I gave one of my 4-year-old blogs the "Update" treatment! New pictures, new story. And a new video at the end.
Sawing off Rings, My Second Favorite Job
My favorite job as a Santa Barbara repairing Jeweler is witnessing peoples’ faces light up upon seeing on a treasured piece of jewelry, that has been restored to pristine condition.
My second favorite job as a jeweler is sawing off rings. Job #1 happens all the time. Job #2…not so often.
Hopefully you'll never get trapped in your ring, but if you do, know that jewelers regularly saw off rings. This goes for gold, silver and platinum. This does not work for titanium and alternate metals.
Thirty Two Years On Mandy's Hand, the Standing Record
I always get a kick out of hearing how long someone has worn the offending ring without taking it off. The record, so far, is thirty two years. A narrow, white groove of flesh around the base of Mandy’s finger suddenly became exposed after I sawed off her ring. After thirty two years, her fingers had grown a couple sizes. Her ring hadn’t.
Mandy knew it had to come off, but she was afraid it would hurt. She felt the pressure of having the thin gaurd put between her ring and her finger, but said, "that was faster than I expected. What a relief to have it off."
How to Saw Off a Ring
I use a little hand cranked, circular saw, with a three quarter inch diameter blade, to saw off rings.
A small metal sheath slips between the shank of the ring and base of the finger to protect the person’s precious digit.
I turn the saw blade continually until the blade breaks through to the guard. I end up with a very narrow line through the gold. Since gold is relatively soft, as is silver and platinum, this works. With harder metals like tungsten or titanium, you need an electric rotary ring saw.
Next, I slide the saw over about ten millimeters or so and make a second cut. Then I remove the piece of shank that the two cuts have created.
Finally, I insert a “spreader” pliers tool—to spread the shank so it can be slipped over the knuckle of the finger.
Afterwards, I measure the person’s finger so I can re-size their ring larger. If the person's finger was in distress before the ring came off, I'll put off measuring the finger for a week or so to give it a chance to go back to its regular size.
Given that the ring hasn’t moved from the finger in years, it’s usually scratched, dirty, and dull looking, as well. By the time I get done sizing, polishing, and buffing it, the ring looks sparkly and brand new.
My Two Favorite Jobs, Revisited
Earlier, I mentioned my favorite job as a jeweler was witnessing peoples’ faces light up upon seeing a treasured piece of jewelry that has been restored to pristine condition.
The great thing about sawing off rings—my second favorite job—is that I get to experience both my favorite and second favorite jobs as a jeweler. When I present that re-sized and beautified ring back to my happy client it's always a big smiley moment.
Is There a Cost to Having a Ring Sawed Off?
In a recent discussion among jewelers, an informal survey was done about the charges of ring sawing the various jewelers used. The biggest cost is time spent and replacement saw wheels.
Some large men's rings can badly dull a saw wheel when being sawed off. We agreed that two thick men's rings, sawed off could render your saw quite blunt and call for a replacement wheel.
Many jewelers charge between $25.00 and $50.00 to saw off a ring. Some charge more for a ring that would shorten the life of the saw blade. Other jewelers say they do not charge for sawing off a ring if the client uses them for the re-building work on that ring.
I recently did a video of sawing off a client's ring.
Why Do Your Knuckles Get Bigger When You Are an Adult?
I was mystified why so many people had to have their rings sized larger when they hadn't gained any weight. A doctor client of mine said he thought that the ears, nose and knuckles kept growing, at a very slow rate. I never forgot that he said that.
As a 33 year jeweler I have sized an incredible amount of rings larger. The causes for these enlargements needed have included, finger sprains and other finger injuries, medication that causes swelling, spider bites where the swelling never goes all the way away, weight gain, pregnancy, weight lifting and stress on the fingers.
I've also noticed that many women who get married at 20 or so need their rings upsized in a few years when no weight gain has occurred. I'm guessing that they weren't completely done growing.
A great number of sizing jobs I've been asked to do are on people who have owned and worn their rings for over 20 years. Many have not gained much weight or mentioned any injuries. I tend to think that the good doctor knew what he was talking about.
Check out my video showing me sawing off a ring:
Santa Barbara Repairing Jeweler