Dec 31

Re-Shanking Your Rings; What, Why and When?

By Calla Gold

Like an Iceberg to the Titanic, Thin Ring Shanks Spell Trouble For You

Whether it’s a pinched finger with a little blood, because of a crack on the bottom of your ring, or a big chunk just broke away, it’s never good when your ring falls apart.

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

calla-gold-jewelry-reshanking before and after

Too Thin Shank and the Resulting Disaster

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.

Anniversary Band

Her Rebuilt Ring With Stronger Prongs and a Strong Shank to Support the Top.

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.

Thick Shanked Ring

Thick Shanked Ring

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?

Two ring wedding set re-shanked

Trina’s Wedding Set Bent and Weakened so we Re-Shanked her Wedding Set

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:

Calla Gold
www.callagold.com

51 thoughts on “Re-Shanking Your Rings; What, Why and When?

  1. Something we lay people never think of! A shank? I was wondering when you might have gone to prison! Seems like the shank is such a simple fix to what could be serious problems! Nice work!

    • Thank you for your funny comment! Re-shanking is one of my favorite repairs because it just saves the ring. I’m glad you came to the blog.

  2. How thick should the shank be in your opinion? Should 3 mm in thickness (I dont mean width of the band of the shank but I mean if you were to look at it from the side and determine that thickness) on a 14k gold ring be sufficient enough to hold a genuine ruby on top of a mans square set ring?

    • Abraham, you ask a good question. For a man’s ring 3mm is a sturdy depth. The depth of 2mm might also be strong enough for your purpose. Some people don’t like too much depth feel on the bottom of their rings. So 2.5 mm depth is usually the most I’m asked for from a comfort standpoint.
      Calla Gold

  3. Thanks so much for this blog post on ring re-shanking. I wonder if you give me an idea of what I could/should expect to pay to have a sterling silver ring (with diamonds) re-shanked (wider shank on bottom of ring)?
    Thanks so much.

    • Hello Joyce,
      Thank you for your question. A re-shanked ring can be re-sized, I have done it many times for my jewelry loving arthritic clients.
      Calla Gold

  4. Hi, I have my Grandmother’s old wedding ring. I want to use this as a shank for my other ring. both rings are 14 carrot white gold. Can this be done. I bought the original ring at Beldon Jeweler’s and brought it to them. She said that they “might” be able to do this repair, but she didn’t think so because the quality of my Grandmother’s ring might be too porous. Please let me know what you think.
    Thanks,
    Joyce

  5. Hi, I have a gent’s 9ct onyx signet ring, which has been caught at the top where the onyx is set and has cracked and has also worn very thin. The ring is inexpensive but sentimental. I am wondering whether the stone can either be reset or if the ring is thin all over it can still be re-shanked and hold the onyx safely?

    • Dear Julie,
      I personally think that sentimental value is worth more than the price tag on a ring. I’ve fixed many older men’s rings. Sometimes I need to re-shank and add gold the top.
      Having a new thicker shank gives stability to the top portion of the ring.
      I have emailed you as well and look forward to working with you.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

    • Rob,
      I have done re-shanking for estate dealers as well as people who have worn the backs of their rings thin through wear. I am not an appraiser, so my answer is not the be all end all answer. Re-shanking is not a visible repair, like sizing you cannot tell it was done when done properly. It is a part of a ring’s life maintenance.
      In my opinion it improves the ring, as a ring that is too thin is not supporting the entire design and can allow yawing to happen in the top design portion that can lead to cracking and weakness above.
      I believe that re-shanking does not harm the value of a ring for re-sale.
      Calla Gold

  6. I have an antique ring that needs re-shanked, how much would it cost?? It is white gold multi diamond ring that I gave to my daughter, and she wore it till the band split. All of the diamonds are still in tact.

    • Hello Cindy,
      Thank you for coming by my blog and inquiring about a re-shank project.
      I’m afraid that asking how much it costs to re-shank a ring is like asking how much a one carat diamond is. With a diamond there is shape, cut, color and clarity. Each detail changes the price.
      With rings the factors that go into pricing include; the design, age of the metal, style of the ring, depth and width of the finished re-shank. Generally my re-shank clients bring me their ring or ship it to me to determine a price.
      Are you in the Santa Barbara area?
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  7. I have ring that needs to be places or reset into different band as I am allergic to what band came with it, it’s cz and blue topaz. I wonder to take out stones buy new band to have this reset what I may be looking at ? I basically need new band in white gold. I can send pic of ring now to you to see

  8. Dear Calla, I spoke with you on the phone today about my wedding rings- I am sadly divorcing and need to sell it, so looking for a) appraisal and b) shank repair estimates. Attached in my email to you are various pics and the diamond’s 2003 Summation of Appraisal card. In 2003, we paid Jared Galleria of Jewelry: $1700 for the band set (with a $1700 insurance replacement certificate) $650 for the main diamond. I would love to know what you think of resale value I might get. I’m thinking also of having it re-shanked before trying to sell. Should I re-shank 1/4 or 1/2 of the shank?

    • Dear Lindy,
      I would use the appraisal form that Jared gave you. It has the information anyone buying it would want. Do not spend money re-appraising it. You won’t get it back.
      I also would not reshank your rings. Yes they are a bit thin on the bottom, but not near the red zone in any way.
      Because the center diamond is not over a carat this is harder to sell. It isn’t anything I’d buy, I just buy carat and above diamonds and gold for melt.
      I’d say clean and polish them if needed and then market them via Craig’s list or people you know.
      I’m sorry I haven’t any great ideas other than to save money by not investing more in anticipation of getting more for them. In my experience no one pays extra for re-shanking or fresh appraisals especially on smaller diamond rings.
      I’d try to sell them as they are, just cleaned up. They are pretty just the way they are.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  9. Thanks for the email Calla! It is kind of you to take the time. A friend of mine let me contact their family’s diamond broker in downtown LA jewelry district this morning and I paid him a visit. He gave me a complimentary appraisal and said $500 if he buys it from me ($100 for gold, $400 for the diamonds), or maybe I could get $1,000 on the private market, maybe $1,100 with my Jared Galleria diamond repair plan active on the ring. I’ll try to sell on Craigslist first, but will not spend money re-shanking. Thank you so much for taking time to give me good advice. Times like these I am grateful for angels who help me through! 🙂

    My best to you,
    Lindy

  10. Good article Calla, answered my Google query perfectly.
    For those considering whether to reshank their rings:
    I am a metal detectorist, and can say that probably 40% of rings I find have thin and broken shanks.

    • Hello Hunter,
      What a unique perspective you must have. That is so interesting that 40% of rings you find had thin or broken shanks.
      I visited a client of mine last week. She had a split shank design and it had cracked so she took it off and called me. When I came over and inspected the ring. When the shank had broken it effected the top of the ring. Two prongs out of six were broken. I told her she could have lost her diamond. Later in our appointment she was picking up her ring and the main diamond did fall out. She was so smart to take it off the minute she realized there was a problem. I figured the collision that broke the two prongs also caused the shank to break. Once the shank was broken the top of the ring didn’t have the support it needed.
      Needless to say I will be doing some work. She’d worn the ring for 30 years and the surrounding unbroken prongs were very weak and worn, so it wouldn’t have taken much of a hit for this to happen. She recalled no hit to the ring. Which is very normal.
      Her ring could have ended up being found by someone like you in a different circumstance. Happily her over a carat diamond is safe and she merely had a scare and not a loss.
      Re-shanking your ring does much to keep whole the integrity of the settings for your diamonds and gemstones.
      Thanks for sharing your statistics Hunter!
      Your Re-Shanking Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  11. Why would the shank on a platinum ring crack if it is not misshapen or thin as you have previously described? The ring has not been resized to my knowledge although after a stone was reset the ring I received back although identical was not mine as it was too small! I wonder if it was resized without my knowledge?

    • Hi Linda,
      My jeweler detective antenae are quivering. That’s a proper mystery you have on your hands. That is indeed odd that your ring is now too small after the re-setting of your gemstone. I wish I knew why that happened, but I do not.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  12. I really need to find a jeweler to duplicate the head on my ring. I’m worried for my diamond because two of my prongs are worn. The other two prongs have been re-tipped in the past and one of the re-tips appears to be cracking at the connection point.
    I love the design and the heads I’m being offered are pre-made and lack the design flair of my original design. If I use one of these heads which it has been pointed out to me would fit just fine, the character of my ring will be forever altered.
    It is a designed head from 30 or 40 years ago and no one makes it now.

    • Dear Paula,
      Do you have a custom jeweler in your town?
      If not is this something you would ship to get done?
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  13. I just had a crack in my class ring fixed. The jewelers suggested I be very careful as they say there are many solder marks (it has been repaired before) and they think it will crack again and not be able to be repaired again? It’s gold?! Is there a limit to reshanking or resizing?

    • Hi Francine,
      I’m pleased that you’ve had your class ring repaired. I’m sharing with you a bit about open flame soldering which is the typical method for repairing gold rings, and other metals for that matter. It addresses previous work and the concern that jewelers would have:
      “Soldering is the process of joining two pieces of heated metal together with a similar metal (i.e., the “solder.”) The solder is a small piece of metal that has a lower melting point than your jewelry piece, which is typically heated with a torch until the solder flows. Many pieces of jewelry have beautifully invisible solder seams—also called “joints”— and these solder joints can be undone if too high a heat is applied in later jewelry repairs.” From Chapter 8 – All About Soldering and Welding: Open Flame vs Laser in my upcoming book, “How to Talk to Your Jeweler About Rings.”
      Now that you’ve read this and know that open flame solder has the potential to undue previous solder joints, know that there is a new kid in town to consider when repairing your ring. That new kid technique is laser welding.
      See more about this technique in my blog post:
      http://www.callagold.com/jewelry-repair/how-laser-ring-soldering-fixes-fragile-and-unfixable-rings/
      My guess is that your ring can be repaired in the future. You may need to have techniques changed to laser welding to protect previous solder joints, but you should be able to have your ring repaired numerous times in the future.
      Gold can be sized and worked many times.
      If however your ring shank is thin you should have it re-shanked.
      May your class ring give you years of happy wear and memories.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  14. Hi I have my nans engagement ring which I want to use as my own. How long would it take to fit a new shank and change from 18 ct gold to white gold?

    • Hi Emma,
      That sounds like about a two week to four week turnaround for something like that. It sounds like we’d be taking the diamonds from a yellow gold ring and setting it in a white gold ring.
      Sounds like a nice project.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  15. I purchased a heavy gold men’s signet ring many about 20 years ago at a local jewelry store. I had it sized when I bought it. About 5 years ago I took it back to the same store as the band was getting thin. They reshanked the ring.

    About two weeks ago about a 1/4 of the band fell off. I noticed it when I was driving. The band broke at he bottom center and a 1/4 way up one side of the ring. The piece that fell out is lost.

    Why did this happen?

    • Hi Tom,
      I’m reading your story and thinking two things, one I’m thinking about metal fatigue and wondering if there was some microbending happening. I’m seriously guessing here. Another thought that occurs is that the work may have been done with laser which can create a less secure weld bond of metals than the open flame solder method that heats the entire connection area.
      This is a blog post about laser welding:
      http://www.callagold.com/jewelry-repair/how-laser-ring-soldering-fixes-fragile-and-unfixable-rings/
      It shows open flame soldering and laser welding.
      I had a custom ring I made that had a piece that had to be attached after diamond setting. I used laser welding. Unfortunately it broke off within a year. We very carefully open flame soldered it on and it has been on ever since. I realized that the welding connection just wasn’t deep enough for the stress that the piece was getting being a daily wear ring.
      I told my client that the design may have been an unsustainable one. She really loved that detail. I told her I took responsibility for her ring and if this hurt the diamonds I’d make a new ring but without that troublesome element. That fact was that the sturdiness of open flame solder was the only thing that’d work. But I risked killing a diamond or two. Once the piece was on I wouldn’t be able to reach the diamonds for re-setting because of the piece over them. Lucky for me the shielding technique we used worked. Yay.
      I tell you this because if laser was used to connect the new shank section it could have been a weaker join than if it was open flame soldered.
      Now the fact of the middle part breaking away is why I mentioned metal fatigue as the middle of the bottom of a ring is the area that receives the most stress from wear. So perhaps the two places it broke had different stressors.
      It is not ideal that this happened, but I appreciate your bringing your unusual story to the blog conversation.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  16. Is it possible to reshank a plain ring? I can send you a picture of the type of ring if required. It’s not needed yet I just can’t find the answer anywhere

    • Hi Sarah,
      I’m not sure what you mean by a plain ring. I welcome you to send me a picture. Try my callagold@gmail.com email as it doesn’t tend to spam first time senders with images.
      I’ll tell you about a guy I helped recently and this may apply to your situation. He had his grandfather’s wedding band and had worn it for about 35 years. It was very thin. It had bent this way and that and finally cracked, so my client wiggled it off and found me on the internet and called me.
      This ring was ridiculously thin and in fact had cut into his finger one time and drawn blood. I told him it was too thin to be worn safely. He said I want to wear my grandfather’s ring until I can’t anymore. Well it was at that point. I told him I could make him a new ring slightly wider and inlay his grandfather’s band in it. I’d make it comfort fit so it’d slide on and off easier.
      He reluctantly agreed. He’s now wearing it daily and loving it and telling friends how he’d worn it out and it was part of his new ring.
      Please send me pictures of your ring and I’ll see what can be done for you.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  17. Good afternoon, I have a question I am looking into taking small diamonds from one set and would like to buy a 8-10mm gold band and have them inserted into the wide gold band. My question is how thick does the band need to be to support the diamonds?

    • Hello Amy,
      It depends on how deep (the measurement from the top of your diamond to the bottom, pointy part called the culet) is. Another factor is the setting style you’d like to use. If you have small diamonds that you want to kind of sink into the band then the depth of your band must be deep enough to prevent the culet from scratching your finger when you put on and wear your ring.
      If you will bezel set (http://www.callagold.com/definition/bezel-setting-jewelry-definition/), the diamonds you have a bit more leeway especially if your bezel settings can pop up slightly from your band. If you plan to prong set them you’ll want to make sure that the band is strong enough to support the prongs, but it doesn’t have to be especially deep since the prongs allow the diamonds to be set on top of the band.
      Three millimeters is often as thick as a band can go and still feel comfortable on the hand.
      Another option is to have the gold band you want custom made to accommodate your diamonds. Have the setting design cast in. This allows you the option of more complex designs like channel setting, (http://www.callagold.com/definition/channel-setting-style-jewelry-defintion/) or a style that pleases you the most.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  18. My antique engagement ring cracked on the bottom middle of the band. Can you tell me if this can be fixed by soldering or should I get it re shanked? It is a platinum antique ring from the 1920s. Thank you.

  19. I have a couple of rings that need to be repaired. The shanks are thin and the bands are cracked. Can they be fixed if they’re both black hills gold?
    Nicki

  20. I have a 10k gold ring that belonged to my late sister, and the band broke. It’s just gold, nothing except her first initial on it. But I’m very short on finances at the moment and desperate to fix it. Would you by any chance be able to give a rough estimate of what it would cost to at least just repair the break? It’s just a small split in the band

    • Hi Becca,
      I’m guessing as I cannot see how wide your ring is. If it is fairly thin it might cost $35.00 to solder it back together. It doesn’t sound like your finances would allow the re-shanking at this time. I’d have it soldered back together, knowing that in the future you’ll want to re-shank it to make it stronger. Worn carefully after the fix 10kt should hold up longer than the same ring in 14kt or 18kt as it has more hardening alloys.
      I am sorry that you have lost your sister. That is rough and hurts my heart to think about.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  21. Hi I am hoping to be able to have my husbands wedding band fixed for valentine’s day he works in construction with asphalt and definitely did a number on his band to the point that it lost diamonds and cracked at the shank I have diamonds from my late mother’s ring that I would like to use to replace the lost diamonds is this possible and if so could it be done by valentine’s day and could I get an approximate price range for this type of work?

    • Hello Heather,
      My first question is are you in the Santa Barbara area or would you need to ship it to me?
      Next I’d want to see pictures of the ring and damage so I’d know exactly what work I’d need to do and the amount I’d need to charge.
      Pictures don’t always tell me what I should charge and I may need to physically inspect it before I have an idea of the time and skills I’ll need for your repair.
      Please use the email and directions in this article to take your next steps:
      http://www.callagold.com/education/how-to-send-ring-pictures-to-your-jeweler-effectively/
      I am fairly quick with turn around and I do have a rush line with my repair work. I’m not sure if shipping is involved if all can be done by Valentine’s Day. I’d say if we jump on it there’s a good chance of it.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  22. I want to know since i have lost my Engangemnt Ring back in nov. 2003, is it alright to go biy a Reasonabal ring for my self !! or should i Do without the Diamomd Ring !! My husband has a HEARTS OF FIRE Diamiond , So why cant i get something Very Simple for myself !!!! You tell me , I already put in on Layaway & my husbands Pissed off , I make a Living too!!!!! Lisa .

    • Hi Lisa,
      I believe you should wear a ring that pleases you in style and represents your love. You’ve been without a ring for a long time. It seems like you buying it is cool, you are after all a member of the marriage. For the record many women buy their own wedding jewelry so they can get a larger diamond, because they make more money or have savings they can use for that purpose.
      For a ring that will be worn daily by you, if a man can’t afford it or doesn’t think it is important, I believe it is acceptable for the woman to make the purchase.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  23. Hello we just recently had my wife’s wedding ring and engagement ring reshanked. The rings are made of white gold but the shank started turning my wife’s finger blue. We looked at the inside of the new shank and it is chipping or peeling off and looks like a copper color needles to say im very upset. What can be done about this? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Hello Phillip,
      The chipping or peeling whitenes could be rhodium plating. The underlying metal sounds like a base metal with copper in it. Clearly if she wore her wedding rings long enough to need re-shanking they are gold or platinum.
      Is this a designing jeweler, or a mall jeweler, or a stand alone jewelry sales outfit? Have you shown them the result and asked what they used?
      It does not sound good. It would seem the job should be re-done and perhaps not at the original jewelers place of business.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

  24. Thank you for your very interesting series of articles.
    We have a vintage platinum filigree engagement ring with a mine cut diamond that needs to be sized up from a 7.5 to 9.5.
    Two questions: do you think a ring that old would likely already have been resized up? We did not see many of that age that were 7 or up ( I guess ladies had smaller hands back then?). Secondly, how do you find a jeweler who is qualified in working with platinum besides just cold calling?

    • Hi Anna,
      Many of the older generation had smaller hands. No vitamins and a more agrarian lifestyle may have contributed to that. There certainly are over size 8 rings from your grandmother’s generation.
      In choosing a jeweler you want someone who will to the work in platinum and not white gold which is the easier choice, but not the best practices way to have your work done. And beyond finding someone who can work in platinum they should have experience working with older rings.
      You might want to read my post about picking the right jeweler for you:
      http://www.callagold.com/choosing-a-jeweler-2/how-to-choose-a-jeweler-16-questions-to-ask-yourself/
      If you cannot find the right jeweler in your area, use a distance jeweler with the expertise you require. FedEx and UPS are great with shipping safely.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla

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