Jewelry repair can be a confusing thing, especially if you don’t know much about how it’s done. At Littleton Fine Jewelers, our expert bench jewelers have been doing jewelry repair in Sacramento for decades. We’re here to answer any questions you have and provide you with professional service that you won’t find anywhere else.
1. Even high quality jewelry needs maintenance
Fine jewelry is made from some very durable materials: metals and gemstones. We think of metals as very strong. Metal is what skyscrapers and bridges are made out of. We can’t bend or even scratch most metals without the help of tools. Gemstones are rocks which we think of as hard and unbreakable.
Diamonds are used in industrial tools to cut through even the toughest materials. So, why would something made from such strong substances need regular maintenance? The answer is twofold. First, the metals and gemstones in jewelry are not always as impervious as we imagine. Gold, platinum, and silver are very soft as metals go.
In fact, a large part of what makes them perfect for jewelry is how soft and workable they are. The result of this, however, is that the daily wear and tear we put on our jewelry takes more of a toll than we think. Also, not all gemstones are as hard as diamonds.
Gems like opal, emerald, pearls, and more are actually very “soft” on the hardness scale. This means that they are susceptible to small scratches and abrasions which make them look worn over time. Of course, no gemstone is unbreakable, and even diamonds can be broken if they are hit at the wrong angle.
The second reason jewelry needs regular maintenance is that we are often a lot harder on our jewelry than we realize. Even a relatively light impact at the wrong place can knock a small gem out of its setting.
Activities like gardening and washing dishes are particularly hard on jewelry. The simple sliding of a pendant along its chain can eventually wear completely through the bail. Even something as simple as hand lotion can build up in the small crevasses in rings causing the gems to lose some of their sparkle.
Does your jewelry need some TLC? We offer professional jewelry repair in Denver, CO. We’ll have our expert gemologists examine your jewelry to see if any maintenance is needed.
2. We add gold when we size rings up
A client recently expressed concern that her ring would be too thin after we sized it up. She thought, as many do, that when we size a ring, we just stretch it up, causing it to get thinner. In fact, sizing a ring up is a bit more complicated than that.
The jeweler actually cuts the ring, and opens it up the right amount to achieve the new size. Then, a new piece of metal is prepared to match the ring in color and shape. Finally, the jewelry will weld or solder that piece into the ring and smooth it down to match the rings shank profile.
Now, there is one case where we will stretch a ring if we can. With wedding bands, it is often better to maintain the structural integrity of the band by stretching it, instead of cutting and sizing. However, if the band is not one solid piece (it has been cut before) or if stretching will make it too thin, we will still opt to add metal like normal.
3. Some gems can’t take the heat
Diamonds can take a lot. Forged under high pressure and temperature, a diamond can take a tremendous amount of heat before it is damaged. This isn’t the case with all gemstones, however. More fragile gems like opal, pearls, amethyst, topaz, and many others are easily damaged if exposed to excess heat.
What does this have to do with jewelry repair? Many repairs are traditionally done with a torch. Jobs like soldering broken chains, retipping worn prongs, and sizing a ring all require a great deal of heat. However, if a fragile gemstone is set in jewelry that needs this work, there can be a problem.
One solution is to go through the time consuming and expensive process of removing each gemstone from the piece before the work is done and resetting them after it is finished. Our solution is to use a high-tech laser welder to only apply heat at the tiniest pin-point where we need it.
This way, your fragile gems stay nice and cool, and we can do the required work in much less time and for much less money.
We hope you enjoyed this little run down on jewelry repair. Have questions? Contact Littleton Fine Jewelry today. We would love to talk with you. Or, if you’re in the Littleton, CO area, feel free to bring your jewelry in and our jewelry repair experts can take a look at it for you.