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By Reviewed By Andreas Zabczyk Mar 17, 2017 Updated Jun 24, 2023

How to Replace Lost Stones or Missing Gems in Jewelry

Are you looking to replace a lost gemstone? Perhaps you have a special ring, pendant or pair of earrings with a missing stone and need a new center stone or side stone. Maybe you're a jeweler with customers who need loose replacement stones. When shopping for replacement gems, be sure to measure the length, width and depth of your jewelry setting and to buy replacement stones by millimeter size rather than carat weight. It is also important to find a good color match. To find out more, use the menu below to quickly and conveniently get the right tips for your replacement stones or read on for a comprehensive guide to replacing missing gems:

Yellow Gold Ring with Square Champagne Diamond & Black Spinel Side Stones
Yellow Gold Ring with Replacement Square Champagne Diamond & Black Spinel Side Stones

Rather than allow jewelry with missing gemstones to go unused and languish inside a jewelry box, it can be given a whole new lease of life with replacement stones. Sadly, gemstones sometimes fall out of their settings and are lost, especially accent stones in rings. This can be caused by a prong that has loosened by being snagged on clothing or a stone which did not snugly fit its setting. For a piece of jewelry with great sentimental value, such as an engagement ring or a family heirloom, this can be an upsetting matter. However, when a stone is lost, all is not lost; replacements can be found. Since rings are exposed to the most wear and tear, they are most often in need of repair. To make it easier to find the exact replacement stones that you require, it is a good idea to use appropriate search criteria. This is when dedicated loose gemstone suppliers can help and specific gemstone searches can yield the best results.

Replacing Center Stones

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Replacing Center Stones - Solitaire Ring with Pink Sapphire Center Stone
Replacing Center Stones - Solitaire Ring with Pink Sapphire Center Stone

Replacing center stones may seem like a daunting task for a beloved engagement ring, a fine gemstone earring or a family heirloom pendant, but these items can be repaired and restored to their former glory with replacement stones. A main stone replacement will usually require a bigger budget than an accent stone, since center stones are typically larger, and a hard-to-find stone, such as a large Colombian emerald, Burma ruby or Ceylon sapphire may take a while to source. Whether you are looking for a single replacement stone for a solitaire or several stones for a two or three-stone ring, it is possible to find good matches.

Replacement Accent Stones and Side Stones

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Replacing Accent Stones - Pink Spinel Ring with Blue Zircon Accent Stones
Replacing Accent Stones - Pink Spinel Ring with Blue Zircon Accent Stones

Replacement accent stones or side stones are more frequently requested than center stones, especially melee stones, which can easily fall out of jewelry settings, especially if their sizes differ slightly. Side stones are stones which flank a center stone and are typically sold as matched pairs. Accent stones are generally smaller gemstones that are sold as sets or gemstone lots also referred to as "melee" or "colored gemstone melee". While you may only be looking to replace one or two stones, a matching pair or gemstone lot is a good idea, since it will provide replacements for future use. Also, buying matched pairs and lots at wholesale prices is often cheaper than buying a single stone. If you require one of a pair, sometimes it can be easier to replace the pair of gemstones than find a single gemstone to match. Finding matching gemstones will depend on the jewelry piece and how it is worn. For example, a three-stone blue sapphire ring will require very well-matched stones, since they will be placed next to each other. However, for earrings, a close enough match often suffices, since the two gemstones will be worn much farther apart so the color variance can be greater.

Replace Gemstones by Color

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Replacing gems by color is a useful way to find a good color match, especially when it comes to accent stones or multiple stone rings. At GemSelect, we make it convenient to shop for gems by color and if a certain color is required we are always happy to match separate stones. Some people may be surprised at how widely specific gem types like aquamarine can vary in color. For example, some gems are greenish-blue and others are only blue, and the color saturation also differs. Furthermore, it can be difficult to tell whether two gemstones match in color from looking at images alone, since it is a challenge to capture all the beauty of a colored stone under a single light source and in a two-dimensional image. Therefore, it is a good idea to check single gemstones with us for a color match. We can inspect the actual gems under various light sources to ensure a good match.

Replace Gems by Exact Size

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Gold Chrome Diopside and Blue Topaz Pendant with Bezel Setting

Replacing gems by exact size is often important in order to fit a non-standard setting. However, do not despair if you cannot find a replacement stone with exact dimensions, since a certain amount of tolerance is allowed and any good jeweler should be able to work with any reasonable variance to make a stone fit a setting perfectly. Jewelry metals are malleable and jewelers are skilled artists who are able to adapt a setting. When searching for replacement stones, it is better to shop for gemstones by exact size rather than by carat weight, which can be misleading when it comes to colored gemstones because colored gemstones all have varying specific gravity, so a 1-carat gemstone may have slightly different dimensions depending on the gem type. While pronged settings can be quite forgiving, some other settings such as bezels and channel settings may not hold a gemstone that is an incorrect size; a gem that is too large will simply not fit, and a stone that is slightly too small will likely be too loose and fall out of the setting, unless the setting is adjusted. When shopping by exact size, it is important to consider all dimensions; length, width and depth, in order to get the best fit for your jewelry. Moreover, it is most accurate to measure in millimeters than fractions of inches.

Replacing Calibrated Size Colored Stones

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Replacement loose gemstones in calibrated sizes can be conveniently sourced with our dedicated calibrated sized gems page. For standard commercial jewelry settings that need to have replacement or repaired stones, a calibrated sized stone is one with a standard cut that fits a standard commercial gem mounting, for example a 6 mm round stone. To find the replacement stones you need, simply find the shape, and then click on the calibrated size below it to see all results. The left-hand menu will show the number of items available next to each gem type. The loose stones in calibrated sizes can also be filtered by color, price, origin and more. The most popular shape is the round, followed by ovals and then other shapes. It makes sense to shop by size when searching for replacement stones, since each jewelry setting is designed for a particular shape and size. However, a skilled jeweler will be able to accommodate a slightly smaller or larger stone; in fact, with calibrated sized gemstones, the accepted tolerance is 0.2 mm for gems weighing less than 1 carat and 0.3 or more for larger stones. For very large stones there is a much greater degree of tolerance.

As you can see, replacing lost gemstones need not be a lengthy and complicated affair. Even in the modern world of consumerism, there is an emerging trend for repair and restoration. Often it is not the intrinsic value of jewelry that is important, but the intention and feeling attached to it that matters. Thus, replacement gemstones offer a convenient way to gain back the heartfelt beauty of cherished gemstone jewelry and return an unwearable ring to its former glory. If you are overwhelmed in your search for replacement stones, please feel free to contact us, we will be happy to assist you.

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