You may know the dread … when you receive an email (or call) from a gallery you sell jewellery through, that a piece has come in for ‘repair’. Horrid scary word: repair.
I received just this request recently from the most excellent Lord Coconut … a client had brought in a pair of my Onyx cufflinks which had broken after only a few wears.
The horror. As this pair was in my first collection for the gallery, I had visions of my soldering to be to blame. I had visions of all my cufflinks needing to be repaired (an overreaction, but it happened).
Weirdly, it seems that the failure was actually the base of the (manufactured) bezel. Though it must be said that it was a relief that it wasn’t my soldering.
In fact, the part of the bezel base that failed was where I had soldered (seemingly magnificently) the cufflink stirrup fitting to the bottom. See in the below photograph – just completely ripped the metal away (and strangely without buckling the metal back at all); that missing little square of metal is solidly adhered to the stirrup on the now-unattached cufflink fitting.
back of broken bezel … after I’d unset the weave and perspex (hence the mangled edge)
Totally unpredictable, and in fact I cannot even conceive that the base could be torn away like this. The metal is thin (I use manufactured bezels for these pieces; it’s the significant compromise I made/agreed to keep to a low customer-end price-point) … but still.
So anyway … I haven’t made cufflinks for over two years. I have no studio. And effectively, due to the construction of these pieces, it is a full remake, there’s no ‘repair’ about it.
You can imagine my total relief when my fabulous old studio buddy said I could pop in and use her bench and tools and things. I love awesome people.
And it all went smoothly. Well, when I say smoothly, but I did have to remake both cufflinks, as the bezel on the unbroken cufflink was higher than any bezels I had at hand – see how much wider the old, unbroken (right), bezel setting is in the image below, compared to the new (left) one. In fact, you can also see the thinness of the bezel fold on the right side of the old cufflink, that thing was at risk of failure if knocked in the wrong spot …
new on left, old on right … note different bezel set thicknesses … boo
… so the client has a whole new set of sassy cufflinks.
Hoorah! I wish him many more years of enjoyment and wearing these.
new cufflinks (with original weave)