Jewelry Repair FAQ

Here you will find answers for all of your jewelry repair related questions. If you have a question that you don’t see answered here, please contact us and let us know.

 A gemstone fell out of my ring. Will the new stone match the old one?

We get this question all the time. People want their jewelry to look just the way it did before a gemstone fell out; who wouldn’t? That’s why we have literally 100s of carats of loose diamonds, sapphires, rubies, opals, pearls, and more in all shapes and sizes to choose from when selecting a replacement stone for repairs. Matching stones takes a discerning eye, attention to detail, extensive gemological training, and years of experience. Of course, some gems are more difficult to match than others. Pearls, opals, and other gems with patterns in them (Blood Stone, Pietersite, etc.) are notoriously difficult to match. With these difficult to match gems, we search through our inventory and our numerous suppliers’ inventories to find the closest candidate, and we are normally able to find something that is quite similar to the original. So, that beautiful piece of jewelry you love can look just the way it used to again.

 What is retipping, and why do I need it?

Retipping is an important jewelry repair technique
Retipping replaces metal that has worn away over time to secure the diamond or gemstone.

In a large number of jewelry pieces, the valuable diamonds and gemstones are held in place with prongs. With wear, the tops of these prongs can become worn down. If the prongs wear down too much, the stone becomes at risk of falling out of the mounting. Retipping is the process of adding a small amount of metal (usually gold or platinum) to the top of worn down prongs to keep the gemstone secure. In the past, almost all gemstones had to first be removed from their mountings for retipping, and then reset after it was done due to the high heat that is generated by the jeweler’s torch. However, with our laser welder we are able to retip prongs next to many gemstones (diamonds, sapphires, and rubies for example) without removing them, saving you time and money.

 Can my costume and fashion jewelry be fixed?

Yes and no. A few years ago, the answer to this question would have normally been no, but with the introduction of the laser welder, we are actually able to repair many costume and fashion jewelry pieces that would have been beyond help before. Now, there will always be some jewelry that cannot be repaired for one reason or another. But, with the laser welder in the hands of our skilled craftsmen there is a good chance we will be able to repair your jewelry.

 What is Gold Plating?

Gold plating is the process of depositing a thin layer of gold onto the surface of jewelry. This is done by immersing the jewelry in a liquid containing chemically bound gold molecules and then using electricity to adhere those molecules to the jewelry’s surface. Molecules are the key to understanding gold plating. The amount of gold used is on the molecular level. This means that only a very thin layer of gold covers the surface. Gold plating produces a layer of gold around 0.5 microns thick. A micron is roughly equal to 4/100,000 or 0.00004 inches. Gold plated jewelry is often indicated with a “GP” marking stamped somewhere on the piece. Heavy Gold Electroplating is gold plating with a minimum thickness of 2.5 microns. Look for an “HGE” stamped on the jewelry to indicate that it is Heavy Gold Electroplated. On the other hand, gold flashing (or washing) is thinner than standard gold plating. Gold flashing is only about 0.175 microns (or 0.000005 inches) thick.

 What is Rhodium Plating?

Rhodium is a member of the Platinum family of metals, but it is actually whiter and harder than platinum. Rhodium plating is done the same way as gold plating, and it produces a bright white finish on the jewelry. Some alloys of white gold naturally have a yellow tint to them, so they require regular rhodium plating to keep looking white.

 How often should I bring my jewelry in for check-ups?

A little preventative maintenance can go a long way towards keeping your diamonds from coming out and your jewelry looking great. For most engagement rings, we recommend stopping in every 6 months to a year. If your ring is white gold and rhodium plated, you may notice the plating wearing off and the ring taking on a slight yellowish hue. If this bothers you, you can stop by more often to have it replated.

Some jewelry with very fragile stones or light weight setting styles may need more frequent visits depending on how often you wear it. Some jewelry may need very little maintenance even after years of wear. After a few checkups, you will get a feel for how your jewelry wears and what the best schedule to come in is.

 What do they add to gold to make it white?

Pure gold has a rich yellow color and is very soft. When we make gold jewelry, we mix pure gold with other metals to create different alloys that have different colors and properties. Because silver is naturally a white metal, many people believe it is mixed with pure gold to create white gold. In truth, even a high percentage of silver content will not result in a white gold alloy. Silver is actually used in 14k yellow gold and a higher percentage of silver is often used to make green gold.

So if it isn’t silver, what metal do they use? Most commonly, nickle is used to make white gold. However, since many people are allergic to nickle, palladium (a member of the platinum family of metals) is being used more and more today. Other metals, like cobalt, have even been alloyed with pure gold to make it white, and there isn’t one, perfect formula. Each manufacturer has their own secret sauce that they use to try to achieve a brilliant and pure white color without the need for rhodium plating. Our Star White Gold is a great example of this. If you’re curious, you can learn more about gold purity here.

 How can I tell if my diamond is loose?

Losing a diamond or gemstone out of a ring of any size is a sad experience, and losing a big diamond can be tragic. To prevent this from happening, the best thing you can do is take your jewelry in for regular check-ups. In between check-ups, it’s also a good idea to check if your ring has any loose stones.

The easiest way to do this is to listen for a faint rattling sound from your ring. Every so often, take your ring off, hold it very close to your ear with one hand and gently tap the bottom of the ring with the other. If you hear a rattling sound, a gemstone might be loose. We recommend you stop wearing the ring immediately and bring it in so one of our jewelers can evaluate it for you.

Another test you can do is to gently prod the diamond or gemstone with a pen cap to see if you can detect any movement. The reflection of the facets and make this movement difficult to see, but if you think you hear a rattle, try pushing on the stone from multiple different angles to confirm that it is loose. Again, if you think the stone is loose, stop wearing the piece and bring it in for a quick check up.

What people are saying

  1. Rick Isbell says:

    A relative of mine has a titanium wedding ring that needs down sizing because he lost weight. Can you do that and what would the approximate cost be?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Rick, thanks for commenting. Unfortunately, like most alternative metals, titanium rings can’t really be sized. Most manufacturers offer a free or low cost sizing exchange program though where you simply send in the old ring and get a new one in the right size (this is what we do for our alternative metal rings). So, you might recommend that your relative inquire about that with the jeweler he bought the ring from.

      If that’s not an option for whatever reason, we have a great selection of titanium rings (many more in-store than online) which are very affordable that your relative may be interested in. We can even have them custom made to match a specific style if needed.

  2. JANE A PIERPONT says:

    The prongs on my onyx ring are worn… APPROX what will it cost me to repair it. It is sterling silver with marcasites all around, but the prong are badly worn on the main black stone.

    • Hi Jane, thanks for commenting. With a ring like that, it really helps to see it to give an accurate price range. That said, you are probably looking at around $60-100 to retip the worn prongs. If you have any other questions, or you would like a more accurate estimate, feel free to email us some pictures and details or come in to the shop anytime.

  3. tom campbell says:

    Any estimate on cost to resize rings? Is this something that can be done while a customer waits?

    • Hi Tom, thanks for commenting. Ring sizing cost will vary depending on the type of metal the ring is made out of, how much it needs to be sized, and if it is being sized up or down. Typically, it can range from $20-$60, but each ring is different. Of course, if you would like an exact price, you can always bring the ring by the shop. We’ll be happy to give you a no-obligation quote upfront before we start any work. We do offer while-you-wait service Monday-Friday, so be sure to ask for that when you come in if you need it. Hopefully that helps, and feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions.

  4. Robert Lucas says:

    Do you have a store on the east coast? Maybe Florida. I have 2 vintage bracelets. 1 18kt bought from a little town called Arezzo, Italy in the late 20s Uno A Erre triple bangle bracelet / DEA Bendata or (goddess Fortuna Medallion) very rare original, excellent condition. 1 18 or 24 kt it’s hard to describe but has Diamonds and Sapphires with filigree design all over. I was told it’s from the 1860s? 1 stone is missing and needs TLC. Thank you and have a nice day.

    • Hi Robert, it sounds like you have some interesting pieces there, thanks for reaching out to us. Unfortunately, we don’t have any locations on the East Coast at this time. We might be able to give you some advice though if we can see a picture of them. If you would like, you can take some pictures and email them to us at service@mygemologist.com.

  5. Kim says:

    I have a ring setting that has lost the opal. It is silver. Can you replace the stone?

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