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Your Ring Questions: Answered, Part 2

We’re following up with more of your ring questions and answers.

We answered some common ring-wearing questions in Part 1, but you’ve got more! So we’ve got more answers.

How do I keep my ring from spinning and moving on my finger?

First thing is to make sure your ring is sized right. But if you’ve got slim fingers but bigger knuckles, getting a ring to slide over your knuckle but still stay put on your finger can be a problem. Unlike bands, rings with center gems or diamonds have a distinct up-and-down orientation.

There are some DIY fixes that range from small-diameter PVC tubing that flips around the bottom of your ring shank, liquid plastic formulas you can dip your ring shank into (though we advise against this method; you could permanently harm your ring) or metal ring guards you tighten on the shank with pliers (be cautious as you also run the risk of damaging your ring if done incorrectly). While these might be OK for temporary use or on rings you don’t wear very often, you should treat your fine jewelry better than that.

There are common ways jewelers can better solve some these spinning problems.

  • A spring insert is usually made of white gold. It’s shaped like a horseshoe and fixed to the inside of the shank at the bottom. The insert widens as it slides over the knuckle or when your finger is larger (if it’s hot and humid out, for instance) but hugs your finger’s narrowest point. They’re comfortable; you probably won’t even know it’s there — except your ring will stay in the right place.
  • A foldover device works the way a ring guard does, but is a more elegant and safer solution — especially for people with slim fingers but bigger knuckles. The foldover is a metal wire that’s shaped in a U-shape and attached on one side of the shank. It can open and close like a latch. It can unlatch to slide over a knuckle and latch to keep it on the finger. Most people find them comfortable, and it can decrease the ring size by up to three sizes.
  • Ring beads are one way to get a ring to slip over the knuckle but still keep the ring upright. They’re usually best suited to changing the ring a half-size or less. A jeweler will make the beads of the same material as the ring, so if it’s a 14K gold ring, the beads will be made of 14K gold. Then the jeweler uses a ball burr to make holes in the shank at about 5 and 7 o’clock, solders the beads to the ring and polishes so they’re smooth. The beads should be flattened off rounded a bit for increased comfort. However, some people find the beads uncomfortable.

Can yellow gold rings be dipped in white gold?

Quick answer: yes, kind of, though we don’t recommend it.

Here’s the longer explanation that clears up a few things that are often confused — and confusing. All gold is naturally yellow. As alloys are added to pure 24K gold, the color can be altered to create white gold, rose gold or other colors. Depending on the alloys added, white gold will have a yellow or grayish tinge.

To get the bright white we associate with white gold, most white gold jewelry is plated (aka dipped) in rhodium.

The plating has to be reapplied when it wears through — the time it takes depends on how frequently the ring is worn and how careful the wearer is. Scratches, friction (like rubbing against another ring), cleaners like bleach — these and many more factors can affect how quickly the plating wears away. With a white gold base, you’ll see the yellow or gray tinge beneath, though it’s fairly subtle.

Plating yellow gold with rhodium can be done, but it will be really noticeable when the plating wears off.

I think I’m allergic to my ring — what’s causing it?

You could be, but it could simply be that you’re wearing it all the time. There is something called Wedding Ring Dermatitis and it has two causes. The first is when you constantly wear a ring or rings, wash your hands, do the dishes or the thousands of other things we do with our hands every day, you could be accumulating soap or other tiny pieces of debris that are irritating your skin. For a few days, try taking your rings off when you wash your hands or get them wet, thoroughly rinse and dry them and then put the rings back on.

The second cause most likely is an allergy. You may be allergic to nickel, more and more people are. Nickel is an alloy used in all colors of gold in different proportions. Gold that’s 18K has the least of it, but the proportions go up in 14K and then 10K. Rhodium-plated white gold has a bit of it.

Even if you’ve been wearing a ring for years that hasn’t bothered you but suddenly does, it could be because you’ve developed sensitivity over time.

There are a few DIY solutions. Some people coat the inside of their rings with clear nail polish. It will have to be reapplied. There are also products you can find that will coat it in silicone or other materials.

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