Under Ring Helps Jewelry Owners Find the Right Fit
Spending more than four decades in the jewelry business, Brian Tanguay noticed a common problem among his senior citizen customers. Arthritis and swollen knuckles meant they were either unable to wear their rings, or that they had to be sized up large enough to fit over their knuckle, but were too loose and slipped around their finger. Brian explains how the Under Ring is solving that problem.
What’s your background? How did you become the owner of the Under Ring?
I created Tanguay Jewelers in 1976 as a watchmaker and jeweler. I invented the Under Ring in 2018 as a division of Tanguay Jewelers. I have been a Certified Watchmaker for 43 years, and I currently run the business, service all time pieces, and work on tower clocks in church steeples. The business has two full-time employees including my son who has been my jeweler for 12 years and handles all repairs and custom-made pieces.
What exactly is the Under Ring, and what is it used for?
The Under Ring is a liquid silicone band that is designed for people with oversized knuckles due to sports injuries or arthritis. It is positioned under a ring to take up the space left when the ring is sized to fit the knuckle, but too big for the finger. It’s non-invasive, comfortable, and fits like it isn’t even there.
How the product work, and what was the inspiration behind the design?
The Under Ring goes on the finger first, and then the ring is positioned on top of the Under Ring for the perfect fit. I originally created the ring for our senior citizen customers with arthritic knuckles who have not been able to comfortably wear their diamond or gemstone rings. I plan to make the Under Ring in more sizes, widths, and for all of our customers faced with this issue, such as athletes with enlarged knuckles, to help make their rings fit perfectly again.
Did you run into any challenges during the product development?
Our challenges were simply to design the product in silicone as a trial prototype—initial tests showed a lack of strength and durability. We needed a material that would provide the comfort and softness the customers needed while still offering the strength I was looking for.
Did Protolabs help with these challenges?
Protolabs supplied samples of liquid silicone rubber, and I found the 30 durometer gave the combination of comfort and strength that I was looking for. The first round of sample rings were exactly what I wanted, and we proceeded to the first run of 1,000 pieces and quickly moved on to the second mold that held four more sizes of Under Rings, bringing the inventory to eight sizes and 8,000 individual Under Rings.
Did the automated design analysis help during the process?
It helped us fine tune the CAD drawings to help with the draft angles. We had to make a few modifications to ease the removal of the product from the mold. It was a simple adjustment and the rest performed perfectly.
What’s next for the Under Ring?
My next order will be a thinner version using 50 durometer. The product was originally created for senior citizens with knuckles two, three, or even four sized larger than their finger, but I am now finding many younger women have the beginnings of this issue and only need only one size spacing. The thinner material will be better suited for this. I also plan to create at least eight more sizes, handling rings up to 5mm. If Under Rings succeed throughout the USA, we plan to scale the business to sell globally.
Will Protolabs play a role in your company’s future manufacturing plans?
Knowing how trustworthy Protolabs has been, I hope to stay with this company as long as I can. I was amazed to find that my mold could be created using CAD drawings in 15 days. Protolabs hit their mark each time right to the day. It’s comforting to know there will be no delays and I can trust them to deliver when they say they will.