Like an Iceberg to the Titanic, Thin Ring Shanks Spell Trouble For You
What is a Too-Thin Shank?
Some rings are too thin in the shank, the part that goes around your finger from middle to the bottom.
The problem with thin and narrow shanks is they break, bend, and crack more easily and rapidly than thicker ones. The crown portion, or top part of the ring with the design and
gemstones, needs the support of the shank.
Band Aid Repair
This plain signet ring (pictured), was allowed to get so thin, because there were no gemstones on top to fall out. So the owner of it just kept getting it re shaped as round.
That’s what I call a band-aid repair. It fixes it, sort of. It’ll just go out of shape on you again, fairly quickly. And crack at any time.
Sharon’s Dropping Diamonds -The Real World Example
Sharon had a prong set style ring made for her inherited antique diamonds. Not by me. Unfortunately she’d been losing one diamond a year for about three years.
She was especially upset because they were sentimental antique diamonds and the new modern-cut ones the Jeweler set to replace the lost ones made her older ones look a bit dull.
A happy client of mine introduced us, saying I was her “Bestest Santa Barbara Jewelry Repair and Design Person.” I’ll cop to that!
Sharon showed me her noticably thin shanked ring. I pointed out that it allowed the upper part of the ring to bend, and the settings to open up a bit under stress.
This would explain the dropped diamonds. I could see that two of her prongs had been re-built, but the real problem remained. I said we needed to support the prongs with a wider and thicker shank. We needed to do a re-shank job.
What Thicker Shanks Do
Thicker shanks are stronger and provide better support for the crown – the top part – of the ring. Thicker shanks don’t bend like thin ones. They hold the shape of the ring, like the foundation holds the parts of a building together.
Re-Shanking Your Thin or Cracked Shank
Re-Shanking rings is a relatively straightforward process. The old thin shank is cut away with a saw and a new, thicker and wider section is custom made and soldered into its place.
Take out the old. Put in the new! This is such a satisfying repair job to do. It makes such a difference to the ring and adds to it longer life.
Sharon’s Happy Result
We re-shanked Sharon’s antique diamond prong-set ring three years ago. We also replaced the new blingy diamonds with older Antique diamonds to match her original ones.
She’s worn it daily and all the diamonds are still in their settings! This was a much less expensive solution than she had anticipated. She was referred to me because she had been planning to make a new diamond ring to replace her diamond-dropping ring.
Do it Before it Breaks
A thinner shank weakens your ring and opens the door to cracking and weakness developing throughout your ring. Don’t wait till a gemstone falls out, or your ring bends like a pretzel. Look at it; think about your lifestyle, if you’re active you may need a thicker shank than your Grandmother. No maybes about it!
If your ring shank is too thin, get it fixed before it gets you into trouble. Getting pinched by your cracked ring or trapped in your bent-out-of-shape ring is no laughing matter.
How Much Does Re-Shanking Cost?
Each ring is different, but if I’m looking at an average, I’d say you can spend between $125.00 and $400.00 on a new shank for your ring.
This would include the engraving and design being duplicated. Your re-shanked ring should look like very nice and not like it had work done on it.
In some older rings there may be a detectable change in metal color if you look closely.
Re-Shanking Can Give New Life to Your Older Ring
Many a cracked, bent, broken and sawed-off ring have I saved, with re-shanking. It remains one of my favorite repair jobs to this day. Do you have a candidate for re-shanking gathering dust in your jewelry box?
See my re-shanking video: