A loose gemstone, broken watch band, or snapped clasp can render your jewelry item useless. The question, though, is whether or not it is worth the expense to repair the jewelry item. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if fixing your jewelry is the right choice.
Why is the item valuable?
Before rushing ahead with a repair, determine why the piece is valuable. For example, a piece that is valuable primarily because of the stone isn't necessarily worth repairing if the stone is lost. It may be more worthwhile to sell the piece for the gold or silver value and simply buy a new piece of jewelry. On the other hand, a necklace with a broken clasp or bent setting can be well worth fixing since it still retains all of its other valuable qualities.
Is the item vintage?
Once place where value can become fuzzy is with antique or vintage pieces. In some cases, part of their value lies in the natural patina of wear that the piece has developed. This means that you must approach any repairs carefully. For example, you may want to replace a prong on the stone setting, but you don't want to clean or polish the patina from the metal. Or, in the case of a watch, you may not want to repair a lost internal gear until you can find an original to replace it with.
Will you continue to wear the item?
Value doesn't just mean monetary worth. Some pieces are valuable only because you love them or wear them often. In this case, weigh replacement against repair. If the piece is easy and cheaper to replace, then that is probably the wiser option. On the other hand, if repair is less expensive or if similar pieces are no longer available, then opt for repair.
Does the item have heirloom qualities?
Heirloom jewelry doesn't always have monetary value, but it may have sentimental value. This means it can be well worth it to fix the setting or replace a missing stone on great-grandma's engagement band if you plan on keeping it in the family and passing it down to the next generation. If you have always imagined that the piece would be passed down some day, then it is worth the investment to repair the piece, even if it isn't worth much money.
Talk with a jewelry repair professional for more guidance or fixing or replacing your jewelry.