One of the many ways to express ourselves is through jewelry – it is often luxurious, elegant and give an air of comfort and sophistication. It indicate our fashion sense, our flair for beauty and elegance. But, jewelry receives wear and tear like almost any other items that we possess. Oftentimes, a stone is lost from our earrings, chains of our bracelets get broken, or they get tarnished. Luckily, all is not lost and jewelry can be repaired.
Jewelry repair is a profession just like other technical professions and equipment and training is needed to do the work well. You may wish to entrust this work to someone else – the expense can be well worth the peace of mind.
Here are some tips to restore your old jewelry:
1. Precious metal jewelry tarnishes and bends easily. To remove tarnish, use a liquid jewelry cleaner with a dipping tray or a spray bottle. Wear gloves to protect yourselves from the strong chemicals and take care of any odor produced from the chemical reaction. Use the cleaners in a well-ventilated area. After rinsing the jewelry in warm water, dry it with a towel, then with a polishing cloth.
2. To mend a broken clasp, go to a jewelry supply store or a craft department and purchase a replacement clasp, "jump" rings, and fastening tools. These may also be purchased online in jewelry repair kits.
3. To flatten a chain, lay the piece down on a desk and roll a round pen or pencil over the area until it becomes smooth.
4. To prevent the posts on earrings from bending easily, do not apply a lot of pressure to them when putting them in your ears. You can try different styles of earrings such as a lever-back, French wire, or the newer "threader" earrings.
5. Soldering with gold solders is used to make repairs on broken chains. The loops or jump rings that hold clasps to chains are also soldered in better quality work. Soldering requires not only the equipment but a place to do it and training on torch work. This is not recommended at home – trust a professional.
6. Jewelry repair requires not only soldering equipment but also buffing machines, hand motor tools, acid pots, many assorted hand tools and a good bench set-up. This requires professional help.
7. Some equipment may be useful -you need a strong fingernail or two when dealing with jewelry but tools such as a chain nose (needle nose jeweler's plier) or other pliers may be helpful. When the repair requires you to attach a clasp, a jump ring (loop of gold) may be used to hold parts together. The pliers allow opening and closing the loop. Open a jump ring by moving one side toward you and the other away from you. Twist open then simply twist back the same way to close.
8. In repairing broken strings, the difficulty lies in the fact that the chain is made up of fine wires. The wires heat up fast when trying to melt the solder. Jewelers coat the chain with an anti-flux such as yellow orcher or white out, and cover the chain with a heat sink such as a washer, razor blade, or coins. Inspect the chain to discover how the links are put together. Double-check the work of the salesperson taking the repair. Remove the damaged links from the broken ends of the chain. Then, cut the end links to re-assemble the chain. Cut the links with a fine saw blade, small end cutters, or a cut-off wheel in your flex shaft. Re-assemble the chain, add the solder, heat, clean and then polish the chain. Do not polish chains on a polishing machine. Simply lay the chain across your bench pin, hold the chain down stiff with your thumb and index finger. With a bristle brush in your flex shaft polish at medium speed the area of chain between your thumb and finger. Polish the chain little by little in this manner.