create the different colors such as “rose gold”, “green gold” , “yellow gold” and “white gold”, as well as to add strength and create durability. Even within the basic gold colors, there are choices of different shades of color like royal yellow, rich yellow, and lemon yellow. To make things even more complicated is the fact that the formulas are not always “industry standard”, and any combination can be used as long as 58.5% of yellow gold is being used.

But let’s get back to why your white gold ring looks yellow…especially when it started out bright white. The majority of white gold jewelry you will ever see starts out with the “addition” of Rhodium plating. I say “addition” because the white gold is real gold, but then made white, and even after that, it is rhodium plated before it is ever put out for sale. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t really gold to begin with, it just means that the chosen color is then protected as a finish. Over time, and after regular wearing and rubbing against clothing, and other light abrasions, the protective plating of the rhodium wears off, and also the “alloy” portions of the chosen color may begin to slightly oxidize, otherwise known as “tarnish”. Rhodium is a precious heavy metal just like gold, silver, and platinum, and is even part of the platinum family, so it is naturally “white”, and that is why jewelers like to use it for the finishing process.

On average rings wear the fastest and usually need to be re-plated once per year, while earrings and pendants seldom need any unless a repair has been performed. The process usually takes 2-3 days and includes cleaning, polishing, and any stone tightening it may need.