Tension Set Damage to the Stone ?

by Ced
(Bay Area, CA)


I was excited to buy a GIA certified D,IF diamond with a platinum tension setting until I talked to one well-known jeweler in the Bay Area. I am confused because he mentioned that during the tension setting process, even with a medium to thin girdle, the diamond will get damaged no matter what. If you decided afterwards to remove the diamond from the ring and analyze it again, it would not be IF anymore. Overall, he says that the quality of the stone decreases when it is submitted to this process no matter how qualified the person doing the tension set is and no matter how good the setting is. Your thoughts?

Thank-you, Ced

Hi Ced,

I contacted three different jewelers who have extensive experience with tension settings, and they all disagreed with the Bay Area jeweler’s statements.

Edward Mirell Designer Tension Set Rings at eBay!

To start with, an IF diamond is graded as internally flawless. Any type of setting – even a prong or bezel setting – will place microscopic scratches on a diamond which can be easily buffed out. But microscopic scratches will not affect an IF diamond grade anyway, even if they are not buffed out, because this type of grade refers to inclusions inside the diamond only.

Secondly, all the jewelers pointed out that you need a diamond with a high clarity and color rating for the tension set ring for two reasons:
  • Diamonds with moderate to severe inclusions can become damaged during the setting because they have lower durability.

  • Any inclusions or tints of color will really stand out in a tension setting.

Experienced jewelers will always take the time to completely examine a diamond before it is tension set to make sure that the diamond will hold up to a tension setting. Most jewelers will only tension set diamonds rated at IF (very rare) to VVS2 (very slightly included).

Which brings me to the next point. Diamonds with excellent clarity and color characteristics are expensive and somewhat rare. Any type of setting which damaged these diamonds would not be used for very long – high end diamond boutiques and diamond jewelers simply would not continue to use a diamond setting that damaged a rare and beautiful gemstone.

The tension set was actually created in the 1960s and perfected again in the 1990s. The process which is used to create today's quality tension set diamond rings has been in use for almost 20 years. If this type of setting did indeed damage a diamond – jewelers would definitely be aware of the issue. Especially because jewelers can be held responsible if they damage a diamond while setting it.

It is important to keep in mind that poor quality tension set rings can either injure the stone or lose their tension and the stone can fall out. High quality tension set rings though will hold their tension literally for hundreds of years.

So, as long as the ring is set by a highly experienced jeweler and the diamond is of good quality – no damage will occur to the diamond during or after the setting.

I also contacted jewelers who did not sell or work with tension set rings because they do not like that type of setting - when I asked them why they did not like the tension setting it had to do with the fact that the rings could not be resized, or resized only to a very small degree,and that the tension set process was extremely time consuming and required specialized equipment and expertise. None of them had ever heard of an IF diamond being damaged during the tension setting process.

I wanted to add, when you are purchasing a diamond that has an IF and D rating, be sure that you have the GIA certificate that goes with the diamond, that you insure the diamond (no matter what setting the diamond is in) and that you have a return policy just in case the diamond doesn’t turn out to be an IF and D diamond. An IF diamond is so rare, one jeweler reported he had only seen one once, and a D is a perfect colorless rating – so expect to pay top price and once again, make sure the GIA certificate is given to you when you purchase the diamond.

Do contact us again if you have any additional questions!

Suzanne Gardner
Everything Wedding Rings

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