Gold Chain Repair Cost: The Breakdown
Written by Annabelle
September 20, 2019
Whether it's a bracelet, an anklet, or a necklace, the feeling of a gold chain breaking is an awful one. How do you even go about getting that fixed? How much would it cost? We've broken down what repairs you'll need and the gold chain repair cost below.
Examining Your Gold Chain
First things first; to determine a gold chain repair cost, you'll need to figure out what type of gold it's made out of, and what type of chain you have. Most chains are either 10k (41.6% gold), 14k (58.3% gold), or 18k (75% gold). The karat content affects the type of solder used during the repair process.
If it's a gold-plated chain, keep in mind that you'll also have to pay for re-plating the piece after repair, as the process will remove the plating in one area.
Next, you'll need to see what type of chain you have. Basic link chains are called cable chains, and they're the easiest kind of chain to repair. Then you have ball chains and box chains, which are also fairly simple to fix. Thicker chains such as Cuban and Figaro chains require more labor and material, so those will take more time and money. Finally, patterned chains such as snake chains, herringbone chains, and rope chains pose the biggest problem for jewelers- while they can be repaired, there will always be a slightly noticeable location of repair.
6 Popular Gold Chain Repair Services
- Chain Soldering: The most basic yet vital repair, chain soldering fixes a break in your chain. How the jeweler performs this repair is dependent on the type of chain. If it's a chain with a visible link construction, such as a cable chain or ball chain, the jeweler will simply look at the broken link, reshape it, and solder it shut after threading it through the other end of the chain. If the chain is a snake chain or rope chain, the repair isn't as straightforward. The jeweler may need to trim off some broken portions, and the soldered section will be noticeably different in comparison to the rest of the chain. If possible, an alternative solution for rope chain repair is to take a small link of the same size, and thread it through the two broken ends to create a sturdier repair than the soldering.
The gold chain repair cost for soldering depends on two things: the type of chain, and the number of areas that require soldering. For instance, rope chain is at least $20 more than the average chain repair price, and you can expect a fee of $5-10 per additional area of solder. The price also goes up for thick chains, because they are more difficult to work with and require more material to fix.
- Clasp Repair and Replacement: The clasp of your gold chain is a very important component! It keeps the chain secure around your wrist, ankle, or neck. Without a functioning clasp you wouldn't be able to wear your jewelry. To repair this piece, the jeweler needs to determine the type of clasp. The most common clasps are lobster clasps and spring ring clasps. Both of these clasps open with a small lever that moves a little portion to allow the other end of the chain through. Because of their fragile construction, it's common for these pieces to bend or break.
If the damage can be fixed, the jeweler will either oil the hinge, bend it back into shape, or rebuild any broken parts. When the clasp is damaged beyond repair, the jeweler will simply replace it and assemble it to the rest of the chain with some snipping and soldering.
Clasp repair prices are fairly standard; an existing clasp that can be fixed starts at $30-40. Clasp replacement, on the other hand, varies on material and type of clasp. A 14k lobster clasp, for instance, is cheaper than an 18k gold box clasp. The larger the clasp and more precious the metal, the more expensive the replacement is.
- Jump Ring Repair: The itty bitty rings that hold charms onto your chain and function as the end through which the clasp goes through are essential to keeping your chain in working condition. They suffer a lot of tugging, friction, and if left unsoldered can be disastrous for your jewelry. The jeweler will either zap an existing unsoldered jump ring shut with a touch of laser, or replace one entirely if the jump ring has been completely worn down. Make sure that the replacement is properly soldered as well! Any gap in a jump ring is an opportunity for it to be yanked open.
If the jump ring only calls for soldering, the repair will start around $29. A replacement will be slightly pricier, and may go up if a special size is needed for a particular design.
- Shortening & Lengthening: Adjusting the length of your chain to fit your preferences isn't too difficult for the average jeweler. For shortening a chain, the jeweler merely cuts the chain down to the requested length, reattaches the end portion (either the jump ring or the clasp) and solders everything shut. The only complication is a thick chain; Cuban links, for instance, may need to be sawed open and then soldered shut.
Increasing the length of a chain is more complex. If it's a generic cable chain, chances are your jeweler will be able to match that with whatever they have in stock and add a couple of inches. But for a large chain or a gold chain with an unconventional design, you may need to look into custom creation in order to make more links for your piece.
To shorten a regular chain, the service is around $30-35. For thick chains in Cuban, curb, or Figaro style, the jeweler has to spend more time and labor to remove the links, so expect a corresponding increase of $20 or more in price. Lengthening a unique chain requires custom creation, so this service starts at a minimum of $290 for extending a gold chain with the same links.
- Plating: White gold chains and gold-plated chains need touch-up now and then in terms of color. White gold is by default a yellowish-gray color; its bright silvery look comes from rhodium plating. Over time, the plating disappears and the darker white gold metal color comes through. To restore any plated jewelry, the jeweler polishes the piece and places it into a gold plating tank. Electricity running through the tank plates the rhodium or gold onto the surface of your chain.
Pricing gold plating for a chain necklace is tricky. It's dependent on how thick the plating should be, and the longer and wider the chain, the more gold it requires to plate. A regular chain in flash plating will be about $80, but a thick, 20″ or more Cuban chain may run upwards of $200 or more.
- Replacement: Sometimes the original chain is just really no good. In that case, the jeweler will just find an existing chain of the same dimensions and pattern and reassemble the necklace. If the necklace has beads or charms incorporated into the design, the jeweler needs to cut parts of the chain and attach it to those components in order to recreate the original look.
The gold chain replacement price depends on the chain. The bigger and longer the chain, the more expensive it is because of the additional gold needed. Keep in mind that switching to a heavier chain will cost more money as a result.
With these chain repairs in mind, you're ready to get started on fixing your precious necklaces and bracelets! Remember that the gold chain repair cost depends on the design of your chain and what you need to fix. If you'd like to have something fixed, fill out the form or comment below and we'll get back to you!