Repair Work on Gemstones

Repair Work on Gemstones

Well, that all depends really, but in general I will not do repair work. Here is why.

First – By doing repair work on some one elese’s gemstone you are opening yourself to some liability if things go wrong or the customer just does not like what you have done. Even if you have been clear up front that there is no way to predict what will happen when you put a stone on a cutting lap and the risk is “theirs”. You can still get sued, admittedly this is an extreme case, but it does happen.

For example. I had a friend of mine that was sued over the repair of an Emerald. There are a lot of them out there that need repairing, because most of them are so poor in quality. There was a major flaw in the stone (in an Emerald can you believe it?), he pointed it out to the jeweler. He was told that they were aware the stone had flaws and to go ahead and cut the stone. He did. They claimed that cutting the stone made the flaw worse, what it did was wash out all the oil originally in the stone. They tried to re-oil the stone after he “repaired the chip”, but it never looked the same. He lost several thousand dollars on the deal.

Second – Jewelers never seem to appreciate it. Generally if a jeweler just deals in commercial cut goods, they buy them cheap and really would be better off buying a replacement stone commercially cut. The only time this will not work is when the stone is very valuable. See liability above. If you insist on doing some repair work and you run into the money argument. They do not want to pay you for your time. Here is what you do, find out what they (the jeweler) charges for their shop time (wholesale is usually 475 to $150 per hour) and tell them it is only fair that you get the same amount per hour. After all you are a skilled worker and the equipment is expensive, plus there is not a faceter everywhere like there are jewelers. A jeweler cannot just have it done down the street.

To be honest I do ZERO repair work. I used to do some repair work and it seemed like the more reasonable I was the more people complained. Then I started charging what I though it was worth (see above), and most of the complaining stopped. But it was still a hassle (I guarantee you it will take at least twice as long as you think… and the stone will probably come off the dop too). I eventually decided to just tell people I would cut a new stone. It really was not worth my effort to repair the old broken or chipped stones.

Repair is a choice, it depends on what you really want to do. Sometimes if you help a jeweler out it will come back to you in the long run. It can help build a working relationship with a jeweler that appreciates the work. But as a general rule, especially with jewelers that are buying commercial cutting to set (it is just their market, or because they are too cheap to buy good stuff), they will not appreciate your effort.

If it is a jeweler that will and/or does buy your cutting. Then that is a person you should work with and their repairs should be considered. I generally have an understanding with most of the jewelers that I deal with that I do not really do repair work. But once and a while I just have to because of the circumstances.

Remember, you could (can) cut a good stone that you enjoyed cutting in the same time it takes to repeir a stone, especially if you count travel. A stone that you could sell and make as much or more on, with none of the liability risk or hassle incurred during the repair job.

My advice is that if they just want you to fix their screw ups, stones they chipped while setting or worn stones and/or customer stones, but never buy anything from you. Make the repair work really worth your time (charge them) or just do not bother.

Gram Faceting Archive of Information
This edited version of an article by the late Jeff Graham is part of a special archived informational series from Gram Faceting. Used with permission.