Try a Little Harder: Fix a Necklace

I write my Try a Little Harder series because sometimes a small change can make a big difference.  Today’s post is about how if you take your necklace to a jewelry repairperson you’ll get it fixed, but if you learn how to do it yourself you’ll fix all of your necklaces… that was much more elegant in my head, I was going for the whole give a man a fish, teach a man to fish thing… you get it.
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A few months ago I realized that I was avoiding wearing some of my statement necklaces because they were broken.  All of my necklaces are costume jewelry, so they’re held together by cheaper jump rings that are easy to break off or twist open, separating the necklace and making it decidedly “unstatementy.” And that’s a real word, folks.

Ok, it’s not, but you get it.

Anyway, I took the necklaces to a jewelry repair shop, where they examined them and then told me I would pay $20 for the repair. Each.

Not a bad deal actually, especially when you consider the fact that they would be soldering the parts together so that they’d never break again, and they gave me a guarantee.

But I didn’t take the deal and decided to do it myself, which is a big deal since I’m, as my mom says, “easily inspired, but craft-challenged.” And also since my fine motor skills (ie, working with my hands) are TERRIBLE.  Seriously, for a laugh ask me to fold a piece of paper in half and be amazed at how awful I am at something so simple.  It’s my only party trick.

Here’s why I decided to do it myself: 1) Yeah, the repair people would do a great job, but they would only fix the broken part, and there were a million other parts that could break in the future, and unless I got the whole thing fixed (at $20/jump ring, that would be around $100 or $200 per necklace) I would just keep coming back. 2) the necklaces themselves cost probably around $35, so I was not totally cool with spending more on repairs than the actual items. (I would have if the jewelry had been real and expensive). 3) I thought, can’t be that hard, right?

And it isn’t that hard, although I do have to try a little harder.

I got myself over to a craft store, picked out some jewelry pliers and some jump rings and got to work.  I think I spent $8-10.

And within an hour I’d fixed both necklaces.  It’s not that hard, you just have to have patience because it is precise work.  I have had to do the repairs again, but in the long run it was a lot cheaper.

A couple of tips:

1) Purchase some silver and gold jump ring just in case (they’re usually $1 or less).  If you’re necklace has two parts that need to be connected, you’ll use the ring to put it back together.  Take the pliers and pull apart the ends of the jump ring, then loop the ring through the 2 parts, and squeeze the ends of the ring back together with the pliers.

2) You might not need pliers.  Look at the broken part of the necklace.  If it’s just disconnected and you can bend back part of the connector (or the existing jump ring) with the pliers, then do that, thread it back through, and squeeze it shut with the pliers.WP_20131019_004
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Obviously these tips will work with other sorts of jewelry too.

The unforeseen benefit of doing this myself was that I suddenly felt very powerful, self-sufficient, and like Ron Swanson would be very proud of me.

I know, I know it’s just a necklace… but it’s not, because now I can fix ALL THE NECKLACES!

Unless they’re expensive, then to the jewelry store I go… because you have to know your limits.

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