December 12, 2009

Client Question Answered: Prongs

Posted in birthstones, bride, diamonds, gemologist, gemstones, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds, silver tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:46 pm by rosediamonds

Q: Why do I need my prongs checked every six months?

A: First off.  Prong: describes the metal posts that hold diamonds in the jewelry.  Jewelers recommend prong checks every six months as a standard similar to oil changes in cars.

In reality, the reasons for this are twofold.  First, it brings in clients every six months who are reminded of jewelry and may make new purchases.  Secondly, it is a preventative measure.

Diamonds are the hardest gemstones, and gold is a relatively soft metal.  If a diamond becomes loose in the setting, it can actually cut through the metal that’s holding it and “break free.”  A prong missing on a four prong setting can be a recipe for disaster should the wearer knock the stone out at an unlucky angle.

Over time, prongs get worn down by routine wear and tear (knocks on the filing cabinet etc.).  A proper jeweler should honestly recommend when re-tipping should happen.  Rebuilding prongs that have broken off completely are harder (more expensive) to repair than simply adding gold to worn down prongs.

If you have repaired the prongs before, I would typically suggest replacing the whole head.  The cost is slightly more than the re-tipping, but logic follows that if one prong had a weakness, perhaps the rest are soon to follow.

As with with all prong work, we recommend clients remember that the repair costs on repairing prongs are hugely smaller than replacing diamonds after they’ve fallen out.

This can be an excellent time to explore fancier prong options as well (check out new styles that have filigree, diamonds on the sides, hearts on top, tulip settings, double prongs, etc).  You may even want to switch from yellow prongs to white (they tend to disappear against the diamonds).

I’ll use this as a time to remind you again to keep all jewelry out of chlorine bleach.  It pits the prongs and makes them brittle/more prone to breakage.  Lost diamonds are more than lost dollars, they are lost memories.

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