Poorly made rings are a growing problem, especially since the “$99.00 ring on every finger” fad of the 1990’s. There are rings that are made well, and the companies that make them do so using whatever materials they need to get the ring made correctly. Therefore, whatever those materials cost determines the price of the ring. Then there are rings that are made to fit a certain price point ($99, $199, $599, etc), and these items are not usually well-built. Corners are cut and quality is sacrificed in order to make these pieces fit into certain price categories.
Here are some things to look for in a well-built ring:
- A ring that is made with solid walls , not a thin wire construction with lots of open gaps on the sides of the ring
- Stones that are set with prongs that look strong, not thin
- Channels that are clean flowing, not jagged and irregular where the gold meets the stones
- Shanks (the bottom part of the ring) that are thicker at least 1 to 1.5mm thick, not paper thin, so they will resist bending
- A good finish, no pits or rough unpolished areas on the surface and well finished so the thickness of the ring flows artistically and isn’t irregular shape with thick or thin spots
What kind of difference does quality make?
Rings that are really light weight (many open gaps and thin wire construction) will usually only last 1-3 years with normal wear. If a person wears it all the time and hardly takes it off it may start falling apart right away. Many times these rings are not repairable, however, even if it is repaired it will usually continue falling apart afterwards.
Prongs that are too thin can also cause big problems. For one, they will bend or break easily and you risk losing the stone. Even if they don’t break, they will wear quickly and getting your prongs re-tipped or replaced can be a costly repair.
This should not be confused with a well-made ring that needs a prong or two tightened, or something else tweaked after the purchase. Also, no matter how well-made a ring is it will wear quickly with excessive use (i.e. lifting weights, lawn and garden chores, doing dishes, or any abrasive/repetitive grasping action). Make sure to avoid harmful chemicals that can deteriorate your gold jewelry as well.
Unless you are buying a very inexpensive piece of costume jewelry, it’s always worth it to pay more for a better quality ring. Be sure to look at a ring carefully before you make the purchase. Even quality jewelers sell some pieces with less durable mountings than others.