As you can probably imagine, since we are in the jewellery business we deal with a lot of jewellery repairs. Therefore we see a lot of damage that happens to rings that in many cases could have been avoided. So without further ado, here are 4 tips to make your rings last a lifetime.
1. Take Your Rings Off
Taking your rings off is probably one of the easiest and most effective ways to add years to the life of your rings. We frequently get clients coming in telling us that they "never take their rings off." Stop it. Take your rings off. When you're in the shower; when you're gardening or working around the house; when you're weight lifting; when your job is quite physically intensive; when you're gripping that golf club so tight your knuckles turn white - take your rings off!
Some people have a misconception that rings can be/are meant to be worn all the time. And certainly I'm not arguing to keep your rings locked up in a safe never to be worn, but there is a happy medium. It doesn't have to be either-or. Wear and enjoy your jewellery, but also appreciate that your jewellery is not indestructible.
2. Regular Check Ups
I feel like a doctor saying this, but getting your rings checked regularly will pretty much catch any problem before it becomes a problem. What do I mean by regularly? Every 6-12 months. Now, this might seem like often, certainly considering that many people either never bring their rings in for a check up, or do so very rarely. But here is a trade secret: the reason why pretty much every jewellery store warranty comes with a required check up every 6 months is that we know that if you actually do this we can catch 99% of problems before they happen. And unfortunately, we also know that in most cases people won't bring their rings in every 6 months, thus nullifying the warranty.
Just like your car needs fresh oil and regular maintenance to prevent larger repairs from happening, so too does your jewellery. So do your rings a favour, put a self-repeating reminder in your phone to take your valuables in for a check up every 6 months!
3. Repairs Happen
Know that repairs will happen and will likely cost you some money. This is a normal part of the life of your jewellery. You will, if you are wearing your rings, eventually need to put money into them. Shanks wear down, claws thin out, and diamonds become loose. If you see any of this starting to happen, bring your rings in for repair. If you're unsure if this is happening to your rings, bring your rings in for a free check up. And if you haven't been to a jewellery store since you said "yes" to marrying the man of your dreams and you're celebrating your 20th anniversary, BRING YOUR RINGS IN NOW!
The vast majority of rings that are sold in jewellery stores are made of gold, typically 10K, 14K, or 18K gold. And gold wears down. This is the nature of gold. When you hit your rings on something you actually lose microns of gold, and over time this adds up. So after 7-10 years we commonly see shanks - the bottom part of your ring that would be most susceptible to being worn down - get thin and eventually crack. Same goes for the claws that hold your diamond(s) in place. These wear down and eventually diamonds become loose, and without proper attention (see #2), will eventually fall out. This is not meant to scare you, rather inform you about the risks of not having your rings properly checked on a regular basis.
4. Find A Quality Repair Shop
Not all jewellery repair shops are created equal. And, newsflash, every goldsmith has made a mistake in their careers. Dealing with repairs constantly, we get to hear a lot of horror stories, some of them I have no doubt have been exaggerated. But nonetheless, take your jewellery to a store that has a solid reputation. Here is something for you to consider: any jewellery store that has a solid reputation will value that reputation much higher than any piece of jewellery that comes into the store for repair. It is in that store's best interest to maintain their reputation. You want to take your jewellery into the store that values their reputation higher than anything you can bring in for repair.
I have told clients many times, when they seem nervous about leaving their items with us, that our reputation is all we have, and frankly, is worth more than their jewellery. 'Worth' is obviously relative: to the client that might sound slightly offensive, but it isn't meant that way. I understand that their 120-year-old great grandmother's ring that has been in the family for 4 generations is irreplaceable. But so is our reputation. Without it, we are no longer in business. So we make sure we handle every repair with great care and attention and inform the client about any and all risks that might occur during the repair process.
We are fortunate in that we are one of the few jewellery stores in Winnipeg that have a goldsmith working full-time on-site, as well as a full-time gemologist/appraiser. So when you bring us your jewellery for repair, we don't have to send it out somewhere, which adds cost and time. We simply run downstairs, talk to our goldsmith and gemologist, and get you a quote, usually while you wait. Typical repair times are approximately 2 weeks.