10 Things You Need to Know About Jewelry Repair & Restoration

By: Shmukler Design

There’s a sense of well-being when working with a jeweler who has gained your confidence when making an investment in a beautiful piece of jewelry, whether it’s for yourself or a gift for a loved one. Equally comforting is knowing that same jeweler can be trusted to take your treasured piece of jewelry and either repair it when broken or damaged, or to restore it to its original glory when it has lost some or all of its sparkle.

But first, we think it’s important that you understand the difference between repair and restoration when it comes to your fine jewelry. Simply put, repairs are performed by the jeweler to improve the integrity of an item. Restoration is performed in order to give new life to that glittering treasure.


The Jewelers of America (JA), a 113-year-old network of jewelry businesses with more than 8,000 members nationwide, suggests fine jewelry be inspected at least once a year. That’s because such items are susceptible to wear and tear. Here at Shmukler Design in Laguna Hills, California, we offer the following five tips for jewelry repair and five additional suggestions for jewelry restoration:

The Comfort Issue: Like we mentioned above, knowing your jeweler is respected, dependable and experienced goes a long way when it comes to dropping off your jewelry and valued timepieces for repair. By doing your homework and depending on recommendations from those you trust — like family and friends — you can have confidence in the selection of your jewelry craftsperson.

But Ask to See Certification: That being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking a new jeweler to prove his or her expertise, and at Shmukler Design, we will gladly show you our degrees, certifications and memberships. These designations go a long way in demonstrating we have the knowledge and experience to care for your jewelry.

Bring the Original Paperwork: Before heading off to the jewelry store for a repair, find the original sales receipt for the piece in order to present if there are insurance issues following the work. If you cannot locate the original paperwork, look online (eBay is great for pieces that fall into the restoration category) to see what your item is currently fetching on the open market.

Get a Quote — in Writing: A respected jeweler will not let you leave the shop without a receipt showing that you dropped off an item, as well as an estimate of the cost of repairs. Again, don’t be shy about asking for such a receipt. You wouldn’t drop off your car at an auto mechanic without getting a written estimate. Why do so with your valuable jewelry?

Carefully Inspect the Work: You might not be an expert at jewelry repair, but there are things you can observe when viewing the finished work. Do you see evidence of cutting or soldering? Can you move the stones around in their settings? Are there tool marks visible on the piece? If anything looks off to you, your jeweler needs to hear about it. Again, before you leave the building.

For the restoration of jewelry, we offer these five suggestions:

Restoration is Almost Always an Option: No matter how bad a piece of jewelry might appear, advances in restoration in recent years have been formidable. For instance, victims of Southern California’s frequent wildfires have brought their melted jewelry to experts who have been able to restore them to their original splendor. If a piece looks beyond repair, bring it in and let your jeweler be the judge.

Keeping it Local: You should have the confidence in knowing that when you drop off your valuable pieces for restoration work, the work will take place onsite, and not shipped off to some repair shop in Houston, or an offshore business in a country you’ve never heard of. 

Don’t Discard Inheritance Jewelry: Sure, it often looks shabby, out of style and cheap, but jewelry handed down from a loved one can have more than just sentimental value. Often a restoration can bring new life — and value — to that ring, necklace or bracelet, making it the perfect gift for others in your family and those who were close to the original owner. Or, create a new story — talk with your jeweler about taking an essential component from the piece you inherited and using it for an entirely new piece of custom jewelry.

Ready for your Close Up: Before taking your well-used or outdated jewelry to be restored, take photographs of the pieces beforehand, and then take additional photos after the restoration is completed. While a comparison of photos should provide satisfaction to the owner, the images might come in handy should you decide to sell the pieces or insure them.

What’s it Worth? Again, for insurance purposes — and perhaps for your own piece of mind — it might prove worthwhile to take the restored jewelry to another jeweler to seek an unbiased appraisal of the piece. Here at Shmukler Design, we encourage such homework. Primarily because we look forward to another professional admiring our work.

We hope these jewelry repair and restoration tips are helpful and will perhaps prompt you to dig around in that box of old jewelry for a second look. If you see a potential candidate, please give us a call at (949) 870-9915. We’ll happily answer any and all of your questions. 

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Comments (2)

  1. Skylar Williams says:

    Thank you for your tip to ask for certification when you are looking at different jewelry repair people. My grandmother passed away and left some jewelry for my sisters and me, however, some of it has broken. I’ll be sure to get ask for the certification of whoever I hire to fix the broken jewelry.

  2. Victoria Addington says:

    Thanks for helping me learn about jewellery repair and restoration. Since the placings of my diamond earrings got detached, I am thinking maybe I should look for someone who can fix instead of buying a new one. In case I hire one, I’ll take note of your tip to inspect the work carefully. I suppose it would be best to observe the jeweller in doing the work.

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