If you have a ring with a prong setting, you’ve probably seen the small posts holding your stone: They not only keep it in place but also provide some protection against accidental hits. But what happens when your prongs bend? How dangerous is that, and what should you do about it?
Bent Prongs: What’s the Problem?
If one or more of your prongs are broken or bent, some parts of your ring’s gemstone will be exposed to damage, and a stronger bump may cause your stone to chip or crack.
Damaged or misaligned prongs can also cause the stone they are holding to become loose in its setting and even fall out of it.
Why Prongs Bend
Prongs usually bend when you hit your ring, and depending on what metal was used to make them, some prongs are easier to bend than others.
If your setting is made of a softer metal such as gold or silver, your prongs will be at a higher risk of damage.
White gold prongs, which are often used on diamond rings, are more durable: The rhodium plating that gives white gold its color also makes it stronger than yellow gold.
What Are the Signs That My Prongs Are Bent?
One of the best ways to find out if your prongs are bent is to look at the space between them. The gaps between all prongs should be of the same size.
If you notice that your prongs are unevenly spaced, then this is a sign that perhaps one or more of them are not well aligned.
You can also check your prongs for damage using a loupe. If you notice that any of them are out of alignment, lifted slightly above the stone’s surface, or damaged, you should take your ring to a jeweler to have it fixed. Otherwise, you would be putting the safety of your stone at risk.
Even if you cannot see any problems at first glance, it is recommended that you have a jeweler take a look at your setting if you bump your ring really hard. There may be damage that is not immediately obvious, but a professional would most likely be able to spot it.
Note: Looking at the gaps between prongs works best when they are meant to be evenly spaced by design. This is most often the case with settings that hold round-cut stones.
Fixing Bent Prongs
If your prongs are bent, the jeweler will realign them so that your stone is held securely.
Don’t forget to ask whoever is doing the repairs to check the entire setting for damage: Sometimes, after a strong hit, the mounting’s body and its prongs may crack, and future problems with your ring would be only a matter of time.
You should also ask the jeweler to check whether your stone is damaged in any way.
You shouldn’t try to straighten the bent prongs yourself as you could easily damage the stone and the setting.
Protecting Prongs from Bending
The best way to avoid bent prongs is, of course, to avoid hitting your ring. To make sure your prongs are also durable, you should pay attention to the material they are made of when buying a new ring.
Softer metals such as gold and silver bend more easily and wear down relatively quickly. White gold is harder and is a good choice if you want prongs that are more robust. Platinum is an even better choice, but it is much more expensive.
Even though platinum and white gold are durable, they cannot guarantee that your prongs won’t bend when hit. You still need to be careful when wearing your ring, check it regularly for bent prongs or other damage, and have it repaired timely if something is wrong.