Easing the Tension
September 20, 2007 8:18 PM   Subscribe

RingFilter: Tension set engagement ring. The diamond rocks! Unfortunately, in the literal sense of the word.

The diamond in my fiancee's ring has started to rock slightly. It's loose. Should we be concerned? Is it normal for a tension set stone to have some wiggle room? The ring is 14k gold, if that matters.

Should I learn to keep my grubby fingers away and not make anything worse? (Yes)
posted by comiddle to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
IANAJeweler, but have researched tension-set rings. As I understand it, there shouldn't be any wiggle room at all. The whole point of a tension setting is that there is extreme tension (pressure, PSI, etc) on the stone, which keeps it in place. I would take it to a jeweler regardless, but my gut instinct is that it's not normal.
posted by ml98tu at 8:54 PM on September 20, 2007

Don't be stupid. The penalty for being wrong is losing a very, very expensive little rock. Put it in a safe place and take it to a jeweler ASAP.
posted by nanojath at 8:57 PM on September 20, 2007

Since she is still your fiancee and not your wife, I assume you bought it semi-recently. If you bought it retail you should take it back to wherever you got it and make them fix it for free. See if you have any warranty paperwork. As nanojath so succinctly said, take it off, stop touching it, and get yourself to the jeweler immediately.
posted by gatorae at 9:10 PM on September 20, 2007

The stone should not be loose. Tension set rings need to be made with a special alloy in the metal, Steven Kretchmer and Gelin & Abaci are the only companies I know that do it right. To save money I tried to have someone knock-off one of their designs only to have the stone start to loosen within 4 months. I then replaced it with the real deal and it's been over 3 years with no problems.
posted by 5bux at 11:56 PM on September 20, 2007

Take it back to the jeweller who sold it to you, because clearly it's not right if the stone's loose.
posted by essexjan at 12:49 AM on September 21, 2007

The stone in my ring is always loose. It's a pink sapphire in a 2-prong platinum setting. I take it to the jeweler every 6 months to have it tightened and polished (for no cost, takes 10 minutes). He said it isn't likely to fall out, but it will just be really annoying. Your setting may get you different results.

Did you get the stone appraised and insured? It won't cost too much, and you'll be in better shape in case something happens to it.
posted by idiotfactory at 2:20 AM on September 21, 2007

Is it normal for a tension set stone to have some wiggle room?

Nthing, "No. Take it off and put the ring in a Ziploc, and hie thee to the jeweler who made it / sold it for a repair."

And if it happens a second time down the road, you should think about changing the setting. Tension-set rings are notoriously flaky.
posted by pineapple at 6:43 AM on September 21, 2007

nthing take it back. mine had the same problem and they had to recast the setting entirely. any reputable jeweler should stand behind their product.
posted by killy willy at 7:10 AM on September 21, 2007

Take it back to the jeweller who sold it to you, because clearly it's not right if the stone's loose.

It's probably not the jeweler's fault, though it may be covered by store warranty. This will ultimately happen to any and all tension-set rings. Simple reason: you wear a ring long enough and do things like pick up objects, grip steering wheels, etc., the ring will go out of round. No avoiding it, it will happen. When the ring isn't a complete circle, but is clamping the stone between two open ends, this means you change the tension on the setting, and the stone can come loose.

But yes, you need to get this fixed.

This is the fundamental design flaw with these rings -- yeah, they look dramatic as hell, but you're more than likely in for more of the same down the road. They're the riskiest kind of stone setting you can have. Not only that, but it's not just like a prong or bezel setting that can be adjusted or shored up with gold solder, as killy willy points out above -- usually you have to redo the ring.

My father's been a jeweler since the sixties, and he's made exactly one tension-set ring in his entire career for all those reasons -- he doesn't want his customers coming back expecting free or cheap repairs. The only one he made and sold, he had the customer sign a waiver agreeing that she wouldn't hold him responsible for any warranty on it, and that was after he spent half an hour covering the risks and making sure she really wanted it.

However, he did hit upon a really nifty alternative that you may be interested in, and I think other manufacturers have done this too: He made a tension-set style mounting, then soldered a thin platinum jump ring with a slightly smaller diameter than the diamond's girdle between the two "arms" of the ring. The diamond rests on this ring and is set into notches in the sides, more like a kind of channel setting. This is more secure and will hold the diamond in place even if the ring goes out of round. The jump ring is unobtrusive and doesn't really detract from the look of the setting all that much.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:33 AM on September 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everybody! Headed to get it sorted this afternoon! Turns out, the repairs and adjustments are all guaranteed in the warranty.
posted by comiddle at 8:34 AM on September 21, 2007

Good deal. One suggestion: most jewelers recommend you have your settings checked twice a year. For this style setting, though, I'd recommend at least double that. They likely will check and clean it for free.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:57 AM on September 21, 2007

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