Jewelry repair is one of those things that typically are self evident to the owner of a piece of jewelry. If a ring is too big or too small, it obviously needs to be adjusted or “sized” in jeweler’s parlance. If a clasp no longer works on a chain or bracelet, it generally needs to be replaced. If an ear ring just falls out of ones ear, it probably needs a new back or if possible, to tighten the old one. In fact, anything that prevents the owner from worry free wear most likely falls under the inexhaustible category of jewelry repair. And believe me when I say after 33 years, I’ve seen most everything…..until the next thing comes along.
Most people operate under the age old adage that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Yet with jewelry that is a misconception that has cost countless thousands of people to loose countless millions of dollars; not to mention the sentimental value that has left a trail of tears and broken hearts. Remember the old guy on the beach with a metal detector? You think he is just looking for loose change?
When it comes to jewelry and jewelry repair, here is another wise saying that you would do well to remember, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Virtually everyday someone comes in needing to replace a lost diamond, sapphire, ruby, emerald or other precious gem stone because they didn’t take the time or really give any thought to the care and protection of their prized possession. On closer inspection it becomes painfully evident that the prongs that once held their valuable bauble had become worn and thin and finally just broke off. Just a quick sixty second inspection by a professional jeweler could have saved them $60, $600 or even $6000 dollars of repair cost (not to mention the fact that Grandmas diamond is now lost forever.)
Historically, the jeweler, like most craftsmen, had to make everything from scratch even the tools they used. It was a painstaking process that took days and even weeks to complete. If a ring needed to be sized, the process could take over a week – just on that one ring. Most everyone has seen these magnificent necklaces, bracelets, rings and ear rings from ancient times with there attention to detail and sheer opulence. It could have taken well over a year or more just to make some of these wonderful pieces and heaven forbid they ever need repairing. And keep in mind that your average “working Joe” of that day could not even conceive of owning a splendid piece of gold jewelry.
The majority of families in America today not only can afford one but many, many pieces of jewelry. The gift of jewelry celebrates and punctuates most all significant occasions in today’s modern world. And, it is no longer relegated to just special occasions, but is worn with great pleasure day in and day out. The vast amount of fine jewelry in the market place today is made from gold – not stainless steel. And, as such, needs to be regularly inspected, cleaned and even have routine or preventative maintenance performed in order to ensure the owner can confidently wear their special piece of family history.
Yet, in our fast paced drive-through society, people just are not willing to wait very long, if at all, to have their jewelry repaired. Thankfully, cutting edge technology and new techniques have helped jewelers devise better ways of doing repairs faster, more efficiently and at a much reduced cost to the consumer. Just a few short years ago the repair of a broken prong on an emerald cluster would have been almost prohibitively expensive to get fixed. Yet with laser welders finding there way into your better jewelry repair shops and stores, the cost of the repair and the time it takes to repair it have become much more palatable for the consumer.
In short, prevention is the best repair for the contemporary wearer of jewelry. Whether an heirloom or a recent purchase, things happen in the real world. Rings are caught in doors, pockets and purses; chains and necklaces are caught in sweaters, pulled by children and grandchildren, and chewed up by the dog; and, bracelets just simply wear themselves out at the joints with daily wear. So, let me leave you with this final axiom, “if you want to see it tomorrow, you better take care of it today.”