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You should take care of your fine jewelry all year round, and summer months call for extra TLC when sun, sand and water activities expose jewelry to more wear and tear. Use our jewelry care and cleaning tips, and visit a jeweler who is a member of Jewelers of America, to make sure your jewelry shines long after the summer sun sets.
Our tips for jewelry care start by storing treasured pieces in an organized, clean jewelry box. If you are like most women across America, your jewelry box is most likely cluttered and unorganized. However, getting jewelry organized is easier that you might think. It is also very important. Storing jewelry properly will help ensure it will last for generations to come. The right jewelry organization will also allow you to see your jewelry so you can wear it more regularly. 
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Fine jewelry is susceptible to wear and tear, so always have your fine jewelry checked annually by your jeweler. When jewelry repair needs arise, use our guide to better understand the jewelry repair process so you know what to expect at the jewelry store and get the best service.

It Starts With Trust & Expertise

When considering having a ring or bracelet repaired, you must have confidence in the skill of your jeweler. If you don’t already have a jeweler you trust near you, use our tips for choosing a trustworthy jeweler.

If a jewelry store offers custom design work, most likely they have trained jewelry craftsman on site to perform repairs in house. Of course, there are items – like timepieces – that may need to have repairs done off site. Start by checking that the jewelry store is a member of Jewelers of America – so you know your jewelry is in skilled hands and the repair will be performed professionally and ethically.

Certified Experts

Look for jewelry stores with certified jewelers on staff. This includes certifications and education from respected institutions and associations like Jewelers of America, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), American Gem Society (AGS), American Watchmakers Assocation (AWA) for specialty watch repairs.

 

Before You Go

It’s always good to have a sense of the value of the piece for the jewelry store’s insurance purposes. The jeweler will evaluate and give you a quote for the cost and time of the repair work. No work should be done without your permission.

Common Jewelry Repair Issues

In a good jewelry repair the repaired area has the same color, luster and appearance as the rest of the piece:
  • No hammering or other tool marks are visible
  • No visible seams from cutting and soldering, like in rings or chain repair
  • Stones are tight and secure in their settings (channel, prongs, etc)

Resizing a Ring

If too loose or too tight, there are a few ways a jeweler can resize your ring:
  • Cutting & soldering: A cut is made and metal is either added or removed to adjust the size to fit. Sizing should be done at the center of the shank bottom, unless there are quality marks or an inscription that precludes it. No seams should be visible when finished.
  • Sizing beads: placed on the inside of the bottom of the shank, these accommodate slight discrepancies in size for a half size or less
  • Spring inserts placed inside the shank adjusts to 1-2 full finger sizes.

Chain Repair

A chain after being repaired is never as strong as it was before it was broken. While most flat chain repairs are nearly undetectable, if the chain is very small, lightweight or badly damaged, there may be some stiffness in surrounding links after the repair is completed. Chains that are more difficult to repair due to their complexities include link chains, like rope and cable chains, and herringbone chains. Some jewelers may charge extra for these jewelry repairs.

Prong Repair

Constant wear of rings can cause prongs to wear and the potential for losing a precious gemstone to increase. Something as simple as exposure to bedsheets or gardening can affect prong strength. Depending on the severity of the prong wear, they will be replaced, re-tipped by adding a metal to the top of the prong, or replacing the entire prong head. When repaired, prongs match in size, shape and dimension. They should completely go over the crown of the stone, ensuring prongs won’t snag clothing.

Jewelry Repair FAQs


Yes. Take it to any jewelry store you have confidence in that has the qualifications you trust. Use our JA Jewelry Store Directory to find Jewelers of America member jewelry stores near you.

When you work with a jeweler you trust, like Jewelers of America members, this shouldn’t be an issue. Still, don’t be afraid to mention your concern, most jewelers are happy to ease your mind. Some jewelers show the diamond to their client under a microscope to indicate that diamond’s unique characteristics, which you can view again when you retrieve the piece. Some even take a picture of it. Like fingerprints, no two diamonds are exactly alike.

In between your regular check-ups at your preferred jewelry store, you can check for loose gemstones by touching them with a toothpick. If the stone moves, bring it to your jeweler for tightening.

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to repair a chipped diamond. This is often a shock considering diamonds are one of the hardest materials on earth. However, if hit or dropped on the right angle it can splinter. If this happens, the diamond will have to be replaced, unless it is large enough to be recut. Make sure your jewelry insurance policy covers chipped diamonds in addition to loss.

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Fine jewelry and watches are more than just accessories, they are cherished family heirlooms, a symbol of lasting love, a reminder of treasured moments. The value of the meaning behind your fine jewelry and watches is priceless and should be protected with dedicated insurance.

Common Jewelry Loss & Repairs That Require Insurance

Any jewelry that is worn every day, such as an engagement ring, is more susceptible to damage or loss. And because an engagement ring is often the most expensive jewelry a woman will own, it makes sense to make sure it is insured.

Diamonds are still the favorite stone for engagement rings and, contrary to popular belief; a sharp strike on a hard surface can easily chip a diamond. Even washing dishes in a ceramic sink can cause chipping.

Water sports are another culprit for loss. Your fingers constrict when they’re cold, so losing a ring while swimming or snorkeling presents a very real risk. Any sporting activity, in fact, can be hard on jewelry.

According to Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group, the only insurance provider that specializes in jewelry insurance, more than half of the company’s claims are partial losses. Losing a stone from a ring is one of the more common instances. Winter gloves are notorious for catching on prongs and loosening ring settings. Partial losses, such as chipped stones, aren’t covered under typical homeowners policies. To cover all jewelry losses, get a rider on your homeowners policy. Better still, choose a standalone policy for your jewelry like the one offered by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group.

JA Jeweler Tip
“I helped a newly engaged couple who came in the store because they were…concerned about an inclusion that was near the edge [of their diamond]. I told them there is risk that the diamond could chip or break along that inclusion and if they're worried about it, they should consider insurance. I handed them the Jewelers Mutual pamphlet knowing their insurance would cover such a loss. I'm glad to have eased their concerns!”
deJonghe Original Jewelry

Coverage Considerations

Homeowners Policy

When insuring jewelry, check your coverage. On basic homeowners policies, jewelry is protected for only certain causes of loss.  Damaging an item, or losing all or part of one, typically are not covered losses. Theft is often limited to $1,000.  You can “schedule” your jewelry on your homeowners policy. It will cost an additional premium, but provide better coverage.

Dedicated Jewelry Insurance

A stand-alone, specialized policy, such as those offered by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group provides, broad, worldwide coverage and won’t jeopardize your existing homeowners policy if a jewelry loss occurs.

Repair or Replacement Policy and Appraisals

With a repair or replacement policy, your insurance company steps in for you and deals directly with your jeweler of choice to help the jeweler recreate an exact match to your original piece. A jewelry appraisal assigns value to your entire piece, taking into account the setting and any stones. Insuring your jewelry for its current retail replacement value is vital to repair or replacement.

Jewelers of America recommends Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group, as it is the only insurer dedicated solely to serving the jewelry industry in the United States and Canada. Founded in 1913, Jewelers Mutual was formed by a group of Wisconsin jewelers to meet their unique insurance needs. More than 300,000 consumers trust Jewelers Mutual Jewelry Insurance to protect their personal jewelry. You can find Jewelers Mutual insurance in nearly 10,000 jewelry businesses in North America. To learn more, visit JewelersMutual.com.

What is a Jewelry Appraisal?

An appraisal is a document that describes an item, assesses its relative quality and assigns a value to it. Descriptions usually cover the visible, measurable and analyzable facts about the item (weight, materials, markings). Most jewelry appraisals also describe subjective features such as gemstone quality, relative rarity and overall quality of manufacture. 

Jewelry appraisals should not be confused with diamond or gemstone grading reports. Learn about Grading Reports >

Jewelry Appraisals for Insurance

The majority of appraisals done today are for insurance replacement (retail replacement) purposes. The point of insurance is to return the value of the item. Therefore, insurance appraisals should reflect the realistic cost of replacing an item in a jewelry store that regularly sells the type of item being appraised. See our guide to Jewelry Insurance >

Most experienced retail jewelers with basic formal appraisal training are qualified to write insurance replacement appraisals on the new merchandise they sell in their stores. They may also be qualified to write insurance appraisals on new jewelry they do not sell, if the jewelry is similar to the products in their store. Appraisals done on other types of jewelry or for other purposes require more advanced appraisal training. 

Expertise

Look for on-site expert gemologists and appraisers that will identify your gemstones and determine values for insurance purposes, estate tax evaluation, value comparison and more.

Types of Appraisals 

Fair market value appraisals 

Reflect an actual selling price between a willing buyer and seller, when neither is compelled by time or need to buy or sell in the item’s most common market. Fair market value must represent the item’s value in its current (used) condition. Fair market value is generally required for charitable donations and estate appraisals. Fair market values may run lower than retail replacement values, because replacement values often reflect the cost to replace a used item with a new equivalent.

Immediate liquidation value appraisals 

Usually reflect low values because of the situations that create their need. Divorce settlements and some types of estate liquidations may require this type of appraisal, depending upon the jurisdiction where the scenario takes place. Less common types of appraisals include probate and loan collateral appraisals.

The Legal Guidelines

Intentionally over-valuing items on appraisals is considered illegal under Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines and unethical by all nationally recognized appraisal organizations. The value assigned to the piece of jewelry should not be inflated beyond what is considered a fair retail selling price. 

There are currently no U.S. laws or regulations that set educational standards or require certifications to become a jewelry appraiser. However, there are industry standards for appraising.

Customers’ appraisals should be updated periodically to make sure they have adequate insurance coverage. Unusual circumstances, such as sharp increases in availability and price for certain jewelry components, should also be taken into account when appraising an item. In addition to the cost to replace or repair an item, the value stated in an insurance appraisal should include enough to pay the appraiser for their services. The appraiser must also remember to add taxes, which can either be listed separately from, or included in, the value on the appraisal. 

Some insurance companies have arrangements with jewelers for insurance replacement business. When a consumer has a loss, their insurance company requires that they go to a specific jeweler for a replacement. The jeweler is then paid an amount from the insurance company that is less than retail, and perhaps less than the appraisal, but the customer gets a piece comparable to the one they lost, and the jeweler gets the business from the insurance referral. 

How to Find a Trustworthy Jewelry Appraiser

Appraisal Credentials: A professional jewelry appraiser should be certified or titled by a respected national appraisal organization, like the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Different types of appraisals require varying levels of training.

Gemological Credentials: With no federal or state requirements for appraisers, it is crucial to ask for credentials. A Graduate Gemologist diploma from the GIA or its equivalent should be considered minimum gemological training.

Knowledge of Jewelry Manufacture: A qualified jewelry appraiser must understand manufacturing techniques and recognize their contributions to the value of an item.

Continuing Education: Continuing education certificates and credentials help ensure that the appraiser is knowledgeable about the latest gemological and appraisal issues.

Jewelry and Appraisal Experience: A broad range of jewelry experience over many years often leads to a more knowledgeable appraiser. Likewise, solid experience in the appraisal industry is equally important.

High Ethical Standards and Awareness of Legal Obligations: Appraisers should adhere to the highest levels of professional behavior. Consider the appraiser’s professional affiliations, as well as the appraiser’s reputation within the industry. Ideally, work with a jewelry appraiser associated with Jewelers of America, our members commit annually to the highest ethical standards.

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company and Geolat and Associates, Inc. contributed information to this article. 

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Prevent Jewelry Loss & Repairs

Fine jewelry is a precious possession that is designed and crafted to last generations, but proper care is required to assure the lasting qualities of your jewelry. As a standard rule, see your jeweler at least once a year to have your jewelry checked for loose prongs, worn mountings, and general wear and tear. Visit your jeweler every six months to have your jewelry professionally cleaned. See our guide to Jewelry Repairs >


Jewelry Cleaning

Use these simple, basic guidelines for the care and cleaning of your fine jewelry:

  • Store your jewelry in a clean, dry place.
  • Keep your jewelry in a fabric-lined jewelry case, or in a box with compartments and dividers. If you prefer to use ordinary boxes, wrap each piece individually in soft tissue paper.
  • Don't jumble your jewelry pieces in a drawer or jewelry case. Pieces can scratch each other.
  • Be careful when removing your jewelry to wash your hands. Do not leave your jewelry on the rim of a sink where it can easily slip down the drain.
  • There are many types of small machines on the market that will clean jewelry in a matter of minutes using high-frequency sound. These machines are called ultrasonic cleaners and are available in many different models and prices. Your local jeweler can tell you if an ultrasonic cleaning machine is right for your jewelry wardrobe and, if it is, recommend an appropriate model.
  • In the summer months, jewelry requires some extra care so use our 6 Summer Jewelry Care Tips.

Insure Your Jewelry

It is devastating to lose a piece of jewelry that holds special meaning and memories. Make sure you don’t lose the value of the piece as well. Always care for your fine jewelry by getting it insured. See our guide for jewelry insurance >


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