Retipping a ring is nothing more than building up the prongs on your ring so they’re durable again.
Normally you only hear about “rings” being retipped because rings are the one jewelry item that wears down the most and takes the most abuse.
A lot of abuse.
And it’s to be expected that rings wear down the fastest because we put them on our fingers 24/7. Our hands and fingers are always getting bumped and knocked.
We are constantly hitting and smacking things.
Our rings and prongs take quite a beating. I’m surprised they hold up as well as they do considering the circumstances.
Prongs are the #1 thing to wear down.
Prongs get bent, broken, caught, cracked…
And the more prongs you have, the more prongs will need fixing.
(And the more that need fixing, the more expensive it gets.)
Signs your prongs are low:
You can tell if your prongs are low by actually feeling them.
If you run your fingers over the tops of the prongs you should be able to feel all the small rounded nubs sticking up. If the prongs feel smooth and flat or are even with the diamond… it’s time for a retip.
Fixing prongs is not a difficult task. Jewelers melt some solder onto the tops of those flat, worn prongs, file them smooth (so they don’t snag), and polish them up again so they look brand new (under a scope you can probably see where they built the prongs. You can usually tell where gold has been added to the tops to make them more durable).
Take a look at the image below that shows regular good prongs, low prongs (prongs that are snagging and lifted), and prongs that are rebuilt up again and durable.
Usually when one prong gets low and flat, they all get low and flat. And when they are flat they bend easy, break easy and snag everything.
Prongs Wear down like tires on a car. When one gets bald, they all go bald.
Prongs wear down pretty evenly, except the prongs on the outside of the ring do wear down a little faster.
Get them checked:
It’s recommended that you take your rings into a jewelry store and have them cleaned and inspected at least twice a year. That way, if you were to have a worn prong, or one that’s raised up off the stone, they can fix it.
Prices for retipping will vary:
(If you have a E.S.P. – Extended service plan – It will normally be free.)
Sometimes the jewelers will have to remove your gemstones before they retip a ring. They will have to remove your stones, build the prongs up, and then reset the stones again because some gems just won’t take the heat. This can make things even more costly.
Prongs are like everything in life, they wear down, erode, get old… All they need is a little TLC and maintenance every now and then (don’t we all?)
Reset your stones:
When your pProngs get so worn and weak that rebuilding them is useless, then jewelers will have to reset your stones into totally new heads (usually about every 7 years or so).
It all depends on how much you wear your ring (daily or once every Sunday) and what your ring is made of (18kt is much softer than 14kt, and platinum is way more durable than gold).
Having your prongs inspected often can catch issues before they turn into disaster (like losing a diamond). It’s just being responsible for your own ring. It’s preventive medicine that’s worth the extra time, effort and money.
Prongs just want to be safe, secure and solid.
So grab a 10x jeweler’s loupe and look closer at your prongs…
Are they okay?
Or do they look bent, cracked, low, or crooked?
It’s wise to know before you lose a stone.
And that’s a “tip” well taken.
Author Richard Scott. Certified Diamontologist and Gemologist. 30 years of experience.
Let Richard help you choose the best diamond, the most dazzling engagement ring, and save as much money as possible. Read more about the author here. Follow Richard on social media; Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Contact Richard Scott here.