The most frequent repairs we see are those pertaining to prongs in rings. Sometimes a client notices the ring is catching on clothing, which indicates that a prong has lost contact with the gem it is holding. Other times the client looks down and sees a prong has been totally worn or broken away.
In the case of the above ring it was not immediately obvious that there was a problem at all. The worn prong was holding one of the smaller accent diamonds, and simply due to its small size was difficult to see with the naked eye. Furthermore the prong was worn down but had not quite disappeared all of the way. It was still a bad situation because one knock would displace the prong and cause the diamond to fall out.
A typical prong repair involves adding gold solder to the existing prong and using a torch to heat and bond the new metal. This poses a risk to the other stones around the prong in question, so we have invested in a laser soldering machine. The laser focuses the heat needed to melt the metal in a much smaller area so that the repair is more precise, leading to less risk to the stones overall.
While we were repairing the prong we took the opportunity to polish some of the flaws in the metalwork. Older repairs tend to show their age. In this case there were visible darkened solder marks, pitting (also called porosity) in the metal from badly applied solder, and some lumpy areas. Luckily it was nothing a little bit of expertise and elbow grease couldn’t fix. The end result is gorgeous!