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Sprucing Up an Older Bridal Set

Aug 17, 2007
Let's get right to it on sizing first. Prices will vary from location to location but in our area we generally size a ring down for $23. To size up starts at $28 and there is $10 added for each size after the first size. Keep in mind, the width of the rings will affect the price somewhat. The difference will not break the bank but be prepared for a higher charge for a wide ring band.

What to ask the jeweler or how to be prepared when going to the store? Ok, I will offer a few suggestions which might help you here. First of all, have fingers measured and get an estimate of the price to resize the rings. Then, ask if the jeweler thinks any stones might be loosened in the sizing process and what the charge might be to retighten the stones. This part is important! I have not seen your rings but depending on the resizing needed and the method by which the stones are set, loosening is possible in sizing down. When rings are sized up, loosening of stones can happen but is generally not the case. Since yours need to go up, loosening is likely not to happen but ask anyway.

When done well, the cleaning, polishing, etc. is simply part of the resizing process. You don't really need to ask anything about that. Still, you might ask if the sizing "will show", a common question from many repair and sizing customers who have not used us before.

Altering the rings you have to white and not having the stones put into new white settings means one approach: Rhodium plating. To rhodium plate is a fairly straight forward procedure but you might ask for a heavy plate, heavier than usually done for white gold rings. Since these are yellow and the life of the plating will depend on the thickness of the plate, ask for a double plating or simply that the rings be given a heavy plate. This means keeping the rings in the plating solution longer than usual or doing the job twice. Generally, to refinish and rhodium plate a ring will run about $40 in our area. If we size the rings, the finishing is done already and we would likely rhodium plate for about $25 to $30.

Please keep in mind that even the very hard and inert rhodium will wear off in time. How long will the white color last? That depends on wear and what is encountered in everyday life. If you laid bricks the life span would be much, much less than if you do "white collar" work and perhaps somewhere in between if a homemaker. : ) Give it at least 6 months for a basic plate and longer when your hands are not constantly repeating the same things with the same contact to the rings each day.

Yes, a good jeweler is the first requisite. Look for a reputable business with an "in-house" jeweler (on the premises). If you are really concerned or have a "gentle nudge" from somewhere inside that the conversations at the store are not totally right, ask if you can see a ring they have resized. This is not too much to ask but might surprise a sales person! Look at the ring and see if the work looks like no work was done at all. That is how it should look, with no sanding marks inside the ring and no obvious places where the ring was soldered. All should be finished well, both the bottom and the top of the ring.

Just a side note: Yes, be certain the store has a bench jeweler (like me, the one who actually does the work) in the store. Today, two ladies came in and wanted an engagement ring refinished to like new look for the wedding. We asked where the ring came from and why they did not use that store to do the work, perhaps for no charge while we needed to charge for the work. They said, "They don't seem to know what they are doing." Turns out, the ring came from a large and reputable department store. The jewelry sold there is just fine. But, the rings are sent out to some local person for all the sizing work. This ring was platinum and the work was, well, in a nice way the work was simply terrible! Either the "trade shop" jeweler didn't know how to work platinum or simply worked "volumes of jobs" with little concern for the final finish! We told them the refinishing work would have to include redoing the sizing...simply because the sizing place on the ring stood out and was discolored, with pits and holes in that area. We could not refinish peoperly without doing the sizing over! The inside of the ring looked like a rough file was the last finishing step. This was atrocious work. The ladies did not know the difference and many customers do not know that either.

The department store is a good one and the jewelry department sells good items but the "farmed out work" was bad. So, look for a reputable store with the jeweler in the store. This keeps all responsibility for the work in one location.
About the Author
Victor Epand is the owner of JewerlyGift.biz, a huge online jewelry retailer featuring the largest and best selection of jewelry including personalizable items...
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