Practical Jewellery Repair

James Hickling
For the jewellery repairer, 'the ideal is the repair that cannot be detected'. The means of achieving that result, says author James Hickling, may not be the orthodox one, so a textbook for him is more of a personal guide book showing the shortcuts and avoiding the pitfalls. Yet in Practical Jewellery Repair the author provides much more than this, putting on paper for the first time detailed information - based on his wide experience - about the methods and techniques of the professional repairer and restorer of jewellery. Starting where it all begins - in the workshop - he demonstrates that a wide range of repair work can be done with even a modest set-up, provided it is used rationally with the right selection of tools and equipment, some of which can be acquired as the skills of the user progress. There is an excellent grounding in the various processes and materials required, including a stockholding of precious metals, solders and some of the less expensive gemstones. The basic techniques of soldering, casting, wire-drawing, polishing, sawing, filing are covered and illustrated. In these days where there is a growing scarcity of antique jewellery and, consequently, an almost certain increase in its value, much of the work undertaken by the repairers is likely to be with rings. This is one of the main ways in which the author brings his 30 years' experience to bear in the comprehensive chapters on general repairs to rings, and the new making and modification of rings old and new. But there is equally valuable advice on the more usual types of repair to bracelets, lockets, watchcases and brooches, including the making of joints and pins, safety catches, dent removal, respringing and polishing. Some of the more unusual jobs that may be met by the repairer, and how they should be tackled, are treated in a useful question-answer form, and the appendices include a detailed Jeweller's Guide to Gemstone Handling. Like many other NAG Press practical books, this one has much for the working professional as well as being sound foundation course for the beginner.
Practical Jewellery Repair by James Hickling

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About the author

James E. Hickling was born in Nottingham, and was educated at Trent Bridge School. He learned his basic craft skills by doing simple repairs in his farther's workshop in his spare time for pocket money. On leaving school he became a telephone engineer, but at the age of 21 he became a full-time jewellery repairer in the family business, setting up his own workshop two years later. In 1965 he emigrated to Australia with his family, where he worked for a manufacturer of jewellery and, later, for an instrument maker, where he learned to operate an engraving machine, a press and a lathe. Three years later he went to New Zealand, where he again worked for a jewellery manufacturer and then a repairing workshop. When that firm went out of business he bought most of their equipment and set up on his own. The equipment included a fly press and a Victorian drop hammer, with hundreds of hand-made dies. But, he recalls, when he needed to make a few of his own he could not find a book explaining how to do so. Eventually he learnt by trial and error. He returned to this county in 1976, settled in Cornwall and formed his own jewellery manufacturing and repairing workshop.