Basic maintenance and taking routine care of your ring is part and parcel of owning a piece of jewelry. One of the most significant problems that could arise from daily wear and tear is the loosening of prongs.
I want to highlight this issue because it happens frequently in ring settings. More importantly, the prongs keep the feature stone securely in place and you run the risk of having the diamond drop out of its setting if you don’t take corrective actions.
Having spent so much time and effort into buying the diamond ring, I’m sure you don’t want your diamond to go missing because of negligence.
Most of the diamond rings you find in the current market utilize a prong based mounting and the number of prongs may vary from one design to another. In a prong setting, diamonds are installed in small gaps or baskets and kept in place by small, bent pieces of metal gripping onto the diamond’s girdle.
The advantages of using such a setting is to place more emphasis on the center stone instead of the metal surrounding it. Since the prongs only cover up a small area on the diamond, the end result is a mounting that allows more light to enter and illuminate the diamond.
A schematic sketch of prong placements and proportions
Now, we all know that diamonds are the hardest substance on Earth and the material of the prongs (typically white gold or platinum) possess lower mechanical strength than the stones kept in place by them.
Over a period of time, prongs can be bent or softened due to repeated bumping or knocks caused by wear and tear. Worn out prongs present a major problem as diamonds can accidentally get dislodged without any warning and go missing.
I’m sure nobody wants to find themselves in a heart wrenching situation of staring into an empty void on their ring. As a rule of the thumb, you should get your jewelry inspected regularly if you wear them on a daily basis. A good guideline to follow is to visit the jeweler once every 6 months for a routine “check-up”.
If you think about it from a practical viewpoint, there is not much to do when your diamond is already damaged – or, what is even worse, already lost.
The best way to ensure long-lasting jewelry is to dedicate time for regular preventive care routines.
You can start by checking for prong placements and security by using a loupe. This is a relatively straightforward task that doesn’t require much technical knowledge.
The presence of suspicious gaps between the diamond and the setting indicates problems with the prongs. that need to be fixed on. Similarly, there should not be any observable gaps for dirt or hairs to be trapped at contact points between the diamond and the prongs.
If you don’t own a loupe, here’s another method you can use to diagnose loose prongs. Touching and softly hitting the diamond with your fingernails should not result in any movements of the diamond.
Neither should the ring produce any weird sounds when you gently hit the setting with your fingers. If you do hear rattling sounds, these are telltale signs of problems that need to be remedied immediately.
First of all, always seek professional help. You should never experiment or attempt to fix the ring by yourself as you might chip your diamond in the process. Repairing broken or bent prongs is a routine job that any jeweler can perform. If you bring your ring back to the jeweler whom you bought from, prong tightening and repairs are usually a service provided for free.
Even if you decide to bring the ring to another jeweler for repairs, jobs of these nature are not technically hard and can be done while you wait. Depending on severity, the typical prices you can expect to pay for labor and materials charges can range from $25-$50 per prong.