Oh No It's Broken : Fixing Jewelry

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Don't you hate it when you discover a great necklace or bracelet, and you wear it all the time in the next couple days... and then! Boom! It's broken!

What's The Plan, Stan?
Well, there's no use crying over spilled milk! Rather than saying audios to your new find, either fix it yourself, or get it fixed by someone with the know-how and supplies. My professor/advisor/boss (Ann)  purchased this really great necklace a little while back:

I'm going to walk you through the process for fixing this particular necklace, and in doing so, give you some tips on how to fix your own (or someone else's) jewelry.

Ingredients and Tools of the Trade:
For every fix you're going to need different things.

  • Generally, you will need your usual tools (needle nose pliers, wire snips, possible round nose pliers)
  • You may need to replace some beads that were lost. You can either purchase beads as close as possible to the remaining beads, or chose to replace all of the beads. For this necklace, I replaced all of the delica seed beads.
  • Depending on the style of the necklace you may some findings - jump rings, a new clasp, crimp beads, crimp bead covers etc


  • First, identify all of the problems: If you look on the top right, the jewelry artist didn't do a great job securing the ends of her tigertail beading wire. This is very important anyways, but with this particular piece, which has three separate strands, it becomes even more important that you make sure all three strands are secure. It turns out that only one of the three on the right side were nice and snug, so the other two broke and the little seed beads were lost. Also, Ann mentioned that she wasn't a big fan of the extender chain on the necklace - and I agree - it takes away from the overall aesthetic of the necklace.
  • Next, take some pictures. You don't want to start attacking the piece you're supposed to fix and then forget what it looked like to begin with. I took just one picture, since this is a fairly simple piece, but if you are working on something more complex, you may want to take a few more detail shots. 
  • Measurements will be key if working with tiny beads, like these seed beads. I measured the sections of seed beads between the little green chip beads, just to make sure all the spacing would be correct in the final product. 
  • Next I disassembled the necklace. AHHH! This can be chaotic and crazy if you are not careful. I know I have mentioned using a bead board before, but now I must really stress the importance of having something to keep all your beads organized and in order. 
  • Once everything is laid out, restring the necklace. Remember, there were two problems:
    • The loose wire ends - I used a crimp bead to connect the three strings together just one inch after the last large bead. Then, I separated the middle string, and trimmed the other two as close the the crimp bead as possible, thus taking the three strands down to one, further away from the clasp. This will put far less stress on the crimped wires, making it less likely to fray or slip out of the crimp. Of course, I covered it with a lovely crimp bead cover :)
    • The extender chain was ugly - so I just made the last section of seed beads a bit longer, and because it was narrowed down to one strand, rather than three, it should be more comfortable on the neck anyways. One crimp bead on either side secured the clasp. 

C'est Fin!

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