A beautiful piece of jewelry is something that can be admired for decades—maybe even centuries. But even the most beautiful pieces can fall victim to a missing stone. What causes stones to fall out of their settings, and how can your jeweler ensure that it doesn’t keep happening?
At Noe’s Jewelry, our expert jewelers can identify the causes of missing stones and repair any jewelry to keep stones in their rightful homes.
Why Do Stones Fall Out of Their Settings?
Diamonds and other gemstones sit in settings in rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. These settings are meant to hold the stones in place, but damage to the settings could lead to lost gemstones.
The most common cause of stones falling out of their settings is normal wear and tear, especially for rings since they see a lot of action on hands. Ring settings can be very delicate, and they are holding very precious stones, so when they are damaged, you could be looking at a lost stone worth hundreds—even thousands—of dollars.
Metal mountings and prongs can also become thin and weak over time. These prongs can catch on clothing and fabric, making it easier for the stone to become loose or even fall out. If you are an avid jewelry wearer, it’s a lot easier for stones to become loose, especially as mounting prongs may bend or break over time.
Another reason that stones fall out of settings is that they weren’t set correctly in the first place. Improperly set diamonds and gems are rare, but they can happen from time to time. Fortunately, many jewelers are professionals at repairing settings; they can examine the jewelry closely to make sure the stone is set properly and securely.
What To Do If a Stone Falls Out of Its Setting
A missing stone is like a missing tooth—it’s hard not to notice when a piece of jewelry is missing a key component. This will leave many pieces of jewelry to sit in jewelry boxes, which is a shame. Instead of dropping that ring or necklace into your jewelry box, take it to a jeweler!
If you still have the gemstone, bring it with you to the jeweler to have it put back into the jewelry. The process will usually involve fixing the broken setting and placing the stone back into the setting.
For stones that have vanished without a trace, you might have to pay for a replacement (keep reading to see how insurance could save you from buying a new stone). However, it is possible to get a new stone for the setting once it has been fixed.
Most jewelry stores will have loose gems that you can buy to fit into the space where your other stone fell out, especially if that stone was a diamond. For other gems, your jeweler might have to source a stone that fits into the piece. This might take a little extra time, but finding the perfect fit shouldn’t take too long.
When you need a replacement stone, you might want to ask for one that matches the other stones in the piece nicely. For example, you want all the diamonds to have similar coloration, which means that their 4 C’s need to be similar. A new diamond needs to be “matched” to the existing diamonds for the piece to look right. The same is true for other gemstones, as well.
How Can Insurance Help You?
Insurance policies can be a godsend when stones fall out of their settings. You can get your jewelry insured when you buy it, so you’re covered if it’s lost, stolen, or damaged. There are jewelry-specific insurance companies, or you can even list the jewelry with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
Either way, you must file a claim to receive any compensation for your damaged jewelry. If you aren’t insured, you can always contact the jewelry store you bought from to see what their options are for repair. There may not be a warranty, but they will work with you to make sure the stones can be reset and the jewelry can be repaired.
Having insurance on jewelry pieces like rings is a good investment upfront at the time of purchase, especially for something that’s so expensive and sentimental. But if you have a tight budget, or you didn’t think to insure your jewelry initially when you got it, it’s even more important to be extra vigilant about regularly checking for loose stones.
Preventing Future Issues
Paying close attention to the settings on all of your jewelry can help prevent lost stones. While it isn’t always possible to prevent damage to settings, it is a good idea to regularly look over your jewelry to see if anything looks off.
There are a few different ways to check for loose stones on your jewelry. Hold it up tightly between two fingers and beside your ear, and use your index finger to lightly tap to see if anything is loose. You can also feel around the edges of the stone, or try gently pushing the stone or rotating it. If anything rattles or moves, immediately stop wearing the piece until you can get it repaired.
You can also hold the stone up to a light and use a pair of tweezers or a small pin to push down gently onto the top of the stone. If the light reflecting off of it shifts in any way, then that means that the stone is able to move in its setting.
It’s also a good idea to get jewelry serviced periodically, even if there isn’t anything loose or broken. This is especially the case for rings, which a professional should closely examine at least once a year to see if anything needs adjusting or repaired.
You should also take off any piece of jewelry that may get damaged while doing housework, chores, or playing sports, and regularly clean your jewelry to delay wear and tear.
Many pieces of jewelry have sentimental value, and if taken care of correctly, they can be timeless. If you have a loose stone or a gem that fell out of its setting, there are plenty of options for repair and ways to prevent it from happening again in the future.