Elegant Ways to Wear Diamonds When Struggling with Arthritis

For those over 50, arthritis is a common challenge. This condition can complicate daily activities, turning the simple act of putting on jewelry into a daunting task. However, treatment options and specially designed jewelry can help manage this issue, ensuring that arthritis doesn't hinder one's style or daily routines.

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Elegant Ways to Wear Diamonds When Struggling with Arthritis
7 Min Read March 1st, 2024

For many women, jewelry is a way to make a personal statement. Jewelry can also be part of an inheritance or a family's history. Rings in particular are often heirlooms, or worn to signify relationship status. Being comfortable wearing jewelry is sometimes taken for granted, but for a significant portion of the female population over 50, hand arthritis can become a barrier to ring-wearing comfort.

Anyone with arthritis is all too familiar with the condition's daily challenges, including the seemingly small yet significant ways it affects tasks like wearing jewelry.

Studies indicate that over 50% of women above age 50 experience some form of hand arthritis, impacting their daily lives and potentially even their sentimental connection to jewelry. Two specific types of arthritis can cause difficulty wearing rings:

  • Basal thumb arthritis: This condition affects the base of the thumb, causing swelling and stiffness, making putting on and taking off rings painful or challenging.
  • Osteoarthritis: This more general form of arthritis can affect any finger joint, leading to swelling, stiffness, and potential deformity, making rings uncomfortable or impossible to wear.

Hormonal Changes a Factor

The increased risk of hand arthritis in women over 50 is partly attributed to hormonal changes associated with menopause. While the exact mechanisms are still under investigation, a decrease in estrogen levels is believed to play a role in the breakdown of cartilage in the hand joints.

While managing hand arthritis may involve medication, therapy, or even surgery in severe cases, understanding the link between age, gender, and hand arthritis can help women make informed decisions about their health and potentially adapt their jewelry choices to accommodate any limitations.

Wearing Rings and Hand Arthritis 

If you have arthritis or an older loved one suffers from the condition, you will know only too well about the pain and discomfort, including small but important things like how it can impact wearing jewelry.

Regardless of age, the desire to adorn oneself with rings and other jewelry remains strong among older women, serving as a timeless expression of style and personality. However, hand conditions such as arthritis can significantly hinder this aspect of their daily lives, making it difficult to wear their cherished pieces. 

The stiffness, swelling, and pain associated with arthritis can transform slipping on a ring or clasping a bracelet into a challenging, sometimes impossible task. This loss of ability to engage in what was once a routine part of getting dressed can be disheartening, affecting not just their appearance but also their sense of self and normalcy.

However, even when struggling with arthritis, you can still adorn diamond jewelry elegantly. But first, here are some common ways that having the condition can affect wearing jewelry.

Fastening Becomes Challenging or Impossible

Attempting to fasten those microscopic clasps on a necklace or bracelet when you have arthritis can be incredibly challenging and frustrating. Arthritis, characterized by joint inflammation, results in pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion, particularly in the hands and fingers. This can severely impair fine motor skills, making it difficult to grasp small clasps on necklaces, manipulate the tiny backs of earrings, or secure the hooks of bracelets. 

The loss of dexterity and strength turns the act of fastening jewelry into a frustrating experience, robbing individuals of the independence and pleasure they once found in accessorizing. This limitation affects the ability to express personal style, leading to frustration and loss of autonomy in daily life.

Rings Don't Pair Well with Swollen Fingers 

Rings are like those narrow parking spots at the mall — once parked, it's a snug fit. But try reversing out during rush hour, and you've got yourself an ordeal. Arthritic fingers can swell, which means it can be difficult to remove rings at times. Plus, wearing rings with swollen fingers can be uncomfortable or painful. 

Trying to Put Earrings on Can Cause Immense Frustration

For the non-arthritic, putting on and taking off earrings is the simplest thing in the world. But for arthritic people, it can feel like playing with the pin the tail on the donkey.

Elegant Ways to Wear Diamonds When You Have Arthritis

Dealing with tiny buttons, tricky lids, and yes, fiddly jewelry can be incredibly frustrating and challenging. But that doesn't mean you can't wear diamond jewelry elegantly.

Adjust Your Old Rings or Buy New Ones

If your old rings do not fit you anymore because your fingers have swollen, you always have the option of resizing your rings. You can then look as elegant as you always have.

 Alternatively, you could buy new rings that fit your finger size precisely. For instance, VRAI lab-created diamonds can be cut into any shape and size and set in made-to-order ring designs with 1/4 size increments for the perfect fit.

Lab-grown diamonds have identical sparkle and brilliance as mined diamonds, but lab-created diamonds that are grown in a foundry produce zero net emissions and do not contribute to other environmental issues like mined diamonds do.

Lab-grown diamonds mimic what happens underground – and that includes inclusions. Plus, you can get more carats for less, which means you can afford to obtain an elegant lab-grown diamond that is much larger than a mined diamond. 

Wear Beautiful Large-Clasped Diamond Brooches 

Clasping necklaces or bracelets may pose a challenge, but opting for a beautiful diamond brooch with a large clasp could be a stylish solution. Many large brooches feature bigger clasps, making them easier to handle. 

If finding the right piece proves difficult, consider commissioning a custom brooch from an artisan jeweler. Diamond brooches exude incredible elegance, ensuring that even with arthritis, you can still dazzle and capture attention.

Wear Stunning Long-Chained Diamond Necklaces

Necklaces and pendants remain a viable option, especially those designed without clasps and featuring longer chains, allowing them to effortlessly slip over your head. With such designs, arthritis becomes a non-issue, letting you shine as the center of attention in an elegant, long-chained diamond necklace.

Choose a Gorgeous Loose-Fit Bracelet 

Large bangles that simply slide onto your wrist are always a good option – and some diamond-encrusted bangles and bracelets are available. You do not have to give up elegant bracelets just because you have arthritis. 

Opt for Elegant Diamond Earrings with Alternative Fastenings 

Earrings might seem like archenemies to people with arthritis – but don't despair: you always have the option to wear clip-on earrings. Using lever-back or magnetic fastenings takes away the frustration of tiny studs and back panels.

 So, you can still wear beautiful diamond earrings and look as elegant as you always did.

Look for Alternative Jewelry Styles and Designs

Aside from adjusting jewelry sizes or looking for alternative fastening mechanisms, you might also want to consider different jewelry styles and designs. For instance, wide-band rings distribute pressure across a larger area of the finger, decreasing discomfort. 

Flat-backed earrings might also be a bit easier to put on and take off compared to other types. Many artisan jewelers make cuff bracelets that incorporate intricate details into their design without requiring clasps for fastening.

So, having arthritis does not necessarily mean you need to sacrifice your love for elaborate designs.

Elevate Simple Outfits with Statement Diamond Jewelry 

Another important aspect to consider when struggling with arthritis is your overall outfit. Wearing clothes with simple and smooth lines might help ease any discomfort you might feel from jewelry against your skin. However, simplicity should not compromise elegance.

Bold, statement diamond pieces often work best in this context. Opt for large-chained diamond necklaces or radiant brooches that can quickly enhance any plain or monochrome dress or top. 

Such pieces typically require less effort to fasten while still offering the brilliance and sophistication associated with diamonds.

Remember, even when dealing with arthritis, elegantly wearing diamonds becomes a lot simpler when you combine comfort, quality, and style wisely in your overall ensemble.

Comprehensive Treatment for Hand Arthritis

There are medical ways to deal with hand pain and discomfort, making it easier to do daily living activities and wear jewelry. Hand arthritis treatment varies based on the type, severity, affected joints, age, activity level, and other health conditions. The goals are to reduce pain and stiffness, improve function, and enhance quality of life. 

For inflammatory types like rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, treatments also aim to slow disease progression.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are several treatment and surgical options.

Treatment Overview:

  • Splinting/Braces: Support the joint, reduce strain, and ensure proper alignment. Usage guidance is crucial to avoid muscle weakening.
  • Medications: Aim to reduce pain, swelling, and, for certain arthritis types, prevent joint damage. Options include acetaminophen, NSAIDs, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), corticosteroids, immunosuppressives, and biologic agents. Medication choice depends on arthritis severity and type.
  • Steroid Injections: Used to manage inflammation not controlled by medication, administered directly into the joint. Repeated sparingly due to potential tendon and ligament weakening.

Additional Management Strategies:

  • Exercise: Prescribed by a hand therapist to strengthen, stretch, and improve function.
  • Hot and Cold Packs: Cold reduces pain and swelling; heat eases stiffness.
  • Rest: Regular breaks help alleviate joint pain and inflammation.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Healthy eating, weight management, smoking cessation, and occupational therapy for daily activities.

Surgical Options:

When non-surgical treatments fail and severe cartilage erosion occurs, surgery might be considered. Options include joint fusion for stability, joint replacement for damaged joints, and tendon transfer for tendon rupture repair. The choice depends on individual factors like age, activity level, and specific joint issues.

Patients and surgeons will collaboratively decide the best surgical approach, balancing pain relief with desired activity levels and joint function.

Styling with Arthritis: Embrace Jewelry Without Compromise

Arthritis shouldn't dampen your fashion spirit or diminish your love for diamond jewelry. The key lies in embracing practical yet stylish solutions. Consider resizable rings that can adjust to your comfort, brooches with large clasps for easier handling, necklaces with longer chains for effortless wear, and bracelets that offer flexibility.

Opting for clip-on earrings with simple fastenings can enhance your accessorizing experience. Moreover, exploring lab-grown diamonds or uniquely designed pieces may open new avenues to refresh your style while staying true to your aesthetic preferences.

As you adapt to the challenges arthritis presents, it's important to remember that true elegance is rooted in your inner strength and the graceful way you navigate life's obstacles. Arthritis should never be a hindrance to expressing your personal style through diamond jewelry. 

With the right adaptations, such as adjustable accessories and innovative designs, you can continue to embody elegance and let your personality shine through, regardless of whether you choose lab-grown or traditionally mined diamonds.

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About the Author

Linda is a former journalist who now enjoys writing about topics she is interested in so she “can keep her mind active and engaged”.

LTC News Contributor Linda Maxwell

Linda Maxwell

Contributor since December 11th, 2017

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