Jewelry Maintenance 101: Stone Tightening
Description: Vintage 14kt diamond ring with flower and leaf design.
Work done: This beautiful vintage ring had 3 diamonds that were loose and needed to be tightened. I secured the stones by pushing gold over the stones, after which the ring was cleaned, polished, and rhodium plated.
Repair Cost: $72
Diamonds Will Come Loose After Extensive Wear
Did you know that diamonds or other gemstones will become loose over time? This is the result the wear and tear jewelry receives as it comes into contact with other objects. Jewelry items such as rings are more susceptible to stones coming loose as jewelry on your hands will have the most contact with other objects and take a lot more abuse. Pendants and earrings usually fare better when it comes to how often your stones will need to be tightened.
How are diamonds and gemstones tightened? It depends entirely on how your stones are set and how much metal is available. Oftentimes when a ring has received a lot of wear the gold that is holding the stone in place will become thin, and will need to be built up as a result in order to tighten the stones. A general rule of thumb is that the thinner the gold or metal has become, the more expensive it is to get your jewelry repaired.
In terms of tightening the stones on your jewelry, you will usually need one of the following repairs:
- Head and Set (A brand new set of prongs, will require a stone setting fee)
- Re-tipping (Gold is added to existing “tips” or prongs, the stone will not need to be re-set)
- Rebuilding Channels (Usually on the edges of rings and covers the length of many stones)
- Basic Stone Tightening (Using the existing metal to tighten the stones, as seen in the picture above)
The good news is that after any of these repairs have been completed, you should be good for a long time in terms of repairs as long as you adhere to an inspection schedule. A basic stone tightening (as done to the vintage ring listed above) is usually your most common stone tightening repair. This ring had enough gold over the stones, and I was able to use what was already there to tighten the diamonds. This process is fairly easy and can ensure the longevity of your jewelry piece.
Have Your Jewelry Inspected Every Six Months
Why is it so important to have your jewelry regularly inspected by a goldsmith? The biggest reason is that when your stones eventually become loose, and the gold or metal holding them in becomes thin enough, you run the great risk of having your stones fall out. I am oftentimes replacing lost stones in rings, and this is a situation that could have been avoided all together if the ring had been regularly inspected. Let us protect you!
I can think of two major reasons why paying for jewelry repairs will save you heartache in the future. First, when diamonds or other stones fall out of a ring, not only will you have have to pay for what the original repair would have been (building up the gold holding your stones) you will ALSO have to pay for a replacement stone. This ends up being far more expensive. In other words, routine jewelry repairs will you save you money in the long run. I oftentimes compare jewelry repairs to servicing your car. You surely wouldn’t drive your car for extended periods of time without having it serviced right? The same goes for jewelry!
The second reason I believe everyone should have their jewelry inspected regularly is to protect the sentimental value of the ring. Who here would like to see the main diamond on their wedding ring fall out and go missing forever? This is a scenario I have seen one too many times as it can cause unneeded emotional stress. Sometimes people get lucky, and these situations are not as bad as they could have been- where the stone did fall out but after much searching around the house, getting down on hands and knees, the stone was miraculously recovered and I was able to put the stone back where it belonged. This is a happy ending to a stressful and potentially saddening scenario. Take preventative measures by having your ring inspected!