This is such a common problem, yet it baffles so many people.
What causes the gemstones or diamonds in your engagement ring or wedding band to loosen up?
What can be done about loose stones?
Is there any way to prevent your diamonds from falling out of the mounting?
Reasons why stones loosen:
There are a lot of reasons why your diamonds or gemstones would loosen. The main reason is bumping it. All it takes is one good whack and your stones can loosen.
This is because the prongs and head and mounting that are holding in your diamonds are softer than the diamond itself. So if you bump your stone, the diamond normally won’t give, but the mounting will.
A little bump can cause your prongs to bend, channels to loosen, or mountings to crack. The fact is:
Rings take a lot of abuse.
The wear and tear we put on our jewelry is insane. For items that we wear every single day, it’s amazing how well they hold up.
Let’s Look at the prongs:
Bent prongs are one of the biggest reasons why stones loosen up. Prongs are the thin, little posts that hold your stone securely into the mounting. It doesn’t take much to bend these prongs, or get the Prongs caught on a sweater or shirt and pull them up or snap them off.
A lot of times jewelers have to microscope or loupe the rings and mountings just to see these little fractures and cracks in the prongs. Some people get real lucky that their prongs didn’t break off. Or should I say, their diamond got lucky.
Your prongs get worn:
Another big culprit that causes stones to become loose is… worn prongs. People that don’t take care of their rings and have their jewelry checked and cleaned are the biggest offenders. They don’t realize that slowly, over the course of years and years, their durable prongs have worn down, eroded away, and have become flat, thin and useless.
Prongs that wear down flat offer little protection (like bald tires on a car). They usually don’t have any tension left to securely hold in a diamond. It wouldn’t take much to snap them off and viola… out comes your diamond.
So hitting your ring, bumping your prongs, getting them caught and pulled, and neglecting the upkeep on them are the main reasons why stones come loose. And if you don’t get your stones and prongs tightened… it’s as good as gone. You’ll look down one day, and it’ll just be an empty hole (see picture).
So make sure you take your rings in twice a year and have your prongs and head inspected. Have them look for cracks or stress marks in the gold or platinum. If your prongs look worn or look lifted,(raised up off the stone), have the jeweler fix them.
The number one way to avoid losing a diamond or gemstone, is to catch it in time. Preventive medicine will save you lots of grief and lots of money.
Repairs can get costly:
Jewelers can always replace prongs, heads and gemstones. But it could get expensive. A new head could be $50-$150. New prongs generally cost about $10-$25 each (unless you have a jewelry extended service plan). And the diamonds and stones could be hundreds and thousands of dollars, depending on the size and quality of the stones.
So my advice is:
Get your ring inspected often (every time you get it cleaned). Get it insured (insurance will normally not only cover the loss of diamonds and gems, but also cover the cost of the repair work as well. Check your policy).
And if you want to check a stone for tightness yourself… Do this:
Take the edge of your fingernail (or small pair of tweezers), and put it on the edge of your diamond (which is actually called the diamond girdle). Then gently see if you can turn it or spin it in the mounting. Make sure you don’t exert any pressure (you don’t want to actually loosen it by checking it), and don’t try to force it either… Just see if it moves in the head. If the stone turns or spins or wiggles in anyway, it’s loose.
Take it to a jeweler to tighten and fix it!
Another way that some people check their stones is this:
They shake it!
(I’ve never been able to do it this way.) To me it sounds nuts, but listen up… Literally! Put your ring up to your ear and gently shake it. If you hear tiny rattling noises, that’s probably your loose stones moving back and forth in the head (if not, it’s probably the marbles in your head). Take it in and have the jeweler check it out.
Better safe, than sorry.
And if you’re the type of person that’s rough on your jewelry, think about having your stones reset into a new mounting with a low profile. A low mounting like a bezel-set mounting for example (one with no prongs, the diamonds sit flush in the mounting).
Hopefully by now, this will give you some things to consider and ponder. After all, anything is better than looking down and seeing your lovely diamond missing.
Because that’s enough to make you lose your mind.
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