Requests for accessible jewelry have become more frequent of late. As a family jeweler, we’ve had the privilege of creating and caring for our customer’s jewelry throughout all the seasons of life. I suppose it’s no surprise that as bodies age and change, your jewelry will too.
Why Do We Need Accessible Jewelry?
“Accessible” is a powerful word. Think of what it depicts: No barriers, open to all, ease of use, and entry without any limitations. This makes me think of my family members who use wheelchairs, canes, and walkers. For my family or anyone who uses these tools to be independent, accessibility is huge!
When streets, curbs, transportation, and facilities are accessible, anyone can get around on their own, not having to depend on others to do something as simple as opening a door. Having access to things we once loved applies to jewelry as well, even when our physical body makes it harder.
And accessibility applies to many more situations. Think of how important it is to have access to education, books, information, libraries, music, theatre, etc. You might take having access to these things for granted. And then think how lives are enriched, horizons expanded, and solutions to problems found, simply by having access to these things.
Having access to things we once loved applies to jewelry as well, even when our physical body makes it harder.
How Do We Make Accessible Jewelry?
Thankfully, there are many ways to make the jewelry you love more wearable and more accessible so you can wear them your entire life.
One of our core values as Lake Street Diamond Company is finding jewelry that fits your lifestyle. Making jewelry more accessible for our customers is certainly a piece of that.
Swollen Knuckles and Bony Hands
The only constant in life is change, and that’s exactly what our hands do over the years. Normally, our knuckles get larger as we get older due to osteoarthritis, which is an age-related form of arthritis. If you suffer from this, you may find your fingers are more swollen in the mornings, so it’s harder to get your rings on or off at that time of day.
Don’t think that knuckle issues are only for those in their senior years. There are other reasons for enlarged knuckles that can occur at any age. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the lining of the joints, can cause swelling in your finger and wrist joints. Injuries to and infections in your hands can also cause your knuckles to swell. As your hands heal, you may find the swelling will go down or it may be permanent.
Let Hand Injuries Heal Completely First
Our recommendation is to wait several months to see what the final outcome is once the injury has healed. Then, we can make the best decision about sizing your rings. Also, don’t be in a hurry to put your rings back on. You may find that part way through your recovery, you can get your ring on, only later to discover that this was a mistake.
Now, you can’t get your ring off at all and your finger is swelling more and may be turning colors. Then, our only course of action is to cut your ring off your finger. You’re left with the cost for ring restoration in addition to the original sizing cost. This just recently happened for one of our customers.
Other issues related to your hands swelling include a side effect of your medication, pregnancy, eating too much salt, or hot weather.
All of these changes can cause problems with fitting rings. Maybe your wedding ring or an heirloom ring doesn’t go over your knuckle anymore. Or if it does, the ring spins around your finger, and you risk losing it from being too loose.
Tricks of the Trade for Making Accessible Jewelry
Once your hands have reached their final size, then we can determine the best course of action for you to comfortably wear your rings.
Our first step is to figure out your ring size. By using our ring sizers, we can see what size will go over your knuckle and fit well at the base of your finger. If this works, then we’re off to resizing your ring.
If you are still able to get your ring over your knuckle, but it twirls around your finger, then we have a couple of solutions.
Speed Bumps Keep Adjusted Rings Snug
If your rings had to be enlarged to accommodate larger knuckles, they may spin around once they are on. This is when we install “speed bumps” or small, rounded balls of gold on the inside bottom of your ring. If you imagine your ring is like a clock face, these little nubs are placed at 5:00 and 7:00 o’clock positions. This leaves space for the ring to get over your knuckle and then takes up the extra room at the base of your finger. Some of our customers like this option while others find it uncomfortable.
One recent customer asked to add speed bumps to her ring. She found they interfered with her golf game, and had to take her ring off to play.
Butterfly Springs – Best of Both Worlds
Another option is to attach an inner spring mechanism, or a “butterfly”, on the bottom rim of your ring. Two thin strips of metal are attached at the bottom, inside portion of the ring. Like wings, the tops remain unattached. If you cup your hands in front of you and allow the base of your palms to touch while the fingers stay apart, you’ll get the idea.
Soft and flexible, they give easily as the ring passes over the thickest part of your knuckle, pressing the wings close to the inside rim of the ring. Once past the knuckle these little strips of metal relax back toward the center, cupping your finger like a ring within a ring. This can be more comfortable for some customers than a fixed, solid dot of metal like speed bumps.
Ring Hinges – The Final Option
If these options don’t work we have a final option. Installing a hinge allows you to slip your finger through a gap and onto the base of your finger. Then the latch mechanism can “click into place” locking the two halves of the ring back together. A hinge eliminates the need to size your ring because you’re able to bypass your knuckle completely!
The hinge and latch design install seamlessly on the bottom half of your ring. We match the metal and size of the shank of your ring. It will be smooth, comfortable to wear, easy to get on and off, and blends into the design of your ring.
Get Back to Wearing Your Rings
The inspiration for this blog was a recent request for help from a customer who’s ring always spun around her finger, never facing the right way. And, it was so tight passing over the enlarged knuckles it was painful watching her try to get her ring off!
Our solution? A new custom ring, using the stones from the original, designed with a hinge/latch. Now, she has a beautiful new ring that is easy to get on and doesn’t spin. She loves it!
Accessibility is so important in all areas of our lives, even with continuing to wear our cherished pieces of jewelry. Remember that jewelry is meant to be worn, not live in your jewelry box. So, let’s figure out the best way for your jewelry to be accessible for you to wear and enjoy!