How to Tell If Your Diamond Is Loose in the Setting


Photo by Ashlyn Cathey Photography

One of the biggest engagement ring fears is losing the center stone. Even when the stones have been tightened, unforeseen things can happen. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what causes a center diamond to fall out.

Sometimes the ring is poorly made, and sometimes a hard blow damages the setting. Sometimes stones fall out after a short period over seemingly nothing (which is why jewelry insurance is so important). Often, losing a stone is due to general wear and tear on a ring that has not been maintained or properly cared for. When you lose a stone in your ring, the diamond is usually loose in a setting first and slowly works itself out. 

Minimize Risk of Losing a Diamond

To minimize your risk of losing a diamond from your ring, it is important to have it professionally checked by your jeweler at least twice a year. They will check all the prongs and stones to be sure there is enough metal in place, and all the stones are secure.

More importantly, it is good practice to check the stones yourself once a week or so. If you feel you hit your ring hard on something, check the stones immediately. This isn't something you have to do obsessively, and this is not meant to scare you.

Rings, even antique ones, are durable and built to last. However, rings that are commonly worn can have their fair share of wear: constantly in and out of gloves, rubbing up against things, etc. It's important to be just a little bit more aware of your ring's overall condition.

How to Check Your Center Stones

Your type of setting will determine which method you use to check the stone.

  • If your stone is in a classic four- or six-prong setting: Take the edge of your fingernail along the stone's girdle (outward unpolished edge), and try to move the stone gently back and forth or up and down. If you cannot do this easily, your stone is likely secure.
  • If your stone is bezel set or you don't have clear access to the girdle of the stone: Take a pin and gently press on the most outward point of the diamond. Try to move the diamond up and down or move the pin to the left or right to see if the diamond will move along with it. Don't be too aggressive with the pin because you don't want to do this so often and with such force that you cause your stone to become loose.
  • Another easy test to do with any ring is to take the ring close to your ear and hold it snugly on the shank. Shake the ring back and forth and listen for any rattling sounds. 

If there is any movement in the stone or you hear any rattling noises, take the ring to your jeweler and stop wearing the ring until a repair can be done.

How to Check Your Side Stones

It's important when checking smaller side stones to be even more gentle and precise with your examination. Use the pin test while wearing magnifying glasses.

Be careful because the accent stones have a lot less metal holding them into place than focal stones do, making them much more susceptible to becoming loose and falling out. 

Don't Press on Your Stones

One of the biggest mistakes people make with their rings is when they are putting them on and off. If the ring is a bit too snug, the tendency is to put one finger on top of the stone and one on the very bottom of the shank and pull.

Try to resist the urge to do this. Take your rings on and off by placing your thumb and index finger on the sides of the shank so that you aren't putting any unneeded force on your stones. 

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