Gemstones are a girl’s best friends and you definitely don’t want to lose your best friends. Cherish them by learning how to clean rings and by regularly checking your ring for damaged prongs. Wait, you have to do that? Oh yes, you most certainly do. The prongs in your ring setting are strong but daily wear and tear has its effects. Read on to learn how to verify if your ring has damaged prongs so you can avoid the heartbreak of a lost stone.

What is a damaged prong?

Prongs are the vertical parts in your ring that hold the stone in place. You can compare these metal projections to fingers latching on to your rock. With daily wear these ‘fingers’ start to suffer from arthritis and can’t hold on as tightly as before.

So what does a damaged prong look like? There are two common ways a ring’s prong can be damaged. The first one is a bent prong. Bumping into tables, doors and other hard surfaces can cause your prongs to bend. When the prong is no longer in its original shape it needs to be put back into its rightful position. Like when your yoga instructor pulls you out of a pose you got stuck in.

The second common form of damage is a worn down prong. The tips may be flattened or the surface too thin and sharp. A ring that snags is a tell-tale sign of a worn down prong. Depending on the extent of the damage, your jeweler can either build up the material again or retip the prong. More on the repair of damaged prongs later. We need to keep some suspense.

How To Check For Damaged Prongs

The setting of a ring is usually quite small so as to not take away from the beauty of the gemstone. Naturally, the prongs will be small too.

You can easily check for damaged prongs by yourself. Purchase a loupe or magnifying glass. Examine your ring closely, using the loupe, around every six months. More often if your ring has already had some work done. Damaged prongs may cause your stones to come loose. Replacing the gemstones in your ring will be more costly than repairing the prongs so do your wallet a favor and check for damaged prongs every six months or so.

If you don’t have a loupe or magnifying glass at home, let your jeweler do their job and verify whether there are any damaged prongs. While you are there, ask for a ring cleaning.

How To Fix It

Don’t panic! All is not lost when you have damaged prongs. Simply stop wearing the ring until you have time to go to the jeweler. Your jeweler will take care of the rest.

There are a few ways damaged prongs can be repaired by your jeweler. Prongs that are out of shape can easily be set back into its place.

For prongs that are worn down your jeweler has several options. If a tip is missing then your jeweler can replace the tip. She may also chose to do so when the tip is flat like a pancake. This type of repair is called retipping.

Time for a little side note on the retipping of damaged prongs. To replace just the tip of a prong, your jeweler will need to sold a new piece of metal to heal the broken space. Think back to your primary school chemistry and physics classes. Do you remember your teacher telling you how hot the metal needs to get to be able to mold it into the desired shape? Now, this heat could possibly damage your precious stone too. To prevent said damage, your jeweler will likely use a thinner metal so that less heat is needed to sold the piece together. However, this new thinner prong won’t be as sturdy as the original prong so you’ll need to check your ring’s setting for damage more often.

Should you replace the entire setting?

Back to the main storyline. A more extensive type of repair for damaged prongs is to replace the entire setting. If you notice that several prongs need replacing then you could also ask your jeweler to replace the entire setting. This way all the prongs are back at full strength. Replacing the setting might save you another trip to the jeweler for the next damaged prongs.

And now to end this story, we leave you with one clear message; regularly check your ring for damaged prongs! Maintenance is the key in keeping your rock close to your heart. Don’t let your gemstone escape from its throne on your finger. Check our other articles for more jewelry saving tips. Also, view Ana Luisa’s designer ring collections to see unique creations at fair prices.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.