Last updated on December 27, 2022
It is not just the gemstones that need to be taken care of. The setting of your jewellery also needs some attention. Are you the one who notices damaged ring prongs and still keeps wearing the piece? That is a huge mistake. The earlier you take action, the more chances you have of saving the prongs and your gemstones.
What Is a Ring Prong?
A prong is a little metal claw that holds a gemstone tightly in place. Prongs can be rounded, pointed, flat or V-shaped; the latter is more common for diamond shapes with sharp edges such as the marquise, princess and pear.
The prong setting or prong mounting is the most common and classic setting type used in jewellery. Most prong settings feature either four or six prongs; the former allows one to see more of the stone, while the latter is more secure.
The main benefit of this setting type is that there is a minimum metal used, meaning there is more gemstone to see, and more light strikes a gem from different angles exposing its sparkle and brilliance. Another advantage is its versatility. The prong setting compliments and supports a variety of diamond shapes and sizes, offering a classic and timeless look.
What to Do When You Notice Damaged Ring Prongs
Many people think it is not a big deal when the prongs of their rings or any other piece of jewellery get loose or bend a bit. They think they can take care of it later and continue wearing the ring until they find time to go to the jeweller. However, it is important to understand that even if you put off visiting your jeweller, it is not a good idea to keep on wearing the piece until then.
Once the prongs are slightly bent or broken, it is very easy for the stone to fall off. Being on your hand, the ring is in constant motion, and the risk of losing your stone is high.
The role of prongs is to keep your stones in a fixed position, and if your gemstones are out of alignment, they can crack or even break very easily if hit hard enough. That is why it is best to take off your ring and keep it safe until you get it repaired to avoid further damage.
Ring Prong Repair Options
In case your jewellery’s prongs are bent, the jeweller will straighten and put them in alignment. It is better to do this early to prevent any further damage. Do not try to realign them yourself, as you may damage the gemstone.
If some of the prongs on your ring are broken or worn out, they will need to be replaced or retipped. In case of broken prongs, the jeweller will take off the stone, remove the damaged prongs and put new ones in place through soldering. This option works best for newer rings. However, once a prong has been replaced, the new one will be slightly weaker than the original, and you will need to be more careful with it.
When replacing is not needed, the jeweller will rebuild the worn-out prongs by adding some material to the prong tips. This process is called retipping.
Keep in mind that if you have more than two damaged prongs, your jeweller may replace the whole ring setting. This is especially true for older rings. As a general rule, replacing the whole setting is always a good idea since it ensures the new prongs will last longer.
How Often Should Ring Prongs Be Checked?
The best thing to do to prevent ring prong damage is to have them checked regularly. As a general rule, you should have your prongs inspected by a jeweller at least twice a year. This way you get an assurance you are not at risk of losing any of your stones.
It is also a good idea to carefully inspect your ring at home once in a while, best using a loupe. Look at each prong from different angles and check if any of them are out of alignment. All prongs should hold the gemstone tightly, and the stone itself should not be loose. Are there cracked, broken or worn prongs? These should be repaired immediately.
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