This is the first in a series of repair articles that I am writing in conjunction with Diane from Old Town Trading Co. in Scottsdale, AZ. See contact information at the end of this article. We appreciate OTTC’s help and expertise in this series.
Is it possible to repair or restore Native American jewelry?
Yes, we have Native American Silversmiths working for us here on premises, who are accomplished artisans and expert repair people. We service repairs for customers and jewelers all over the United States.
How can we find out what you can do and how much it will cost?
You can photograph or scan your jewelry and email the picture to us. We can usually give you an idea of the repair needed and a ballpark estimate from your photo. If you decide to proceed, you then mail your jewelry to us. Once we receive the item and have a chance to thoroughly inspect it we call you with a firm price for the repairs.
Can you outline the procedure for this inlay buckle repair?
Inlay buckle showing missing pieces.
From the customer’s picture, we saw that 7 pieces of coral and shell were missing. An estimate for this repair was $85.00 plus $15 to return ship and insure. However, once we received the buckle, we found that the back of the buckle had serious cracks forming in the silver at two edges. It looked like the buckle had flexed back at that point, causing the tearing to begin. All of the missing stones were right on top of the bend – that’s no doubt why they popped out.
Back of buckle showing stress cracks from bending.
What do you do at that point?
Simply replacing the missing stones was still an option. However, once metal has bent, it “wants” to bend in that very same spot again, causing further damage to the piece. We suggested to the owner that our silversmith could solder a thicker sheet of silver to the back of the buckle, making it much stronger and resistant to any further flexing.
How is that done?
Our silversmith removes all of the stones from the front, as well as all of the pieces from the back (the buckle bar, pin, and Massie’s signature plate). He hot solders a piece of sterling silver, cut exactly to size, to the back of the buckle to add stability, and then reattaches everything the way it was. The end result is that the buckle looks exactly the same as it did, just a little heftier in weight.
Was there an additional charge for that?
Yes. The charge for restoring the buckle in this fashion was $200, instead of $85. The customer decided to have us restore his buckle, as he was looking forward to wearing it frequently.
Repaired buckle back
Repaired buckle front.
Old Town Trading Company has been in business in Scottsdale, AZ for 26 years and has 2 Native American artists who perform expert repairs and renovations to new and vintage pieces.
Old Town Trading Co. / Jewels of the West
4009 N. Brown Avenue
Scottsdale, AZ 85251