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Is My Engagement Ring Beyond Repair?

November 02, 2020

It’s the stuff of nightmares: your gorgeous sparkler had met with an accident. The graceful artistic creation that once graced your hand now looks disfigured and sad.

Before you slip into despair, take a deep breath. With your JewelCover insurance, it won’t be long before your ring is repaired or (if the damage is catastrophic) replaced. 

To put your mind at ease, let’s look at some common repairs. Jewellers see the same kinds of problems again and again; these are the ones you’re most likely to encounter.


Claw Repairs

The most common engagement ring repair involves the claws. These little bits of metal hold the diamond (or other gemstones) in place. After years of faithful service, the claws may wear out. 

Claw work typically comes in two variations: re-tipping and rebuilding.


Claw Re-Tipping

When claws wear down, they fail to cover the top of your stone properly. This dangerous scenario gives your diamond an escape route. To avoid losing your precious gem, we recommend that you get your claws inspected about once a year. If your jeweller recommends re-tipping, he or she will add a bit of metal to the top, sticking it to the rest of the claw with solder. The result is a substantial claw that will hold your gem fast for many more years.


Claw Rebuilding

Unfortunately, in rare cases, the jeweller must rebuild a claw that has gone missing. They’ll do this by mimicking the original claw as closely as possible using a long piece of wire. The jeweller secures the claw over the stone and tightens the entire setting to make sure the gem has no wiggle room.

Some metals are more difficult to work with than others because of their hardness, but jewellers perform these repairs so routinely that they don’t usually require much time.


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Setting Repairs

Although claw settings are popular, they’re certainly not the only kind of setting for engagement rings. Other types of settings require different types of repairs.


Invisible Settings

With an invisible setting, the diamonds are cut with a groove on the sides. The groove slides into a rail in the band, which locks the diamond in place. This setting creates a clean-cut, modern aesthetic. And while it’s beautiful to look at, it can be quite challenging to repair.

Part of the difficulty lies in the setting’s fragility. In nine out of ten repairs, the rail underneath is broken, and this damage causes the diamond to fall out. If you still have the stone, all the jeweller has to do is rebuild the rail and match its thickness to the groove cut in the diamond. If the stone has disappeared, however, the jeweller may need to start from scratch.


Bezel Setting

Active brides love bezel settings because a band of metal surrounds the stone. The low-profile, minimalist setting cradles the diamond securely and protects it from knocks and bangs. 

Still, bezels can wear down over time, leaving the diamond exposed and vulnerable. To repair a damaged bezel, a jeweller will add metal and “rebuild” the walls that hold the gem in place.


Channel Setting

It’s easy to spot a channel setting, which consists of a line of gems sandwiched between two metal walls. If a breach in the wall develops, gems can slip out of place. The jeweller must rebuild the channel walls and then reset any loose stones. If some of the stones have gone missing, the jeweller must locate the correct size and quality to match the others.


Head Replacement

A ring’s head can easily sustain damage, especially if the design features a high-profile centre stone. Daily abrasion can weaken claws and loosen gems, and if this is a continual problem, a jeweller may recommend a complete head replacement instead of a shorter-term claw repair.

Removing the existing head can be complicated. In some cases, the head cannot be separated from the ring without disrupting the entire design. To reduce the risk of future damage, you might consider a different setting (a bezel instead of a claw, for instance). The jeweller must source the replacement, saw off the existing head and solder the new one in place. Afterwards, the jeweller resets the stone and then cleans and polishes the piece.


Shank Repair and Replacement

Medical emergencies or a change in finger size could lead to having your ring cut off, and when this happens, you’ll need a shank repair or replacement.

If there’s still enough metal at the back of the ring, your jeweller may be able to solder it shut and polish it up. Sometimes, the jeweller will need to replace the entire shank, sourcing a piece of thick metal to match the original ring and then working to match the ring’s original design.


Diamond Replacement

It’s so, so sad when a diamond falls out of an engagement ring. But if this happens to you, take heart. It’s a fixable problem. 

The jeweller will examine your piece. It might require some claw rebuilding before a new diamond can be safely set. Repairs for invisible-set diamonds are more complicated, however. Because an invisible-set diamond is specially cut with a groove to slide into the setting’s rails, your jeweller has to source and custom-cut a diamond to repair the piece. This process typically takes longer than a repair for a claw-set diamond ring.


As you can see, jewellers have plenty of tools and options for repairing damaged engagement rings. But whether your ring needs to be repaired or replaced, your JewelCover insurance will save the day. Learn more about our policy and then ring us at 1300 522 808 for service.


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