Herringbone chains

I have been a bench jeweler for 10 years, own my own shop and do a
pretty good retail business. Just recently I decided to only sell
and repair jewelry that I thought was worthy of fair and honest
business. I do not feel as though the industry is treating the
general public well in regards to those thin see through herringbones.
I am serious, I have atleast ten people a week come in my shop
needing herringbone repair. When I used to repair the chains I would
be real careful, I’d use paste solder, hydrogen torch(smallest tip)
and 9times out of 10 I would not freeze the bone. Even still the
chains would come in days later either unraveling or coming apart in
another spot. I would feel compelled to comp the next solder and in
November I decided never to do crap jewelry ever again. I think the
manufactures should take responsibility and if there is a herringbone
manufacture out there(thin hb’s), please inform me on how you are
servicing the industry. I think you people are greedy and have no
respect for the person down the line that has to explain to the
customer that their Chistmas gift only has a two month shelf life .I
personally feel as though the independent bench jeweler is losing
credibility and we are the ones that look bad to the general public.
Oh and by the way when people start emailing me on how to repair
herringbones, don’t!!! I gave em up and finally have peace of mind.
Castgold@home.com fabricated 14k,18k,CAD/CAM designs

Dear Scott Isaacs: Amen, brother! I couldn’t agree more with you
about those bloody awful rolled-flat chains. They are the bane of
every jeweller who has any integrity. I refuse to touch them unless it
is to melt them up into a faux nugget. And oh boy, I sure enjoy doing
that. Kind regards, Rex from Oz

Good for you, I have been in the same position with Herringbone
chains and hollow rope chains. I think that the customer that would
buy such a cheap chain and then expect the jeweler with the magic
wand to repair them like new should be informed that they are nothing
but junk and I won’t fix them anymore. I have never sold herringbone
or hollow goods in my store, and it is amazing how little of the
chains I have sold in the many years of business have come back for repair.
Janine in Redding, CA. http://www.janinesjewelry.com

Herringbone chains have been a curse for years. We now only order
them from a chain company that has a no quibble return policy so when
they start to unravel, we return them for a replacement or credit.
However we don’t sell many because we are careful to explain
herringbone’s shortcomings. Perhaps, if you are repairing them you
should start by asking the customer if the seller explained what
problems they could expect with the product over time, pointing out
that that they should have. Perhaps if enough of us did this we could
ween more customers away from the mass marketers who push this shoddy
merchandise. I think retailers are more responsible for this problem
than the manufacturers.

Anthony Toepfer
Keene, NH

Well, happy to see I’m not alone. I stopped carrying the thin
herringbone trash 5-6 years ago. I got tired of “renting” the things
to my customers. Some took a month to come back, some took a week.
I must admit, most are still out there somewhere, but, I venture to
say, not in good condition. I can’t tell you how many I have melted
in scrap.

Don’t stop at herringbone chains.

I don’t think the manufacturers actually care - some retailers
included. If you look at most of the jewelry being sold to the
masses, you will realize that quite a bit of it is blankety-blank
junk. The mantra seems to be sell it cheap, cheap, cheap. The only
way jewelry can be any cheaper is to use less material, and cheaper
stones. Lighter mountings+cheap stones=junk. I really don’t
understand how the consumer thinks a 1ct. tw diamond ring for $299 is
a good deal. And, the store selling that item must be making a
profit. Maybe small, but a profit just the same.

I dropped out of the trade shop picture 10+ years ago because of the
quality of jewelry then. I got tired of being responsible for
anything that happened to the piece of junk just because I sized it.
I can’t imagine doing trade work now. Flimsy, low carat, poorly set
trash - No thanks. I’ll stick with being picky and choosing the
repairs I want to do and doing custom jewelry.

Nuff for the ol’ soap box. I gotta climb down and get some work done.

Dear Scott Isaacs: I f you are having problem with Herringbone
chains , We do over 100 repairs a day and you can bet your life a
Herringbone is one of them. The trick I use is to use white out. We go
back about 1/16th from the break and coat it with white-out, so that
the solder cannot flow up the chain.Then flood the 1/16th with with
solder then pickle . Trim each end thin so they will lay across each
other recoat with white-out and solder while pinned down on a solder
block ,. The pins will also draw away some of the heat to stop the
solder flow up the chain . The solder will only cover about 3/23 and
the chain just needs to be trimmed with disc. If you have any
questions email me I I will Fax a diagram , about this or any
repairs. John Gardner. @John_Gardner

Janine, Thanks for confirming my suspicions…and for taking the
same stance.Herringbone and hollow chains are junk and they harm the
industry as well as the consumer. The only practical way to fight the
problem is to turn the customers away so that they will seek recourse
with their vendors. I even go so far as to tell them to use my name
when they take them back! And then, of course, there are the under
one gram diamond solitaire rings with heads that drop out the gravel
quality diamonds after one evenings use ! Furthermore, the poor kids
that buy this crap come away thinking that all jewelers are crooks. I
had one of the foregoing in my store today…purchased from Sears (
a company operated department ). It had been turned away after the
diamond fell out after a few weeks use. The prongs were about the
size of a horse hair. Bully for the big boys! They are doing a great
job of driving business our way!!! Meanwhile it behooves us to
compassionately educate our customers…it is not necessary to damn
anyone…just point out what constitutes quality and durability and
let the customer come to his own conclusions. Ron at Mills Gem, Los
Osos, CA.

I think the main problem is that most people don’t have the money to
pay for the jewelry most high end artists make. Only those special rich
people are able to afford a herringbone chain that costs 300.00+ range
for a 15" chain. That was what I was socked with when I purchased a
pendant a few years back.

I haven’t worn it more than 7 times in the past 2 years, but I have
purchased another chain that was only about 60.00 for 16". This chain
has lasted and I have actually gotten more wear from it.

But the fact that everyone on here complains about how they can’t
sell jewelry or that the quality is so poor and that how can people
stand to buy such garbage just shows the fact that you don’t know the

They want to wear jewelry. And if they can find a ring for 200.00 and
they can afford it, they will purchase it over another piece that is
1/4 the size, and looks like a chip of nothing.

I don’t have an ans. for this, except that the prices on retail
jewelry is overpriced. I have gone to see what simple casting are
wholesale, and what midrange gems are too. The mark-ups on jewelry is
so extreme, I can certainly understand the public putting their money
in lower end stuff they can wear and enjoy. At least they have
something, rather than nothing, or buying something at “claires”.


The only proper way to repair a Her. Bone is to weave it back
together and then solder… Good Luck !!! ROB