Fits Like a Glove

October 1998

Precious Metals:Metalsmithing

Fits Like a Glove

MAB Superfit's hinged ring shank finds new customers among buyers of expensive rings. It's not just for arthritics anymore

Metalsmiths designing custom pieces and jewelers selling expensive, gem-intensive rings have no doubt encountered the large-knuckled customer. To make a ring fit over the knuckle, a bench worker must size it larger than the part of the finger where it will rest.

Long thought to be a problem merely for the arthritic, large knuckles are seen also today on young athletes and others who have used their hands in rigorous work.

In the custom-fit, service-oriented retail environment of the 1990s, jewelers need to solve this problem. Even if some customers might settle for a ring that constantly slipslides on their fingers, such abuse causes uneven wear on crucial prongs, raising the risk that a gem could come loose.

This dilemma should be cause for celebration at MAB Superfit, a company that's made well-known hinged ring shanks for a generation. Long typecast as the company to call when a jeweler had a cranky arthritis sufferer, the family-owned business now finds its phone ringing with jewelers who have wealthy customers who expect every whim satisfied yesterday. Among its customers in recent years have been Super Bowl winners, the ultimate big-knuckled wealthy types, who want their custom-designed winners' rings fitted with the hinged shanks.

Patented Solution
Though metalsmiths have devised many systems for fighting the problem of roll-around rings, including sizing beads and other devices, MAB points to its patented push-button release system as a unique feature of a Superfit ring shank. The release makes rings easy to put on and take off while ensuring safety from accidental unhinging, the company says.

The latching system "clicks" audibly when closed so the wearer knows it's closed properly and securely, says Gena Bruner Alulis, president of MAB Superfit. When closed properly, she says the latching system is a smooth, integral part of the ring that is mostly hidden and has no raised parts to catch on clothing or to irritate the finger it's on or near.

Alulis says that in today's competitive retail environment, recommending a hinged shank can be an added selling tool for jewelers, especially in an expensive sale. A ring that fits snugly on the finger is simply more comfortable to wear. A less obvious selling point is that many people are reluctant to wear or buy rings for fear that once they get them on, they will be difficult or impossible to remove.

The shank comes in 14k and 18k gold, as well as platinum. It's available in a variety of widths and finishes so it can be installed on virtually any style of ring, from the simplest to the most complex. The shank can be installed at the store's bench, or jewelers can send rings to MAB Superfit for installation. Detailed instructions are available for bench jewelers concerning installation and repair of the hinged shanks.

MAB Superfit, Havertown, PA; (800) 765-7111 or (610) 449-4383, fax (610) 449-5304.

The opened and closed Superfit ring shank.


Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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