RESTORATION: How to Save a Channel Band with Missing Diamonds

August 13th, 2014
Categorized under: Education, Jewelry

Many brides wear tiny, delicate diamond bands alongside their engagement ring to add sparkle to the hand and serve as a life-long reminder of the big day, but after years of wear they may discover something truly awful – There’s a diamond missing! This is actually a rather common occurrence, and here’s why: Firstly, these little bands keep a low profile and stay on the hand even when the engagement ring is shelved for safe keeping, putting more mileage on the piece as it were. Secondly, the gems are usually very small (only 1-2mm in diameter) and are easy to miss when they’re loose, resulting in worn settings and multiple diamonds gone before the wearer may even notice.

Channel settings are more low set and free of ‘sweater catcher’ prongs.

Channel settings are more low set and free of ‘sweater catcher’ prongs.

Why worn out channel settings are difficult to fix – Channel settings are more low set and free of prongs that can catch on clothing, purses, etc. This makes for an especially durable setting for the life of the ring, but should the material wear down and become thin, it can be a real challenge to restore. Typically, a jeweler will solder more gold or platinum to the top of the ring to build the setting back up. However, this quick fix can be relatively short-lived as the joining of metals via solder is ultimately more susceptible to future breakage when the surface area to bond is negligibly small.

A new approach to restoring worn channel settings – Green Lake Jewelry Works Repair and Restoration Specialist Gary Lamoureux has started approaching channel settings very differently. He realizing that resetting diamonds into a band by soldering up a new lip is really just a half-measure, so he developed a new way to return a piece to its original luster – and keep it that way almost indefinitely. The end result looks better too.

How to repair a wedding band

This is a pricier repair – Yet it’s dramatically less expensive than losing more diamonds down the line and having to pay for yet another visit to the jeweler. While the process involves more gold or platinum to execute, it’s actually the added labor that accounts for the cost; all excess metal is filed away in the end and used again for future pieces. To do it, a wax mold must be carved to fit the worn band, and then these customized fittings are cast, cleaned, adhered to both sides then filed and polished.

This is a restoration process that requires all work and casting to be done on site if the finished ring is to be returned promptly and at a reasonable cost.

This is a restoration process that requires all work and casting to be done on site if the finished ring is to be returned promptly and at a reasonable cost.

Good as new – If the veil on Gary’s process weren’t lifted, it might be difficult to see how a worn channel band like this – with missing gems – can be restored to its original, seamless state. His new approach has yielded stunning results with clients far and wide this year. If you have a piece in need of repair, contact us at info@greenlakejewelry.com

It’s possible to restore a setting and have it look seamless.

It’s possible to restore a setting and have it look seamless.

Looking to have your jewelry repaired locally or ship it out of state for more complex restoration? Here are a few important points to consider in selecting the right jeweler: The Top Five Jewelry Repair MUST HAVES

 

About the author:

Eric Robertson is a writer, illustrator and creative lead for Green Lake Jewelry Works.