Many people think jewelry repair work is all the same wherever you compare, and only the price is different. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are few people left who know how to do good repair work, because companies want fast work more so than good work. Low quality repair work will usually look unfinished. Here’s a few examples of common repair jobs and what can happen if the bench jeweler is inexperienced or careless.
- Prongs that have been rebuilt will have blobs on the end of them instead of the repairman taking the time to blend the built up area back into the original shape of the prong
- Soldering around the base of the prong may appear discolored or sloppy
- Edges of the stone are crack or chipped from using too much pressure when setting the stone
- Plier marks (gouges or scratches) aren’t polished out when the repair is finished
- Stones become loosened or chipped from bending the ring too much (and not re-tightening)
- The bottom of your ring shank is thinner after re-sizing (should be the exact same width)
As I’ve said before, reputation is everything. A consumer can usually find a good local jeweler by searching reviews or asking others who have done business there what their experience was. Unfortunately, this is your only sure way of avoiding the jewelers who perform poor quality repair work.
Also, don’t be disappointed in a jeweler who tells you they can’t repair your ring. At our store we get many of the difficult problems other jewelers don’t know how to solve, like how to re-set delicate or expensive opals and emeralds, or how to rebuild worn structure in rings, etc. The jewelers who choose not to attempt these repair jobs are actually the good jewelers. The bad jewelers are the ones who try to do the repairs regardless of whether they are able to do a good job or not, and fumble up your cherished item, forever.
Just remember, a hunt for the lowest price can lead you into the hands of a jeweler who doesn’t need to charge as much, since he doesn’t take the time to do quality work in the first place.