I'm often asked for a 1-day Jewellery Repair course by someone who is not a Jewellery trade professional.
In the first instance it may seem to make commercial sense for a Jewellery Retailer to set up a repair bench at the rear of their shop however, this is is not the time to get quick fix training for a member of sales staff.
In this blog I explain to those working outside of the trade what needs to be considered when taking on repair work and why this kind of work should only be placed in the safe hands of an experienced Goldsmith or Jeweller.
I may politely decline your request for a Jewellery Repair course if you don't have the relevant experience, but these factors explain why experience is crucial.
The Repair Factor
Before you begin repair work, you need to consider these factors and be confident that you can overcome any issues that may arise during your repair, regardless of any previous work done on the piece by someone else.
Which metal is the piece made out of and are you confident working in this metal?
What is the stone and does it need to be removed?
Has the piece been repaired before and could this repair be effected by any work you undertake?
If there has been a previous repair was the correct solder used? Easy solder used to secure a shoddy repair may fall apart one you begin work using a harder solder with a higher melting point.
Could any repair work damage the piece, honestly is repair a viable option?
The Sentimental Factor
Finally remember that the piece being bought in for repair MUST have sentimental value, otherwise it would simply have been scrapped and replaced.
By undertaking a Jewellery Repair you have the the added responsibility of caring for someones VERY precious often quite old item and you need to be certain that any work you do will not damage it or destroy it. Any replacement offered in the instance of a repair disaster would not have the same sentimental value to your customer.
The Experience Factor
All of the above explains why only someone with at least 5-8 years Jewellery Trade experience should consider undertaking repair work.
Even Jewellers sometimes undertake specialist training for Jewellery Repair, so that they try to be prepared for most eventualities, because you never know what might come in for repair, the possibilities are endless. In this instance I'm always happy to help a fellow Jewellers with a course for Jewellery Repair with tuition from a Goldsmith with repairs experience.
The Alternative Factor
You may not have the experience to undertake Jewellery repairs in your own Jewellery shop, however you could still offer this service to your customers by outsourcing the work to a local Goldsmith. This is a very common practise in the UK, most customers would understand and expect a complex repair to take at least a week, if you explain why time should not be a priority.
Never promise a repair solution to your customer because it's your Goldsmith who will make an evaluation about repair possibilities based on his/her experience and there is a possibility that the item may not be a feasible repair.
Author : Dawn Meaden-Johnson
Jeweller and Founder of The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company