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Married 30 Years! Do I Need To Replace The Setting On My Ring?


kimhalti
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I have been wearing my very simple solitaire engagement ring (with I think it's just a .25 karat diamond) for over 30 years now. I admit that I have not done anything much to take care of my ring. I was actually at a jewelry store today having my watch fixed and I asked if they would inspect my ring. The guy took a very quick look at it and said that the setting should be replaced. The quoted me a price of $125 and said they would do it by appointment so that I could watch the whole process. Is this standard procedure, and is the price reasonable? any other suggestions?

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Is this standard procedure? Yes, to make a quick buck.

 

Actually, I'm being cynical. It may well be that after 30 years the prongs need tightening (or perhaps the whole head needs replacing because something cracked), the shank has worn thin or the metal is pitted and scarred beyond recovery with a simple polish.

 

The problem is that with the information they have given you it is impossible to say. Same goes for the price. If they are replacing the whole ring (in which metal, BTW? 14k gold is one price; platinum is more than twice as much), it sounds an impossibly low price. If they are simply tightening the prongs, it's not cheap.

 

Call them to ask exactly what they will do, and why they propose to do it. There may be the best of reasons behind the offer, but simply saying "it's old" is not enough.

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Is this standard procedure? Yes, to make a quick buck.

 

Actually, I'm being cynical. It may well be that after 30 years the prongs need tightening (or perhaps the whole head needs replacing because something cracked), the shank has worn thin or the metal is pitted and scarred beyond recovery with a simple polish.

 

The problem is that with the information they have given you it is impossible to say. Same goes for the price. If they are replacing the whole ring (in which metal, BTW? 14k gold is one price; platinum is more than twice as much), it sounds an impossibly low price. If they are simply tightening the prongs, it's not cheap.

 

Call them to ask exactly what they will do, and why they propose to do it. There may be the best of reasons behind the offer, but simply saying "it's old" is not enough.

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thank you; I believe they did say it was the head that should be replaced, and the ring is 14k gold. I don't understand what the "head" is exactly. The more I think about it I think I'll just try another jeweler. The counter staff at this place were very pleasant and accomodating, but the jeweler couldn't take the time to explain anything really.

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The "head" of a ring is the part with the prongs that holds the main stone (or several main stones depending on the design). Chances are that's a pretty spot-on recommendation given the age of the ring. The gold on the prongs will wear (on any ring) over time, and thin out, and if any of them break off or is so thin that it gets caught on something and pulled open, you run the risk of losing your stone. If several are loose, you also run the risk of damaging the stone, depending on the girdle thickness, inclusions, angle/power behind the strike. Sometimes a head can be re-pronged by simply adding metal to the head, but if the whole thing has thinned out, or been dented or damaged in some way (including by chemicals) then changing out the head is going to be the most reasonable course of action. The fact that they're willing to schedule you to be able to come in and watch the jeweler do the work is actually quite nice of them and should relieve any anxiety you might have over letting someone else have your precious ring :) And I'd say given the cost of gold right now and the labor and materials involved in doing the work, $125 isn't unreasonable. One benefit--if you need your ring sized at all, this would be the time to do it, and perhaps you can talk the jeweler into throwing that service in for a minimal (or no) charge since they'll already have the ring disassembled :)

 

Good luck with everything and please let us know how things go for ya :)

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