It’s not at all uncommon for a jeweler to ask you to leave your jewelry or watch with them while you are having repairs done. I know, I know. No one wants to leave his or her item at the shop for an extended period of time. Okay, so you don’t want to leave it there for ten minutes. I understand, really I do. But there is a method to our madness—and it’s not because us jewelers like to play dress-up after-hours.

The way a typical jewelry repair shop works is that repairs are promised to be completed by a certain due date or within number of days. For example, a repair taken in on June 5th is promised to be completed within 7 to 10 days or by a date, say June 15th. Where it falls in that time frame often depends on the jeweler’s availability and workload. It is sort of like a lunch line—even if you all show up around the same time, whoever gets there first gets taken care of first. It’s as simple as that.

A typically easy repair: a jeweler fixes a chain.

Not all repairs are created equal, either, so each piece takes a different length of time to be fixed. Some take five minutes, others take fifteen hours. It all depends on what is being done. Most jewelers will take this into consideration when they receive the repair. The estimated completion date may also depend on who is doing the repair. For example, the person who will be stringing a strand of pearls is most likely not the same person who will be setting a diamond engagement ring. One may have more or less work than the other at any given time and/or a different schedule.

Some jewelers may offer immediate repairs (a rush fee may be applied, depending on the establishment), but others refuse by policy. It all depends on how management has chosen to run their specific business. I’ve had many people ask, “But it doesn’t take that long to be done. Can’t it be done now?” Well, technically, yes, I could do it now, but that wouldn’t really be fair to the people who have already been waiting. Also, just as with any job, jewelers have a to-do list. They are likely already engaged in work that needs to be completed that day or that hour before they can move onto something new—no matter how sparkly it is.

However, if you do have an urgent repair, “Help!! The stone on my engagement ring is lose and I’m getting married in two days!”, most jewelers will try to accommodate if they can. It never hurts to ask!

Many people also wonder why they can’t just leave their names and come back with the jewelry in two weeks when it’s their turn. As you can probably gather, that just becomes immensely confusing—and potentially very, very messy. A decent number of people simply would not bring the jewelry back on time or at all (which I have experienced first hand), causing schedules to be shifted at a moment’s notice, something that’s unprofessional and unfair to other customers. With so many pieces coming in and out of a repair shop, it would add a layer of confusion that no one wants.

A great before and after of a demanding ring restoration! Quite a bit of time and effort went into this repair, and it looks great!

Additionally, without your jewelry in the shop, it cannot be properly and fully assessed. There might be specific parts that need to be ordered for or fitted to your piece that require the presence of your item, the expertise and evaluation of a specific jeweler. But the main reason it’s so important to leave your piece with the jeweler is security. By leaving your jewelry with the jeweler for the duration of the repair, you are ensuring a streamlined process. The jeweler will know exactly where your jewelry is at all times with no question.

One thing you might be able to do, though, is make an appointment. Not all jewelers take part in this practice but some will allow you to make a repair appointment to have work done on the same day your jewelry is dropped off. This is a great way to get a piece repaired or polished that you are particularly uncomfortable leaving for any length of time or need back quickly for a special event.

Jewelers understand that you have concerns about leaving your pieces anywhere out of your sight, but know that a good jeweler takes the utmost care in the safety and security of your jewelry, even above their own inventory. So you can rest assured it will be in able, competent hands.


Jess the Jeweler