Sometimes old chains just aren’t salvageable, or you’re just not in love with the style of the chain. Whatever the situation is, it’s about time to get the chain replaced. This isn’t a simple process, however; read on to learn more about what you need to know before you get a necklace chain replacement.
Swapping a Chain on Your Necklace
Before you dash off to your jeweler, there are a few things you need to consider before you get a new chain for your necklace. Think about whether or not you want to retain the original look of the design-if you want to modify the look, what would that entail? Do you want to switch to a thicker chain for a chunkier and more durable look? Are you changing the metal to something more valuable, such as solid gold? These factors will all affect the work and final price for the necklace chain replacement.
The Necklace Design
If your item is a simple pendant on a chain, replacing the chain is fairly easy. The jeweler just has to slip off and reattach the pendant to the new chain. For thicker chains, the jeweler may need to replace the bail on the pendant to a larger size in order to slip the pendant onto the chain.
For “built-in” designs such as nameplate necklaces, bar necklaces, and floating necklaces, the centerpiece of the necklace is attached to two pieces of chain on each side. The jeweler will need to cut the new chain in two, and assemble them to each side of the centerpiece to restore the necklace’s original look.
Finally, station necklaces and other more intricate designs will require some major assembly work. The jeweler will have to disassemble the entire necklace, remove the original chain parts, and reattach the new chain to recreate the original look of the necklace.
The Type of Chain
Chains come in all shapes and sizes, and the durability, work, and price will depend on what you decide to choose for your new chain. Here are three things you need to consider about the type of chain:
- Style: The design of the chain can vary wildly. As a short compilation, the most popular chain types include cable, rolo, box, wheat, rope, ball, snake, and more. These names refer to the construction of the chain, and its visual appearance.
Certain styles are more durable than others. For instance, rope chains are visually very appealing as they can look quite thick and intricate, but many are hollow on the inside to reduce metal weight, and once they unravel they will never look the same again at the spot of repair. If you’re considering a chain replacement to switch out the look of your original chain, you should also think about your lifestyle and how you treat your jewelry, as switching to a fragile chain may not be in your best interest.
- Thickness and Length: Most chains are around 1-2mm thick, between 16 to 18 inches. If you’re looking for something daintier, keep in mind that very thin chains are more prone to breaking.
On the other hand, if you want a chain that’s longer and thicker, this will get increasingly more expensive. The larger the chain, the heavier it’ll be, and the price for these chains is affected by the total metal weight.
- Metal: Chains can be made out of various metals. Costume jewelry chains are typically constructed out of non-precious materials such as copper or brass. Higher-end chains range from stainless steel and silver to gold and platinum. The more high-quality the material, the more expensive it’ll be.
Certain chains require special treatment after assembly, depending on what you requested. For instance, some designs like to darken the chain with black rhodium for a gunmetal aesthetic. Other customers want the appearance of gold without paying for it, so they opt to gold plate their chains. These additional treatments will also increase the price of your chain replacement.
Cost and Turnaround Time for a Chain Replacement
The cost varies depending on the amount of work required to assemble the piece, and the chain itself, but on average a standard sterling silver 1mm 18 inch chain replacement starts at $35. As for turnaround time, this can range from 1-2 days if it’s a simple replacement and the jeweler has the chain in stock. For thick heavy chains that need special treatment, or atypical chain types, the turnaround time may take around 1-2 weeks for the jeweler to supply the chain and assemble the piece.
Now you’re ready to get started on your own chain replacement! If there’s a necklace you want to modify, hit us up in the comments below.