You have a gemstone ring that you wear every day, but do you know how you can tell if it needs to be repaired? There are some telltale signs that the prongs of your ring have to be fixed, but most people overlook these clues and unknowingly expose their gemstones to risk.
The First Sign: Does Your Ring Snag?
If you ring catches on your clothes or hair, this may be a sign that something is wrong with your prongs.
Usually, when prongs are worn, they become thin and their tips get slightly raised above the stone. This is when they may start snagging your clothing.
Don’t ignore this symptom as once a prong is worn out, it is easy for it to break. If that happens, your stone won’t be as tightly held and it may easily fall off the setting.
Don’t Forget to Check for Loose Stones
A giveaway sign that your prongs need fixing is when you notice that your stone moves in its setting. Hitting a prong accidentally can cause it to bend and loosen its grip on your gemstone.
One way to check if your stone is loose is to touch its edge very gently with your finger or fingernail and press lightly against it. You can also use tweezers.
Be careful not to loosen the stone, though. Look for signs of slight movement, and if the stone is even a little loose, you should have your prongs tightened.
Otherwise, the problem may get worse with time, and you risk losing your gemstone down the road.
The Most Common Problems with Prongs
Usually, rings snag because one or more of their prongs are raised, they are bent, or they are worn out.
In any case, you should take off your ring, take a good look at it to diagnose the problem, and have a jeweler fix the piece.
Let’s see what can be done for your prongs in each case.
If the prong is a bit raised above your stone and doesn’t lie flat on it, then you have a problem that’s easy to fix.
Usually, prongs that are in such a position weren’t pushed down well enough when the stone was mounted. Or, you bumped your ring somewhere, and the prong got bent.
If your prong doesn’t look thinned out from wear, then the solution is pretty simple. Take your ring to a jeweler, who will simply push the prong down so that it touches and holds the stone.
This might seem easy, but we don’t recommend you to try and fix the issue yourself as you may damage your stone.
Another common reason that prongs snag is that they are worn out and thin.
In such a case, they become flat, their heads are no longer rounded, and that’s why the prongs catch your clothes or hair easily.
Worn prongs are especially dangerous because they can break, at which point your stone can fall out of the mounting and get damaged or lost.
What’s even worse, all prongs in the same mounting wear equally fast, so if one of them is worn, chances are the others also have gotten thin and pose a risk to your gemstones.
Sometimes, prongs bend, and this usually happens when you bump your ring. The problem is that you might not even realize that this happened and your prongs are no longer straight.
To find out whether your prongs are bent, examine them closely and see if the spaces between them are even. If you notice that there are prongs that are closer together or farther apart than the others, this is a sign that some of them are bent.
It is even better to use a loupe to take a good look at your setting and check for any signs of damage, especially after you happen to hit your ring.
Bent prongs are problematic as they can leave parts of your stone exposed to accidental hits that may cause it to chip.
What’s more, if your prongs are bent, the stones they are holding may become loose and even fall out at some point.
To make sure your gemstone is not at risk, you should check regularly whether your prongs are straight and have them fixed by a jeweler if they are not.
What to Do with My Worn or Bent Prongs?
If you have prongs that are bent out of place, don’t try to realign them yourself – you may damage the gemstone. Take the ring to a jeweler and let a professional take care of the problem.
Usually, this is the easiest issue to fix as the prongs just need to be realigned.
Fixing Thinned and Worn Prongs
If your prongs are worn out, they may need to be rebuilt.
In such a case, the jeweler will add some metal to them in order to strengthen the problematic parts. This procedure is called “retipping” as the additional material will be added to the prong tips that are weakened.
How much the retipping will cost you will depend on the number of prongs that need fixing, the metal used, and the size of the prongs.
If the prongs are too worn out, retipping might not be an option. In such a case, you may need to get an entire new ring head. This would be more expensive than retipping, and the price will depend on the type of mounting your ring has.
In case your prongs are broken, your jeweler will solder new prongs in place. Sometimes, this will be done if your prongs are too worn out to be repaired.
For this procedure, your gemstone will most likely need to be taken off so as not to be damaged in the process.
In any case, you should have your prongs repaired as soon as you notice that something is wrong with them, and you shouldn’t wear your ring until you get it fixed.
How Often Should You Inspect Your Prongs?
To make sure that you spot any damage timely, check your prongs at least once every two or three months.
It is best to use a loupe to look at your ring setting and see if there are any prongs out of alignment.
Also, check if any of your stones are loose.
If you notice any problems such as broken, bent or worn-out prongs, get your ring fixed by a jeweler as soon as possible.
Until you do so, you shouldn’t be wearing your ring or you would be at risk of losing your stones.
You should have your rings checked by a professional jeweler at least twice a year.
Prongs are the weakest parts of a ring, and the more often you wear it, the faster they will wear out and the more easily they will bend or break.
You can tell if your prongs are worn out by touching them – if they feel flat, they probably need to be rebuilt. The jeweler will inspect your prongs and see if any of them need to be fixed or replaced.
Have Your Ring Professionally Inspected
To make sure you haven’t missed any potential problems with your ring, you can have it checked by a jeweler. In fact, it is good to do so regularly, at least once a year.
If your prongs are bent or worn down, the jeweler will spot these issues pretty quickly, and they can be fixed at the store.