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Question
We purchased a ring which was a bespoke design from the designer who had the ring made in the US by a very good company. The ring was fine, but after a month the 4 prong setting (a low setting where the ring sits in a little 'cup' and is secured by prongs) showed looseness. The diamond could rotate slightly in the setting. She sent this to a specialist diamond setter, but not the person who made the ring. The two issues I have arise after this:
1. The setter said that in a four-pronged setting slight movement in the diamond was normal. But he tightened the prongs anyway.
2. The pristine ring was returned to me very scratched. The whole ring was covered in fine scratches, with deeper ones near the setting. The designer who sold the ring said she had forgotten to check the polish before sending it back and these scratches are easily polished.

I want to know - is it 'normal' for there to be any movement in a diamond in a 4 claw setting?
Is it normal for a ring to be scratched all over (not just near the setting) in the tightening of a prong and then polished afterwards, or was it insufficiently protected from scratches?
Was there something wrong with the manufacture in the first place if the diamond became loose after a month of wear?

Answer
Abi,

So sorry in the delayed response of getting back to you with an answer to your questions.   

In any setting, regardless of how many prongs, a stone can become loosened just from a knock on the ring.  Most of us don't realize how much we bump our hands and our rings into things.  With a round diamond it is very possible to have the diamond get just enough wiggle room to rotate slightly in the prongs.  If there is just rotation, there really isn't any chance of it slipping out of the setting, however...we always tell our customers if they ever notice any movement of their stones at all, to let us tighten them.  We like to check our pieces every 6 months or so and if a person is a little more rough on their jewelry, sometimes even more often is better.  A tightly secured stone, with no movement at all, is best.

The fact is, that any time there is movement of a diamond against the metal prong, even slight, the diamond will slowly wear on the inside of that prong, since diamond is a much harder substance than the precious metals and the edge or girdle of the diamond can be somewhat sharp.  So, it is always best that the stone be completely tight with no movement.

Your second question regarding the scratches: it sounds like they already admitted to their mistake in not refinishing the ring after working on it.  Yes, it is common that the bench tools that the jeweler uses can leave fine scratches that need a fine polish before returning it back to the customer.  They obviously overlooked this and didn't not finish the final step for you.

It would be good to find someone local that has a good reputation and jeweler on staff so that you can have your ring professionally cleaned and checked at least one per year.  

I hope this answers all of your questions and that you enjoy your new ring.  

Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals

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Melinda Nolan

Experience

I specialize in the design of hand carved, custom fine jewelry. I've been involved in the design and manufacturing of jewelry since the mid 90's and been studying gemstones my entire life. I am a certified diamond grader by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and have a Business Degree from Truman State University. I am the owner/designer of a retail jewelry store established in 1975 in St. Charles, MO.

Organizations
Jewelers of America, AGTA (American Gem Trade Association), Retail Jewelers Organization (RJO), Board of United Services, St. Charles Chamber of Commerce, Grace Christian Church Worship Team.

Publications
St. Louis Business Journal, Saint Charles Magazine

Education/Credentials
Certified Diamond Grader - GIA, BS in Business/Marketing Truman State University

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