When you wear your most loved jewelry every day, you cannot escape the need for occasional repairs. Fatigue and erosion are unavoidable in precious metals. You can, and should, take care to store and clean your jewelry properly to keep it in the best possible condition. Nevertheless, repairs will be necessary to restore it to its highest quality and durability in the long run.
When the time comes to repair your jewelry, whether due to natural decline or an unexpected breakage, you’ll need to find someone to mend and revive it. When you invest in fine jewelry, you should trust only a qualified and accomplished professional for even the seemingly simplest of repairs.
How Long Does Jewelry Repair Take?
When you search “jewelry repair near me,” you’ll receive pages of results to sift through, many of which will advertise fast repairs. When your engagement ring, wedding band, or another piece of everyday jewelry is broken, speed and convenience are tempting proposals. In jewelry repair, however, speed is not always a benefit.
Master jewelers who are capable of completing high-quality, fine jewelry repairs are in high demand but small supply. These industry experts are likely to have hundreds of repairs to complete each month. To meticulously repair each piece by hand, you should expect an average jewelry repair time of 7-21 days.
When Jewelry Repair Goes Wrong
The entry-level quality of your past jewelry repairs may not be immediately evident. When an unqualified technician repairs your jewelry, they may cause structural damage that goes unnoticed until your jewelry breaks again. Some evidence of an ill-trained technician is evident to the naked eye, however.
When a qualified repair technician works with your jewelry, their tools and techniques will be faithfully cared for and chosen precisely for your item. A less experienced individual may use tools that are too hard for your metal or of lower quality. All handmade jewelry will show evidence of its unique artistry. It should not, however, show evidence of its repairs.
If your gold jewelry has to be cut or soldered, an industry veteran will not leave behind visible seams. Rushed repairs, not enough solder, over-polishing, and other issues may all be to blame for visible seams in a gold ring. Not only is this unsightly, but it weakens your ring and makes it susceptible to breaking.
Platinum is more durable than gold, which also makes it more challenging to work with. Seams in platinum are more commonly accepted, though there are seamless solders available for platinum that may be an option for some repairs.
Damaged Diamonds and Gemstones
Prong repairs require exacting precision. If your prongs aren’t tight enough, your stone will be loose in the setting and in danger of falling out. If the prongs are too tight, they can damage or even destroy the stone. If a novice repair person tightened your prongs too much, you might see chips, splinters, or crushed edges around the prong.
When sizing or resizing your ring, the shank (the bottom of the band nearest your palm) is cut. When sizing up a ring, in most instances metal will be added to keep the width consistent around the band. If your repair technician stretched your ring without adding additional metal, you might notice that the shank of your ring is thinner than the rest. While this may be part of the initial design of some rings, you should beware of this in a resized ring that was previously even all the way around your finger.
Learn all the do’s and don’ts of jewelry repair in our In-Depth Guide to Jewelry Repair, and know before you go.
Can You Avoid Bad Jewelry Repairs?
Before you trust someone with your heirloom-quality jewelry, ask them for evidence of their past work. A skilled craftsperson should be able to show you examples of their custom and repair work and provide proof of their experience. We always recommend asking friends and family for referrals and reading reviews from past customers online. If a jeweler has done excellent work in the past, their customers will be excited to recommend them to you.
What to do about bad repairs
It can be tempting to demand the jewelry technician who completed the inferior repair work take your piece back and repair it again at no cost. It’s possible they’ll even agree to do it. But do you want them to? As the saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”
Don’t get fooled twice. The evidence of inadequate repairs on your jewelry is a reflection of the person who completed them. Returning your piece to incapable hands is a recipe for disaster. Some consumers have reported receiving their "repaired" jewelry and finding damage so significant that replacement was cheaper than repair.
We recommend you bring the jewelry to a qualified jewelry repair service to assess and correct the damage. An experienced jeweler can typically restore just about any item and can mitigate the damage left by the shortcuts and second-rate materials of substandard repairs.
Avoid many problems by buying quality jewelry
After you’ve dealt with a jewelry repair nightmare, you’ll be keen to avoid another one. This starts with the jewelry that you buy. Some manufacturers cut costs and corners to recreate the designs of other jewelers. When the engagement ring setting you couldn't afford appears at a drastically lower price, these low-quality knockoffs can seem heaven-sent The lower cost of (what appears to be) the same ring will be a result of a manufacturer using fewer or inferior materials, however. These pieces, created to mimic a highly-sought design, are manufactured with less metal and lower quality stones and are not fit for daily wear. While these imposter pieces will look the same as the original design, their lighter weight and shoddy construction will result in damage that requires frequent repairs to counteract the structural shortcuts reflected in its purchase price.
Trusted Expert Jewelry Repair in San Francisco
The expert staff at Carats & Stones are proud to be part of the community in San Francisco’s Cow Hollow district where we bring our 40 years of experience as one of the San Francisco premier fine family jewelers. We design and create jewelry to last a lifetime so our customers can pass it down for generations. We also offer expert repairs and restoration services for our jewelry as well as jewelry bought elsewhere. If you’re seeking expert jewelry repair in San Francisco that you can trust, we’d love to have you join our extended family of delighted customers.
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