Ring Disasters, Part 5 – When Re-Tipping is Your Only Option

Sapphire and diamond engagement ring

Here the Prongs are Part of the Ring, Not Separate Heads. This ring design style needs different repair choices than a ring with individual heads as discussed in earlier blogs in this series.

Let's Jump Back into the Fascinating World of Your Ring Prong Re-Tipping Repair Choices

To Re-cap, in Part 4 of this blog series, Ring Disasters, Part 4 Re-Tipping vs. New Head , we talked about replacing your head (pre-made gemstone mounting) instead of re-tipping prongs.

In this installment I'll talk about what to do when there are no heads in your ring design and re-tipping is your only option.

Scenarios Where New Heads are Not an Option

close up of head setting center diamond in engagement ring

This Ring's Center Diamond is Set in a 'Head.'

What if there's a lot of damage on your ring? In other words what if many of the prongs are worn down? What if there are no individual heads and the design to set the gems, consists of a grouping  of many prongs to hold many gemstones that were created all as one design? Then what do you do?

When Re-Tips Are Your Only Option

Inherited Opal Cluster Ring

Cluster of Opals Ring

Sometimes re-tipping prongs is the only repair option. Cluster rings are an example of this. A cluster style ring  has many gemstones set close together and it’s impossible to replace one gemstone's setting.

Many ring designs are decorative in nature and do not lend themselves to simple head settings for holding gemstones. These rings will need re-tipping when their prongs wear with use.


Sapphire and diamond engagement ring

Cast-in Prongs Would Need to be Re-Tipped if They Wear Down in the Future

This is a time when the only jewelry repair available is re-tipping of prongs. I have met people who have rings with a missing gemstone that sat for years unfixed. They'd noticed that the other gemstones were in danger and felt that it needed to be replaced, I mean the whole ring! So it sat, un-replaced and unloved, for want of some re-tips. It made me very happy to do those re-tips and get those rings back on their hands.

"How Come Some of My Prongs are Pancaked Flat and Others Are Fine?"


Inherited diamond ring. Three rings soldered together. Some outer prongs need re-tipping

Often the Prongs Closest to the Edges Wear Out Sooner on Your Ring

The reason some of your prongs are worn more quickly may be because smaller prongs have a tendency to wear out faster than bigger prongs.

Another reason your prongs wear out unevenly is that the prongs at the top of the ring will wear down faster than more protected lower ones. Top of the ring prongs, just get bumped and rubbed more often.

broken prongs on ring that need re-tipping

Outer Prongs Are More Vulnerable to Wear

Prongs on the outer edge of your ring are also vulnerable to wearing down quicker. This means that weirdly, middle prongs can be in great shape, while their neighbors wear down. On rings that are asymmetric in design and always worn a certain way, the prongs closest to your pinky finger normally wear down more quickly.

Knowing Your Choices Makes You a Better Mom to Your Jewelry Family

My Jeweler Friend Skye Leonardi Sent This to an Anxious Client Who Missed Her Rings

This is a common repair for gemstone rings. I've explained these types of repairs many times. A lot of people have never been told about their prong repair choices. One of my clients said, "I'm so glad you told me about this. I want to take good care of my babies. You should write it down. This is good information." And so I have.

Do You Want More of This Kind of Information?

If you agree with her, please leave a comment below and let me know. There are other repair details I could share. I'd like to know what you are curious about in the upkeep of your beloved rings.

Your Personal Jeweler

Calla Gold

The Rest of the Series

Ring Disasters, Part 1 - Broken or Pancaked Prongs

Ring Disasters, Part 2 - Re-Tipping Your Ring Prongs, Defining a Common Ring Repair

Ring Disasters, Part 3 - Ring Prong Re-Tipping Pro's and Cons

Ring Disasters, Part 4 - Re-Tipping vs. New Head

Ring Disasters, Part 5 - When Re-Tipping is Your Only Option






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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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Peggy Jo Donahue
Peggy Jo Donahue
12 years ago


This was truly a great series–i really learned a lot, and I thought I already knew a lot! I was peering and peering at my ring through a magnifier as you described the prong repair options. I think that consumers need MORE of this kind of info, so i think it’s a great direction for your blog.

All the best,

Peggy Jo

12 years ago

I just stumbled upon your series while looking for information on fixing the worn-down prong on my ring. I now feel very informed for my trip to the jeweler’s! Thank you!

11 years ago

Calla Gold Jewelry,
I Really liked what you had to say in your post, “Ring Disasters, Part 5 – When Re-Tipping is Your Only Option,” thanks for the good read!
Who knew there was so much to know about re-tipping? But it needs doing and when my ring needs re-tipping I’ll re-read your five part series and be ready and informed to have my ring prongs re-tipped.
— Shena

9 years ago

Thank you so much for this informative series. I’ve not even had my engagement ring for two weeks and one of my prongs broke off today needless to say I’m distraught. I noticed right away so at least my diamond isn’t missing, which I’ve been having nightmares about. However, I did immediately wonder if the jeweler knew the prong was week before he sold it to us. I feel so much better after reading your series.
Thank you,

Melinda Rhodes
Melinda Rhodes
8 years ago

I was very glad to read the series. Unfortunately, I didn’t read it before I took my ring in to be checked. They recommended retipping / my ring I’d three stones. I am unhappy with the repair. The tips are uneven in size and sort of larger than they were. One of the smaller ones I can actually see a solder mark when I look at in with my loop. The size difference you can see without the loop. :'( Since this is the jeweler where we bought our rings, I never thought to question ~ now I am unhappy.… Read more »

7 years ago

Thanks for the series! My future fiancé (fingers crossed) is not great at noticing little things like this, so it’s up to me to make sure her ring is in good shape. I would have never known to look for this issue without your article. I’d be interested in other articles about ring care/repair so I would know of other things to look out for. Thanks again!

6 years ago

I’m so glad to have stumbled on this site! I have an antique ring of my grandmother’s (probably from the 1950s or so) where the stone has come out-thank god I still have the stone…but retipping is the only option, as the prongs are part of the ring. The ring has 4 prongs, and before I get it repaired I was wondering if you have any insight into how much retipping usually costs?

C Stanley
C Stanley
5 years ago

Thank you for your blog posts! This information is timeless and so valuable.

Benjamin Andrews
Benjamin Andrews
4 years ago

I found it interesting that the only way to repair a cluster style ring is to re-tip the prongs. My wife dropped her wedding band on the tile yesterday, and one of the prongs broke when it hit the ground. I will send this information over to her, and look for a company that does jewelry repair.

tyler johnson
tyler johnson
4 years ago

That makes sense that smaller prongs would wear out much faster than big ones. I feel like that could be an issue if you have an engagement ring with small prongs on it. I’ll have to make sure to look for a good jewelry repair shop that I could use if the ring I get ever breaks.