It is a stomach-dropping event to glance down at one’s hand and notice that a finger ring has dropped a gemstone. If the gemstone in question is an expensive diamond engagement solitaire, it’s not only emotionally but economically distressing. Imagine having to tell the husband that shelled out two month’s salary for an engagement ring that you are now sporting only the band on that left hand ring finger. Not good.
Even if it is a relatively inexpensive piece of jewelry, it is a pain to replace the gemstone. The price of precious metals and gemstones fluctuates – and it always seems to be up. Therefore, sometimes the labor and material charge can total more than the ring originally cost. So, what is the wise jewelry wearing woman to do?
The answer is simple: keep a close eye on gemstone rings with prong settings. Channel set rings and rings with thick bezels, if properly set, seem to hold up very well. Many jewelers use jewelers cement to glue cabochons into bezels creating a more secure finish. However, it is still wise to occasionally check these two types of settings as well.
How Do Prongs Work?
A prong is merely a V-shaped piece of metal, the bottom of which has been soldered to the ring base. The top two sides of the V are shaped and shortened so that they fit snugly just over the top of the gemstone. Even with round gemstones when four prongs are used, the prongs sit at the approximate corners of the gemstone.
What Causes the Prongs to Fail?
With careful wear most prongs will over time eventually loosen. Rough treatment of your hands while wearing the ring can will speed up the loosening process and also potentially damage the top of the prong. Ever brush your hand up against a sweater or rough piece of material and had the prong “catch” on the garment? This is the first step in losing a gemstone.
Comparing the prongs to the lug nuts on your vehicle tires – one loose lug nut, through vibration, will cause the others to loosen and before you know it, you’ve got a tire flying across the road.
Same principle with the prongs. Loosening one inadvertently creates more pressure on the other three. Eventually, just enough of a gap will be created that will allow that gemstone to slip out. Perhaps, never to be seen again.
Keep Gemstones Secure?
Each and every time the ring is placed on or taken off a finger give the prongs a quick look checking to make sure that all prongs are sitting snugly against the top of the gemstone and that no prongs appear to be damaged.
For an expensive or emotionally precious ring, take immediate action if any of the prongs appear to be damaged or just sitting “not right”. If the ring is checked every time it is worn, the slightest prong anomaly will be readily apparent.