Damaged Jewellery, How can something so expensive break, and why does it cost so much to fix it?
Firstly, gold and platinum are relatively soft. What this means is that they are durable up to a point, but every day wear and tear is going to take its toll. Just like anything else it needs to be maintained.
The most common Jewellery repair are diamonds/gemstones coming unset from rings. Why does this happen?
Simply put over time the diamond or gemstone is harder than the metal that is holding it. So if you can imagine you have a diamond ring on your finger and you bump your hand against a door - a shock wave goes through your hand and the ring and simple inertia comes into play - the stronger element pushes against something softer. Do that 10 times a day for 10 years as well as bumping the top as well and the diamond or gemstone is starting to dig away at the metal.
How do you stop Jewellery getting damaged?
I wish there was a one-fit all method. Aside from leaving Jewellery locked up in a safe. Real life gets in the way. The best thing to do is have an annual service and clean. All my clients get regular reminders that it is time for a checkup. We can check, tighten anything we find is loose and leave notes for what we can see is a future problem.
How do you repair Jewellery?
The first thing we need to do is determine what is broken/damaged and what the metal is. The type of metal will determine how to fix it. The best way to repair Jewellery is to get the metal back to melting point and fuse the metal back together. Gemstones, including diamonds don't transfer heat that well. If you can imagine putting 1500 degrees (centigrade) of heat to a point of something, imagine the heat running through that object. So, gemstones need to be buried in something like cold wet sand and heat has to be applied in stages.
My Jewellery repair is as much as what I paid for the piece!
All too often we see this. Badly made Jewellery pieces, made to a budget so metal is too thin to support everyday wear and tear. Jewellery should be hardy and wearable. Most of the time I would suggest that spending a little bit more upfront is going to save more in the long-term.
Why does it take so long to do a repair?
First question to ask/see is where is the bench Jeweller. Hopefully they are on-site. Hopefully the front-of-house person understands Jewellery and can identify properly what is damaged and can convey it to the bench Jeweller to repair properly. Hopefully they can identify why it has been damaged and what can be done to fix it long-term. As a general rule our jewellery repairs are done within 1 to 3 working days, but again it will depend on how busy we are and the clients schedule
The most common repair we do is ring resizes. We generally have them ready in half a day. The cost varies based on these factors
- Metal type
- width of ring
- thickness of ring
- diamonds/gemstones/patterns in ring band
- number of sizes being changed
There are 2 ways to resize a ring
The solder method is fast and cheap. The ring is cut, the size is adjusted (a piece of metal taken out or added) and the metal is soldered together, Generally the ring will be polished and hopefully you won't notice the black solder line.
Fusing is a time consuming and requires more metal, but ultimately a much better finish. The ring is still cut and shaped to the correct size. The metal that is either taken out or added in is heated to melting point so that the pieces of metal become one piece. The ring is then shaped, any gemstones are tightened because the change is circumference will have now altered the angles of the gemstone settings. The ring is polished back to new.
Like everything with Jewellery, it comes down to trust. That being said, how do you determine whether you are getting value from your Jewellery repair. Most importantly - a Jeweller can't give an accurate quote over the phone or just from a picture. They can tell in 30 seconds from the weight and feel and looking at every part how to best repair it. I would always recommend going to a Jewellery store that has a Jeweller at a bench on site.