By Ashley Bailey
, Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Yes and no. One person might wear a ring for 100 years with no incidents but someone else could have a completely different experience with the same ring. Solid rings and settings with large diamonds are less vulnerable than thin shafts and prongs or delicate craftsmanship with melee and pave.
What are the causes?
When it does happen, there are 3 primary reasons that diamonds, particularly small diamonds, may fall out.
1. The diamond wasn’t set properly.
Among top manufacturers this is uncommon, but is still a possibility.
When drilling holes, burring, filing, etc. there is microscopic residue; metal filings, polishing rouge, etc. When a tiny diamond is set there is a possibility for microscopic particles to exist between the diamonds and the setting. As the ring is worn the residue may loosen up. Sometimes if the ring is put in an ultrasonic cleaner (which many professionals do not recommend for melee) the residue is lost. This frees up the extra space and the diamond might move, or fall out. Fortunately, when this happens in an ultrasonic cleaner, the diamond is easily found.
3. Wear and tear.
It's an unpredictable part of life. Some people are heavier on their rings than others. As a ring gets knocked or bumped, metal may be worn away or become loose and a diamond may move in its setting. If a person's diamond rings are scuffed or dented he/she may want to consider designs and materials appropriate to his/her lifestyle when making a purchase. Depending on how rough someone is it may be preferable for him/her to have White Gold rather than Platinum for the body of the piece (platinum is more malleable). Clients who request very thin bands or thin prongs are often advised that the piece is delicate, but the designer cannot know how hard someone will be on the ring. We will not make diamond bands/prongs at a certain thinness for this reason.
Who is responsible?
When a diamond comes loose or falls out each case must be considered separately. It may be the responsibility of the manufacturer, or it may due to something the wearer did. There are telltale signs when it's the wearer's responsibility, such as scratch and scuff marks, a ring that is out of round or dings and dents. However, if there is minimal wear and tear then something didn't allow the stone to sit correctly, and it is the manufacturer's responsibility. To a large degree 'responsibility' is about how much the company that made the ring is willing to back it up.
For our part, if something happens due to residue or improper setting we will restore it as part of the lifetime warranty. If it was due to wear and tear it is the responsibility of the wearer. In some cases we may choose to warrant it anyway, after a cautionary discussion with the client. We reserve the right to do this at our sole discretion.
We have a policy, when new rings are introduced, to create a prototype and send it into the field for ‘wear and tear’ testing before making it available to the public. We use a person who is active with their hands and gauge the results in order to modify the design as necessary. Of course, even if all goes perfectly in the trial period it is no guarantee for every person who will ever wear the design, but it provides a working baseline to head off errors before a public release. There is no such thing as an invulnerable ring, and every person is different. Nevertheless, top diamond jewelry manufacturers craft each piece hoping that it will last a lifetime.