Since beginning this week chock-full of ring-themed posts, I realize I haven’t delved into the basics just yet. So for all of you who have questions about rings: how to clean em’, how to size em’, how to keep ‘em…this post’s for YOU!from Formspring.me:
what do you recommend for people with fingers/knuckles that are often swollen who love to wear rings? (I’m only 20 but have rheumatoid arthritis)
Hmm….maybe rings that have a stretchy band? Or perhaps buying rings that fit over the knuckles, and then making the opening in the rings a little smaller by clipping on a Ring-Guard attachment (see below) so they stay on your fingers? You could also get a jewelry to cut open your ring shanks (and polish down the sharp edges) so they can stretch a bit more to accommodate swollen knuckles.
from the comments:
I would LOVE to see some ring tutorials! Maybe also some suggestions of where to buy ring blanks and other materials?? Bead stores don’t seem to have any ring making supplies, and I’ve checked out Michael’s without any luck.
Yes, it’s been soooo hard to find ring shanks and blanks from regular retail stores for such a long time. I have noticed there are some now available at Michael’s (beading rings: adjustable bands with a loop on the top to add beads, wire, or headpins), and some setting blanks in the metal-working section (a corner that has hammers and large metal blanks…it just popped up this Spring at my local store). At Jo-Ann’s I usually find the jewelry supply section to be very lacking…though I did find some Amate Studios silver-tone ring blanks near the PolyClay section. (The deep-welled blanks seem to be available only online.) But per piece they were waaaaay more expensive than the ring blanks you can get on Etsy…which is always my go-to for buying blanks.
You can also get beautiful, high-end blanks and shanks from both Fire Mountain Gems and RioGrande, so definitely browse around and see if anything strikes your fancy. (FireMountainGems.com also carries Sure-Set settings, which are made for gemstone cabochons that you can just “snap” into the setting – no expensive setting tools required! And beautiful glue-in settings as well, so you can mix and match your stones as you like.)
I do wire wrapped and gemstone rings but LOVE the look of two finger rings (not wire wrapped). I have yet to buy one and have no idea how I would make one so I would love to see a tutorial on a two finger ring!
Two-finger rings are easy-peasy to make! Just glue two shanks onto the back of your pieces, side-by-side. The first- and middle-fingers (or middle- and ring-fingers) don’t move far enough apart through regular movements to dislodge two separate shanks or cause much discomfort. You can also glue the shanks (or wire them together) for more strength.
Or create shanks out of wire – which might look nice with your wire-wrapped creations. (just like the DIY luv aj ring I made last Fall). Some rings I’ve seen just use a long piece of flat rectangular wire, with both ends curved under – one to accommodate each finger – and the center top of the wire is where the decoration sits. Check out the rings at a Forever 21 sometime – and look at how they’re fabricated to give you some ideas!
How do I keep my silver rings from tarnishing? They always get so black when sitting in my closet.
Tarnish is a layer of corrosion that develops on many metals, particularly sterling silver. Sulfur and other airborne chemicals are the main cause of tarnish, and jewelry tarnishes much faster if it’s left out in the open than if it’s stored away in an acid-free, closed container.
Ways to Keep Your Silver Bright:
1.) Store individual pieces of jewelry in sealed plastic bags. Less air circulation means fewer airborne chemicals darkening your silver!
2.) Store your jewelry with a piece of Silvercloth layered over it. The cloth is impregnated with silver particles that absorb harmful gases and keep your jewelry bright. (You can even buy it by the yard here.)
3.) Place Anti-Tarnish Paper in your jewelry case or boxes. Change every 2-3 months.
4.) Chalk. Yes, chalk! Regular white chalkboard chalk will absorb the airborned chemicals that cause the tarnish. Just change every couple months.
Best ring polishes? Do you know anything that’s chemical-free?
Preventing tarnish is actually easier than cleaning something that is already tarnished! (See above.) But, for when a piece of jewelry necessitates it…
You can use a polishing cloth – there are a variety available, for both gold and silver, as well as other metals. (I’m particular to the Sunshine brand myself.) I also looooove my Connoisseurs Silver Jewellery Cleaner – but it’s super-stinky and has a chemical in it that has been shown to cause cancer in the State of California. (nice…) But it brightens silver to almost white! (And I don’t live in California, so I figure I’m safe…;-)
Both sunblock and white toothpaste can also clean your silver jewelry!
Eco-friendly ways to clean silver (that doesn’t have a lot of relief patterns in it) include scrubbing with white-colored toothpaste or with sunblock. (A great way to use up old expired sunblock instead of throwing it away!!) Also, see here for a way to clean your silver jewelry in a homemade “poor man’s” electroplating solution – with just some baking soda and some aluminum foil!! Brilliant!
Do you wear rings all the time? When should you take off your rings vs. leave them on?
No, I don’t. I’ve found that wearing rings all the time leaves them a mess of scratches, especially when I’m doing housework or crafts that may mess my rings up. You should certainly take off your expensive precious gemstone rings when applying hand lotion or face scrubs, while working out, shampooing your hair, applying sunblock etc…pretty much anything that will expose the metal or stone to chemicals or abrasions.
How do I remove a ring that’s stuck on my finger?
If you don’t want to go to a jeweler and get it cut off (they have these really cool cutters to do it!), many people have found relief by running their finger under cold, cold water for a few minutes – then spritzing the finger with Windex – and the ring will slide off. Also try elevating the finger, applying ice for 5 minutes, wrapping the finger in saran wrap, using butter, or wrapping in dental floss, tucking the end of the floss under the ring, and pulling. (Though the thread I’d try as a very last resort since I’d be concerned about circulation issues.)
Why do my rings turn my fingers green? What should I do about that?
If a person has a natural high acidity level in his/her skin, it is possible for his/her finger to “turn green” from silver or gold jewelry, especially when the weather is hot and humid. The green is actually caused by oxidation, and all silver will oxidize (it’s also what gives silver a tarnished look). There are some cheap jewelry items that cause the same effect. Most of them contain nickel. It’s not poisonous in small quantities but it can provoke a reaction in people allergic to nickel.
This “green finger effect” may also be an allergic reaction to alloy elements in sterling silver or gold. In some cases, the alloys, used to make jewelry more durable, may react with your body chemistry, causing a harmless green or black discoloration on the skin, which can be easily removed with soap and water. For this reason, most retail silver jewelry and white gold jewelry is plated with rhodium, which serves as a defensive layer and prevents this reaction from happening to anyone with allergy.
Another reason may be lotions, soap or chemicals that come into contact with your skin on an everyday basis.
If it’s an allergic reaction to nickel that is occurring, rhodium-plated or stainless steel rings may be good alternatives. Another solution is to clean your silver jewelry as often as possible with polishing cloth. After about a week or two, the reaction should stop occurring. (source)
I have some rings that are a little too big for me. What can I do to size them down?
Besides getting them resized or cut by a professional jeweler, you have a couple options. You could add Ring-Guards from FireMountainGems.com, or clear plastic Ring Snuggies. Ring Guard Solution [resizing liquid] is also available, and goes on like a thick coat of clear nailpolish (which you could probably also paint on the inside of your rings to make the fit a little tighter). I personally like wrapping thin strips of Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin [not made from moles LOL] around the ring shanks – I can customize how much smaller I make the ring opening, and the color matches my skin color, so it’s fairly unobtrusive. Plus, they’re pretty comfortable.
How do I find my ring size?
Here’s a helpful chart for measuring and getting your ring size, (source) though for some people they may have to size up a bit to pass over their knuckles. (Tip: don’t forget to print out the paper and compare the measurements on the top half of the page with what you printed out!) It’s always best to have your ring size determined professionally at a jeweler’s…and have each of your fingers (including your thumb) sized if you like to wear jewelry on those fingers. And write down what your size is!!! I can never remember mine.:-(
Hope that helps! Have a missed anything you were dying to know? LMK in the comments!
And Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and moms-to-be out there!
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