When thinking about your jewelry, one often forgets those tiny pieces holding your precious gemstones in place – Prongs! More important than making sure your gem is sparkly and clean, is that it is secured into the setting. If you notice that something isn’t quite right, don’t make the mistake of wearing your favorite piece without having it checked out.
So what is a Prong?
A prong is that tiny metal piece that secures your gemstone in place -they can have different shapes and sizes – additionally, the amount of prongs will vary from setting to setting. In general most settings have 4 or 6 prongs- where the 6 prongs are more secure. That being said- the martini setting is gaining in popularity- this setting for earrings only has 3 prongs. This means that one should be extra careful! While some of the 3 or 4 prong settings allow for higher visibility of your stone – depending on the size of the stone, you should be looking for something with more security.
My Prong looks like it is missing…
You’ve come to the right place! Here are Burt’s Jewelers we have highly experienced jewelers that can straighten, retip and/or replace your prongs. When you notice that little piece of metal holding your ring is is missing or bent, it is important to put that piece of jewelry in a safe spot, and not wear it. Though it is easy to believe that nothing will happen to your gemstone, especially for rings- your are constantly moving your hand around- and increase the risk of losing your stone. Additionally, while your stone might not fall out – all that movement in the setting might cause your gemstone to become scratched, cracked, or broken. In this case, it is best to avoid all of this, and put your piece in a box or covered in tissue and placed in a baggie to bring to the jeweler.
Ok, But Why Does this happen?
Though we usually consider metal to be strong, this is true for a time. Gold, like other materials, wears down over time, the more wear, the thinner it gets- and becomes easy to bend or snap. This is because gold is maleable. This means that it is a soft metal – on the maleability scale, Gold scores around a 2.7. When this happens, the prong becomes smooth, and there isn’t much holding your gemstone in anymore!
Sure, so what can i do to prevent this?
- Don’t wear your rings to do any physical labor. While the spirit may have moved you to do some landscaping, your jewelry does not take well to dirt and getting banged around.
- Another big one – Do not wear your gold in a jacuzzi or a natural hot springs! The harsh chemicals, especially bleach, can eat
away at the alloys in your gold, leaving it porous and brittle. In fact, any exposure to bleach can damage your ring. Hot springs tend to have a high mercury content, and can ruin your gold within a few minutes!
Ring Prong Repair Options
In many cases when a prong is bent, it can be put back into place using special pliers. It is best not to try this yourself as prongs may be strong, but they can be broken off with too much force.
For prongs that have been worn out or broken they may need only to be
If some of the prongs on your ring are broken or worn out, they will need to be retipped or replaced. Depending on the type of stone, the jeweler may have to remove the the stone to fix the damaged prongs. Usually, this means that the jeweler will add the same metal as the setting by applying heat and melting the metal to create a new prong. This option works the best for newer rings. Once a prong has been replaced, the new one will be slightly stronger than the ones around it that have not been redone. Retipping is done when the prong does not need to be replaced completely, and only the top part that secures the gemstone needs to be redone. While it is less expensive to only replace the prongs that are completely damaged, it is better for the integrity of your ring to replace all the broken prongs at the same time.