At Hartley Jewelers, we understand how precious your jewelry is to you and your family. We take the time to understand exactly what it is you wish to have done with your jewelry and treat the repair and restoration with great expert care and respect. With over 200 years of combined staff experience in jewelry manufacturing, repair and restoration, we maintain exceptionally high standards for the quality of our repair work. All jewelry is repaired on our premises.
Our family has been in the jewelry business for 45 years. We believe that no piece of jewelry should bear marks of having been restored or repaired. We want to continue to do our part in ensuring that your most beloved peices can be treasured for generations to come in the same way they were when they were first brought into your family.
Repair, Restoration and Care
Many gems, and particularly diamonds, attract dust, soap film, and even oil from your skin. Some of these substances are easily removed with a soft brush and a mild solution of soapy water or diluted ammonia. However, cleaning must be done with caution. Many gem materials, particularly organics such as amber, ivory, coral, and pearls, can be damaged by ammonia. Ask your jeweler about methods you can safely use to clean jewelry yourself, and at the same time discuss having your jewelry professionally polished and cleaned periodically. Ultimately, your jeweler’s training and experience provide for the safest and most effective cleaning of your jewelry.
Regular examination of the prongs on your ring will not prevent wear, but it will prevent the unpleasantness of losing your diamond. When your ring is new, having the prongs checked every six months is probably sufficient. However, if you know that you are not gentle with your jewelry, either because you work with your hands or perhaps because you never remove the ring for any reason, greater frequency might be advisable. By noting that a prong is bent or wearing thin, your jeweler can help you prevent a loss by performing restorative procedures on your ring.
With repeated wear the thread that secures beads and pearls, knotted or strung without knots, stretches and loses its strength. If your necklace or bracelet is strung with knots, watch for fraying of the knots and increasing spaces between beads or pearls. Every wearer treats his or her beads differently, so there is no predictable time frame during which the piece will have to be restrung. If you watch for the signs described above or simply have your jeweler check your necklace or bracelet regularly, you can avoid the unpleasant surprise of having your pearls break at an inopportune time.
The basic procedure for ring sizing involves the cutting of the bottom of the shank with a fine saw blade, followed by the adding or removing of matching metal to enlarge or decrease the size of the ring. After being enlarged or reduced, the shank is fused back together using the appropriate solder (i.e., gold, silver, platinum). Precious metal solders are formulated to melt at a temperature slightly lower than that, which the article of jewelry will melt, so that the solder can effectively fuse without the danger of melting the shank. For the purposes of this discussion we will refer to gold only.
Enlarging a ring size involves the spreading of the shank to accommodate a piece of gold that is the fused permanently by applying the heat from a torch to fuse the solder with the ring shank and added gold.
Reducing the ring involves cutting away the appropriate amount of gold, then bending the shank inward to create enough tension to hold a piece of gold solder.
After soldering has been successfully completed, the excess solder has to be filed away, and the remaining gold sanded and polished. Occasionally a ring’s design (such as an extended area of channel set diamonds) may create difficulty in the sizing process because opening or closing the shank might disturb gemstone settings, enamel, or the integrity of the ring’s structure. In such a case, your jeweler should advise you of the danger so you can make an informed choice as to whether or not to proceed with the sizing.
Often you will find new rings on display in a jeweler’s showcase that cannot be sized at all due to their design intricacies or stone setting style. When that is the case, the ring can be obtained in the customer’s precise size by having it manufactured to the specific size, on a special order basis.
In some cases it may actually be safer to stretch or shrink a ring rather than cutting and soldering to change its size. Tools are available that will allow the jeweler to enlarge the ring size by tapping with a special hammer or literally stretching the metal on a special cylinder designed for the process. In most cases this process thins the metal so minutely that the difference in thickness is hardly noticeable, and its strength is not decreased. Some rings such as plain wedding bands can be shrunk by using special equipment to compress the metal. Generally, stretching or shrinking rings are processes reserved for small changes in size.
What do I do when I can no longer wear my ring, because it can’t pass over my knuckle?
There are many reasons why a ring might not pass over your knuckle as easily as it used to. Stress, medications, pregnancy, hormonal changes, arthritis, weight loss or gain, injury, etc. can all affect the size of your finger and the way your ring fits. Whatever the cause, a ring that has to be pushed over a reluctant knuckle or a ring that twists and turns does not fit correctly.
We often recommend solving the problem with Superfit CliQ. Superfit CliQ is a patented solution featuring an invisible hinged design that allows your ring to open and close easily. Superfit CliQ can be used for new rings, heirloom rings, and rings of every width. It can be sized up or down like any other ring and comes with a 5 year guarantee. Ask your jeweler to access what the best solution will be for your particular ring.
In the hands of an expert, most costume jewelry is repairable, often nearly or completely to its original condition. Lost rhinestones can be replaced. Safety catches, pins, and other hardware are replaceable as well. The jeweler who is properly trained in the delicate processes required for proper costume jewelry repair and restoration can work magic on that special piece that might have sentimental value far in excess of its monetary worth.