Re-Shanking Your Rings; What, Why and When?
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 cracks.
Like a weak link in a chain, the most vulnerable part of your ring is its shank. Re-Shanking is a fantastic way to extend the life of your beloved rings.
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, they bend, and they crack more easily and rapidly than thicker ones.
The crown portion, or top part of your ring with the design and gemstones, needs the support of a strong shank.
Band Aid Repair
This tri-color gold ring (pictured), was allowed to get so thin, because there were no gemstones on top to fall out.
The owner of this ring just kept getting it re shaped as round.
That’s what I call a band-aid repair. It fixes it, sort of. Until like her ring, an entire chunk falls off. A ring will just go out of shape on you again, fairly quickly. And crack at any time.
Sharon’s Dropping Diamonds
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 dull.
A happy client of mine introduced us, saying I was her “fix anything jeweler.” I’ll cop to that! Sharon showed me her noticeably 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.
Is it Worth Re-Shanking Your Thin Ring?
Netta asked me if it was worth re-shanking and sizing the baby signet ring as a parting gift to her college bound daughter.
It was very thin and had been Netta’s mother’s baby signet ring. Looking at it I concurred that is was indeed thin but that thickening the shank would also help the thinner top part hold its shape.
It’s questions like these that make me glad I became a jeweler. It may not make economic sense to re-shank this signet ring. But there’s a whole other value to this ring. It’s three generations old! It stands for the continuity of her family.
When her daughter wears it, she’ll know she is loved by her family. When you are far from home it’s nice to be reminded of the love and support you have, even at a great distance. Even though this ring is thin, because there are no set gemstones, it has a chance to last longer. I say yes, size, re-shank and give it to her daughter.
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 modern 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 $150.00 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: https://youtu.be/vHWWTwQNuhw
Your Personal Jeweler,
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for your inquiry. I’ve privately e-mailed you about this question.
Your Personal Jeweler,
Can you re-size a re-shanked ring?
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.
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.
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?
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,
Does re-shanking a ring devalue the price of the ring at the resale level?
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… Read more »
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… Read more »
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
I’d like to see pictures of your ring. What metal are your gems set in now?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll respond by email too.
Your Personal Jeweler,
I’ll reply by email.
Your Personal Jeweler,
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… Read more »
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… Read more »