Knowing how to make simple jewellery repairs is a useful skill to have, especially if you have a large collection of fashion jewellery. Instead of tossing those earrings with a bent wire or your favourite statement necklace with a missing clasp, you can save these pieces and repair them.
Many repairs are easy to make, and some of the tools and materials you will need can be found in jewellery making kits.
While you shouldn't attempt to repair fine jewellery yourself, you can fix many common problems with fashion jewellery.
1. Replace a broken clasp or jump ring
One of the most vulnerable parts of a bracelet or necklace is the clasp, and that's because it gets the most use. A few things can happen here:
• The clasp itself might break and no longer close properly.
• A jump ring may open, and the clasp may fall off.
In either case, replacing the clasp and jump ring will solve the problem. While it sounds complicated, this repair is simple and straightforward. It requires just a few supplies:
• Two pliers (chain and/or flat nose)
• An open jump ring
• A clasp
Use your two pliers to open the jump ring. Slide the end of your chain or beadwork into the open ring. Next, slide the clasp onto the open ring, and then use your pliers to close the jump ring. Your jewellery should now be ready for use.
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2. Reglue missing stones
It's not uncommon for stones to come loose from their settings. A hard impact can dislodge the stone, or a prong in the setting may get caught in your clothes and push the stone loose. Improper care or storage can also lead to missing stones.
Depending on the type of jewellery and stone, you may be able to reglue your missing stones.
Make sure that you use jewellery glue – not superglue – for this repair to ensure the stones stay in place.
3. Ring resizing
Over time, ring bands may become too small or lose their shape. Here's the good news: You can fix either of these problems with some patience and a few simple tools.
To resize or reshape a ring, you will need a leather mallet and a ring mandrel. Both of these items can easily be found at any craft store or, perhaps, in a jewellery kit.
• Place the ring on the mandrel.
• Using the mallet, gently tap the side of the ring.
• Repeat on the other side of the ring.
• For reshaping, apply just enough pressure to restore the ring's round shape.
• For resizing, continue tapping and then rotating until it reaches your desired size on the mandrel.
The process is simple but, for fine jewellery, it's best to leave this type of repair to a professional.
4. Removing tangles and knots from chains
Thin, delicate chains can easily become knotted and tangled, especially if they aren't stored properly. But these tangles and knots must be removed carefully to avoid breaking or damaging the chain.
A few simple sewing pins, a gentle touch and good lighting are all you need to untangle your chains. For difficult knots, apply a little baby oil to make it easier for the chain to untangle.
5. Repair or replace ear wires
You may want to change the ear wires on your earrings for a number of reasons. Maybe you're allergic to the metal, maybe you want a different look, or maybe the wire is broken or bent. No matter the reason, replacing or repairing ear wires is a useful skill to have.
The process is very similar to the clasp replacement we discussed earlier. A jump ring will connect the ear wire to your earring.
Open up the loop or jump ring using two pairs of pliers. Remove the old ear wire and slip the new wire into the open ring or loop. Now, use your pliers to close the ring. Your earrings should now be ready for use.
6. Freshen up dirty stones and chains
Sweat, oil, makeup and other things can rob your stones and chains of their shine. A thorough cleaning can restore the natural beauty of your jewellery.
While you'll find many recipes for cleaners online, it may be safer to use professional jewellery cleaners. You can find cleaners for both fashion and fine jewellery. Some are stronger than others. Choose the right type for your jewellery.
Careful handling and a gentle approach can help ensure that you clean each piece thoroughly and without causing any damage. Use a cotton swab to clean stones and other delicate areas.
These simple jewellery repairs can be made by anyone with the right tools and materials. Some require a little more patience than others, but they can save you from throwing out your favourite fashion jewellery pieces or spending unnecessary cash on a professional repair.
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