Tilda’s tragic treasure trouble started on a fun Caribbean trip. Tilda bought a “gorgeous” ring on her trip to Barbados. Within a month the shank, (the bottom part of the ring below the main design,) was badly bent. Tilda called me, afraid to wear it.
Her question was, “How is this possible? This ring is bending and I just got it.” OK, here I jump up on my soap box and vent about badly made jewelry.
Four Reasons For Ring Shanks Gone Bad
The main problem with a ring shank on a ring you purchase is that some manufacturers frequently make them thin and lightweight, so they wear out way too quickly. They do this for several reasons:
1. They think the ring looks sleeker and sexier with a thinner shank.
My Response – “Maybe it does. Not a good excuse!”
2. They may put on a thin shank because they simply don’t know any better.
My Response – “Not a good excuse!”
3. They’re simply not good jewelry makers. Maybe they’re inexperienced.
My Response – “See above!”
4. I think the main reason for thin shanks, however, is to save on cost. A one millimeter thick shank is half the cost of a two millimeter shank. In a factory making thousands of rings this difference adds up. This is especially prevalent in jewelry marketed and sold on TV.
My Response – “This is wrong.”
Cheapifying the Shank to Make the Sale
The manufacturer may feel that if a client is comparing two similar rings and one is less expensive, they’ll choose the less expensive one to “get a better deal.” Well you can bet the less expensive one has a thinner shank.
Look carefully at the thickness of the ring shank of the piece you are considering purchasing, especially if you will be wearing it frequently.
Ring Shanks Done Right
At the same time, lots of fabulous jewelry designers, like Calla Gold Jewelry (shameless plug,) and responsible jewelry manufacturers put appropriately thick shanks on their rings to give you a great jewelry wearing experience.
Thick Shanks and Wedding Jewelry
Jewelry designed specifically to be worn as wedding jewelry, should be made with a nice thick ring shank. By thick I don’t necessarily mean wide, I mean the depth of the ring shank, measuring from your skin outward to the doorknob you are grasping.
Daily-wear jewelry needs to be more strongly made than occasionally worn rings. If not, it will fall apart like a sand castle at high tide.
Tilda’s Tragic Treasure Redeemed and Re-Shanked
We re-shanked Tilda’s wobbly ring. The top is still too thinly made, but the bottom is now so firm and strong, that Tilda can wear her ring with confidence. For more discussion about Re-Shanking Rings with examples please see: “Re-Shanking Your Rings; What, Why and When?”
I Digress Into Horse Metaphors
When I was a girl and loved and owned horses, one of the often repeated advices was something like “no hoof, no horse,” the meaning was, if your horse was lame (limped due to an unhealthy or injured foot), you wouldn’t be able to ride it and it was risky to buy, because it might never be sound (healthy footed).
When My Heart Overruled My Good Sense
I regret to say that my third horse purchase was my dream horse. A past champion jumper who was so beautiful, he made my eyes water. Slight problem, he was lame, so all I had to do was fix him right? (Did I wonder why I could afford him?) Two years and stupid amounts of money,(for a teenager) later, with my eyes stinging with sadness, I gave him away. He was still lame.
What’s The Takeaway Message Here?
Buying a thin shanked ring is like buying a lame horse, he may look like a knock-out, but your pocketbook will take the punch with future vet bills, er, I mean jewelry repair bills. Go for the well made ring and smile down the years at the pleasure it brings you.
Your Personal Jeweler,