“Whoops! I’m Missing a Diamond. Again!” moaned Daphne.
It was a sunny winter’s day in Santa Barbara, when my jewelry repair expert self took in a new wedding ring missing a tiny side diamond. Here is Daphne’s story and the “Seven Steps to Take to Protect Yourself From Poorly Made Wedding Rings.”
At first glance, the ring was beautiful. The design was up to date. It felt a little light but… hmm, I needed to look closer.
Have Loupe, Will Inspect
Whenever I take in a ring with missing gemstones, I examine all the gems and their settings under a loupe. If one setting gave way, chances are good, the others aren’t far behind. Like the tires on your car, they typically all wear out at around the same time.
It’s Amazing What You See Under Magnification
I held the ring under my trusty loupe and inspected the setting with the missing diamond. Not surprisingly, one prong was sheered off completely. I moved on to the other four stones in the row. Shockingly, most of the prongs barely covered the edges of the diamonds. The prongs were miniscule, half the size they should have been.
The ring was definitely underweight. Whoever had made it had saved money by using as little gold as possible.
I explained the situation to Daphne.
No Jeweler Wants to be the Bearer of Bad Tidings
“I should probably talk to James,” she said. “I don’t know where he bought the ring but we were kind of on a budget when we got married and…”
“It is a beautiful ring,” I said, not wanting to completely dash Daphne’s spirits. “I really like the design. And the center stone has lots of sparkle.”
“So do you think I’ll continue loosing diamonds?” she asked.
“Well…” I hedged. “I can’t say for sure, but…here, let me show you the prongs under magnification.”
The Best Defense, a Good Loupe
After explaining the proper technique, I handed her the loupe so she could see for herself the woefully undersized prongs. (see my post on How to Use a Loupe.)
“See how the prongs aren’t extending very far over the edge of the diamonds?” I asked.
“Yeah, I see that,” she answered
“And see the diamond at the end of the row?”
“Do you notice that one of the prongs isn’t even touching the stone?”
“Oh my god!” she exclaimed. “You’re right.”
Without completely making a new ring, there was little I could do except continue to replace her diamonds as they fell out and build up and lengthen the prongs.
“I should definitely talk to my husband,” she said.
I nodded my head sympathetically.
Wedding Ring Buyer Beware
There are a lot of knockoff jewelry pieces—lightweight replicas of famous designs—sitting in jewelry store cases on planet Earth. Be careful, and make sure you don’t end up owning one of them!
Seven Steps to Take to Protect Yourself From Poorly Made Wedding Rings
1. Examine all jewelry under magnification.
2. Check other rings of similar design. Compare and look for more gold and solid design.
3. Feel the difference in weights. See if one feels heavier than another.
4. Pay special attention to the way the diamonds are set.
5. For everyday wear try to chose settings that don’t share prongs.
6. Make sure the prongs are substantial and all the gemstones are straight.
7. Ask lots of questions.
If it Seems Too Good to be True it Probably is
I hate to say this. You’ve all heard it before, but: “You get what you pay for.” There is a very good reason why one ring costs $1,000 more than a similar one.
The more expensive ring is probably heavier, it was cast using more gold, and more time was spent setting the gemstones.
It was made to last a longer time. The cheaper one? Not so long.
You’ll Never Have a More Important Piece of Jewelry Than Your Wedding Ring
Take your time in selecting it. Consider having it custom made so you’ll know the thickness and quality will be built in. I know a good designer…..