Having a laser welder is a necessity in a shop today. When my
father’s shop foreman was teaching me to be a jeweler he told me
there were two things to master to be a good jeweler:
. The torch
. Setting stones
Everything else was a piece of cake. Many times I’ve melted a hollow
chain or have an item that was repaired before fall apart in my bench
pan. A laser welder virtually takes away the problems with a torch.
In fact many simple repairs done with a laser can be taught to a high
In the new Geller Book to Repair pricing we’ve added laser welding
prices for tips and prongs, have had it previously for ring sizing
and shanks. Here’s what I know about a laser welder that you should
75% of all repairs will go faster when using a laser.
25% of the repairs, although doing a better job, will go slower
than using a torch.
Forget the $25,000 to $30,000 price tag; it’s leased for $300-$450 a
month. That’s less than having another good jeweler working for you
just 20 hours a month!
Being it doesn’t use heat you reduce the chance harming fragile
stones to almost nothing and repairs can be done without removing 90%
of the stones you used to pull just to do a simple weld.
If a repair goes faster with a laser welder my suggestion is to take
the money from doing the job faster and charge the regular price.
But many repairs go slower. Ring sizing and shanking are two areas
that go slower. Sizing can take 50% longer to do with a laser and
therefore in our book we offer sizing with a laser and charge 50%
more money for the labor portion. Same goes for installing a shank.
Soldering with a torch uses solder to hold two ends together and
that solder is not quite the same karat as the metal, that’s why with
a torch the solder melts before the gold on the ring melts. The
solder can discolor later and you’d be able to see where the repair
or sizing was done; heat can harm stones or discolor metal. If the
ring bottom is thin the place where it was welded could pop open in
years to come.
Because a laser welder uses a real piece of 14kt gold (or whatever
metal you’re using) the color will be the same, no line or seem to
show, no damaging heat or damage to stones and the weld can be sol
strong you could guarantee the repair for life.
By the way the only stones that can take heat of repair are the
colors of the American flag:
. Red Faceted rubies
. White Diamonds
. Blue Faceted Blue Sapphires
Because many laser repairs go slower and we are charging based upon
"time + materials" we’ll charge more for the time.
But there are other times when we’ll “just charge more” because we
are using or own a laser machine even though the job might go faster.
It’s when it’s beneficial to the customer or might save the customer
money by not having to remove stones. Here’s a good example:
A customer brings into your store this emerald and diamond ring and
the 4 prongs on the side diamonds have broken off where they might
get the most wear when the ring droops on the customer’s finger. To
re-prong these you’d have to remove & reset the emerald first.
You might charge $65 to $100 to remove and reset a larger center
stone plus $36 for the first prong and $24 for each addition prong
Remove & Reset Emerald: $65
Prong work: $108
But if we use a laser we don’t have to take out the center emerald
thus saving the customer two things:
- $65 to remove & reset the center stone
- The chance we might chip, break or harm the emerald removing &
Leave the emerald in and use a laser to re-prong the 4 side
1st laser prong $54
Each additional laser prong @ $30 each (3 x $30) $90
So here we saved the customer $29 overall, didn’t have to remove the
emerald but using the laser saved the shop time doing the repair and
we received more money in less time doing the work.
There are other times where we would charge more for the work
because it’s just plain better for the customer and the job.
With age sometimes an under wire might break away from the diamond
set “ledge”. A simple solder is $22 and again we have to remove the
emerald in the ring, but with a laser we’d charge $55 for the same
"solder", wouldn’t remove the stone and the repair would actually go
faster and we’d get more than double the money for less time spent
doing the job.
In this way using the laser it could mean doing difficult jobs now
by a lesser trained jeweler, speeding up productivity, doing work
other stores can’t do and especially gaining about a 50% increase in
shop income when using the laser.
Now it doesn’t seem like such an expensive machine, does it?
Director of Profit