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
BY ARTHUR SKURATOWICZ, G.G.
and JULIE NASH, G.G.
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
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
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.