Shoulders, Angel Wings and Square Shanks – Big Knuckle Ring Design Hacks


Square shank

Square Shank with Yummy Rounded Corners

This is for All the Girls with Big Knuckles. Jewelers are constantly trying to figure out good ways to design jewelry that fits well if you have the kind of a finger that lets Rings spin.

I’ll share the top three stop-those-rings-from-spinning solutions and introduce three design hacks that help rings stay put.

If you are about to design a ring and you have big knuckles, use my three design hacks for a more comfortable daily wear happy fit.

Slowing the Spin of Your Beloved Rings

Hinged shank by Fingermate installed by Calla Gold Jewelry

Hinged Ring Shank. This One is by Finger Mate Corp.

I frequently take wedding rings and frequently worn rings for my large knuckled clients and put on ring hinges or butterfly springs or little speed bumps that help them fit more comfortably.

These are fantastic Solutions and I applaud them. Sometimes however I’m given the task of designing a ring knowing before I start that this is a situation we’re dealing with.

The first thing I do with a ring design for a larger knuckled person, is to make sure not to break the top three rules of ring stability.

Three Elements to Avoid for a Stable Ring Design


Thin Ring Shank and Top Heavy Design, a Recipe for Spinning if You Have Large Knuckles

1. Thin shanks

2. Top heavy, high up central design

3. Narrow top elements

Top Three Rules for Ring Stability

Sterling Silver Ring with Oval Blue Topaz

This Top Heavy Beauty Gave Ring Spin a Whole New Meaning Till We Added Speed Bumps to it.

  1. Wider ring shanks

  2. Lower designs with a lot of ring touching the finger

  3. Strong horizontal design, across the finger

Three Ring-Design Hacks for Comfortable Rings When You Have Large Knuckles

Angel Wings on a ring as a design hack

The Design Elements that Pop Out Beyond the Main Ring are Angel Wings

If a ring is designed with these elements in mind you may not need the hinged shank, butterfly spring or speed bumps.

Or if you normally needed a hinged shank which is for the biggest knuckles, these hacks may make a less hard core solution necessary.

For example if you normally needed a hinged shank for your ring, when you design with one or more of these design hacks in place you may only need speed bumps.

A ring designed for stability, naturally needs less intervention to make it wear well and comfortably.

Three Jewelry Design Hacks for the Large Knuckled

  1. Shoulders

  2. Angel Wings

  3. Square Shanks


Ruby and Diamond large ladies ring

Strong Shoulders Show the Rows of Diamonds and Center Ruby Gemstone Beautifully

A ring design with shoulders is often a ring design that’s flattish or low curve on top but gives a look of being flatter on top.

Shoulders give a very strong look, shoulders allow someone looking at your ring to see more design than if the ring was curved and going quickly down and around the finger.

Shoulders also give an assist to clients with larger knuckles. Because a ring behind larger Knuckles wants to slip left or right.

If you have shoulders, your ring  doesn’t tilt very far before the shoulder bumps gently into the neighboring finger next to it, which can then lift up and cock it back in place.

Angel wings

Angel Wings on ring

The Angel Wing Elements Come Out Beyond the Rest of the Ring. They Stop Your Ring From Turning Sideways

It’s possible that I’m the only Jeweler that calls this little design element angel wings, but they do such miraculous little things that I think they’re very worth it.

Straight Shank of a Ring

Notice How the Shank Goes Straight Down From the Main ring? That Helps Stabilize too.

Angel wings are design elements that come out from the ring’s edge, in a little curvy poof or ball or some sort of element. If it comes out beyond the ring’s normal border it’s an angel wing.

The shank goes straight down and around your finger. The angel wings pop out a bit sideways, looking  pretty and unique. They keep the ring from spinning because they comfortably touch the neighboring fingers which easily without conscious notice, keep your ring adjusted upright.

Square Shanks

Square Shanks. Ring side view

The Bump Out at the Corners of the Square Shank are comfortable

The funny thing about Square Shanks is that they have these bumps that stick out at their Square edges and they look like they’d be uncomfortable.

Square shanks. Man's wedding band

Guys Benefit From Square Shanks too

I have clients that look at that and it say “aww, that would bug me!” The funny thing is, when they try it on it doesn’t bug them at all. I think we’re often not that aware of how we readjust our jewelry throughout the day.

Women’s Autonomic Response to Spinning Rings

This Ring Has Shoulders, but Doesn’t Sweep Straight Down Below the Shoulders

Who knew it? That we automatically adjust our rings to be upright? But we do. Well I do. The problem is when you have enlarged knuckles and your rings tend to move around a lot, you have to do a lot more adjusting and it becomes physically noticeable and therefore annoying.

What I’ve observed from wearing a square shank ring, is that when that bump-out from the square edge at the bottom of the ring starts to impinge on a neighboring  finger, you lower the neighboring finger righting the ring, so that it’s standing upright. And that particular movement is done without your conscious awareness.

OK, I didn’t do the 500 person Harvard control study. Just asked and observed. What I’ve noticed about this autonomic response is that when it takes place adjusting the bottom of the ring with the square shank, I’m never aware that I do it. I must have more nerve endings on the top of my fingers because when the ring bonks the top of my neighboring finger and I adjust it, I then start to notice it.

It Takes a Many Options to Excellently Stop Ring Spin

Pearl ring with shoulders

This Pearl Ring with Shoulders Also Has a Wide Shank that Helps Stabilize Your Ring

Keeping your ring centered on your finger and looking beautiful is essential in my world.

The potential solutions I rely on to keep my ring in the middle of my finger and looking fantastic are square shanks, hinging shanks, butterfly springs, speed bumps, shoulders, and angels wings.

Have you got some villagers to help you with your jewelry?

Your Personal Jeweler,

Other Blogs of Interest

Finger Mate Hinging Shanks

How to Figure out Your Knuckle-to-Finger-Differential


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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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Patricia Schwartz
6 years ago

I love how many solutions there are for spinning rings, and how they can be subtle or a significant part of the ring’s design. Thank you for sharing!