Repair of overly worn bangle

tiffany twist bangle that has been worn every day for 40 years. i have repaired this twice, in different spots. replacement has been suggested, but rejected due to sentimental value. i am thinking about adding a thin lining to reinforce, but worried that it will change the size. should i line and fabricate another twist?

Hi,

could you post a photo? (using first icon at bottom right to upliad from your phone)

julie

Hi,

i have no experience with this…i am just curious and thinking out loud…

hmmm…did it break at a previous weld joint…?…looks kinda jagged…has it “sprung” open on its own…?…or was it stretched open after it broke?

i wonder, if after 40 years of use, along with the twisting used to make it, if it has become very work hardened and springy…?

aside from repairing the broken joint. i wonder if annealing and then just a bit of tapping with a rawhide mallet on a mandrel would be beneficial… i am wondering if built up stress is an issue?

curious to hear thoughts…

julie

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sprung i think, a solder joint is near by. i imagine this has been worn day and night for those 40 years. but when i repaired it twice, i annealed and shaped it with a rawhide mallet as you suggested.

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If you anneal it, there may be enough stretch to cut out the broken section, solder it back together and then stretch back to the right size. Before you do any of this, figure out what the right size is. Run it tightly up a bracelet mandrel and mark the spot where it stops. You can also just measure the inside circumference with a cloth tape. Good luck…Rob

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in the last year i have repaired it at 2 different spots. 40 years of wearing day and night has weakened
the whole of it. the broken section goes together perfectly, why should i cut it out? it is not hollow if that is what you have assumed. i think i need to somehow reinforce the of the inside

The picture looks to me like a section is missing or damaged. If that is not the case, don’t cut it out. You can try to solder a thin backing material on the inside, but it will be difficult to hide. This is a drastic suggestion, but you could cut out the best section and then incorporate it into another bracelet. They are pretty easy to make. Twist maybe 14 gauge wire, or whatever fits, then roll it through a D roll. Good luck…Rob

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Hi,

i was recently watching an instagram video…the repair of a valued porcelain teacup…the artisan drilled tiny holes and poked wire in, to create an armature…and then add repair material, metal, embellishments, etc…it was very cool and just pipped into my head here…

i am not sure if the customer would be amenable to possibly adding a decorative sleeve…narrow or wide…plain or embellished…tiny diamonds….contrast yellow gold…etc… over this newest solder joint…making the reinforcement you are considering visible and decorative…instead of teying to hide it…

julie

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I reached out to an old student of mine tonight who works in Tiffany’s Design and Innovation Lab in NYC to see what she thought and if she could ask some of her Tiffany’s buddies how they would repair it. I’ll let you know when I hear back. She’s usually super busy, so It might be a while.

It could be that after 40 years of wearing this bracelet 24/7, with multiple repairs that it’s just going to keep breaking. Every one of those soldered repair seams is a brittle breaking point.

If the person wants to keep wearing it all day every day, then I think that the bracelet is going to have be fully lined, with a solid inner bracelet sweat soldered inside. Like Rob said, it’s going to be hard to not make a mess and fill up all of those twists with solder. That means that there is a chance that you’ll wreck it. You’ll need to be clear about that with your customer. Also, lining it is going to change the size, so you’ll have to deal with that.

You probably can’t say this to your customer, but to me everything has a life and this bracelet has lived a good long one. I think it’s time for this bracelet to not be worn every day and just be worn for special occasions.

Jeff

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I had a customer who inherited her mother’s wedding band. It was too worn and the wrong size and I told her that there was nothing that I could do to fix it. We talked and agreed that I would try to cut out two less damaged sections and make them into earrings. I did and she was very happy. It is important not to create impossible expectations. This ring was also white gold and I told her that it could fall apart from brittleness. It didn’t. You could cut out good sections of the bracelet and incorporate them into another piece of jewelry. My family has been making bracelets for well over 80 years. They come back worn or eventually too small (funny how that happens). We have incorporated the smaller bracelet into a bigger one that fits and is safe to wear. Good luck…Rob

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Can you mold the bracelet and cast new sections? and then solder to less worn parts?

It’s a lot easier to just twist maybe 14 gauge wire, whatever works, and then forge or roll it into half round wire than to cast it…Rob

Well I wish I had come earlier to this conversation. Between Rob and Jeff and Julie all of my suggestions are used up. My first thought was the same answer as Rob’s first suggestion. I have no answer that can help much but I would suggest that with the owners permission the bracelet be sent back to Tiffany’s for a repair estimate. I would assume they have a process for such a service.

I have a good friend who is a good customer that I have had to train to know I can’t fix everything that some other smith has made. It has taken a number of years for her to be aware of this. And as Jeff has mentioned, eventually time does come.

I’ll watch this conversation, hopefully to read the perfect solution.

Don

I heard back from my old student who works in Tiffany’s Design and Innovation Lab. It’s not much different from what we’ve all been suggesting, but it’s worth sharing.

Subject: Re: Fixing broken Tiffany’s bracelet advice

Hi Jeff!! Hope all is well. I asked around and the recommendation was to clean it very well and solder it back together. If you anneal it’s just going to flex more and create more weak spots and we do not know what it was soldered with before or how it was repaired etc. Hope this helps.

I thought Rob’s idea of reimagining the bracelet into another kind of object like a pendant or something was a great one.

Best of luck!!

Jeff

Thanks to everyone for their take on this! I will post when the project is finished

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The first thing I thought of was some kind of tube/bead, something interesting, with the good part of what remains showing and the broken ends inside. Then if it keeps happening you might wind up with a bracelet of tubes of various lengths, & twists.

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Please let us know what your final decision and results are… that would be greatly appreciated by all. you have a really tough problem on your hands. I was going to suggest annealing the whole thing, but as Jeff pointed out that doing so would only create more weak spots. True that!.. anything so old and beat up would have unequal stresses across the whole thing from differential work hardening by being so beat up, any fix might just be a temporary one…

Joined once more…Thanks everyone for your thoughts and suggestions on this. It fit back together very well, though not quite as pretty on the inside. Stretched it a wee bit afterwards, for a better fit and to work harden-for less flexing.

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Hi,
beautiful job! congratulations!

julie