Repairs - a brief guide

Hand’s up who owns an item of jewellery which is either broken, it doesn’t fit or the design is simply not to your taste?

This is an ongoing problem for a lot of people and half of the time, we never have the time to actually do something about it. More often than not I find that we abandon our broken and unused jewellery in a drawer or a box, leaving it there unattended gathering dust for what seems like an eternity and then one day a memory of it pops into our heads and we think “Hmm, I really should do something about that”. So…what to do? Repair it? Dispose of it? Sell it? Or maybe even recycle it? Over the past two years a lot of people have put little jobs like jewellery repairs to the back of their minds and they are quite right in doing so as we have all had more important challenges to manage. So now, as we creep out of the fog of the pandemic, we here at Glenray Jewellers are having the pleasure in meeting a variety of customers who have decided to invest a little bit of their time to look into doing something with their long lost and forgotten jewels in the vain hope that they might finally be able to enjoy them as they were originally intended.

 To repair or not repair, that is the question. If you find yourself alongside this query, ask yourself this... What does this item of jewellery mean to you? Does it make you happy? ...An important question to address. Does it evoke a warm memory of a treasured time, place or person? Is it a sentimental trinket which you just cannot let go of? If your answer is anything beyond “it means nothing to me”, then I suggest you read on. If the value of the item to you is only worth its weight in the precious metal in which it is made, then I suggest that you sell it on or recycle it and clear the clutter from your house. As Marie Kondo suggests; if it does not bring you joy, then let it go and move on with your life.  

9 times out of 10, pursuing a repair can be fairly straight forward. We here at Glenray Jewellers can guide you through the work required to solve the issue your jewellery has and after a few weeks under the watchful eyes of our talented jewellers in our workshop (give or take a week), voila, the job is done and you are now finally able to appreciate that treasure once more. Most repairs involve simple fixes; a broken claw on a collet requiring a re-tip, a missing stone from a pendant begging to be replaced or a ring needing to be resized to make the fit more comfortable, for example. When faced with these broken or retired items of jewellery, the prospect of fixing them can be a daunting one. Understanding the process and cost involved in getting them back to top health is the best first step forward and more often than not they are very straight forward jobs, which can be carried out easily by an expert jeweller. Goldsmiths, stone setters and polishers are very talented creatures and they are so accurate with their work that they seem to make the impossible possible. No job is too big (or small) for them. When customers come in to our shop to collect their repaired items it makes me smile each time to watch their reaction. To see just how happy and surprised they look when they become reacquainted with their old tired jewellery. I think that we often forget how shiny and sparkly our jewellery once was when it was in its peak condition, so much so that when we see it fresh from the workshop, it is a true delight on the eyes.

If you are considering getting your jewellery repaired, come along and see us at Glenray Jewellers and get your queries answered. Investigate, get a quote and know your options. There is no harm in asking what can be done to fix a problem and how much is going to cost. If the price is not right for you, then at least you know how much is involved to get it restored. The never knowing part will wriggle with you over time and likely annoy you, so understanding the full facts, the work and cost involved will allow you to make a concise and informed choice to go ahead or not.

Now, let’s look at this repair situation from another point of view for just a moment if I may. Is your reasoning behind not getting something repaired because you simply don’t enjoy the item itself? It is not your style, your colour or type of jewellery?  If yes, before you embark on selling it on or recycling it, have you ever considered steering towards a redesign of your jewellery if it is not working for you? This too can be a fairly easy process to go about with a few things to consider before investigating this option. It is a great idea to have a think about what you don’t like about the item in order to transform it into something that you would like. Is it the wrong style or design? (The design being too old fashioned and you would prefer a modern look?) Maybe you like the jewellery and the setting, but the colour of the stones is not your shade? Or is it the wrong type of jewellery full stop? For example, do you have a pair of earrings that you never wear which could be transformed into a beautiful ring or a pendant perhaps? Making use of the raw materials from old jewellery is a good way to bring down your overall costs for your new jewellery and in addition by recycling it you are rescuing it from the bin/recycling centre. So…a redesign...could it be an addition to a pre-existing set or will it be a stand out solo piece? Do you typically change your jewellery and wear different items from day to day or are you more inclined to wear your staple pieces and rarely steer away from them unless it is for a special occasion? If it is the latter, what additional item could make the perfect set for you? If it is the former, what ideas do you have whirling around in your imagination that could make your new item of jewellery a stand out piece? It is a good idea to consider what you enjoy wearing in order to make the most out of new jewellery. There is no point in creating a set of drop earrings if you only ever wear studs. Or to make a dazzling dress ring if you already have other rings occupying each finger which you have no intention of taking off. Before you invest in a new creation, invest some time to think about what would work best for you and then you will have the building blocks to begin your road to a commissioned item of jewellery. With something like this, think ahead before you spend and you will not regret your decision.

As a last left field thought about a redesign, there is another option to consider before giving up on unused jewellery and waving your goodbyes to it. If we continue along the train of thought that you own an item of jewellery which is not something that you would wear, but you know that the raw materials are of good quality or potentially of a high value, perhaps you might consider redesigning it as a gift for someone else? The phrase ‘waste not want not springs to mind. Altering jewellery for another person could involve something fairly minor in order to make a suitable change for the recipient; it doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul. I have directed a few commissions like this recently where a customer has altered their own jewellery with the intention of it being worn by someone else. Recently a couple popped into the shop with the plan to give their daughter a yellow gold ring for her 21st birthday, which was originally the mother’s engagement ring, but both parents knew that she didn’t like the colour of the metal despite loving the design. They wanted to chat with us about redesign options, but one of their comments kept ringing like a bell in my ear. She loved the design, but did not like the colour of the metal, which led me to suggest that we simply plate the existing ring to make the metal white in colour, thus solving the problem. Small fixes, big benefits. So, you see, a redesign can mean a complete alteration of something that is not right for you, or it can also mean a slight adaptation to freshen something up into becoming something fantastic for someone else.

I hope that this initial brief into my guide of repairs has given you some food for thought to help you with your jewellery quandaries and hopefully it has not blown your mind with information overload. Overall, my advice to you about anything repair or jewellery related, is to come and visit our jewellery experts as they can lead you to all the answers that you could possibly need and after all, knowledge is power.

So, now that I have given you something to think about and when all that is said and done… What does this item of jewellery mean to you?