Jul 11

Six Actions You Can Take With Your Chipped Diamonds

By Calla Gold

Jupitor 3/4 viewBroken Nails and Jupiter

To break a nail, ladies, is never good. To break a diamond…even less so. Nails grow back relatively quickly. Diamonds…not so fast.  Hmmm, actually not at all. Believe me, I’m one Santa Barbara Jeweler that’s seen plenty of chipped diamonds. Here, I’m going to suggest six actions you can take with your chipped diamonds.

Even though they’re the hardest natural material this side of Jupiter, diamonds do chip and crack.

“Why do Diamonds Chip?”

White Round Brilliant Diamond, Chipped

Chipped in multiple places. Not a candidate for re-cutting

Why? Without getting technical, diamonds can fracture and break along crystalline matrixes within the stone—especially when smacked on granite counter tops, rocks in the garden, and random well placed hard surfaces.

Four  Things to Consider First About Your Chipped Diamond Jewelry Repair

  1. The size of your diamond
  2. The size of your chip
  3. The quality of your diamond
  4. The age and cut of your diamond

Talk it over with your Jeweler. Once you have the facts you need about your diamond’s value and the cost of the work,  it’ll be easier to come to a decision.

Be sure to factor in the sentimental value and history of your diamond. The member of your family this diamond came from may have left little to be remembered by. This small symbol of family love could have great meaning to you or members of your family.

Old or antique chipped diamonds may look like nothing much to your Jeweler, but if it’s the only diamond from your Grandmother Hattie’s ring from the old country, it’s a priceless symbol to the family and worth fixing.

Six Actions You Can Take With Your Chipped Diamond

  1. Re-cut your diamond. Usually, small diamonds—those under .20cts, (1/5th of a carat,) or so—aren’t worth re-cutting. Larger diamonds—especially antique diamonds with sentimental value—can often be re-cut without loosing too much of the original stone. Ask your jeweler.
  2. Replace the chipped diamond for another. Smaller diamonds normally are replaced. A larger diamond with a very big chip may need to be replaced, as well.
  3. Trade up. If you’ve always wanted a bigger, cleaner, or brighter diamond… Now is the time to exchange your old 1/2 ct. chipped center stone with a full one carat sparkly one.
  4. Diamond in decorated bezel setting

    This inherited chipped diamond got a new home in a full bezel setting.

    Cover the chip with a design element. Oftentimes, small chips can be covered over by one of the prongs holding it in its setting. Ask your jeweler if your setting will accommodate and hide your chipped diamond.

  5. Put the diamond in another piece of jewelry. Rings take more abuse than pendants and earrings. You might pair up the chipped diamond in your ring with a matching gem (non-chipped!) to make a pair of earrings. What do you do with the subsequent hole in your ring? See #3, above.
  6. Give the piece of jewelry with the chipped diamond to your niece or daughter.

Now you know what to do with your chipped diamond. As for your nails…there’s a great salon down the block. Ask for Rita. She does fabulous work. Tell her Calla sent you.

40 thoughts on “Six Actions You Can Take With Your Chipped Diamonds

  1. As usual, clear, thoughtful advice, Calla. I am so brash and accident prone ( I have broken nearly every wine glass my husband and I have ever purchased) but have yet to chip my diamond ring. I guess there is always time! Now I know what to do–or rather who to call–if such a disaster occurs.

    • Lori, I defend your right to wear your jewelry to the fullest! Hopefully you never need to call me about chipped diamonds. The good news, it’s not the end of the world.
      I say “wear it don’t warehouse it” and it’d sure rather be worn on the rollercoaster of life than languish in a jewelry box.
      Calla Gold

  2. Great advice indeed! I can relate to Lori on the wine chipping…maybe I need a helmet for my ring 🙂 Thanks for sharing your expert Santa Barbara jeweler advice Calla!!!

    • Lorrie, a helmet for your ring? You crack me up. I love that idea. But seriously, just wear and love your diamonds and they’ll sparkle their love back atcha!
      Calla Gold

  3. Wow, I never knew that diamonds could chip. More excellent expert advice from Calla Gold Personal Jeweler! I personally thought that that was the good thing about diamonds–that they wouldn’t chip. But, I’m not going to stop wearing them all the time now that I know that. Especially since I know where to get it fixed if something does happen! 🙂
    Dr. Lynn K. Jones, Certified Personal and Executive Coach

    • Dr. Jones, I’m delighted that you will be continuing to wear your gorgeous diamonds. They are the only game in town for beauty and durability. They just are completely invincible.
      Thank you for your kind words.
      Calla Gold

  4. Hello,

    Your aforementioned (Six Actions…) information is very insightful. So I have a small chip on the edge of a 1.55c diamond, next to where a prong is located. I can’t see the chip with my naked eye, but can with a jewelers magnifying loupe. If heat is applied to removed the diamond and have it reset into another setting, is there a (greater) risk that the diamond could crack because it’s chipped?

    -Thank you,

    • Hi Ray,
      The responsible thing is for me to say yes. However, I have personally never had a diamond get hurt in all the time I’ve worked chipped diamonds.
      A random hard hit from wearing the diamond is where I see the damage occur. A couple of my clients who had chipped diamonds created a visible crack farther into the diamond by hitting it while wearing it. For the record the chips they had on each of their diamond were visible to the eye and fairly big.
      Each of these clients knew they were living on borrowed time with these chipped diamonds.
      I hope this helped. Your diamond will probably be fine for years to come.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  5. A jeweler cracked my diamond while mounting it in a new setting. This diamond belonged to my mother and, therefore, meant a lot to me. It was 1.09 carots and was a VS1 white diamond. I don’t want to “hold them over a barrel” but the corner break is visible to my naked eye. Although I wanted to keep this stone, now I have decided to replace it. Any suggestions about how I should proceed with the jeweler? Unfortunately, he has already suggested that I file a (fraudulent) insurance claim with my own insurance company to get more money. He has admitted liability so now I am not confident that he will deal with me honestly as regards diamond quality in the replacement stone.

    • Debbie,
      What a can of worms this situation is for you. It is a real downer that your special diamond was cracked in the setting process. I don’t know the cut style of your diamond. I do know since it happened to me, that where diamonds are narrowest they can chip, crack or get little breaks at corners and edges.
      Having him suggest you file a fraudulent claim is distressing. I’m sure he wants you to get the maximum you can from your policy, but lying to anyone for gain is uncomfortable at best.
      I tell my clients (when I remember) that I am as careful as possible in gem setting, but that sometimes gems respond badly to the stress of mounting them. One of the most chip prone in setting shapes of diamonds is the princess cut. It is square and where the corners are it is really thin and way too easy to chip.
      There is a good chance that your jeweler was not negligent in the setting that caused this crack to happen. But this helps neither of you. Who is responsible for the value of a broken or damaged gemstone in the jewelry world is a gray area. You’ll have a $200.00 setting fee to set a $15,000.00 diamond. A jeweler could set gems all day and all night for quite a while before he makes the kind of profit that’d help him pay for a replacement diamond for someone.
      When I work on a very expensive gemstone that I know is a risk to work on, (such as emerald, opal and tanzanite), I ask if it is insured and have my client sign a form that I am not responsible for damage in setting. I do this to protect myself as I cannot self insure a very expensive gemstone.
      The reason people give me jobs to do even when I make them sign this form is because I have a really good track record.
      Debbie, I hope that this is at least somewhat helpful and illuminating.
      Calla Gold

  6. The same thing happened to me. I believe the diamond was chipped by the jeweler re-setting my princess cut. When I brought it back to have it cleaned a year later, the jeweler looked at it and immediately said: this diamond has a chip. Well, they were the ones who set it. Yes, I could have possibly chipped it in the year, but I suspect it was chipped by them because I could always feel a tiny chip along the edge once I got it back.
    Now, why wouldn’t a jeweler tell me that there is a good chance this princess-cut will chip during the setting process? And then I would have had the opportunity to live with the setting it was in..? They should have told me.

    • Hi Lori,
      I am a big fan of letting people know that there is a heightened risk of chipping with princess diamonds when any setting work is done. The corners and edges are just so thin.
      Thank you for sharing your experience.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  7. I am in a similar situation with my husband’s ring, which we had his mother’s diamond mounted in it over 10 years ago. During a six month check we were told it needed some work so we sent it in. Have now found out it was damaged by the jeweler, but don’t know the details yet. I think I am more sentimental about it than my husband and would like to salvage what we can into a necklace for my daughter whom will never meet her grandmother. If the store replaces my husband’s diamond with a similar one, is it possible to keep the damaged diamond? I was initially told by the store employee that she didn’t think it was possible because it would be part of their insurance claim. Also, if it is possible I assume I’d have to buy it, how do I know it’s a fair price for what’s left?

    • Hi Tammy,
      These are very good questions. At minimum before you accept the replacement diamond, look at yours under magnification to see what the damage was.
      Also be sure that the color and size are very similar. I believe that it is difficult to keep the diamond if they give you a replacement.
      It is worth asking. The value of your damaged older diamond will not be great if I’m guessing correctly.
      I would assign my loving feelings from your older diamond to the newer one if you accept it. Let the new one be the stand in for the old so you can still have “grandma’s diamond.”
      Thank you for writing and I wish you the best of luck with sorting it out.
      Your Personal Jeweler,
      Calla Gold

  8. Hi Calla

    I think the jeweler my fiance purchased my diamond from damaged it while setting it. My fiance purchased the loose diamond and had it set in a band. It is princess cut. It’s .75ct. Since I have owned the ring I haven’t seen any flawed edges or anything. Then all of sudden I noticed a huge chip across the side girdle of the stone.
    My fiance is a professional photographer and we used his macro lens to take pictures of the ring in order to examine this all of a sudden fracture.
    It clearly looks like trauma near the tip of the prong creating several lines that radiate along and around the girdle towards the other end of that side with the lines gradually widening apart from each other.

    What would cause this?? I’m very careful with my ring and have only had it for less than a month…


    • Dear Sarika,
      I love your beautiful name! Your story is a sad one. Unfortunately princess cut diamonds are more fragile around the very thin girdle area than other diamond cuts. Whenever I am going to set or re-set someone’s princess cut diamond I warn them about the fragility of these angles and that most of the chipped diamonds I see are princess cuts.
      In some cases I’ll have my client insure an older cut princess diamond I’ll be re-setting and have them sign a paper acknowledging that damage could occur and I’m not responsible. This is the only cut of diamond I’ve done this on. I’ve just seen too many examples of damaged girdles, be it a chipped diamond or flaked away pieces of diamond from the edge.
      When my clients are looking at different cuts of diamonds I mention the fragility of princess cut diamonds and recommend setting styles that offer some support and protection.
      Even when you wear a ring gently, if just the right bump or pressure occurs at just the right weak spot you could unknowingly end up with a chipped diamond.
      Not seeing your diamond in person and not seeing the style of mounting it is in I can’t speak to whether there was something that pre-disposed it to chip.
      I appreciate that you shared your experience. That it happened in one month is especially heart breaking.
      I’m hoping your ring was insured. I recommend all my couples insure their engagement rings. As they are worn daily and are exposed to more bumps and other little risks that we may not even feel.
      Good luck sorting out what you’ll do about your princess cut diamond.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  9. Is it possible to crush the chipped diamond and use the chips in a piece of jewlery?

  10. what about crushing the chipped diamond and using the chips in a new piece of jewelry?

    • Hi Robyn,
      Well I have to admit that in 32 years of being a jeweler, this is the first time I’ve heard this. My concern would be that they’d look like dull little lumpen rock bits, not even as potentially pretty as a glass shards which at least would shine and sparkle.
      A non-polished diamond bit is very dull and boring looking. I feel like your love for that little crumbly diamond would be not good.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  11. I stumbled onto the conversation via Google.
    When in doubt…re-cut.

  12. Do you see insurance companies paying for this type of damage to a stone? We are in the same situation and will likely be filing a claim. Thank You!

    • Hi Jeff,
      I’d imagine each insurer handles chipped diamonds in a different way. Reach out to your agent and see what he or she thinks.
      I wish you the best of luck.
      Glad you were insured,
      Calla Gold

  13. For my 25th anniversary, my husband bought me a 2 carat diamond to replace my 3/4 carat center stone. My ring has 3 channels of diamonds on each side.

    I recently took it to a jeweler to have the stone reset and she said they couldn’t do it cuz the stone was too big for my ring. The space to put the new stone mount in was too small and I would need to get bigger side diamonds to make it proportionally even. Imagine that.

    I’ve done my homework and shopped around. No other jeweler said a bigger stone would not fit. So I asked this lady about recasting a duplicate setting to accommodate my bigger stone while using my existing channel set diamonds (round and baguette). You know, they’re precious to me. She was appalled that I even asked and said the existing diamonds were probably brittle and would crack or fracture upon taking them out of my existing setting. Apparently time weakens diamonds. I’m not a jeweler, but this doesn’t sound right to me. Would taking diamonds out of one setting (25 yr old setting) and using them in another setting crack/fracture them?

    BTW, I took the ring to another jeweler and they set the larger stone – no problem!

    • Dear Sharon,
      I so appreciate you sharing your story. This is a great example of why it is important to get a second or third opinion when someone puts up roadblocks on a project or gives weird and contrary information.
      First your husband is wonderful to get you a 2 ct. diamond. I have frequently set upgraded sized diamonds into rings that had set a smaller diamond. The setting for the smaller diamond wouldn’t work, but a larger correct setting would. A jewelry needs to be quite creative in getting the older setting out and putting the new setting in. You have to be an engineer sometimes to as my son would say Tetris it in there.
      The information that your older diamonds were brittle with age is just so much poppycock. Non of my training has suggested that age diminishes the strong nature of diamonds.
      I’m delighted that you went elsewhere and had your diamond set successfully. You seem to have found the right jeweler!
      Santa Barbara Jeweler,

  14. My husband bought me a beautiful pre-owned platinum channel set baguette eternity band for our 25th wedding anniversary. It has 35 diamonds totaling 3.5 carats, it is beautiful, and I love it! Being an inexperienced diamond shopper, he did not inspect the ring under magnification. I have since discovered 3 of the stones are chipped. The chips are very small. I’ve not said anything because I know he’ll feel bad. I can live with it as it is and almost feel more endeared to my new ring because of its little chips. Your thoughts?

    • Hello Cindy,
      I love your attitude that the little chips endear you to your ring. I’d say if they are just little chips to just love their personality and keep an eye on them to ensure that they don’t get any bigger. With an eternity band, little chips will probably occur in the future. Just love it and him.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  15. Calla my diamond engagement ring is a minor cut and has a grey shadow looking in it from the top. No chips. I was told it is inside. Oh and not quite a carat so i was wondering if there is a way to fix ? It’s a very pretty Edwardian ring i think? It was a gift. Only i have never had it appraised. Now looking to sell it and not sure if it be fixed or sold.

    • Hi Christina,
      I see that I am looking at my comment out of order. It sounds like your Miner’s Cut diamond has an eye visible inclusion. As it is under a carat I would not advise trying to do something about it. Your ring can be sold, but save your money on an appraisal. If you spend $100.00 to get it appraised and someone offers $750.00 for it that will have been $100.00 wasted.
      This is my opinion as over 1 carat clean to the eye diamonds are more desirable and easier to sell than under caraters with obvious inclusions.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

    • Hello Christina,
      If your cracks are on the inside of your diamond, just wear it and love it and hope it doesn’t crack more. I’ve known of older diamonds with interior cracks that did not reach the surface and were worn for years with no further damage.
      Wear them and love them.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  16. Hi Calla,
    I recently purchased an old mine cut diamond from a jeweler I happen to know. He did not tell me the diamond has a small chip at the girdle next to one of the prongs. I called him after a friend of mine (She’s a jeweler too) told me about the chip. It is not visible to the naked eye. When I called the jeweler I purchased the diamond ring from, he said “Well, it’s about 150yrs old.” Should I have just expected it to be chipped as he implied ? Does this decrease value ? I am confused as I have known him for 8yrs and don’t know how to approach the situation with him again or should I even worry about it ?

    • Hi Christa,
      As a general rule in used and estate jewelry, it is sold in as-is condition. Since the jeweler buys it as is and generally does cleaning and maybe minor maintenance, it is expected to have some use marks on it or wear patterns that go with it.
      I’d be surprised if a 150 year old diamond didn’t have some dings on it.
      I do not hold old jewelry to the perfection standard of new jewelry. That’s me.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  17. But Calla… Don’t you think people should be told what they are getting when putting down a large sum of money ? I would never hold old jewels up to new jewel standards, but I would sure like to know what condition it’s in when making quite an expensive purchase ! Wouldn’t you ? I really do feel ripped off.
    Anyway, long story short… I took that ring to a very reputable jewelry store who deals in estate, antique, and new gems. They looked at the ring and told me the diamond was a chipped mess. Yes, I could have had the old mine diamond re cut, but I love old diamonds and this is a right hand ring for me. So, I did a very small trade in, pulled out my wallet, and purchased another Edwardian 3 stone ring with 1 OEC & 2 transitional ‘NO’ chips gorgeous diamond ring. Maybe in the end it worked out for the best, but I still hold firm ! I should know what I’m paying for chips, cracks, or just dreamy clean with beautiful charm.
    Thx again,

    • Hi Christa,
      When I sell older diamonds I show them under magnification and point out the characteristics of the cut style and show how it differs from a modern cut. I tell people the diamond is sold as-is, but I do not try to sell a diamond that has flaws you don’t know about.
      The fact that it was a chipped up mess is not OK. Did they not show it to you under magnification? If not, they did commit an error.
      It’s one thing for there to be a little chip, but not a bunch of chips.
      It sounds like you did the right thing in getting a nicer choice. Hopefully in that new choice you were shown under magnification how your diamonds look.
      Congratulations on handling that to your satisfaction.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  18. I have a large 7 stone diamond ring that was my grandmother’s. The center stone is close to a carat. I just found out that my jeweler found a small chip next to a prong that is barely visible even under the loop and not at all to the naked eye. The piece is incredibly sentimental and appraised around $11,000.00…will this greatly weaken the ring or make it drastically less valuable? I want this piece to live on for generations.

    • Hello Stephanie,
      The little chip should not weaken your diamond. The chip will slightly diminish the diamond’s value, but I wouldn’t worry about it. Love her ring that was given to you with love. Cherish it, wear it and check the settings every six months to a year as older rings can have more maintenance needs. I’d like your ring to live for generations as well.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  19. Hi Calla,

    My husband upgraded my setting 2 years ago with my original diamond (purchased from another jewler). I recently had it sent out to be resized. They called me a couple of weeks later to tell me they found a large crack under the prong and now would not resize it but that they were not responsible for it. The ring was inspected every 6 months. Is it possible I cracked it under the prong even with minimal wear? Or is it more likely that it was cracked when it was set 2 years ago? They weren’t very kind or helpful and didn’t understand why I was upset. Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Emily,
      Trying to figure out when a crack appeared is a very difficult. It could have occurred while you wore it since and you’d be unaware of it. It also could have occured during your re-setting project.
      The inspections you have had would have focused on the integrity of the prongs and the general setting. If the crack was subtle it would have been missed.
      It is unfortunate that you were treated with poor bedside manor. It would have been so helpful to have someone be your champion and speak to you using their knowledge and experience to help you understand your new circumstances.
      Is your ring still in a state of un-sized and un-worn-ness?
      Your Personal Jeweler,

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