How to Fix a Broken Necklace Pendant
Written by Annabelle
March 25, 2019
Pendants are the most essential part of a necklace- after all, it's the focal point, the main eye-catcher! But what to do when they break in a variety of ways? Keep reading to learn more about how to fix your broken pendant.
The Process of Fixing a Broken Pendant:
1.Assess the damage
The first thing our jewelers do when they receive a broken pendant is take a good long look at it. Does it need a new stone? Is it damaged enough to need metal work? Here are some common issues:
- Broken bail (the part of the pendant that attaches it to the chain)
- Loose or missing stones
- Out of shape
- Damaged design
Once the assessment of the damage is complete, it's time to move onto evaluating the design.
2.Evaluate the design
As opposed to the damage assessment, the design evaluation takes note of potential issues that could affect the repair process. These issues range from plating, which wears off if metalwork is necessary, to glue-set stones, which may fall out in the cleaning process. Costume jewelry can be quite challenging to fix, since the base materials are very sensitive to heat and prone to burning.
Hollow items are a special issue. This means that the pendant is empty on the inside; any dents will be impossible to fix. The jeweler must exercise caution when working with hollow pendants, since they can be easily squished during the repair process.
3.Repair the damage
Now for the most important part of the process: repairing the damage! Since there are so many different things a jeweler will do in order to fix a pendant, here's the breakdown:
- Broken bail: This repair depends on the level of damage to a bail. It may be open or squashed; in cases where the bail has thinned out or is wrenched open, the jeweler will apply solder. Solder is a metal alloy that is easy to heat up, allowing to act as a glue for other metal components. If the bail is squashed, the jeweler can either attempt to reshape it, or replace it entirely with a brand new one.
- Loose or missing stones: Loose stones are tightened accordingly- the jeweler places the item in a clamp and uses his hand tools to ensure that the settings are secure around the gem. If necessary, he may have to rebuild any prongs or settings if they are too worn down or entirely missing. Missing stones are replaced by a lapidary, who measures the correct size for the setting. Once the stone is ready, the jeweler sets it into the empty setting.
- General design repair: Sometimes the pendant just comes in with a flaw or a bit of damage here and there. Chances are, the jeweler will have to apply solder to it, or use pliers to bend and restore any structural damage.
4.Finish the pendant
Once the work is complete, the pendant needs to be restored to its original, pristine condition, since the repair work can scratch or distort the pendant. Plated jewelry, in particular, may experience discoloration from being exposed to heat.
- Polishing: The jeweler passes the pendant to the polisher, who is specially trained to use a polishing motor, along with a variety of different polishing motors. The polisher takes the pendant and holds it against the wheel, which spins at a high speed. The material of the wheel chafes against the metal, rubbing away any rough spots.
- Plating: If the pendant needs some color reapplied, it's sent to a plating tank. The tank contains a solution of metal salts, and an electrical current runs through the liquid. This causes the gold to adhere itself to the surface of the pendant. Depending on the thickness of plating desired, the pendant can soak for quite some time.
- Cleaning: Finally, the pendant is taken to cleaning, where it is placed in either an ultrasonic cleaner or a steam cleaner. The ultrasonic cleaner submerges the pendant in water, and blasts it with bubbles to knock out all the dirt from wear and repair. The steam cleaner hits the pendant with a high-pressure spout of steam to non-abrasively remove any remaining residue.
Now you're updated on how to get a pendant repaired! Next up, check out how to fix a broken chain if you need a complete necklace repair.