shape
carat
color
clarity

Are rings too thin these days?

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
30,730
Lately I've noticed rings are getting thinner and thinner.
I cringe when I see how thin some people want their bands to be these days, especially when there is a big honking rock and a halo.
Here's a random vendor pic I saw posted here; it belongs to no person here.



I've notice here that buyers seem to have this black and white mentality of "Is it safe or not?"
The inconvenient truth is safety is not black and white; there are continuous shades of grey.
Mechanical failure is dependent on 2 things, not 1.
1. The ring
2. What happens to it

A Even a paper thin platinum ring is "safe" if you are careful enough.
A Even a 1-inch thick solid platinum ring is "unsafe" if you drive a semi truck over it.

Buyers want thin, thin, thin, but expect safe, safe, safe.
When the ring fails while they claim they did nothing to it they are pissed.
This is not fair to the ring makers who will lose sales to the competition if they don't give buyers what they want.
I feel sorry for the vendors.
They can't win.
I also feel sorry for buyers with failed rings and no recourse. :(sad
The buyer must feel . . . if the vendor made it, then it must be safe.
This is an awful dilemma for both.

A poster complaining about a failed ring hurts the vendor's reputation.
Sure it IS possible it was thin AND defective, but there is no way to know.
It's not like some independent metallurgical laboratory is going to do an analysis and issue a report, even then wouldn't they be pressured to side with whomever is paying them?
Plus when the band is encrusted in tiny diamonds on three sides, the metal has to be even thinner to get the same thin look.

The only certainty is, thicker is safer!

Do you think vendors should refuse to make solitaire bands thiner than X with no diamonds, Y with one row, and Z with 3 rows of diamonds?
Or should vendors make it as thin as the customer insists on, after warning them?
Should vendors then make customer sign a release from liability if the ring is thinner than the vendor's threshold?

Alternately, do you feel there is no problem here?
I invite vendors to address this issue too.

1.jpg
 

Matthewmon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 28, 2010
Messages
80
my fiancee really likes the 1.4mm antique caliber settings :(

Is the ring a lot safer if you get a plain 1.4 mm platinum setting w/o pave?
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
30,730
I'm afraid this topic may be awkward for some here since many own and love such rings.
I'm not criticizing anyone's rings or taste.
Aesthetically, I think the rings are stunning.
Part of their appeal is the delicateness itself.

Hopefully this thread will just serve to remind owners of how fragile their thin rings are.

And a 2 mm ring with no diamonds would have to be stronger than a 2 mm ring encrusted with rows of diamonds.
 

CushionCutie

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
89
Can you clarify how thin we are talking about here? Less than 2.0mm?

And also, what part of the ring is fragile in thin rings?

Would it help to compensate for the width of the ring by making the thickness/height bigger, Same volume but just different dimensions?

I'm asking because I am thinking about a 1.8mm band with a big rock on it :s
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
Under commercial law, implied warranties accompany the sales of goods. One such warranty is the warranty of "fitness for a particular purpose." It applies if and only if the seller knows that the goods are being used for that purpose. In the case of a jeweller, he knows (or has reason to know) that a buyer purchases a ring with the intent of wearing it for an extended period of time. If the jeweller knows (or has reason to know) that the trade custom is to not make a ring of less than x mm in width, but still makes it, this warranty is arguably violated. Should the customer insist, the jeweller should have him expressly disclaim the warranty, which is not easy to do. In general, it is not easy for a seller to disclaim all warranties in a contract. The rationale behind the warranty of fitness is that the seller is in a better position to guide the buyer.

Question: Even if a client insisted on a thin ring and absolved the jeweller of a liability, can the latter fulfill the order in good faith?
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
30,730
CushionCutie|1296337298|2836706 said:
Can you clarify how thin we are talking about here? Less than 2.0mm?
And also, what part of the ring is fragile in thin rings?
Would it help to compensate for the width of the ring by making the thickness/height bigger, Same volume but just different dimensions?
I'm asking because I am thinking about a 1.8mm band with a big rock on it :s

That's the problem.
There is no absolute thickness that is the line between safe and not safe.

The only thing that is absolutely true is:
Thicker is safer.
Thinner is less safe.

Unfortunately people want a specific number that is "safe" for every size rock and every size halo and safe regardless of if there are rows of diamonds set into the band or not.
This exact magic thickness is also expected to be "safe" for every ring wearer regardless of that owner is a carpenter, rock climber or the Queen of England.

People want a simple answer to a complicated question.

The area where the head meets the band is under particular stress from torque when side force is applied to the head.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
30,730
Harriet|1296337629|2836709 said:
Question: Even if a client insisted on a thin ring and absolved the jeweller of a liability, can the latter fulfill the order in good faith?

Good faith is a fuzzy term but I'd say, Absolutely.

Think of all the things we pay for which are only provided after the customer is informed of and agrees to the risks.

Surgery
Bungy jumping
Cigaretts
Rock climbing
Parking in commercial parking lot X

Even lottery tickets are sold in good faith by sellers who KNOW they are almost certainly not going to win.
The buyer can't complain.
 

Matthewmon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 28, 2010
Messages
80
how do i figure out the minimum width to go with that can withstand 15-20 years of daily wear?
 

Michael_E

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 19, 2003
Messages
1,290
Kenny,
I spent the first half of my working life as a mechanical designer in several industries, (aluminum smelters and fruit processing and packaging). This kept me busy designing and building structures and machinery from steel and aluminum. Peoples lives depended on these structures being adequately strong so that they would continue to operate without failure...even if a 10 ton piece of equipment were to run into them, which did happen once in a while. This experience has educated me permanently to view durability as a prime consideration in everything and jewelry design and manufacture is no different in this regard than building equipment weighing tons.

My experience with jewelers is that they and their clients put the design aspect of jewelry making on a pedestal as an example of masterful artwork and look at durability as poor stepchild which often gets the crumbs of their attention. This view is also taken by most clients of custom jewelers since they ASSUME that the artist making their pieces has taken durability into account, even as they may be demanding things which reduce durability in their piece to less than acceptable levels.

In the case of thinness and platinum, you have a collision of requirements which rarely works to the benefit of piece or it's owner. Basically platinum is soft. It doesn't matter whether it's been forged, heat treated or kissed by magic, platinum is soft. Making things thin dramatically increases the stresses which cause bending in a piece. If you then take into account things like halos and large stones with the support structure all coming together at one place, you have added forces from the twisting that takes place between the band and the head sections of a ring. Do you think that your jeweler is doing any sort of engineering analysis on your treasured jewelery? Not a chance. It takes to long, is too difficult to estimate what sorts of forces are being generated and it is much easier to just use your experience and imagination to guess about what will happen with the piece you're building.

Let me discuss some of your comments here as you've mentioned them:

kenny|1296330809|2836626 said:
Lately I've noticed rings are getting thinner and thinner.
I cringe when I see how thin some people want their bands to be these days, especially when there is a big honking rock and a halo.
Here's a random vendor pic I saw posted here; it belongs to no person here.

This sort of ring places a huge torque, or twisting force between the band of the ring and the upper portion. It can be designed well enough to resist that force without breaking the area where the band and head meet or bending the band, but can be impossible if the band is too thin or the area where the band and head meet is too small. I have actually had the heads break off these rings and that area where the sections meet has so much going on that it is a perfect place for porosity to form when the piece is being cast, (if it's a cast piece), making it that much weaker in that spot. Making these by hand is also difficult in that the fit of all the parts must be perfect and the solder floe without voids or you have a break waiting to happen. You can get around it, BUT the part must be thick enough to negate these problems.

I've notice here that buyers seem to have this black and white mentality of "Is it safe or not?"
The inconvenient truth is safety is not black and white; there are continuous shades of grey.
Mechanical failure is dependent on 2 things, not 1.
1. The ring
2. What happens to it

A Even a paper thin platinum ring is "safe" if you are careful enough.
A Even a 1-inch thick solid platinum ring is "unsafe" if you drive a semi truck over it.

Absolutely true. Design can only push the use of materials so far and then they will fail given improper use for that design. You can't design with opposing traits and expect miracles.

Buyers want thin, thin, thin, but expect safe, safe, safe.
When the ring fails while they claim they did nothing to it they are pissed.
This is not fair to the ring makers who will lose sales to the competition if they don't give buyers what they want.
I feel sorry for the vendors.
They can't win.

Absolutely true, well except for the winning part. THIN and SAFE are opposing traits. The dividing line comes with how a piece is used. It can be as thin as you would like if you don't touch it. If you're going to wear it and expect adequate durability, then you had better expect an adequate thickness and certain design compromises from your ideal.

Wining comes from being very blunt and honest with your clients. If their "perfect" design won't work and they insist, then wish them well and let them go elsewhere. It's the only way to keep from seeing the same piece over and over and hoping that they are more careful with it the next time.


I also feel sorry for buyers with failed rings and no recourse. :(sad
The buyer must feel . . . if the vendor made it, then it must be safe.
This is an awful dilemma for both.

This comes from two directions. If a consumer is insistent on a design aspect that the vendor knows won't work AND they tell the consumer this, then I have trouble feeling sorry for them. If they are NOT told that what they are buying has limitations for how it's worn, the the responsibility falls to the maker to do something about it. It's not a dilemma if everything's on the table and everyone knows what to expect beforehand. Back to the old ASSUMPTION deal.


A poster complaining about a failed ring hurts the vendor's reputation.
Sure it IS possible it was thin AND defective, but there is no way to know.
It's not like some independent metallurgical laboratory is going to do an analysis and issue a report, even then wouldn't they be pressured to side with whomever is paying them?
Plus when the band is encrusted in tiny diamonds on three sides, the metal has to be even thinner to get the same thin look.

Yes, it does hurt reputations when this happens. Reputations are not formed in a vacuum and if the maker has not been informed of a problem and been given a chance to rectify it and refuses, then that is one problem. If they don't get the chance to fix it, then how can they offer any compensation? This again comes down to communication. Existing clients are our very best asset and so it should be clear up front that all problems can be brought back for some attempt at an acceptable solution. Brick walls always fall down on the heads of those building them.

Diamonds on three sides of a band require that the band be made heavier. Each diamond has a countersink under it which is about 1/2 the width of the diamond. If you have two diamonds on opposing sides which are 1.3mm and the counter sinks add up to 1.3mm and this is all expected to fit into a 1.6mm band, then you are essentially left with a .3mm band. It's not quite that bad, since the corners are still solid, but you get the idea, the band is substantially reduced in cross section and can be that much more easily stretched and bent.

The only certainty is, thicker is safer!

This is true as long as the design is adequate to support it's intended use.

Do you think vendors should refuse to make solitaire bands thiner than X with no diamonds, Y with one row, and Z with 3 rows of diamonds?
Or should vendors make it as thin as the customer insists on, after warning them?
Should vendors then make customer sign a release from liability if the ring is thinner than the vendor's threshold?

I think that a vendor has two obligations. The first is to themselves in that they should not do anything which they think cold come back as a problem. The second is that they be extremely blunt with their clients about what to expect from a piece and how it can be used. I have personal limits about what I will do and I'm sure that most others do as well. But there's always that gray area about how the piece will be used. If a customer insists, then it's up to the jeweler to decide it they can bear having that piece come back broken and the client unhappy. I have trouble with that, so just let them walk with my best wishes for success. No need for a signed release if someone else is making a nightmare. Releases are for people who want to deal with lawyers and so forth. Better to either make someone happy or, at least, let someone else make them unhappy.

Alternately, do you feel there is no problem here?
I invite vendors to address this issue too.

Sure there's a problem. But it's one of poor education about what is possible. People always want things which are popular, stylish and in vogue. The problem comes when the direction that design goes, extends a trend into territory which can't support reasonable wear-ability of those objects being designed. I think that if people are concerned about durability and wear-ability that they need to discuss those traits with the maker of their jewelry and have those traits be given equal importance to the traits that comprise style and fashion. From both sides of the table, communication of ALL of your requirements is the key .
 

missydebby

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
1,815
This topic makes me mad. Not the topic really but that the question needs to be brought up. :angryfire:

Why? Well, an engagement ring and wedding ring are meant to be worn. Not just once but everyday, the majority of the time right?

SO if just the act of wearing it is liable to bend it ever so slightly out of round and pop out a stone, I feel like it's the ring's design fault not the wearer's. OR, since 99.99999% of people wearing the rings are not jewelry manufacturers and don't have even the slightest hint to ask about it, I feel like vendors should go out of their way to talk about durability issues. How am I, the buyer, supposed to KNOW to ask. I mean, my feeling is that if it is out there being sold by respectable jewelers, than I'm assuming it can be worn as intended.

Am I saying this right? Do you understand what I'm getting at?
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
30,730
missydebby|1296339715|2836737 said:
This topic makes me mad. Not the topic really but that the question needs to be brought up. :angryfire:

Why? Well, an engagement ring and wedding ring are meant to be worn. Not just once but everyday, the majority of the time right?

SO if just the act of wearing it is liable to bend it ever so slightly out of round and pop out a stone, I feel like it's the ring's design fault not the wearer's. OR, since 99.99999% of people wearing the rings are not jewelry manufacturers and don't have even the slightest hint to ask about it, I feel like vendors should go out of their way to talk about durability issues. How am I, the buyer, supposed to KNOW to ask. I mean, my feeling is that if it is out there being sold by respectable jewelers, than I'm assuming it can be worn as intended.

Am I saying this right? Do you understand what I'm getting at?

I'm mad too.
That's why I stared the thread.
I would love it if what happened to Harriet's Leon Mege ring never happens again.
Her story is heartbreaking.

Even though there is no exact magic minimum thickness that is "safe" for everything that it may be subject to (including unforeseen accidents) . . . I'm mad that customers demand too thin and I'm mad the vendors agree to make them too thin.
It is a chicken and egg thing.
A dangerous cycle that feeds on itself.
Both are at fault, and it is typical of what we see everywhere, expecting more than what is possible or sensible. Look at the national debt.
Also the public's mentality that 100% safeness is to be expected always shares the blame.
Now we have safety seals under safety caps wrapped in safety packaging.

Thank you Michael E. for your very informative post (btw a large section of what you wrote looks like a quote by me - it starts with . . . "I think that a vendor has two obligations.")

I worked in engineering for decades too.
Hence my alarm at today's too-thin styles.
 

missydebby

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
1,815
I hears ya Kens. The only thing I would add to that is half the fault being the wearer of the ring for asking for a thin band. I mean, until just like 3 seconds ago, I never even knew it was an issue to be brought up. In my mind, I see myself looking for a ring and seeing one in a photo or on the vendors website that's very very thin. It's there, right? So why/how would I even know to question it? I'm just looking at it thinking it's gorgeous and just my style, never knowing that durability could be an issue. I believe it is way more than half the vendor's responsibility to make sure the client is aware of the issues.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
57,955
Matthewmon|1296335950|2836691 said:
my fiancee really likes the 1.4mm antique caliber settings :(

Is the ring a lot safer if you get a plain 1.4 mm platinum setting w/o pave?

If you want an opinion, I will say that 1.4mm is asking for trouble whether plain or with diamonds on the shank. My e-ring is solid platinum and about 2mm thick (high) but is about 1.8mm in width. It is holding it's shape, but I should mention it is a harder platinum alloy...95%plat/5%ruthenium. I personally wouldn't go any thinner than 1.8mm for a solid platinum ring or 2mm for a pave ring. These are both thin but not ultra thin. I don't think the ultra thin rings will be around in 20 years if the person really wants to wear them daily. But again, that is just the opinion of a consumer who reads a lot on here and not an expert!
 

sillyberry

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
1,792
kenny|1296340496|2836743 said:
::snip:: . . . I'm mad that customers demand too thin and I'm mad the vendors agree to make them too thin. ::snip
Out of curiosity, how do you define "demand"?

My ring is a stock setting with 3-sided pave. It's very thin, probably what you would describe as too thin. I tried it on in a jewelry store and loved it and bought it. I didn't demand anything from a vendor. So I'm not entirely sure why I deserve to be blamed for this.

Or do you mean demand in a way to explain how we've come to the point where I can walk into a shop and buy a setting thinner than is wise?
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
30,730
missydebby|1296340993|2836752 said:
I hears ya Kens. The only thing I would add to that is half the fault being the wearer of the ring for asking for a thin band. I mean, until just like 3 seconds ago, I never even knew it was an issue to be brought up. In my mind, I see myself looking for a ring and seeing one in a photo or on the vendors website that's very very thin. It's there, right? So why/how would I even know to question it? I'm just looking at it thinking it's gorgeous and just my style, never knowing that durability could be an issue. I believe it is way more than half the vendor's responsibility to make sure the client is aware of the issues.

Excellent point.
Everyone does not have an engineering degree or strong mechanical aptitude, nor should they need them when shopping for an engagement ring.

This is exactly why I spoke up, at the risk of once again getting lynched here.
I sincerely hope this thread rocks the jewelry world.

The reason jewelers don't warn you is, fear - theirs and yours.
Their fear is all this will kill a sale because of YOUR fear.
Good salespeople reduce fear, rather than increase it.
It is not your jeweler's fault that what may be mechanically unacceptable is what's currently in vogue.
IMHO, you should be able to buy what is popular and widely available without worrying or babying the ring for 50 years.

Image if cars or ladders were made ever thinner and more fragile.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
30,730
sillyberry|1296341272|2836760 said:
kenny|1296340496|2836743 said:
::snip:: . . . I'm mad that customers demand too thin and I'm mad the vendors agree to make them too thin. ::snip
Out of curiosity, how do you define "demand"?

My ring is a stock setting with 3-sided pave. It's very thin, probably what you would describe as too thin. I tried it on in a jewelry store and loved it and bought it. I didn't demand anything from a vendor. So I'm not entirely sure why I deserve to be blamed for this.

Or do you mean demand in a way to explain how we've come to the point where I can walk into a shop and buy a setting thinner than is wise?

The later.
Buying something supports demand, which supports supply, which supports demand . . .A vicious cycle.
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
57,955
Matthewmon|1296338511|2836719 said:
how do i figure out the minimum width to go with that can withstand 15-20 years of daily wear?

I hope if you are referring to a wedding band that you are hoping for 50 years or more daily wear! ;))
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
30,730
diamondseeker2006|1296341758|2836771 said:
Matthewmon|1296338511|2836719 said:
how do i figure out the minimum width to go with that can withstand 15-20 years of daily wear?

I hope if you are referring to a wedding band that you are hoping for 50 years or more daily wear! ;))

You never heard of DHSS? :D
 

sillyberry

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
1,792
Eh, this thread hasn't rocked my world. I love my setting, would buy it again with this knowledge, and will deal with the damage if it happens (and knock on wood I don't have any problems). But I do appreciate the reminder to be loving and gentle to Sparkles de Lafayette.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
30,730
sillyberry|1296342190|2836782 said:
Eh, this thread hasn't rocked my world. I love my setting, would buy it again with this knowledge, and will deal with the damage if it happens (and knock on wood I don't have any problems). But I do appreciate the reminder to be loving and gentle to Sparkles de Lafayette.

Good post.
God attitude.

My tension setting has weakness too but I love it and wouldn't trade it for anything. :love: :love:
Nothing here is personal; let's not take it that way. :wink2:
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
57,955
kenny|1296341821|2836775 said:
diamondseeker2006|1296341758|2836771 said:
Matthewmon|1296338511|2836719 said:
how do i figure out the minimum width to go with that can withstand 15-20 years of daily wear?

I hope if you are referring to a wedding band that you are hoping for 50 years or more daily wear! ;))

You never heard of DHSS? :D

Bahahahahahahaha!!!!! :lol:
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jan 11, 2006
Messages
57,955
kenny|1296341821|2836775 said:
diamondseeker2006|1296341758|2836771 said:
Matthewmon|1296338511|2836719 said:
how do i figure out the minimum width to go with that can withstand 15-20 years of daily wear?

I hope if you are referring to a wedding band that you are hoping for 50 years or more daily wear! ;))

You never heard of DHSS? :D

Bahahahahahahaha!!!!! :lol:
 

missydebby

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 2, 2010
Messages
1,815
I really appreciate you starting the thread. Then at least there is some kind of reference for people considering thin bands. I think they are sooo beautiful. Just lovely. And if I were considering one, I'd want to know the pros and cons up front.
 

sillyberry

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
1,792
kenny|1296342585|2836789 said:
sillyberry|1296342190|2836782 said:
Eh, this thread hasn't rocked my world. I love my setting, would buy it again with this knowledge, and will deal with the damage if it happens (and knock on wood I don't have any problems). But I do appreciate the reminder to be loving and gentle to Sparkles de Lafayette.

Good post.
God attitude.

My tension setting has weakness too but I love it and wouldn't trade it for anything. :love: :love:
Nothing here is personal; let's not take it that way. :wink2:
Nope not personal...although maybe I'll take it personally if you're saying I have a god complex! :lol:
 

Imdanny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
6,186
kenny|1296338387|2836717 said:
Harriet|1296337629|2836709 said:
Question: Even if a client insisted on a thin ring and absolved the jeweller of a liability, can the latter fulfill the order in good faith?

Good faith is a fuzzy term but I'd say, Absolutely.

Think of all the things we pay for which are only provided after the customer is informed of and agrees to the risks.

Surgery
Bungy jumping
Cigaretts
Rock climbing
Parking in commercial parking lot X

Even lottery tickets are sold in good faith by sellers who KNOW they are almost certainly not going to win.
The buyer can't complain.

Can I just say that consumers are informed of the risk of cigarettes, yes, but cigarettes are an addiction, tax money is being made off of an addicted population. It's my contention that an addicted (sick) population isn't capable of processing "risk" so much as getting the next fix. Sorry if this is OT.

Thin rings? Well, nothing legal to say about it. I see Harriet pretty much covered it. Thin rings and melee diamonds are going to do what they're going to do (and iirc platinum is susceptible to bending and not breaking, meaning a thin platinum ring won't mind going out of round). Just yesterday I read of of a relatively simple melee design (melee only around the top) from a reputable vendor the meleee of which routinely falls out occasionally).

I thought your analogy of the Queen of England was interesting. BTW, she was coronated with a JLC watch but the it wasn't branded "JLC" on the face.

Maybe it goes with the territory, so to speak. Maybe you should wear your 2 ct Harry Winston Micropave to parties and otherwise leave it in the safe. I mean that seems to be the standard that many people want.

In my parents' day, women had 1/3 ct. badly cut diamonds in gold and the worst thing that they worried about was washing them down the dishwasher drain.
 

Michael_E

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 19, 2003
Messages
1,290
missydebby|1296340993|2836752 said:
I hears ya Kens. The only thing I would add to that is half the fault being the wearer of the ring for asking for a thin band. I mean, until just like 3 seconds ago, I never even knew it was an issue to be brought up. In my mind, I see myself looking for a ring and seeing one in a photo or on the vendors website that's very very thin. It's there, right? So why/how would I even know to question it? I'm just looking at it thinking it's gorgeous and just my style, never knowing that durability could be an issue. I believe it is way more than half the vendor's responsibility to make sure the client is aware of the issues.

The wearer is at NO fault for asking for a thin band and the responsibility rest solely on the maker of the piece to inform the buyer about the potential of durability issues. Once the buyer knows about any potential issues, then they are still only partially at fault if they go ahead any purchase that piece. The reason that the maker still holds some responsibility, even after the sale, is because they KNOW much more clearly than any consumer what problems are likely to occur. As a consumer you are thinking, "Well, he said that it might happen, so maybe if I'm careful I won't have a problem". As a a maker I KNOW that you'll have a problem if a piece is too thin or poorly designed and if I sold it anyway, then I should retain some responsibility. That's why I say that a vendor should be as clear as possible that you PROBABLY WILL have a problem with an exceptionally thin ring in some designs.

Remember that where the diamonds are located plays a large part in this discussion. If you want an extremely thin ring, (under 1.5mm), then just skip the diamonds on the sides and leave them on the top surface only. This leaves a lot more material to resist bending or twisting and makes for a much more durable ring.
 

iugurl

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2011
Messages
476
I think it is more the jewelers fault. So many consumers have absolutely NO knowledge of anything diamond or ring related. If an inexperienced consumer goes into a jewelry store, falls in love with a thin stock piece - is it really the consumers fault? They have not been warned by the jeweler about the possible risks of such ring. I don't believe an experienced buyer is at fault either. A jeweler should produce rings that should be able to be worn (and have normal wear and tear) for many, many years. Now I understand it is NOT the jewelers fault if it is slammed into doors, walls or other incidents that are not included in everyday wear. Do jewelers really believe that their teeny, tiny rings will last 20 years, with people wearing them "safely" everyday? If not, they should A. Not sell such rings B. Tell consumers the real risk!
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
23,552
Michael_E|1296339354|2836731 said:
Kenny,
I spent the first half of my working life as a mechanical designer in several industries, (aluminum smelters and fruit processing and packaging). This kept me busy designing and building structures and machinery from steel and aluminum. Peoples lives depended on these structures being adequately strong so that they would continue to operate without failure...even if a 10 ton piece of equipment were to run into them, which did happen once in a while. This experience has educated me permanently to view durability as a prime consideration in everything and jewelry design and manufacture is no different in this regard than building equipment weighing tons.

My experience with jewelers is that they and their clients put the design aspect of jewelry making on a pedestal as an example of masterful artwork and look at durability as poor stepchild which often gets the crumbs of their attention. This view is also taken by most clients of custom jewelers since they ASSUME that the artist making their pieces has taken durability into account, even as they may be demanding things which reduce durability in their piece to less than acceptable levels.

In the case of thinness and platinum, you have a collision of requirements which rarely works to the benefit of piece or it's owner. Basically platinum is soft. It doesn't matter whether it's been forged, heat treated or kissed by magic, platinum is soft. Making things thin dramatically increases the stresses which cause bending in a piece. If you then take into account things like halos and large stones with the support structure all coming together at one place, you have added forces from the twisting that takes place between the band and the head sections of a ring. Do you think that your jeweler is doing any sort of engineering analysis on your treasured jewelery? Not a chance. It takes to long, is too difficult to estimate what sorts of forces are being generated and it is much easier to just use your experience and imagination to guess about what will happen with the piece you're building.

Let me discuss some of your comments here as you've mentioned them:

kenny|1296330809|2836626 said:
Lately I've noticed rings are getting thinner and thinner.
I cringe when I see how thin some people want their bands to be these days, especially when there is a big honking rock and a halo.
Here's a random vendor pic I saw posted here; it belongs to no person here.

This sort of ring places a huge torque, or twisting force between the band of the ring and the upper portion. It can be designed well enough to resist that force without breaking the area where the band and head meet or bending the band, but can be impossible if the band is too thin or the area where the band and head meet is too small. I have actually had the heads break off these rings and that area where the sections meet has so much going on that it is a perfect place for porosity to form when the piece is being cast, (if it's a cast piece), making it that much weaker in that spot. Making these by hand is also difficult in that the fit of all the parts must be perfect and the solder floe without voids or you have a break waiting to happen. You can get around it, BUT the part must be thick enough to negate these problems.

I've notice here that buyers seem to have this black and white mentality of "Is it safe or not?"
The inconvenient truth is safety is not black and white; there are continuous shades of grey.
Mechanical failure is dependent on 2 things, not 1.
1. The ring
2. What happens to it

A Even a paper thin platinum ring is "safe" if you are careful enough.
A Even a 1-inch thick solid platinum ring is "unsafe" if you drive a semi truck over it.

Absolutely true. Design can only push the use of materials so far and then they will fail given improper use for that design. You can't design with opposing traits and expect miracles.

Buyers want thin, thin, thin, but expect safe, safe, safe.
When the ring fails while they claim they did nothing to it they are pissed.
This is not fair to the ring makers who will lose sales to the competition if they don't give buyers what they want.
I feel sorry for the vendors.
They can't win.

Absolutely true, well except for the winning part. THIN and SAFE are opposing traits. The dividing line comes with how a piece is used. It can be as thin as you would like if you don't touch it. If you're going to wear it and expect adequate durability, then you had better expect an adequate thickness and certain design compromises from your ideal.

Wining comes from being very blunt and honest with your clients. If their "perfect" design won't work and they insist, then wish them well and let them go elsewhere. It's the only way to keep from seeing the same piece over and over and hoping that they are more careful with it the next time.


I also feel sorry for buyers with failed rings and no recourse. :(sad
The buyer must feel . . . if the vendor made it, then it must be safe.
This is an awful dilemma for both.

This comes from two directions. If a consumer is insistent on a design aspect that the vendor knows won't work AND they tell the consumer this, then I have trouble feeling sorry for them. If they are NOT told that what they are buying has limitations for how it's worn, the the responsibility falls to the maker to do something about it. It's not a dilemma if everything's on the table and everyone knows what to expect beforehand. Back to the old ASSUMPTION deal.


A poster complaining about a failed ring hurts the vendor's reputation.
Sure it IS possible it was thin AND defective, but there is no way to know.
It's not like some independent metallurgical laboratory is going to do an analysis and issue a report, even then wouldn't they be pressured to side with whomever is paying them?
Plus when the band is encrusted in tiny diamonds on three sides, the metal has to be even thinner to get the same thin look.

Yes, it does hurt reputations when this happens. Reputations are not formed in a vacuum and if the maker has not been informed of a problem and been given a chance to rectify it and refuses, then that is one problem. If they don't get the chance to fix it, then how can they offer any compensation? This again comes down to communication. Existing clients are our very best asset and so it should be clear up front that all problems can be brought back for some attempt at an acceptable solution. Brick walls always fall down on the heads of those building them.

Diamonds on three sides of a band require that the band be made heavier. Each diamond has a countersink under it which is about 1/2 the width of the diamond. If you have two diamonds on opposing sides which are 1.3mm and the counter sinks add up to 1.3mm and this is all expected to fit into a 1.6mm band, then you are essentially left with a .3mm band. It's not quite that bad, since the corners are still solid, but you get the idea, the band is substantially reduced in cross section and can be that much more easily stretched and bent.

The only certainty is, thicker is safer!

This is true as long as the design is adequate to support it's intended use.

Do you think vendors should refuse to make solitaire bands thiner than X with no diamonds, Y with one row, and Z with 3 rows of diamonds?
Or should vendors make it as thin as the customer insists on, after warning them?
Should vendors then make customer sign a release from liability if the ring is thinner than the vendor's threshold?

I think that a vendor has two obligations. The first is to themselves in that they should not do anything which they think cold come back as a problem. The second is that they be extremely blunt with their clients about what to expect from a piece and how it can be used. I have personal limits about what I will do and I'm sure that most others do as well. But there's always that gray area about how the piece will be used. If a customer insists, then it's up to the jeweler to decide it they can bear having that piece come back broken and the client unhappy. I have trouble with that, so just let them walk with my best wishes for success. No need for a signed release if someone else is making a nightmare. Releases are for people who want to deal with lawyers and so forth. Better to either make someone happy or, at least, let someone else make them unhappy.

Alternately, do you feel there is no problem here?
I invite vendors to address this issue too.

Sure there's a problem. But it's one of poor education about what is possible. People always want things which are popular, stylish and in vogue. The problem comes when the direction that design goes, extends a trend into territory which can't support reasonable wear-ability of those objects being designed. I think that if people are concerned about durability and wear-ability that they need to discuss those traits with the maker of their jewelry and have those traits be given equal importance to the traits that comprise style and fashion. From both sides of the table, communication of ALL of your requirements is the key .



Thank you for this fantastic post - tons of insight here.

Kenny - great thread, very appropriate topic for RT these days. I also very much agree that expecting and under-2mm melee-encrusted band to last for years of regular wear without warping/deforming is expecting a miracle - eventually, inevitably, you're going to be disappointed.
 

suchende

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 14, 2008
Messages
1,001
I am not going to get into the products liability debate (hey, I finished torts last semester, I never have to think about it again, right?) past saying that there's a strong legal argument on both sides.

Beyond that, I think we as pricescopers may have been sleeping on the job by not being more vigilant in pointing these things out. I am glad Kenny started this thread. Something of a public service announcement not just for would-be buyers but also those of us who take it upon ourselves to advise them.

More generally, things wear out and no ring can be designed to last forever. My aunt has her original e-ring from the early 80s. I was inspecting the prongs and noticed that one was totally worn off and two more looked awfully close. She had no idea! I doubt she'd even really looked at the thing in years, even though she wears it every day. Proper maintenance and being aware of the state of your jewelry is always crucial. I have a couple rings that are "retired" at the moment until they can be re-habbed, and neither are particularly delicate or thin-shanked, though one is a tension setting, and none of my pieces are platinum.
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    December Birthstones 2021 - Zircon, Turquoise, and Tanzanite
    December Birthstones 2021 - Zircon, Turquoise, and Tanzanite - 12/01
    "Not so Fast!" says Mother Nature
    "Not so Fast!" says Mother Nature - 11/29
    Jewels of the Week: November 2021
    Jewels of the Week: November 2021 - 11/26
Top