What to expect when you buy your engagement ring from a jewellery chain. Not good!

April 4th 2015

This less than 6 month old ring purchased from a jewellery chain was brought to me to create a matching wedding ring. A great example of what I see from the jewellery chains now days. Very sad.

I received an email requesting me to assist with a fitted wedding ring design quote. Right from the start we encountered a totally avoidable problem.

The fitted or straight wedding ring question.

There are simply some designs that will not suit a straight wedding ring. If you desire a straight wedding ring then you really need to put some thought into that before or as you create your engagement ring.

In the case of this design some minor changes to the original design would have seen a straight wedding ring sit nicely beside the ring.

One setting does not fit all diamond sizes.

When rings are mass produced it is very important to have stones that match the setting. If the diamonds are too big or too small this can cause problems. With the diamond halo of this ring we have a few problems:

  • the diamonds vary in size
  • the diamonds vary in quality grade
  • the total sum of the diamonds is too large to fit properly into the halo

The last point is the most noticeable one which the customer was already aware of. A diamond just right of 6 o`clock in the photo below clearly has its girdle extending out of the halo. Many of the other diamonds are set crooked.

Now for the nasty bit.

The jewellery chains love to squeeze every last cent out of a sale and with this ring in doing so they have destroyed it. This ring would have been created from a mould so every copy of this design from that manufacturer will have the same problem.

The jewellery chains know that most customers concentrate on the top view of the ring. This leaves them free to reduce what they give you on the side and inside of the ring and increase their profit. The problem is that thinning a design down often results in a weaker ring and in the case of this ring pretty much destroyed it.

The base point of most of the rings I make for women I like to have a thickness of between 1.3 to 1.5 ml. This ring has been thinned to a little under .9ml.

When a new ring starts this thin at the base it reduces the life of the ring making it weak and less suitable for resizing in the future.

But wait ... it gets nastier.

If we turn the ring over again we can now view the inside of the ring. Here the ring has been thinned out from the inside so much that the ring is razor thin at points. Remember this ring is less than 6 months old!

The result of this excessive thinning of the ring is that it is near the end of its life or at best in need of some repairs. Let a wedding ring rub next to the side of that edge and it will wear through very quickly.

Please take it back to them!

When someone asks me to work on a piece of jewellery it is very important that they know exactly what condition it is in before leaving it with we. This customer was aware of the problem with the halo but had no idea of the thinning issues with the band.

I advised this customer to take the ring back to the jewellery chain she purchased it from and have them fix it.

She did and was told by the manager and staff that there was nothing wrong with the ring even after it had been sent to their "jeweller" for inspection. Sadly this quality of jewellery appears to be the normal.

So what to do?

To match a wedding ring to an engagement ring with a base thickness of .9ml the wedding ring would also be .9ml. Remember that the normal band thickness for a ring I make is a minimum 1.3ml. Matching a wedding ring to this ring would result in passing on one of its problems to the wedding ring, it is just too thin.

It was decided to remove the diamonds from the ring and remake it totally. This enabled us to address the faults in the ring and at the same time allow for the straight wedding ring that the customer desired.

Once I had unset the diamonds from the halo my concerns about the diamond quality were confirmed. Some of the diamonds were so bad I would not set them back into the new ring and replaced them for the customer free of charge.

The spacing of the halo was fixed, the band was made about 10% wider and was not thinned at all. The new ring is shown below.

I was also able to modify the trellis setting so that the ring would now take a straight diamond set wedding ring.

The end result

The original ring weighed 2.9 grams with the new ring weighing 4.6 grams. An increase in gold content of over 50% despite the ring looking almost identical from the top view.

Whilst there are also issues with the diamond quality and how they were described on the invoice my customer is now very happy to have the ring properly made and the wedding ring she desired sitting next to it.

Nobody enjoys giving a couple bad news especially at a time when they are planning to start a life together. Please be careful when selecting a mass produced ring from one of the jewellery chains. However if you do purchase something that you have concerns with take it back and demand they fix it. 

Of course you could also come to me for a free quote on one of my standard designs or to custom make a ring for you and avoid grief like this.