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  • Writer's picturePaul Richter

Have your jewellery settings checked for stone security.

When last did you have your engagement ring looked over? I always tell my clients before they leave with a new ring that I welcome them to return at any stage for me to check the claws, as well as to polish and thoroughly clean the ring. I welcome anyone to come and see me for this quick and important assessment. I don't charge to check and clean the ring. It always pleases me to see the reaction of that marvel at how beautiful the item can look in a matter of minutes- while you wait.

The reason for checking the ring- in particular the setting work- is simple and important. Just as the dentists and doctors say, "prevention is better than cure". The prevention of what? The prevention of losing a stone, be it a diamond or any other stone. Precious metals wear down. Each blend has different hardness characteristics, so I won't get into a technical brief about each different karat of gold or different metal group. However, the one thing that they all have in common is that they will wear down after years. Some quicker than others. Even platinum is not immune- granted, it takes platinum a lot longer to wear down due to it's extremely dense nature.

Claw settings are the ones that wear down more rapidly, but other styles of setting will also disappear gradually over time. Don't be alarmed at this statement- most of the jewellery I am producing is employs claw settings, and they are safe and secure. But time will erode pretty much anything. This is why it is encouraged to have settings checked at least once a year.

The cost of replacing a diamond (for example) is exponentially higher than the cost of rebuilding the setting. in the trade, we refer to this process of rebuilding the tips of the claws "re-tipping". It is a much smaller price to pay than the alternative- a lost stone.

As the tips (or in some cases a larger surface area which has been used to set the stones) wear down to be very thin. The way stones are set, to put it basically, is that metal is hammered or in some cases pushed over the stone to secure it. When this wears down to a thickness that can be likened to the thickness of foil, you run the risk of snagging it on a thread (most likely unbeknownst to you) which will pull the tip right off. You may either lose the stone right then and there or not. But at this point you are at risk of losing it very easily.

What prompted me to write about this, is a lady who found me on google earlier this week. She came to me to have a stoned replaced. She was upset because it had sentimental value to her. After looking closely at the setting, I showed her under magnification to explain what I have described above. This was the first stone, the rest would follow soon. Since the metal wears relatively evenly, based on their position on the ring relative to how it is worn and the wear that it is subject to. I am supplying and replacing a stone, as well as re-tipping all of the claws.

A lot of people don't know come in and have a check done simply because nobody ever mentioned it to them. Being an analogy guy, this is what I often say: Claws and settings in general are like brake pads on a car. If you own a car, you will eventually have to have the brake pads replaced. This may happen sooner or later depending on the individual, but it is known as "fair wear and tear" and is not covered by a warranty. Just the same as tires.

I perform many repairs here in my workshop each week, apart from the custom creations I am always busy working on. It's the most fundamental service performed by goldsmiths. Unlike a lot of other operations out there, I do like to educate my customers and explain why something needs to be done.

Feel free to contact me anytime to inquire about this and a broad spectrum of other services that I can offer.



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