Professional Jeweler Archive: Reconstruction of Worn Bracelet Hinges

April 2005

Bench | Defining Quality


Reconstruction of Worn Bracelet Hinges

Knowing hinge and general bracelet reconstruction techniques demonstrates another aspect of quality in your shop

By Mark and Lainie Mann

Technical Contributions by Steece Hermanson, JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler and Shop Manager Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC


The featured bracelet is constructed using a hinge-and-rivet method to join the links. The bracelet was worn daily, but the customer never had it cleaned professionally. As a result, dirt and other organic abrasives caused the hinges to wear excessively. Now they need to be reconstructed.

Instructions on Job Envelope

Clean bracelet and reconstruct all hinge and pin mechanisms.

1. The first step in all repair jobs is to thoroughly clean the item to prevent organic matter and residue from burning onto the gems. Each link on this bracelet has a rivet that goes through a tube-style hinge (red arrow). To locate the rivet for removal, use Solder Prints™ to expose the joint or, without fire coating, use a torch to heat the area. The circular end of the rivet wire will appear quickly. The Solder Prints product is available from Rio Grande, Albuquerque, NM; (800) 545-6566.
2. Next place a divot in the center of the rivet wire using an automatic center punch or a small round ball bur.
3. Drill out the rivets with a drill bit slightly smaller than the rivet circle. Drill the rivet from each side through the outside wall thickness of each link. Don’t drill into the hinge area.
4. Using a cylinder bur that’s slightly smaller than the rivet diameter, remove remnants of the original rivet. The links should now come apart.
5. Hermanson advises selecting heavy wall tubing that best fits the worn area. The tubing’s inside diameter should be the precise diameter of the new rivet wire. Cut the tubing slightly longer than the width of the hinge for each link.
6. Carefully remove the old tubing by drilling or burring. Fit the new piece of tubing. Firecoat the tubing and bracelet, and solder each link with hard solder.
7. Insert the rivet wire through the outside of the link, then through the tubing and then through the opposing wall. Cut the rivet wire so about 1mm is exposed beyond each side of the link. Firecoat and allow the assembly to air dry.
8. Apply solder inhibitor at each tube ending to prevent solder from flowing into the tube and freezing the assembly. Preheat the joints, flux and solder using a small amount of easy solder. Allow the assembly to air-cool and pickle. After pickling, remove the excess rivet wire and prefinish.
9. Polish and clean. After cleaning, use a small amount of oil to lubricate each link.

“As a professional, it is advisable to keep your clients’ jewelry cleaned and free of debris,” advises Hermanson. He recommends sending reminders to customers for this important service. Then when a customer brings in jewelry to be cleaned, Hermanson suggests formally taking it in so you have plenty of time to polish and clean it thoroughly.

Regarding the bracelet in this project, after the reconstruction, the customer should have it cleaned and oiled regularly to reduce future wear.

Illustrations by Lainie Mann
Visual Communications, Inc. © 2005

This information is provided without warranty, either expressed or implied. The procedures can be harmful if not executed properly and are undertaken at the reader’s own risk. The publisher is not responsible for injuries, losses or other damages that may result from use of this information.


Professional Reconstruction of Worn Bracelet Hinges

By Mark B. Mann

A. The new hinge tubing was replaced in the proper location, keeping the bracelet links straight and centered.

B. The links are precisely joined and operate smoothly. There is no excessive play between them. No links were frozen during the assembly.

C. The links are spaced evenly.

D. The rivet wires are not visible and are flush with the outside of the bracelet links.

E. There are no visible solder joints or tool marks.

Illustration by Lainie Mann
Visual Communications, Inc. © 2005

This information is provided without warranty, either expressed or implied. The procedures can be harmful if not executed properly and are undertaken at the reader’s own risk. The publisher is not responsible for injuries, losses or other damages that may result from use of this information.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications