Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Junction Tuesdays: Simple Jewelry Repairs

Hello, Quarterlifers. I’m coming to the end of my vintage jewelry series and want to talk about how to fix your broken pieces before I move on to next week’s topic: how to be an expert thrifter.

At my store, Junction, I’ll ask customers if they want me to shorten a necklace for them. And many times they’ll look at me like I have some sort of super power, when in actuality, it’s a quick and simple fix. 

You shouldn't be intimidated to repair or even rework your finds. Here’s a list of basic supplies that every thrifter should own, all of which are inexpensive and can be purchased from a craft store:
Needle-nose pliers

Needle-Nose Pliers
Round-Nose Pliers
Long-Nose Pliers
Jump Rings- a small wire ring, not soldered shut, used to link elements of jewelry

Start with minor fixes such as adding a clasp to a chain, linking a broken chain or adding a pendant to a plain chain. For this, you’ll need a jump ring and pliers.

Jump rings
Here are step-by-step instructions on how to properly open and close a jump ring:

First off, I’ll tell you what you don’t want to do.  Never open a jump ring at the sides, making an O into a U shape.  This is a big “no-no” and will not close securely.  To correctly open a ring:

1) You want to have two pliers, one in each hand.
2) Grasp either side of the ring with the pliers so the split part is in the center.
3) Simultaneously move one hand away from you while you move the other hand toward you.
4) Voila! Your ring is open.

Once open, attach the missing clasp, hook onto the ends of the broken chain, or fasten to your pendant. Then to close the jump ring, following the same instructions for opening the rings.  Again you’ll use pliers in both hands, but this time you’ll bend the ring back in the opposite direction until two sides meet together.

After I got the hang of doing simple repairs like these, I felt comfortable getting my hands wet in more complicated projects. And I eventually started reworking multiple pieces to create an entirely new piece of jewelry.  It’s a fun way to create an interesting, one-of-a-kind accessory.

Please note:  If your broken jewelry is a collector’s, designer or antique piece, I would highly encourage you to take it to a professional jeweler for repairs.

-Shannan Fales is the owner of Junction at 1510 U Street NW. She shares her expertise in vintage and thrift each Tuesday.


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