Broken Chain Repairs

The most recurrent type of repair we cover at Lila’s is rejoining broken chains. This is partly because chains are very popular with both men and women when it comes to jewellery and they are worn regularly, often times around the clock. This means that chains are exposed to risk a lot more than other type of pieces and with the new appeal for minimalist fashion and very fine necklaces it doesn’t take long for them to break.

So what triggers chains to come apart?

  • most often they get caught and pulled on, from hair to clothes, from baby grabbing hands to gym equipment or anything that might come in the way when we’re moving around
  • size. Chains that are particularly fine and light will come apart with even the gentlest pull. Bear in mind the wire making up a chain is most often under 0.5mm thick, sometimes even 0.1mm, so it can’t take on that much force even if it’s gold, even if you paid a lot for it.
  • sleeping with a chain on, especially if it’s a fine one can put too much pressure on certain links when turning around and although the break might not happen instantly, constant pressure will finally generate links to come apart when you’re least expecting it
  • suspending heavy pendants on very fine chains can add extra strain on specific links, especially if the chains are very long.
  • particular designs are notorious for breaking quickly like the ones with light, hollow links or chains with little flexibility which kink quickly and then leave a vulnerable spot. Fine snake or herringbone chains may look good, but they’re among the last in a durability top. Cheap costume chains will often have open links throughout and the majority of fast fashion shops will sell chains with open jump rings near the clasp and sooner or later they become fully open

How is the chain repaired? Will the joint be obvious?

Usually we open up the broken link, attach the next link to it and then weld the broken link closed again. We repair the majority of the chains using an arc welder which means the joint will be almost seamless and the reduced heat will leave the rest of the chain unaffected. Sometimes it’s a really quick repair and we can do it in five minutes. Other times the chains are so fine, fiddly and slippery that it takes ages to get a good grip with really fine tipped tweezers and have the broken area in focus under the microscope. Antique, hollow chains require even more work.

How much does it cost?

We charge a standard £25 fee for one solder on the chain links, £15 for a jumpring solder or charms added to a chain. With thin silver items it may be worth changing the entire chain for a similar cost to that of a repair. If the chains are plated, they might lose the plating on the repair area. With thin chains it may not be noticeable, but with thicker ones you may want to have them re-plated and this will incur an additional charge.

If the clasp is broken and you require a replacement, we will provide a quote for replacement clasp and that will be added to the soldering cost. Clasps can range greatly in cost depending on the metal they are made of, type and size. You can pay £5 for a silver bolt clasp or well over £100 for a durable 18ct gold clasp and even more for platinum fixtures.

Is the repair guaranteed?

The short answer is “No” and this is because we cannot control the conditions of how the chain is worn once it left our premises. In our experience, few people admitted responsibility and we heard our share of “I was just watching TV when all of a sudden the chain came apart”. Some chains are so old and fragile it’s obvious they will break again soon. So if we repair your chain and it breaks again, unfortunately, you will have to pay again. There are exceptions. We keep good records of our repairs and we measure chains from clasp to the broken links to be able to accurately say if the chain broke in the same place as the previous time or not. If our records indicate the repair was faulty, we will mend the chain again at no extra cost in the 6 months after the repair was carried. If the faulty repair cannot be proven, it will be charged as standard.




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