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Replacing Side Stones in a Ring: What You Need to Know

Annabelle / April 1, 2020

If you’ve lost a side stone on your ring, that empty setting is probably staring right back at you…taunting you. Before you pull your hair out in frustration, consider getting it replaced by a professional jeweler! Here’s what you need to know about how to replace side stones in a ring.

What Makes a Side Stone a Side Stone?

stone-setting ruby ring

Ruby and diamond ring missing a stone

If we’re going by a very technical definition, side stones are smaller gemstones or diamonds that are typically less than ⅕ of a carat. They’re used for detailing purposes, and are commonly found on the shoulders or halo of a ring. 

Due to their minute size, the settings for these stones are often designed to minimize the metal around them as much as possible. While this helps to show off the stones better, it also means that the risk of losing a stone is much higher. In the event that this happens, here’s what you need to know in order to get it replaced.

How To Replace Side Stones

You might be thinking- oh, it’s just a small side stone, I can easily get a regular price for it because of the size. However, if a jeweler gives you a quote without getting more information from you or examining it in person, that can be a red flag.
This is because the stone type, size, quality, and setting can vary, and that will cause the price to fluctuate. A jeweler who takes the time to explain that they need to match your side stone to the rest of the gems in your ring will handle your jewelry with care.

  1. Stone Type: Is it a diamond, cubic zirconia, or something else? The stone type matters, as a diamond is obviously more expensive than a CZ. Colored gemstones are also priced differently and the jeweler needs to know what the stone is in order to supply a matching replacement.
  2. Stone Size: “Small” is a non-descriptive word when it comes to the jewelry industry, where even a fraction of a carat can mean drastic differences in prices when it comes to precious stones. While it’s less dramatic with smaller stones, your jeweler still needs to know how big the stone should be in order to give you an accurate quote. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a jewelry expert to give them an idea of the dimensions; just hold it up against a millimeter ruler and figure out the diameter of the stone. Most side stones range from 1 to 2 mm anyway.
  3. Stone Color & Quality: If you have a diamond ring set with D-F color, SI stones, you’re not going to want a jeweler to put in a darker and more included stone as a replacement. The new stone would stick out like a sore thumb! A general rule is that the higher the clarity, the more expensive the stone.

    custom-jewelry-creation-diamonds

    A chart detailing the clarity and color grading system

  4. Stone Setting: Even how the stone is set matters! Are your stones prong set, channel set, pave set, or invisible set? Different setting styles require different types of labor, and some are far more difficult to work with than others. Prong and pave set side stones are the most common, while channel and invisible set side stones cost more money because of the difficulty of labor.

Side Stone Issues

replace-side-stones

This setting has a missing side stone, and the metal is almost gone.

On occasion, we receive rings that have lovingly worn down settings. While this is a sign of an adored piece, it also means that we encounter some issues with stone replacement. 

As an example, pave-set side stones can fall out easily from settings that are extremely worn down, as there is no metal left to securely hold the stone in. While jewelers can attempt alternatives such as boring a deeper hole and setting the stone lower, building prongs, or gluing the stone in with epoxy, keep in mind that the ring can’t be worn with a carefree manner any more. Just by banging it around, you increase the chance of the stone falling out of an already compromised setting. With these repairs, our jewelers recommend exercising caution, or modifying the design to set the stones more securely.

Now you’re up to date on how to replace side stones in your ring! If you have a few pieces in need of touch up, we can help you out. Just comment below and we’ll get back to you shortly.

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