Avoid Common Take-In Pitfalls, Part I

July 1999

For Your Staff:Repair Counter

Avoid Common Take-In Pitfalls, Part I

Inspecting jewelry properly is the first step in proper take-in procedure. Here's how to do it right


When you inspect jewelry a customer has brought in for repair, minimum 10X magnification is the standard. While many jewelers use a loupe, some characteristics are apparent only with higher magnification and controlled lighting.

Even more important than the right equipment is proficiency, and this means constantly practicing. To help raise your proficiency, ask yourself this series of questions to determine what you need to know about take-in procedures.

What Needs Repair?
Pay particular attention to prongs for appropriate height and contact with stones. Examine the shanks, clasps and bails for thickness and wear.

Is Everything Tight?
Make sure all gems are tight in their settings. Grasp each one by the girdle with fine-pointed tweezers, twist right to left, push up and down. Do this under a microscope to point out loose stones to the customer.

Can It Be Repaired?
If you discover a problem, determine whether it can be repaired. Reshankings and retippings are easy enough, but you may want your bench jeweler's input before advising whether to repair a problem such as extensive cracks in a previously repaired gallery.

Is It Feasible?
Some repairs are possible but not cost-effective. Retipping diamond pavé in 14k gold may be practical and cost-effective, for example, but retipping emerald pavé requires removal of all gems and may cost more than the jewelry's value. Explain the situation clearly so the customer can make an informed decision and so you and your store appear knowledgeable and ethical. Give your customer the information and let him or her make the decision; even if the repair is costly, people do form sentimental attachments to jewelry that transcend price.

What's the Repair History?
Determine what repairs the jewelry has had already. The reason: recognizing previous sizings or prong repairs may dictate the type and cost of the current repair. Worn prongs usually can be retipped, for example, but worn prongs that were retipped previously may require a new head now. Multiple previous sizings may best be dealt with by partially reshanking to avoid fragmentation of the ring shank.

What's the Risk?
Delicate stones such as emerald and opal may be damaged by heat, so they need to be removed from settings before the repair begins. Heat and pickling chemicals may change or damage the patina of antique or silver pieces. Informing the customer during the take-in process about any possible damage that could result from the repair will go far toward avoiding a disappointed customer at pick up.

Next month: Identifying Metals and Gemstones

Julie Nash, G.G., and Arthur Skuratowicz, G.G., operate Anton Nash LLC, an independent jewelry appraisal and consulting company in Colorado Springs, CO. They specialize in jewelry appraisals for insurance, estate and resale situations and provide customized training for jewelers, insurance companies and consumers.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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