Caring for Costume Jewellery
A different set of rules applies to caring for costume jewellery and they really start with “if it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it”.
Costume jewellery is put together using a variety of commercial techniques that include spot soldering, welding, casting, gluing, and plating. When costume jewellery breaks it cannot usually be repaired to look the same as before as a goldsmith cannot use the same procedure for soldering on softer metals as they are often toxic. Soft solder can be used in some cases, but it is never a permanent solution. The piece is most often fixed with a glue or cement, but it is only a matter of time before the piece will break again.
Costume jewellery is not made to last in most cases and is intended for disposal once it has broken. Inventive jewellery can often redesign a piece or come up with ingenious ways to reattach parts, but you must be willing to let go at a certain point or expense.
A goldsmith will do their best to save your sentimental pieces but as they were not only made in a way that allows for many traditional repairs, some pieces will have to be let go while others may be salvageable.
Consider having your goldsmith remake a design in materials that can last over time and that can be repaired as part of their natural cycle of wear and use.
These inherited costume clip on earrings had a broken clasp. The customer chose to remake these into 2 pairs of earrings in order to share with another family member
’20 Tips on maintaining our Jewellery’, Gillian E. Batcher, 2013