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How to Choose a Repair Jeweler in Minneapolis MN

Posted by Stuart J Adelman on

So you know to listen to your inkling when buying jewelry, but what about jewelry repair? You just inherited Grandma’s ring, but it is too thin to wear, and you don’t know if the stones will stay in it, or what it is even made out of. But you would like to wear it, and your good friend tells you to go to her jeweler. How do you know they will treat Grandma’s ring, and you, right? The simple answer is you don’t. Your friends experience might be based on something simple, like sizing a ring down, or soldering a chain, or replacing a simple clasp. She might not be as picky as you. There should be a way to tell if the jewelry store is competent enough to properly complete your repair. While not foolproof, there are things you can look for in the store, and ask of its’ personal, to get a good idea if they can treat Grandma’s ring with respect and dignity, and get it on your finger.

 

This is Grandma's ring, after it was repaired by a jeweler who must have been working in the dark. They put on a new shank, they said. Where is it, exactly? It looks like they used an old shank off of an old ring.

The first thing to ask is do they do the work on the premises. This might not seem like a big deal, but to me, this is the most important thing. If they send their repairs out to an offsite jeweler, then that puts your prized jewelry possessions at risk. And that leads to the next question, are they insured? They should be able to show you their policy. In addition, the value of your jewelry should be clearly written on the receipt or claim check they give you. Having a jeweler on the premises, and insurance are not a guarantee that they do good work. But if you don’t get the right answers to these questions, then you can keep looking, regardless of your friends’ recommendation.

 

Here is the other side, showing excess solder (the discolored section at the top of the photo), and an uneven finish.

If you get the right answers, then the next step is to figure out if they know what they are doing. It starts with a very close examination of your jewelry. I start with a 10x magnification jewelers loupe, and then for a more detailed look I use a microscope. With the microscope, I can show those details on my computer screen, so you can see for yourself what the issues are. Then I will recommend the best course of action to repair it, and make it wearable. And I will do my best to communicate those steps, as well as the price, in a clear and understandable way. We use a jewelry repair price guide so the pricing is consistent and transparent. If the store is just pulling out numbers off the top of their head, then be suspicious. While some repairs are more common, many are quite unique.

 

This is how it was delivered to the customer. They don't seem to have much of an inspection process. Or what's more troubling is, it passed!

Finally, how much experience do they have? And don’t be fooled by that “combined” experience ploy. Five people with five years each does not give them all 25 years of experience. It gives them 5. By the same token, someone with twenty five years of experience doing things the wrong way is not so good either. But someone with more experience has had more practice, and will have run into more types of repairs. This gives them a decided advantage.

  

This is after I fixed it the right way, using one new piece of gold, seemlessly attached.

Ultimately, you have to use your gut again. Does what they say make sense? Do they do the work themselves, on the premises? Can you speak to the person doing the work? Are they insured? Have they been doing jewelry repair for over ten years? Has the store been in business for a while? Did you get a claim check that has a description of your jewelry with a clearly written insured value? All of these questions should get satisfactory answers. If not, keep looking.

 

“I really appreciate all of your work on my Grandma’s ring. I will always cherish it, and think of you.” Cheryl S. 

I think Grandma is Happy!

I sincerely hope this helps you. One of the things that bother me a lot is bad craftsmanship. If you have any questions or comments, or if I can help you at all, please let me know