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original ring
original ring  

cracked undercarriage
cracked undercarriage  
I have a platinum engagement ring and wedding band that look as though they have both been 'squashed'. I do not wear either ring while doing anything out of the ordinary, and I even take them off when I'm in the shower.
The rings were initially made 4 years ago when my husband upgraded my diamond for our 10th anniversary. I live in Canada, and my rings were made at a very well known high end jeweller in Florida that deals with coloured diamonds.
Last year, I took my rings to a local jeweller for an appraisal for insurance purposes. Soon after my rings started to 'catch' on everything. I took them to another jeweller to look at, and was told that they looked as though someone had bashed them with something. I was told that it was not unheard of for jewellery to be damaged purposely by a jeweller if they were not the ones who had made it.
I sent them back to the jeweller who had made them for repair. While they were in, I asked if they could add a diamond microset frame added to the engagement ring setting.
Less than a year later, both rings are out of round and the undercarriage is cracked. They both show significant scratches as well.

My questions are: Is this normal for platinum rings? Is there something in normal wear that is causing the scratched, pitted appearance as well as the bending? Has a design issue caused the cracking? I am concerned that if this is either a design issue, or a quality of alloy issue, am I going to have to deal with these issues again and again and again?

Thank you in advance for your time and expertise,

Erin

Answer
Dear Erin,

I apologize for the delay getting an answer to you.  Events have prevented me from being as speedy as usual.  First of all, thank you very much for the clear photos.  Without those I could easily misread descriptions and form a quite different visual image of the break beneath the main gem on the engagement ring.

Jewelers bashing or otherwise harming jewelry they did not make or sell? Erin, in my three decades of work in the public jewelry business, I have not heard of this happening or seen rings supposedly damaged for such a reason.  Of what value would a jeweler have in handing a jewelry item to a customer with damage the item did not have when first brought in to the business?  I would not be surprised for service work on jewelry they did not sell or produce to be turned down by a jeweler.  A few do this out of company policy and others for valid reasons based on possible risks they would be accepting from “unknowns” in the manufacturing process.  For a jeweler to cause damage deliberately is something with which I am not familiar and am glad I am not.  

I have looked as best can at the crack in the engagement band just beneath the central stone.  Do you have any idea how long the crack has been there?  I see a jagged sort of edge which indicates a weakness and fault in the metal itself.  Had the break been straight across and up the sides, I would suspect a faulty weld where for some reason the ring was joined together at the top.  The break I see would normally come from weakness in the metal and did happen at a thin and possibly stressed area.  Heat to add the diamond frame to the central crown could have affected the cracked area but I doubt it. This appears the result of stress in a faulty section of the platinum itself.  Quite honestly, the jeweler who supplied the engagement band should address that particular break.  If you send the ring to them, fully express your concerns for the future of your ring.  Can they tell you why the band cracked and if the platinum in the rest of the ring is subject to the same sort of damage?  Can you call them on phone first or email with a photo of the damage?  Showing the dramatic nature of the break is important prior to actually sending the ring off again.   I would likely email a photo with a note that they may expect a phone call for a person to person discussion at “such and such” a time.  Suggest they call you first and they very well might do that.  Without having the ring in my hand to examine the break, my first thought is that this is the responsibility of the jeweler who first made the ring and later added the diamond frame.  They should work out a reasonable solution for you to eliminate concerns about repetition of the damage.  

The beads in the bottom of the band should have no connection whatsoever on the break.

As for the wear showing on the sides of the ring, this is relatively normal for platinum.  Platinum will not keep a shine as long as white gold but it will wear better over the years.  The scratching of platinum is generally more of a movement of the metal without metal actually being scratched off and gone.  To use an example from cooking, suppose you have a rolled out sheet of dough and run your finger along the surface.  A groove is formed where the dough is pushed aside but the dough remains intact and is not scratched from the sheet.  This is how platinum acts, using a basic example.  Gold on the other hand would be more like running a pointed knife along a flat sheet of hardened poured sugar, breaking the surface and causing a permanent loss of material.  Platinum is easier to mar but will wear longer because of the softer giving nature of the metal.  I do hope that makes sense.  For similar reasons, platinum is superior in securing gemstones.  The metal pushes into place and over time tends to spread out and down in prongs and settings rather than being worn away.  Sure, it will wear eventually but not as dramatically as gold.




Erin, I was not able to give a magic answer to solve the issues. However, you did get my honest thoughts on it all.

God Bless and Peace.  Thomas.  

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Thomas

Expertise

Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.

Experience

I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education/Credentials
Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to jewelry...wow, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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