Some things to say to customers with silver repairs or custom
I just had a jeweler ask me about how to handle a customer with a
silver ring sizing and another jeweler emailed me about a silver
custom letter pendant sale he lost.
The first jeweler had a customer bring a silver ring for sizing and
her response was "That's more than I paid for the ring."
The second jeweler quoted a lady for a silver pendant and silver
chain $150 and her response was the pendant should cost about $20
and the chain $50. The jeweler wasn't worried about losing the sale,
he didn't want it for such a cheap price.
The silver sizing jeweler has a laser welder and I suggested using
it in his sales pitch.
Here's what I emailed the silver sizing jeweler
Here's a short story to tell your customer with the silver ring "My
dad used to own a Cadillac and he was frugal." The Caddy needed a
new alternator so he bought one on his own at Pep boys for $300. He
took it to his favorite car mechanic who charged him $150 to install
it. Wouldn't you know it the alternator in my Honda died so I went
to Pep boys and got mine for my Honda for $75 and went to dad's
mechanic. He wanted $150 to install my alternator too. I said to him
'but the alternator only costs me $75 and that's double to install
it for what it costs me.'
"He said to me"
"Boy, it takes 2 hours to install it in your dad's caddy or in your
Honda and all I'm selling is time and expertise."
"And so lady that's all I'm selling to you today is time and
expertise. I personally have worked on jewelry valued at $100,000
plus and have been doing this for over 25 years. I might be over
qualified to size your silver ring but I promise you that you won't
be able to see where it's been sized and that's because of my
expertise and my $25,000 laser welding machine. The laser welder is
perfectly made to size silver rings because it won't harm the metal,
stones or the finish and you won't see where it's been sized. It
would be my pleasure to do this for you but it takes me longer to
size a silver ring than a gold ring. But if you do take it someplace
PLEASE make sure they size your ring with a laser machine or they
might ruin it (This puts fear in them)."
(Yes I know you can size a ring with a torch for those who don't
have a laser machine)
I then posted this on Polygon (a jewelers network) and one jeweler
posted that whether he takes in a $75 jacket or a $350 jacket to be
dry cleaned they charge him the same amount.
Onto the silver pendant jeweler. This is what I'd say and I "assume"
he looked in catalogs where he could have ordered a silver letter
which would have been lower priced. That said...........
"Mrs. Jones I agree with you 100%, it's a lot. But as you can see
we're not able to find what YOU want for a lower price. I had the
same exact problem a few years ago. In our bedroom we placed our TV
in a caddy-corner spot so we both could watch Jay Leno while lying
in bed at night. We went to IKEA and there were plenty of cabinets
to hold the TV with shelves below for our DVD collection for under
$250 but none were the right size NOR matched the color of our
bedroom furniture. So we had a cabinet guy build it for us for $700
and we absolutely love it. I cringed when he told me the price then
I got over it because it was exactly what we wanted and I have not
thought about the price until this moment.
Please allow me to make this just for you and you'll love it forever
and you'll think about the price one minute and then love it from
this day on."
As the jeweler told me "I didn't get the job", and he was not
worried about it. It's impossible to sell 100% of everybody who
comes into the store for anything. Most jewelers worry about the 2
or 3 people out of 10 who say no to a custom job while over 75% of
showcase customers walk without buying. That's a lot of leftover/non
sold inventory in the case! But that's another story.
I'm sure you have your own stories of how and why you personally
paid more than you thought you would of for a purchase. Use those
stories with customers. Spend time being empathetic and exchange
stories why you paid more for something. At staff meetings have
everyone share one story openly o they can practice it openly so
they'll be ready when the time comes.
Have a great season
The laser welder is perfectly made to size silver rings because it
won't harm the metal, stones or the finish and you won't see where
it's been sized. It would be my pleasure to do this for you but it
takes me longer to size a silver ring than a gold ring. But if you
do take it someplace PLEASE make sure they size your ring with a
laser machine or they might ruin it (This puts fear in them). (Yes I
know you can size a ring with a torch for those who don't have a
Last I heard, a silver ring could be perfectly adequately sized with
a torch and the appropriate precautions as regards stones. If this
not the case, please educate me. If it is the case, I think it would
be dishonest and unethical to suggest otherwise. Saying this kind of
thing can come back to bite you when the customer goes elsewhere and
it is demonstrated that what you said is untrue. Someone sizes the
ring with a torch and it looks fine and is charged less than you
quoted. It makes it look like all you are doing is trying to pay off
your expensive laser welder early.
Perhaps we should have a thread called "whoppers jewelers have told
to make a sale."
I sized many rings with a torch prior to buying my PUK welders. A
laser welder isn't the only game in town.
You are correct a torch can size silver but its a LOT better with a
laser, doesn't remove the polish from the whole ring, doesn't ever
ruin fragile stones and the seam never tarnishes. but silver ring
sizing has been done just fine for centuries with a torch.
having a choice, i'd opt for a laser
As long as the stones are in water when sizing and you do need to
use extra heat to compensate for the heat sink from the water. Ie.
more flame and heat. The stones will be cooled and the silver solder
will flow and no damage. Cheap and has been used for about 2000
years before the invention of the laser. There is a time and place
for everything. Lasers are great for repairs next to stones no
questions asked but ring sidings in generals. A good goldsmith can
do cheaper with a touch in thoughts.
I have sized silver rings for 35 years with a torch and I have sized
silver rings for 8 years with a laser welder. The correct way to do
it is have someone who knows what they are doing do it, regardless
of the tool used.
Both methods are valid and both have their problems. It's been
talked about ad nauseam on this forum how to protect stones when
using a torch(submerged in water, wet paper towels/tissue and for
those who have a wish to burn up stones, products like Kool Jool)
but one needs intense quick heat and the ability not to over heat
the weld or solder. The worst metal to weld in a laser is
sterling(OK purists, fine silver).The most reflective metal it has a
tendency to reflect the laser light. Welds must be slowly built up
in layers flowing each layer just so.
I still use both tools and often repair botched jobs from others.
The particular ring and my mood at the time(more important than you
might first think) determine the way I do it.
Roy - depending on the stone, the size of the setting and the skill
of the jeweler, you certainly can size a silver ring with a torch.
BUT - if the ring is heavy, has a fragile stone, and all the other
things that can go wrong - a laser or a PUK welder is far safer and a
better connection. Way too often I've gotten a silver ring "repaired"
by a torch jockey that splits at the sizing. Not enough time to get a
proper solder connection for fear of the heat to the stone is my
I suppose if you tell the customer what can go wrong with torch
sizing, then it is ok to push the higher tech alternatives. I choose
not to mess with silver ring torch sizing since i got my PUK. I never
want to face a client with a rare piece of old turquoise trashed in
the heat of a sizing gone wrong.
You are correct a torch can size silver but its a LOT better with
a laser, doesn't remove the polish from the whole ring
If a ring has come in for repairs, especially a silver ring, it
needs to be cleaned and re-antiqued and repolished.
A laser is an awesome tool in it's place.
But it will ever replace torches. Some jewelers still use blowpipes,
and that's good too.
I must concur with Jeff Herman. Prior to my current work situation I
useda torch for all and any task.
I now have access to both PUK and Orion brand pulse arc welders and
all levels of Neutech Lasers. The laser is amazing but I am so
proficient with the new generation of arc welders that I will choose
them over the laserfor all in house tasks. For the simple reason
that I have been trained on these and am familiar and comfortable on
the Pulse arc welders.
Rio Grande Technical support
Something to keep in mind: welders can use the same alloy as the
piece being repaired. This results in an absolute invisible seam.
Many of you have referenced using pulse-arc welders for resizing
silver. I wanted to share a video that was recently created and
published that features the Orion Pulse 150i resizing a thick silver
ring. This video doesn't show welding next to stones, but we have
plenty of other videos that demonstrate welding next to stones as
After watching this if you need more on the unit. You
can contact Stuller Tech line at Ext 4300
Andy "The Tool Guy" Kroungold