Oh, hollow jewelry! It has been a dark cloud on a sunny day many a time for me. It should really come with its own dent king…a tiny, tiny dent king. It would make life easier for any jeweler trying to get that royal-pain-in-the-butt pockmark out of the surface of a hollow piece, which after many, many tries still isn’t going anywhere. Hollow jewelry isn’t the easiest style to work with, but we jewelers must set aside any disdain for the little buggers to make sure you get the most out of your pieces.You might not even realize that your jewelry is hollow when you take it in to get prettied up, though. The first clue to whether your jewelry is hollow is its weight. If it seems too light for its size, it’s probably hollow. Common hollow-form jewelry comes in pretty much any metal, so

Hollow Rope Chain

that won’t be a very good indicator. The most popular hollow jewelry pieces are hoop earrings, rope chains and bracelets, ball and post studs, large linked chains/bracelets, and intricately woven chains/bracelets.

For all the little quirks jewelers need to deal with, there really are some pluses to owning hollow jewelry—if it’s designed and built correctly. Meaning that the walls of the piece are thick enough to handle daily wear and tear. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find really good quality hollow jewelry. The best hollow jewelry I have come across has been either handmade or created by high-end manufacturers or designers like Roberto Coin and Pomellato.

Robert Coin Hollow Hoop Earrings

The best attribute of hollow jewelry is that it gives great bang for your buck. You can get a bigger look for less money. If you are shopping for a giant, chunky gold bracelet, for example, chances are you’re probably not looking to spend $12,000 on a solid piece—that thing would not only be seriously expensive but it’d be heavy! So, as an alternative, a nice hollow-form bracelet might be just what you’re looking for—and ring up at $3,500, instead.

When shopping for hollow jewelry, there are, as always, some cons to keep in mind, too. First and most importantly, thin-walled hollow jewelry dents. A lot. Hollow pieces also just don’t last as long as a solid version of the same item. But as you can see from the earlier example, the price could double or even triple for that heavier piece, so if you go the hollow route, make peace with the idea that you might be taking that baby in to the jeweler on occasion to get fixed up…or even replaced.

Some hollow jewelry is thick enough to be repaired without risk or damage, but some simply cannot. When very thin—and when I say thin, I mean sheet-of-paper thin!—hollow jewelry can break easily and be extremely tricky to repair. Why? Because when metal is that thin, it will most likely melt when a flame is applied, which means before the solder even has a chance to melt and bond with the metal. Unfortunately, even the jeweler’s favorite friend, the laser welder, won’t work well with super-thin metal. For these reasons, your jeweler may advise that you not have the repair done or may agree to attempt it but at your own risk. This means if the jewelry is damaged further during repair there will be no cost to the jeweler. I’ve taken this approach a few times myself. Sometimes things go great and everyone is happy with the final result, and other times, well, they don’t.

Removing dents from hollow jewelry is almost always impossible. The only time I have truly had success getting a dent out completely from a thin, hollow piece was with a large bangle bracelet that was big enough for me to shove something inside to push the dent out. Not a pleasant time for either of us.

As you can see, hollow jewelry can be lovely and perfect for the pocketbook, but make sure your taking all factors into consideration when you purchase a piece. Because once a hollow item dents, you may have to say your farewells.

Cheers,

Jess the Jeweler