How To Determine If A Ring Is High Quality

Knowing quality jewelry at a glance can save you lots of money as well as heartache. Learn how to tell is a ring is high quality. Use these tips to help you avoid common issues and save yourself money and hassles.

Things to watch for are:

  1. High Casting Quality
      Rings that are not cast well do not handle the stress of everyday wear. They often scratch, break or wear out quickly. Look at the quality of the casting and the amount of metal that was used.

      Verify clean casting: Well casted rings have no pits (often from air bubbles in the casting process).

      Determine that enough metal was used: The ring band should be thick enough around the whole ring so it will not wear out or break. Low quality jewelry often has really thin bands around the back of the ring.

  2. Good Prong Settings
      Gemstones set in rings with prongs need at least 6 prongs to ensure that the gem will stay in the ring. Stones should NOT wiggle in its setting.

      Prongs should be evenly spaced around the gem. These prongs should be strong. If the stone has corners (such as a marquis cut stone), the corners of the stone should be protected.

      Rings with prong settings should be checked yearly to be certain that the gemstone hasn't become loose.

  3. Real Channel Settings
      Channel settings are one of the most misused settings in the industry. Be certain that there is a real channel that the stones are set in -- rather than an impression with a thin additional bit of metal holding the stone in place. When there is a real channel, the stones will not come out under normal wear.

  4. Marked Metal Quality
      Finely made rings have a quality mark imprinted on the inside. Examples of such etched markings are: 14K for 14 Kt gold, 925 for sterling silver, and 950 Pt (or 850 Pt) for platinum. While I prefer 18 Kt gold, others prefer platinum, 14 Kt gold or sterling silver. 24 Kt gold is considered too soft. Platinum tends to show very little wear as it is more durable than gold.

      Electrolyzed or plated metal will often wear out on rings.

      High quality rings can be re-polished by a jeweler if they get scratched.

  5. Nice Gemstone Quality
      There is a huge range of gemstone quality. Generally, looking for stones without imperfections and with good color is a great place to start. Additionally, check out how well the stone is cut. More detailed information can be found on:

      Diamond Buying Guide
      Gemstone Buying Guides

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If you do not know someone's ring size, see if you can manage to borrow one of their rings. You can then measure it or have a jeweler measure it. Alternately, if you are using a ring sizer, be sure to use it at the end of the day when your hands are not cold to get the most accurate size. When measuring ring size, the sizer should easily slide over the knuckle. Feel free to use our Free Ring Sizer to measure yourself or your rings.