Prong settings are one of the most popular ways to set a diamond or a gemstone. In our last post, we covered a variety of ring settings including prongs. Today we want to take a deeper dive into the advantages and disadvantages of this setting.
As a quick recap, prong settings use metal projections or tines, called prongs, to secure a gemstone to a piece of jewelry. There's also the V-prong setting which is a variation used with more angular-shaped stones. You can think of a prong setting almost like a claw that holds your gemstone snugly in place.
A prong setting shows off the entire diamond since the maximum surface area of the diamond or gemstone is visible and allows a lot of light to shine through it. Since the thin prongs hide very little, your diamond can really sparkle! This setting is also extremely versatile in that you can set various sizes and shapes of gemstones. Plus, it is easy to clean. Prong settings are popular for a reason...they are timeless and elegant!
There are a few drawbacks with this common setting to keep in mind if you are considering purchasing a prong set ring. For example, prongs are more likely to snag on your clothes or other materials due to the claw-like nature of the setting.
You also need to examine and inspect your prong settings at least twice a year because the prongs can get loose over time, or, due to snagging or catching, they could have weakened or become damaged.
And while it's a benefit that prong set gemstones are easier to clean, cleaning them at home can be risky as you can weaken the setting and consequently damage the gemstones. If cleaning your jewelry at home, be sure to use what your jeweler recommends or have them professionally cleaned.
In order to avoid losing your diamond from your engagement ring or that precious heirloom emerald estate ring you inherited from your grandmother, it's important to pay attention to your prongs and inspect them regularly.
If you notice that a prong is damaged or a stone is loose, try to get your jeweler as soon as you can.
Once the stone is loose, it’s very easy for it to fall out of its setting. If you can't get to your jeweler right away, stop wearing the ring until you can. Wearing the ring will put your stone at greater risk of being lost due to the constant motion or getting bumped and knocked out of the setting entirely.
It's a terrible thing to lose a beloved family heirloom or your cherished engagement ring. Besides the heartache, it can cost a lot of money to replace.
Your best bet is to take your ring to your jeweler and get it examined twice a year. In between those times, you can certainly keep an eye on things yourself.
First, take off your ring and take a look at it, preferably using a loupe—a small magnifying glass—or under a very bright light.
Check and see if any of the prongs are bent or out of alignment in some way. Ideally, all your prongs should be touching your stone and the stone should not be loose in any way.
Again, if you see a broken prong or see signs of wear and tear, do not wear the ring until you can get it repaired.
If you notice a problem during your inspection, take it to your jeweler and they will determine the best course of action.
If the prongs are just bent, the jeweler will straighten them out.
If one or more of your prongs are broken or showing significant signs of wear and tear, they may need to be re-tipped. When a prong is re-tipped, the jeweler takes the stone out of its setting, removes the damaged prong and replaces the prong with a new one through soldering.
Re-tipping is mostly used for newer rings; however, once a prong has been replaced, the newer one will likely be weaker than the original, so you need to keep a close eye on it.
For older rings, your jeweler may recommend replacing the whole setting to be on the safe side and to ensure against further problems. It's important to work with a jeweler you trust and has the proper skills so you can have piece of mind that the best course of action is being taken for your ring.
Generally, replacing the whole prong setting instead of individual prongs is a safer way to go and ensures the new prongs will last longer.
We're honored that Mullen Bros. Jewelers ranks #1 in overall customer ratings among all jewelry stores in Southeastern Massachusetts and we will continue to take care of our neighbors and friends, one jewel at a time.
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