We always tell people when they buy a new piece of jewelry, especially an engagement ring, that they should have it cleaned and inspected every six months to a year. some people remember, but most forget to have it checked after a year or two. I see a lot of engagement rings missing diamonds after 15 years or so. If you find that you can’t get in to the jewelers there are a couple of self diagnostics you can perform at home.
The first would be to inspect the prongs, the part of the jewelry holding the gem. On a center diamond or colored gemstone there should be a bit of gold sticking up above the horizontal centerline of the gem. If you take a look at the jewelry from the side when you first get the jewelry you’ll have an idea of how high it should be. When the prong has worn down to an angle parallel to the top angle of the gem, the prong should be repaired.
Another diagnostic tool would be to check for tightness of the gemstones. For a large center try putting the jewelry up to your ear and tap the gem with your thumb. If it rattles the gems need tightening. If you don’t tighten them, the gemstone will vibrate in the setting and wear away the metal, causing more damage. With larger and small gems you can hold the piece up to the light so the light reflects off the table, the large flat facet on top. If you take a toothpick or some other small object and try to wiggle the gem you should be able to see the light reflection on top change if it is loose. This is best done with magnification but can be done without it.
You can check your pearls and beads by wiggling the beads between the knots. If the beads move between the knots, you need to have it restrung or the silk will eventually break.
Taking a moment now and then to inspect your jewelry will help guard against loss. It is best to check after cleaning the jewelry, since sometimes we’ve seen items where the gems are only held tight or in place by dirt. It is still a good idea to visit your jeweler more frequently since we are able to clean the jewelry with both an ultrasonic cleaner and a high pressure steam cleaner. We will also be able to see other potential problems.