Costume jewelry repair can be profitable, but there are a few
pitfalls to this area to watch out for.
#1- many people think that the cost to repair should be based on
their cost of purchasing the item 30 years ago. Just because they
paid $15 for the item 30 years ago doesnt mean it won’t take $30 of
your time to repair it. Stick to your guns on pricing. Also, most
times, costume repairs are not standard type repair work, and pricing
is sometimes difficult to estimate simply because you dont know how
long it will take to do the job. Dont be afraid to go high because
chances are very good it will take you longer than you had originally
planned. I calculate odd job work at $1/minute, guesstimate to the
high side, and usually just come out okay on the odd stuff. I have
loads of standard gold work and watch work that all pays at least
that much per hour, so it would be silly for me to price costume at a
lower rate. In addition, if your work is decent, word will spread
rapidly, and you will eventually be deluged with costume. In short,
be picky what you take on, and don’t underprice just to be a costume
jewelry hero. Also, watch out for amatuer antique dealers wanting a
trade price or discount for quantity, most of them turn out to be a
waste of your time. Antique dealers will begin to show up with shoe
boxes full eventually once word gets out that you are doing costume.
They want to spend vast amounts of time picking your brain for info,
for free, while they leave a few little paying jobs with you. Make
sure they are aware that they need to pay for your knowledge/time.
Remember, they are getting things repaired to make a profit for
themselves when it sells, and you are just as entitled to a profit as
they are. After all, YOU are the professional (arent you?)!
#2- A few parts/findings to keep on hand are: an assortment of sizes
of round clear/white foilback rhinestones. Don’t get to involved
with color or fancy shapes, as you will find that you never have
quite the right size , shape, or color to match. Use 2 part 5 minute
epoxy sparingly. Super glue type adhesives are an absolute no-no.
Casker has a nice refillable asstmt in a handy numbered box. Rio
Grande and Stuller have selections too.
assorted pinstems, hinges, and clasps for pins, in nickel silver,
and gold plate or filled. Rio has decent selection in this area. Buy
in larger quantities for price advantage and the stuff will last for
years worth of repairs
nickel plate and brass earring clip findings. Also stainless steel
posts on pads are handy to keep on hand for converting clips to
pierced. You’ll get alot of this type of job once word spreads.Once
again, Rio is pretty decent for these items
#3- A Wahl brand rechargable soldering iron is handy, very
controllable, but I mostly use a “Little Torch” with a little flame,
and kind of glance it off the surface of what I am soldering, rather
than put a flame directly at the work area. If you have one
available, a PUK111 pulse arc welder is pretty handy to attach
posts, etc… then solder to finish up the job.
These are just a few things to consider if you are going to take on
the costume endeavor.
Ed in Kokomo