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- Jewelry Repairs
Written by Annabelle
September 24, 2019
Whether it's an engagement ring, wedding band, or just a beautiful design that you love, you know your diamond ring is broken. But you're not sure what repair it needs, and how much it'll cost to fix it up. That's why we've created a guide for you below; read on to learn more about the types of repairs and average diamond ring repair cost.
The Parts of A Diamond Ring
Anatomy of Vintage Diamond Ring Setting
Before the repair, it's important to understand what area of your ring needs to be fixed so you can explain in detail to the jeweler. Here's a brief breakdown of a typical diamond ring:
- Prongs: The small strips of metal that hold your diamond. They're fragile and can break or wear down over time.
- Setting/Head: The part of the ring that holds your stone, and attaches it to the rest of the ring.
- Shank: The band of your ring. This strip of metal can be thin or weak, making it prone to damage.
- Shoulder: The part of the ring right next to the head. While this area is usually structurally sound, shoulders with side diamonds on them can need repair frequently as the settings are fragile.
Common Diamond Ring Repairs
The most common type of repair needed for diamond rings. Prongs hold your diamond down, but after years of wear and tear you can't rely on these little bits of metal to stay intact and secure. Prong work comes in two variations:
- Prong Re-tipping: When prongs are worn down, they don't cover the top of your gem properly. This means that there's room for your diamond to make an escape and “leave” the setting…permanently. To avoid that, we recommend our customers get their prongs checked at least once a year. The jeweler re-tips the prong by adding a bit of metal to the top and sticking it to the rest of the prong with solder, a mixture of soft metal that works like a glue for jewelry repairs.
This diamond ring has a prong that isn't covering the top of the stone and needs to be re tipped
- Prong Rebuilding: If the prong is completely gone, the jeweler needs to rebuild it. They'll do this by using a long piece of wire to mimic the original prong as best as possible. The prong is secured over the stone and the whole setting is tightened to ensure that the gem isn't loose.
An entire quarter of this ring's setting is missing. Prong needs to be rebuilt
Prong retipping and rebuilding only differ in the amount of material that's needed. Replacing prongs on a diamond ring costs $22 and up and is based on the metal type as well as the number of prongs that need repair/replacement.
Prong settings aren't the only settings for diamond rings. Other popular settings such as invisible setting and channel setting can get damaged as well. The repair work and cost varies depending on these types:
- Invisible Setting: Invisible-set diamonds are the most difficult settings to repair. This is due to the style of setting; unlike most settings, invisible settings require the diamonds to be special cut. Simply put, the diamonds are cut with a groove on the sides. This groove slides into a rail and locks the diamond into place, creating a “seamless” look with the other stones. While it's beautiful to see, this type of setting requires a lot of care because of its fragility.
In order to repair an invisible setting, the jeweler needs to take a look at the ring. Nine out of ten times the rail underneath is usually broken, causing the diamond to fall out. If you still have the stone, the jeweler only has to rebuild the rail and match its thickness to the groove cut into the diamond. Then he simply slides the diamond back on and makes sure that it slots into position perfectly.
The four diamonds in this ring are invisible set.
- Bezel Setting: A bezel setting is a clean setting that wraps around the diamond. While it's fairly secure and has a great minimalist look, bezels can be worn down or chipped away over time. Repairing them requires the jeweler to add metal and rebuild the “walls” of the bezel in order for it to function properly as a setting again.
All of the diamonds in this ring are bezel set. Note the “walls” surrounding the stones.
- Channel Setting: A channel setting consists of sandwiching gems in between two walls. While it looks nice and clean, if diamonds fall out or the channel is damaged, it'll need to be repaired. In order to do so the jeweler rebuilds the channel walls and resets any loose stones.
An eternity band with a channel setting.
Prices for rebuilding and resetting diamond rings vary based on metal, the number of stones, and the size of the stones. Side or melee stones start at $20, while center stones start at $40 and upwards.
Head Repair and Replacement
This ring had a very weak and thin head. The client asked us to replace it with a strong basket setting.
The head of a ring can easily get damaged, especially if the design of the ring is relatively high on the finger. Daily abrasion from coming into contact with other surfaces may knock the head out of shape, weakening prongs and even loosening gems. In order to make sure that your ring remains intact, a jeweler may recommend a complete head replacement instead of simply repairing the prongs.
Removing the existing head and replacing it with a new one is not a simple task. The jeweler first has to examine the ring and see if the head can even be removed; some designs are “baked-in” which means that the head cannot be separated from the ring without ruining the entire piece. If the head can be removed, then the jeweler will discuss head replacement options. You can opt to get a head that looks exactly the same as your original design (ex. a four-prong white gold head for a round diamond) or get something different. The jeweler will source the replacement, saw the existing head off, and then solder the new head on. Afterwards, the stone will be reset into the new head, and the ring is finished with polishing and cleaning.
The price for this repair depends on the size of the head and the metal required; this can range from $130 to $300 and up.
Shank Repair and Replacement
The back of your ring is prone to wearing down and becoming thin. Medical emergencies or a change in finger size can mean a trip to the hospital to get a ring cut off as well, leaving you with a broken diamond ring in need of repair.
To fix this, the jeweler evaluates the piece. Is there sufficient metal at the back of the ring to simply solder the cut shut? If so, it'll be a quick fix and polish. If the ring is too thin or the shank is severely damaged, then the jeweler will need to replace it. They will source a piece of thick metal to match the original ring, cut off the damaged/thin shank, and attach the new shank to the remainder of the design. The areas of work are then polished to remove any sign of work or extra solder.
Because of its extremely thin shank and cut, this ring received a half-shank replacement.
In terms of this diamond ring repair cost, it depends on the thickness of the shank, the size of the replacement, and the metal required. For instance, a 14k 2mm shank is cheaper than an 18k 3mm shank. Expect the price to start at $150 for a half or full shank replacement.
Diamond Replacement and Setting
When a diamond falls out of your ring, you'll have to get it replaced! This is normally a simple job that may require some prong rebuilding if the setting is damaged. The jeweler will examine your piece, use any details you provide or determine the quality from other diamonds set in the ring, and then set a replacement diamond that matches the criteria. Just for the setting work, it will be around $30 or more depending on the size of the stone and the metal.
For an invisible-set diamond, however, the repair isn't as simple. An invisible-set diamond is specially cut with a groove to slide into the rails of an invisible setting, so losing an invisible-set diamond means that the jeweler has to be able to source and custom-cut a diamond in order to repair the piece. The diamond ring repair cost for invisible setting starts at $25 or more for fixing one setting, not including the diamond cost. The price of the replacement stone will vary depending on size and quality.
Invisible setting on diamond ring replacement
The anatomy of an invisible setting can be quite complex.
Now you're all set on getting your diamond ring repaired! If you have a piece you'd like to get evaluated, comment below or send us a message and we will reach out to you.