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18k white gold setting too soft?

GliderPoss

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Messages
2,624
Hello, quick question on behalf of my girlfriend. Her fiancé proposed with a beautiful 1ct marquise split shank ring in 18k white gold about two months ago. I gather he sourced the diamond and had the setting made in Hong Kong. Now after only a few months the diamond was loose and she was told by their local jeweler in Australia (who was appraising it for insurance) that the gold was too soft, design too thin and it was "stretching". Now they have just had to pay lots extra to get it remade in Platinum and the design is no longer flowy and delicate. My girlfriend is devastated! I have seen the original and certainly didn't think it was too thin at all. Is this the fault of the original jeweler in HK? Surely 18K is strong enough?
 

Christina...

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 7, 2011
Messages
5,028
Hmmm, I'm certainly not an expert but most fine jewlery, if not platnium, is made with 18k gold. I have a 2mm 18k white gold shank with a platnium head and I've had no issues, and I'm tough on my jewelry.

I'm wondering why it wasn't possible to just change the head and not the whole ring, and why changing to platnium made the ring appear less delicate and flowy?? In my exerience the change in metals should not have affected the appearance that way. Sounds like a problem with the bench and not the metal. Are they certain that the ring was 18k?


ETA after reading your post, is it possible that its a design flow with the setting?
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 14, 2009
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21,109
Pure gold at 24k is very, very soft. The alloys in 18k, 14k, etc. make it stronger, harder, more scratch-resistant, and more brittle - the more the alloy, the more the effects.

Does she know what the 18k was alloyed with? Nickel alloy wg (the most common wg mix in the US, not sure about in Hong Kong) is actually very strong - harder to bend and work with than platinum. This is something that has come up in my own recent search for a vendor - hand-forging Ni wg is more difficult than plat. And 18k won't "stretch" under acute pressure like rubber or plastic - it's liable to just break.

Platinum heads are preferred for just that reason - the prongs are softer and more pliable, don't have "metal memory" so if you bang your ring against the door the prongs will smoosh around the stone and keep protecting it, whereas gold prongs that are more brittle might snap off. Gold prongs are harder to tighten, too, because of that 'memory' - they remember being slightly too loose, so you have to push them slightly too tight to get them to adjust to being in the current position...

Loose prongs - they happen, no matter what the metal or how rough you are on your ring! It's odd that they recommended a full reset. Maybe they noticed it was poorly cast or finished, or that it was overly flimsy... or that there was excessive wear and tear on the prongs, and recommended redoing the head in plat for safety? Either way they should have clearly explained, and given her the option of having just the head replaced unless the entire ring had issues :nono: Does she still have the old setting? If so, perhaps an appraisal is in order.
 

vsc

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 7, 2010
Messages
104
I hope it's not one of those cases where jewelers badmouth other's work in order to get themselves some new business.

A loose stone is not the end of the world, and sometimes is just because it was set slightly loose and the diamond edge has progressively worn out some of the gold, making it suddenly more noticeable. Also 18k is not always softer than 14k (depends on what each alloy is made of). There is no reason why 18k would be problematic, unless you are talking about some really thin shanks with pave, which would be a problem with any metal, really. In some european countries, gold cannot be called gold unless it's 18k or over, so everything is pretty much 18k, and no one seems to have issues.

Is the 18k setting bent in any way? Is there any way to get a second opinion?

If you could get some pictures you might be able to get more opinions here...
 

GliderPoss

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Messages
2,624
Thanks for your replies. I do have a photo showing both settings but cannot seem to
upload it from my IPhone...? Anyone know how to do that?

There is no pave on the shank but it was fairly slim I suppose. Still I'm convinced that the jeweler should have A. Discussed the design flaws if that was a potential problem or B. Done a better job in creating the ring structurally with 18k. I'll let you decide when you see both if I can upload the pic.
 
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