Basic maintenance and taking routine care of your ring is part and parcel of owning a piece of jewelry. One of the most common problems that could arise from wear and tear is the loosening of prongs.
Without corrective actions, you run a heightened risk of a diamond dropping out of its setting when the prongs are loose.
I want to highlight this issue in this article because it happens frequently in ring settings without consumers noticing it.
Now, I’m pretty sure you don’t want your diamond to go missing because of negligence. After all, you probably spent a considerable amount of time, money and effort into buying a diamond ring.
In a nutshell, the prongs of a ring keep the feature stone securely in place.
Most diamond rings in the 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
We all know diamonds are the hardest substance on Earth. The materials used to fabricate the prongs (typically white gold or platinum) possess lower mechanical strength compared to 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 also present a major problem as diamonds can get dislodged and go missing without any warning.
I’m sure nobody wants to find themselves in a heart wrenching situation of staring at 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 I would recommend 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 some time for regular preventive care routines.
You can start by checking for secure prong placements by using a 10X loupe. This is a relatively straightforward task that doesn’t require much technical knowledge.
The presence of any suspicious gaps between the diamond and the setting may a indicate problem with the prongs which requires urgent attention. Similarly, there should not be any observable gaps for dirt or hairs to be trapped at contact points between the diamond and prongs.
If you don’t own a loupe, here’s another method you can use to diagnose loose prongs. All you need to do is to touching and softly tap on the diamond with your fingernails.
This should not result in any visible movements. 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 void any warranties the ring has. Worse still, you may even chip your diamond in the process.
Repairing broken or bent prongs is a basic routine job that any jeweler can perform. If you bring your ring back to the jeweler you bought from, prong tightening or related repair services are usually 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 the severity of repairs, the typical prices you can expect to pay for labor and materials will range from $25-$50 per prong.