5 tips to rate your handmade Engagement ring setting

You've spent endless hours researching a stunning diamond for the most significant purchase of your adult life - an engagement ring. So make sure the quality of your setting is worthy of your diamond and not just an afterthought. Ensure you choose a handmade setting that will not only compliment your diamond but will ensure its security for long term wear.

You can easily determine the quality of your setting using your eyes, a loupe and a good light source. Rotate the piece in your hand to view it from all angles and read through the following checklist to rate your jewellers job -

1. Design - Good design is the first benchmark of a quality handmade engagement ring. The mount must primarily allow adequate security for your gemstone, however, the overall design should be aesthetically pleasing, proportional and practical. The ring must be comfortable to wear everyday with no sharp edges to catch on clothing or people. When selecting a metal type, keep in mind that some metals require more maintenance than others; for example white gold requires regular rhodium plating; while platinum and yellow gold can simply be polished.




2. Manufacture - A good quality jeweller will demonstrate their technical expertise by bringing your design to life. Each component of the design should be pre-polished so as to produce a high end finish when soldered together. A quality handmade piece will have solder lines that are almost invisible to the naked eye because the joins are well aligned and are evenly filled with solder, with no ugly gaps. Lopsided or badly centred settings are a sign of poor craftsmanship and lack of attention to detail. 




3. Gem setting - Preparation is the key to a top quality setting job. The mount should be carefully prepared and gems should be positioned and seated before they are securely set. Symmetrical gemstones such as squares, ovals or rectangles should be dead centre with all claws being of equal size. When examining shoulder gems, bright cut borders should be even and smooth with no rough edges while channel edges should be uniform. Gems set in a row should be consistently spaced, with no tilting or overlapping. Overlapping can cause chipping to the gemstones which will need to be replaced and reset, a costly and time consuming process.

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Gem setting


4. Finish - After construction has been completed, your jeweller should pay particular attention to the finish of your ring. Subtle shaping of the shank and setting will elevate an average piece of jewellery to exceptional. Particular attention should be paid to preparing the piece for polishing using the correct grades of emery paper, then graduating through the various types of polishing compound to produce a bright mirror-like surface. But be warned, over polishing can result in losing too much metal and detail. For white gold rings, the final stage of finishing is rhodium plating. The rhodium should be white and even, with no spotting or spilling into non-rhodium areas. 




5. Valuation - Once your ring is finished, ensure you obtain an independent appraisal to verify its quality and workmanship. A valuation is particularly important if you have bought your diamond and/or setting online or overseas as it will provide a current insurance replacement value from Australia. And if your purchased diamond has a laser inscribed identification number on its girdle your valuer will verify this number against the Diamond Report. 



To make an appointment for a jewellery valuation call Megan Austin Valuations

(07) 3162 5424