May 7

Broken Ring Prongs and Worn Goodyear Tires, They Don’t Last Forever

By Calla Gold

Wedding ring with empty broken ring prongs

Four of the Six Prongs Broke off of this Ring

Worn Tires and Broken Ring Prongs

When you glance at your Goodyears, your tire tread, it’s pretty easy to tell if they have become worn and need to be replaced. However those delicate  broken ring prongs which get worn daily and go everywhere with you aren’t so easy to check.

I understand that it’s not easy to tell when your prongs are worn out. So we’ll get real and talk about how to spot and handle worn down prongs.

Mandy’s Sister Trudy and Her Near Miss With her Wedding Diamond

I was minding my own business delivering Mandy’s custom charm bracelet with the grandkids initials and birthstones. It was really gorgeous if I say so myself. And for the record, I never mind my own business.

Case in point Mandy went to grab something in the other room and I’d just been introduced to Trudy-from-out-of-town, when I asked to see her wedding rings to check her prongs.

A couple of minutes later;

The Shock of Nearly Losing Your Diamond

“Oh my God!” shouted Trudy, causing Mandy to run into the living room. Trudy was looking at her wedding ring under the loupe I’d just shown her how to use.

“Mandy, I’m missing two prongs.” Trudy looked red in the face.

“It’s a miracle you still have a diamond in your setting.” I agreed.

“Oh my, I’d be just devastated if I lost this diamond.” She was truly shaken. “Mandy, I’m so glad you had Calla come.”

Another diamond saved. But how many go missing? Every day.

Jumping on my Calla Gold Soap Box About Getting Your Prongs Checked

After seeing hundreds, if not thousands of rings over the last couple of decades, I shouldn’t be surprised at the number of broken, cracked and worn prongs I’ve seen.

The majority of the time, my clients brought me their rings to get sized, or for gemstone replacement, or for polishing, or for a dozen other reasons. But to get their prongs worked on? Not often.

Check Your Prongs!

Platinum prongs

Check These!

Most women don’t examine their wedding ring prongs closely—much less…frequently. Before I was a jeweler, I didn’t check mine at all. I just assumed they’d magically stay the same. Nor did I look at the tread on my tires, same assumption. But I’ve grown up a bit. I even check my oil these days!

The only thing between you and the loss of thousands of dollars worth of gemstones—and heartbreak—is one or two delicate little prongs. So please check your prongs!

How to Check Your Prongs at Home


Using a Loupe to  Check Your Prongs

Always check all the prongs on your ring with a loupe (see my blog post on how to use a loupe) or a magnifying glass.

Look at each prong from different angles.

Make sure they’re completely in contact with each gem. You shouldn’t be able to see any space between your gem and the prong.

Bent Prongs

Occasionally, your prongs catch on things or bump into hard objects and get bent out of place.

Bent prongs should always be readjusted or repaired. Immediately!

It may only need to be straightened out and buffed up, but a bent prong is a danger to your diamond!

Broken Off Prongs

Now and then, prongs break off—either completely or at the tips.

In either case, your ring should be repaired right away.

Don’t even think about wearing it with that broken off prong.

What to do About Worn Out or Broken Ring Prongs

Diamond Head with no diamond in it, broken ring prongs

A Replaceable ‘Head’ That Lost its Diamond

You have two main choices with worn out or broken ring prongs. You can re-tip (re-tipping prongs post) each prong or replace the head.

If the ring is old and all the prongs are worn, I often recommend replacing the whole head. The prongs on a new cast head are typically stronger than re-tipped ones. If the ring is newer and the other prongs are OK, re-tipping a single prong is usually the way to go.

Pancaked Prongs

Broken and Pancaked Prongs on old Ring

Two Pancaked Prongs and Four Broken Ring Prongs

Worn prongs often look flattened out, or what I like to call, “pancaked.” The nice original rounded form of the prong has been worn away and what is left is a weakened, flat substitute.

Pancaked prongs should definitely be replaced.

The unfortunate thing is that many people say, “I like them low like that they don’t catch on things anymore.” Yes, but they won’t hold your diamond reliably either.

Goodyear Tires and Good Marriages

You’ve got miles to go in your happy marriage, make sure your prongs get checked just like your tires!

Close up of Center Diamond Head on Engagement Ring

A Happy Ending for the wedding Ring from the Top of the Page

Your driving-around-to-check-your-prongs kind of a jeweler,
Calla Gold

26 thoughts on “Broken Ring Prongs and Worn Goodyear Tires, They Don’t Last Forever

  1. Fantastic information ! Can’t tell you how many times I have lost precious gems due to loose prongs. Something we often overlook . Thank God, we have Calla Gold Jewelry!

    • Next time we meet I’ll check your prongs, I don’t want any of your beautiful gems going missing on my watch!

  2. Wow, Calla. This is helpful and a wake up call–it’s easy to forget these types of ring prong check up issues until it’s too late. Thanks for the informative article! Appreciatively, Lynn

  3. Great post on rings with stones. I just had a near miss with my diamond when the prongs had worn down and two prongs broke off. Fortunately I found my diamond in my house after searching all day. My jeweler took great care of us. Great advise.

    • Nancy,
      What a happy outcome to your ring disaster. I’m so pleased to hear that your jeweler helped you have a happy ending. We jewelers love happy endings, romantic engagement stories and being a part of the celebrations of the happiest times in your life.
      Thank you for your wonderful story Nancy.
      Santa Barbara Jeweler,

  4. I am happy to have come across this article. I have a prong that is sticking up and while inspecting that one I noticed another one was broken. I am taking my ring tomorrow to the jeweler. My wedding ring belonged to my grandmother and very dear to my heart.

    • Dear Lisa,
      You’ve made my day that this post encouraged you to inspect your beloved ring! Thank you so much for sharing that.
      Calla Gold

  5. I have a question

    I received my cluster diamond ring back after a home town jeweler replaced two diamonds. Now the ring looks dark (black) in certain lights. The diamonds look good, but the ring has a different hue when looking at it. What could have happened?
    I walked out pleased but within 4 hours of wearing it and looking at it over and over again, I know something was wrong.

    • Dear Peggy,
      When soldering on gold is done, it makes it look funky. Following repairs I do polishing and steaming and other cleaning methods to get the gold back to a proper look. Not all jewelers do these steps. It is possible that the heat of soldering may have altered to gold and it needs a good, polish, steam or other treatment to get its proper look back.
      I wish you the best of luck resolving your problem. I imagine the jeweler if he’s a good one would appreciate knowing that you’re not loving the color after wearing it a bit and ask for his help in at no charge going back over your ring.
      If he acts defensive or doesn’t take responsibility, I’d find a better jeweler. If this is the case check out my blog post:
      May this be resolved easily,
      Calla Gold

  6. I have sheared the prongs off of my wedding rings three times now in 8 years I have had it, the latest time Sunday. I am devastated!! I have never taken my rings off in the past but after the 2nd time my jeweler advised me to remove it daily. He says it can get snagged. Also having long hair he says can snag the prongs & gold is very soft & can loosen the prongs over time. It sounded logical so once I got my ring repaired & back (jeweler built the prongs up this time)I got in the habit of removing it immediatley when I get home & I do not put it on the next day until I am ready to walk out the door. I get it cleaned & checked several times a year because of having this issue twice. SUnday I was bowling & happened to notice I was missing a diamond. I am so upset because this is the 3rd time & I am very careful. I do nto understand nor do I like to keep replacing a diamond & repairing the ring. I remove it daily & am very careful if I have to take a jacket off. The ring has a marquis inthe center with 6 smaller diamonds on the side of the marquis & baquettes in the band. Do you have other suggestions? Thank you very much!


    • Dear Teri,
      Could you send me a picture of your ring so I can see how your diamonds are set? Specifically I want to see how many prongs are holding your diamonds.
      Ring that we wear daily, like cars we drive daily need tune-ups. It’s not outlandish to need prongs re-tipped and settings re-built. It’s distressing, just like when your car starts missing and needs a tune-up and you need it to just run.
      Chances are that your baguettes are only set with two prongs as this is how they are traditionally set. That makes them more vulnerable to loss than diamonds with more prongs.
      My email address, the easy one is, try sending me pictures there. If I can think of suggestions I will email you back. I’ll actually email you either way so you know I got your message.
      Thanks for asking.

  7. I just had my wedding ring sized down from a 10 to a 7 after I lost a lot of weight. Within a week of getting my ring back the entire head sheared off. I did not hit it on anything or get it caught on anything either, it just fell off. The jeweler I had resize my ring rudely said it was not their fault my ring broke. They said that they went nowhere near the head of the ring. They then gave me a quote of almost $200 to just put the head back on. My question is can taking a white gold, .5 carat, 6 prong diamond ring down improperly cause too much tension on the head and cause stress fractures, resulting in the whole head shearing off?

    • Dear Dorothy,
      I’m hoping you found your head and diamond when your head sheared off. I think the worse thing your jeweler did was to speak rudely to you. My guess is they were rude because they didn’t want you to accuse them of doing something wrong.
      Sizing from a 10 to a 7 is an extreme sizing. See ring #1 in this blog post:
      Extreme sizing is where the ring is being sized more than the industry average of two sizes. Many rings can only easily be sized 1 – 1.5 sizes. This of course depends on the design of the ring and the complexity of the ring’s design.
      Since I have not seen your ring I have not idea of the design and how being sized three whole sizes would affect it. It is possible that the sizing caused a cracking in the connection of the head to the ring. This may have occurred. If so it is not clear if it would have been visible.
      Many jewelers will not undertake to do extreme sizing as side diamonds can pop out and other unintended things can happen.
      It sounds like they plan to replace your diamond head and not just solder it back onto your ring. The $200.00 would normally cover a new head, not a soldering of a new head. I’m thinking of 14kt yellow or white gold. If it is platinum then your costs are higher.
      I hope this shed a bit of light for you on this unfortunate episode.
      The great thing though is you lost an amazing amount of weight, undoubtedly feel beautiful and you are wearing your ring again!
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  8. Hello,
    I am recently engaged and received my mothers wedding set my father gave her 42 years ago. He passed in 1991 and my mother never remarried and has wore the rings until this month. The set has 3 diamonds in the engagement ring and 4 in the wedding band and are hand cut diamonds set in white gold. I couldn’t be more excited to have something so sentimental to my mother. Today I took my set to a local jeweler to have it cleaned and left afraid to even wear the wedding band. They told me I need all the prongs replaced in both rings because my diamonds could fall out anytime. Also that the set needed to be dipped in rhodium. I explained i did not want the apperance of the ring altered at all. I was just curious if dipping the ring will take away from the antique apperance of it? And should the prongs be replaced or just re-tipped? Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Tammy,
      Thank you for coming by with your excellent question. How wonderful to have your mother’s ring. Judging by the amount of time she wore it, a need for a mid-life tune up is overdue. Since I cannot see your ring I do not know if the diamond setting styles are heads or cast in prongs. Please check out this blog about heads and re-tipping:
      If your jeweler is able to replace the heads I would highly recommend that option over re-tipping. If re-tipping is the only option have every prong re-tipped or re-built. Do the repair which will add the most security to your ring.
      As far as rhodium plating goes, here’s the definition to begin with:
      Rhodium plating is an industry standard final step in the jewelry manufactury of most white gold jewelry. It is also a best practice final step in jewelry repair. It will brighten up your white gold and add a shinier feel to it. It wears with time and needs to be re-applied. I rhodium plate vintage rings regularly. In my opinion I’d let your jeweler rhodium plate your ring. If you decide you don’t like it, do not have it re-applied in the future and it will return to the original not as white look of natural white gold.
      I’d like to get technical for a minute here. Please read this post about the longevity of cast in prongs vs re-tipped prongs. The repaired prong will not last as long as the original here’s why:
      Enjoy your mom’s ring and your married life.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  9. Dear Calla,

    I have a silver ring that I’ve had for ages – almost 40 years that I had to have cut off my ring finger since it wouldn’t get past the knuckle without extreme pain. My husband had to cut it to get it off my finger. But I still really like the ring and wondered if there’s a way to repair the cut and resize the ring so it fits my finger (to where it’s not pinching it) and get it past the knuckle? any advice would be greatly appreciated on how this could be done.

    • Hello Violet,
      I actually wrote a blog post about sawing rings off that are stuck on people:
      This usually happens when your knuckle grows and you didn’t realize it and are now trapped in your ring.
      It probably can be fixed. I have repaired and enlarged all the rings I have sawed off clients.
      A good jewelry maker should be able to help you.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

    • Hello Sina,
      I think a good first step would be to have you email me pictures of your ring at this email: That one is best for first time emailers with images.
      The views that would help me determine the work that needs to be done are
      1. The view looking through the ring where your finger goes.
      2. The view looking down at the top of your ring.
      3. The view looking sideways top to bottom so I can see the side design and ring as it comes down from the top.
      I look forward to hearing from you and seeing what can be done so you can wear your ring again successfully.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  10. This is a great article but I do have a question. One of my prong tips broke off (yes I noticed it myself ), and I took it in to get it repaired. Since I’ve never had jewelry repaired before, I have no idea if what I’m seeing (after the repair) is normal or not. I got my ring back and I can see where the repair was done. It looks like a blob of soldering was plopped on where the prong had broken off and there is a line of demarcation where the soldering meets with the part of the prong that wasn’t broken. Is this normal?
    Also, this next question is outside your article topic but still within the jewelry realm. My two rings are 14k yellow gold and the place that did the prong repair also dipped the rings in rhodium (at least that’s what the receipt shows) and that stuff is flaking off on my finger. I can also see yellow gold patches in the rings. Is this normal after only having the rings back less then 8 hours? I hate being a complainer so I want to make sure I’m not out of line if I decide to complain to the company that did the work. If you think the work was less than par will I be able to get their work corrected or are my rings now ruined forever? I really appreciate any feedback you may have. Thank you.

    • Hello Linda,
      You questions are excellent.
      Thank you for being so smart and pre-emptively sending me pictures with arrows. The focus and detail on the prong heights showed fine, however the difference in color and the flaking do not show on the images.
      Let’s talk first about the fact that your new prong stand up taller than the others. That is normal. Your original prongs were that height. It’s like buying only one new tire. It has better and deeper tread than the other three which have been wearing down for a long time.
      Next let’s talk about the demarcation line, we buy pre-made prong tips because this is a common repair. A demarcation line can occur, but ideally we make it less pronounced. That line shows where the new re-tip was applied to your ring. It doesn’t mean your tip isn’t strong, it’s just not ideal from a looks perspective.
      Did you request the rhodium plating on your yellow gold wedding set? It normally comes off fairly quickly on smooth plain surfaces. I always let people know that. It is not normal for it to flake off in eight hours. The flakes or shavings that are coming off your ring are NOT normal.
      Regarding the patchiness of color on your wedding ring. It sounds like the rhodium plating did not “take.” This can be due to poorly filtered plating solution, or poor prep of the surface of jewelry or other factors I’m not thinking of.
      Now I have an opinion here about your ring. The prongs on your engagement ring are quite low from wear. My rule of thumb is when the prongs are all pretty worn and one breaks off, if you have a head, which is the setting for your diamond which is able to be soldered onto your ring, I like to replace the whole head instead of just re-tipping one.
      Here’s a blog that talks about this a bit more and better explains what heads are:
      I hope that you end up getting a whole new head rather than having your ring limp along with one re-tip and three worn and in danger of breaking prongs.
      If you really like the white gold look as opposed to yellow gold I’d recommend getting white gold rings. They’ll still need rhodium plating now and then, but won’t show yellow as they wear.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  11. I needed one prong fixed. I got it back quick. The diamond was so high up , the prong was crooked. So it went back out. Came back. Diamond is still too high, and one side is higher , prong is chewed looking and the band doesnt even feel like mine. So now it has to go again. After the hoildays. I feel like its not even mine. Ive been going to them since 1989.

    • Hi Sally,
      This sound distressing. I’d recommend taking pictures of your ring at this point from multiple angles. Print them out and draw arrows to the problem areas. Show these pictures and keep copies for yourself. When there is uncertainty on your part about work to be done, take your own before pictures to help you have a frame of reference for what your ring looked like before the work was done.
      I know in this situation that isn’t happening, but going forward it may help a bit.
      Perhaps they rushed, where they needed to take their time. If you would like you could email me pictures to better understand your problem.
      Your Personal Jeweler,

  12. Last night I noticed that two of the prongs are missing from my wedding ring. Thank you for pointing out that this is something that should be repaired right away. I’ll have to do some research and find the best place in my area to repair my ring.

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