Jewelry Repair & Design

Parent Q&A

Resizing Rings - Where should I go? Dec 18, 2020 (1 responses below)
Pearl restringing Dec 24, 2018 (2 responses below)
Jewelry designer Nov 17, 2017 (4 responses below)
Jewelry Repair May 3, 2017 (3 responses below)
  • Resizing Rings - Where should I go?

    (1 reply)

    Resizing rings - where should I go? I recently inherited a large amount of rings from a relative who passed. Some of the rings are valuable, while others are beautiful, but costume. Unfortunately all the rings are too small in size for my fingers. I am looking to enlarge the rings to fit my fingers.   Does anyone have a recommendation where to go... and if jewelers will even resize costume jewelry that aren't made with real gold or silver. And If anyone knows what it generally costs, that would be helpful too. Thanks.

    I recommend 14 Karats on College.... lovely family owned. I have brought rings there for re-sizing and once for cutting one off. Excellent service.

  • Pearl restringing

    (2 replies)

    I'm looking for a jeweler to repair a pearl necklace.  It has tiny pearls and the strands are braided, so it is not a simple single strand.  I'd like someone with specific experience if possible.  Thanks for your advice!

    RE: Pearl restringing ()

    I have had many jewelry repairs -- including complex restringing -- done at Seelenbacher Jewelers on Webster St. in Alameda.  All the work was done beautifully.  I highly recommend them!

    RE: Pearl restringing ()

    I just wanted to thank the person who recommended Seelenbacher Jewelers in Alameda for a tricky pearl restring.  They did a lovely job in less than a week and reasonably priced.  Thank you so much for the suggestion! 

  • Jewelry designer

    (4 replies)

     I’m looking for a great jewelry designer who can design and reset some rings. I need someone who can work with precious stones like diamonds, is trustworthy, and has great style. The reviews on BPN are a little old so I am hoping for some more up to date recommendations.

    RE: Jewelry designer ()

    Carol at A Jeweler’s Place in the Inner Richmond (SF) worked with my husband to come up with a very unique design for a precious stone he had for my engagement ring. The ring was hideous (to me!) and my husband insists that Carol integrated all of his ideas well to create the setting. After saying YES, I immediately took the ring back to Carol and had her start completely from scratch to create something that I absolutely love. She was easy (for both of us) to work with, creative and responsive to our very different ideas of beauty. I recommend her highly.

    RE: Jewelry designer ()

    Pave on College in Rockridge or Fisher's Custom Design Jewelry on Solano in Albany have done the same for my wife with wonderful results.

    RE: Jewelry designer ()

    Pave jewellers on college ave in Rockridge and Berkeley 4th st has done excellent work for me. Using a sapphire and small diamonds from an old piece of mine, together we designed a beautiful pendant that I treasure and get loads of compliments. Pave also cleans my rings (not from them) for free when I drop by, within about 10 mins. I highly recommend them.

  • Jewelry Repair

    (3 replies)


    Sadly, I now have more jewelry that needs to be repaired than I have to wear!  Can anyone recommend a shop or person that can do minor repairs such as: replacing clasps, reattaching broken links, etc.,   The jewelry is not expensive, but it is of sentimental value.  I want to take the jewelry somewhere I can trust, but that is not too expensive.  Thank you.

    RE: Jewelry Repair ()

    Oaks Jewelers on Solano in Berkeley. I have had them repair many pieces for me and always been happy with the results.

    RE: Jewelry Repair ()

    Fisher's Custom Design Jewelry at 1488 Solano Ave in Albany will help you. I have been going there for almost 20 years. Professional people who will take good care of you. 510-524-0400.

    RE: Jewelry Repair ()

    I take everything to Oaks Jewelers on Solano, some doors down from the Starbucks.  Have been doing it for years and years and am a very satisfied customer.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Jewelry from beach pottery shards?

Oct 2008

Where can I get beach pottery shards made into jewelry? I have some beautiful and ancient-looking pieces I found while beach combing in eastern Ireland. Mary

There is a jeweler, Nancy Foster, who makes jewlery utilizing pottery shards (especially one of a kind), her # is 530.887.0700. Her work is great! Tell her lesli referred you. lesli

Repairing inexpensive necklaces

Feb 2008

I have several inexpensive necklaces that now have broken clasps. I would like to get them fixed but feel a bit silly going to a ''fancy'' jewelry store to fix pieces that aren't worth hundreds/thousands of dollars. Any suggestions on where I can take them to be fixed? anon

Beadazzled in Lafayette has replaced clasps on jewelry of mine, at a reasonable cost and right when I walk into the store (don't have to come back to pick up). I recall it was less than $5 per item. I would think other beading shops would perform a similar service. Christina

May 2007

I have several not very expensive but well loved necklaces that need restringing. Some have broken and the beads are in a bag and a couple are just strung very cheaply and need to be restrung using better workmanship/materials. Does anyone know of someone/business that would do this for a reasonable price? I don't want to spend boatloads of $ since I probably didn't spend more than $120 or so on any of these necklaces and probably spent less than $50 on most. Thanks. Karen H.

I just had several pieces of jewelry repaired at Silver Lining Jewelry (3340 Lakeshore Avenue in Oakland 510-465-5103) including a bracelet restrung. They were quick, professional and reasonable. happy customer

I had the same problem a while back (my toddler had a tendency to yank on my necklaces!) and, on the advice of others here at BPN, went to BeadBiz on San Pablo in El Cerrito -- near the Plaza, down the street from Pastime Ace Hardware. I was very pleased with the service I got and the price was reasonable. Holly

Look in the yellow pages for bead stores. They all offer restringing services. There's one on College that restrung my pearls, which was more expensive due to the method required for pearls. But it was still reasonable. anonymous

Jeweler who can re-design a ring

Jan 2008

Hi all, I am looking for a jeweler who can take my diamond solitaire ring and redesign it. I have a picture of what I would like but I am open to his/her ideas as well. Thank you BPN! Cate

To the person looking for a jewelry designer, Deb Durant makes amazing jewelry. She can make everything from a small project to wedding sets. She is very reasonable and a total perfectionist! Her website is: liza

Talk to Jeff Sahadi on Piedmont Ave., 653-7769. He designs jewelry and does beautiful work. I bought my wedding ring from him, and have had him modify earrings for pierced ears. He's very good. Rebecca

Hi , You might want to try Maury Woulf of Woulf and Ury Jewelers on San Pablo at Moeser in El Cerrito. He has been in the business for almost 40 years and does a lot of re-design business. He is very reliable and also creative. The number is 510-524-3600. lynn

Missed your original questions, but Melissa at Kiss My Ring (510/540-1282) in west Berkeley designs and creates handsome jewelry. Lots of photos at Melanie

Jewelry experienced in casting objects

June 2007

Looking for a jewelry maker experienced in casting objects. I'd like to cast an acorn from a tree in my backyard, and create a key chain from it.

I would start with THE CRUCIBLE. They moved from Berkeley to Oakland and I haven't been there since. But they are definately there and teach classes in casting metal from objects. Also, the bulleton board there will have tons of talented people hungry for work. Just ask someone there for a refferal. A Fire Arts fan.

Jeweler near Walnut Creek for gold pendant repair

April 2007

I am looking for a recommendation for a reputable and trustworthy jeweler in or near Walnut Creek. I need to get a gold pendant repaired. The item has great sentimental value and I am nervous about leaving it with anyone. The only jeweler I have had any experience with is 14 Karats in Rockridge/Elmwood and while I really like them, it's more convenient for me to go someplace closer to home (WC).

There is a wonderful, very professional, family jeweler in W.C. that will do an amazing job for you. They beautifully repaired an heirloom diamond ring of mine. You would never find them unless you knew where to look (I think they do most of their business by word of mouth). The King's Jewelers/William McConnell & Son, Inc., 2185 N. California Blvd., Ste 260. They are inside the courtyard of the large office building on the corner. Good luck Laurie

We have the highest regards for Morrison's Jewelers in Orinda. Very, very reliable and multi-generational business. anon

William McConnell & Sons - I'd trust them with anything. Ph # 925-938-1030.

Morrison's Jewelers in Orinda. Long time Bay Area presence. Formerly in Berkeley; now across from Theater Square. I wouldn't go anywhere else.

Hello, we've used Spitz Jewelers at 1333 North Main Street. On two occasions we needed something made up. One was for my mother-in-law's 70th birthday and we needed something special and not too crazy expensive that day. They listened to our ideas, and we decided a pendent would be good. We looked at a nice variety of pendants, they had the peridot stone that was a close fit and then assembled the piece right there while we waited. It looked beautiful and my mother-in-law loved it. Heck, the most expensive part of the gift was the chain we picked out. Then, this Feb for my son's 16th birthday, they made him a custom ring and it came out perfect as well. This time, they did need two weeks to order the ring base, but I knew that ahead of time. Robin

Jeweler to replace clasp on bracelet

May 2006

I have a beautiful bracelet that my husband gave me, and I am afraid to wear it because the clasp, while perfectly appropriate to the unusual style of the piece, is unreliable. I need someone to change the clasp for me who has experience making heavy, silver jewelry. The bracelet is a series of ''S'' shaped links with inset stones. I tried to take it back to the store where he told me he bought it, but they refused to do anything without a receipt, which he threw away. I have 2 boys and a job, so I would like to find someone in Berkeley. Big Bling Lover

We have been going to Oaks Jewelers at the top of Solano for all our jewlery/watch needs for the last 20 years. It is family run and they are wonderful. GN

Jeweler to re-size rhodium ring

June 2005

I am looking for a jeweler to size a ring for me. The ring was a gift from my parents and is a couple sizes too big. My parents bought the ring in the Carribean while on a cruise and the shop they bought it from said yellow gold can be changed into white gold by a process called Rhodiuming (?sp- they use a chemical called Rhodium to do it). Has anyone heard of this? I would have this done as well if possible, but the sizing is more important, obviously. If anyone has a well-trusted jeweler in the East Bay, let me know! Laura

Rhodium plating is a popular way of getting yellow gold to be ''white.'' However, because it is a form of plating, it does wear off. And, I've heard, it wears off in little patches, so it looks bad, especially if done directly over yellow gold (true white gold is a mixture of yellow gold, nickel and other white metals--because it will ''warm'' over time to a more yellowish color, rhodium plating is also often added over white gold, to keep it very silver). I don't really recommend rhodium plating, therefore, unless you don't mind continuously getting the ring re-plated. prefer white gold, too!

My husband has had his wedding band resized twice at Pave in Oakland, and they did a flawless job both times. We love Pave in general. They are professional, not at all snobbish, and located right in the heart of Rockridge. Amy

Try Oaks Jewelers on Solano. They are a family business, and as honest as you could get. We've been going there for over 20 years for anything jewerlry or watch related and they have always done great work.

Pave on College is a wonderful . anon

Jewelry store in Alameda

Sept 2004

I saw the recommendation for David Allen Designs in Alameda in the archived recommendations and tried to call him but the number is busy constantly. I called 411 but he is not listed. Does the person who recommended him know if he has moved and/or what his contact info is. Or, does anyone have any other suggestions for a good jeweler in Alameda, or in the Pinole area? I am trying to redesign my wedding band (add some small diamonds)and would like someone trustworthy and reasonably priced. Also, can you easily switch from an out of town jeweler ie. what happens as far as appraisals go, do you lose out if you switch to a different jeweler? Thanks so much!

Editor Note (Feb 2012)
The current phone number for David Allen Designs is 707-861-9119, located at 139 North Main, downtown Sebastopol and email address is dadesigns AT

The BEST jeweler, in my humble opinion, is Seelenbacher Jewelers in Alameda. It's a family owned business and has been owned and operated by the family since the 60's. Chris Seelenbacher is the head jeweler I believe- he's who we always deal with. At any rate, he is very firendly, and he really knows his stuff. We've done a lot of business with him, and will never go anywhere else! He's been able to craft jewelery pieces for me just the way that I have described them, he's fixed jewelry for me, and though I've never personally had him appraise anything for us, some friends of ours have and were very happy with how thorough and knowledgeable he was. We've always felt like valued customers there and feel very lucky to have had him recommended to us. His address is 1507 Webster Street in Alameda and his phone # is 522-8300. I hope you find him as wonderful as we do! Jessica

Jan 2003

I'm looking for a jewelry store to do simple repairs on jewelry, perhaps to appraise some small pieces, and to replace watch batteries in my nicer watches. I have been to a few places in Alameda but never had a great feel for them. Does anyone have one to recommend? Thanks. Jennie

Dennis Jewelry on Park Street is very reputable and does good repairs on the premises. Dennis, the owner and Stella, his wife, are friendly and helpful. I've been going to them for many years. They also put in watch batteries, and you can ask about appraisals. susan

Custom jewelry made from a coin?

Dec 2003

Hello, I have a coin that I want turned into a necklace. Does anyone know of a good jeweler who does custom work and is reasonably priced? Thanks! J

Fourteen Karats on College in Elmwood can do this kind of work. Holly

I do not recommend Solano Jewelers, who specializes in custom jewelry. I asked for a simple resize of my 14k White Gold ring, and it came out warped (he couldn't re-create the straight line so it was wavy) and he over-polished the white gold & didn't refinish so it looked like very light yellow gold in some spots (Yes, it was spotty). All this is for $45! KN

Aura Jewelers in Berkeley

Jan 2003

Has anyone ever gone to Aura in Walnut Square in Berkeley for jewelry repair? I've been there once, but they didn't carry the item I needed and suggested someone else. They were very nice. I have a broken gold chain that I need fixed, nothing fancy but it's valuable enough that I want it done right. I've looked at the website, but this particular jeweler isn't mentioned. robbie

My husband bought me an expensive gemstone (beaded) necklace from Aura Jewelers which broke within 3 weeks. They VERY reluctantly agreed to fix it for free after trying to charge me for re-stringing. The necklace came back 6 beads shorter, and 3 months later broke again. This may not be relevant to your situation as they likely have someone different doing gold repairs vs. beading. Chris

Restringing an inexpensive necklace

Jan 2003

I have several inexpensive necklaces that are broken. Now that my son is past the yanking-on-everything-in-reach stage (mostly! yes, that's how they all got broken in the first place) I'd love to get them fixed. The thing is, they aren't really good enough jewelry to take to a regular jeweler; they're just wooden beads and things like that, purchased at places like Mervyns. But I like them, and would prefer not to just toss them and have to hunt for similar replacements. I also don't really want to have to learn how to do it myself. Is there anyone or anyplace out there that could do this? I've asked at one bead shop but they were not helpful. I'd be happy to pay a reasonable fee -- or maybe work out some sort of trade with a hobbyist who could do it? Grateful for any suggestions. Holly

I make jewelry as a hobby and a part time business. One of the reasons I got into it was because when I looked into getting a fake strand of pearls restrung and I was quoted $50.00 to do so. I took a class for the same amount of money and learned to do it myself. I recommend you do the same because it will cost you more to have them repaired than the jewelry originally cost! Check at Baubles and Beads on Shattuck. If you go in at a quiet time (morning during the week) they might be able to quickly show you the basics. Even if you're not crafty, you might enjoy it as an hobby. If you want to know more, you can email me directly. Good luck. Mollie

Getting a locket engraved

November 2002

I want to engrave a sterling silver locket with a particular design. Does anyone have a recommendation for a quality jewelry engraver? Thanks! leigh

Anne of Edelweiss Jewelers on College near Ashby is a great jewelry maker. I think she owns the small store and she designs beautiful jewelry. I'm sure she would be happy to do an engraving for you. The phone number is 644-5544. Dianna

I feel like I have to follow up on the listing of Edelweiss for engraving. First, let me make clear that Anne is a wonderful jeweler and does beautiful work. We've bought several things from her and would happily do so again. However, engraving is not her forte, in my experience. It's unclear whether she was just really rushed when she did a job for us and trying to finish by the date she had told us. We only had it done once but did not find it to be anywhere near the caliber of her other work. So, by all means, consider buying beautiful things at Edelweiss, but at least ask to see a sample of engraving before you get your own done there. Anonymous

Morrison O'Hara on 5th St. in Berkeley is an excellent choice for engraving. I took some of my daughter's keepsakes there. Not cheap, but excellent work. Liz O.

Repair beaded earrings

March 2002

Anyone know of a good jewelry repair person, and/or someone who can repair beaded earrings, North Berkeley location preferred. Alice

I would recommend Margo Lowe of M. Lowe & Company. In my opinion, you'll never find a better jewelry company. Margo and her fellow jewelers are warm and friendly people and they do exquisitely beautiful work. They are located across Shattuck Ave. from the French Hotel. Phone = 486-0613. A real community treasure. Melissa

I have used the Oaks Jeweler's at 1783 Solano Ave regularly for many years for repair, rebuilding and maintenance of all my antique jewelery. They made several pairs of my grandfather's gold cufflinks into gorgeous earrings and take wonderful care of my inherited items which I love dearly - rings, pearls, watches, and fobs. They are a family owned and operated business, totally professional, honest and reasonable about prices. I don't go anywhere else for repair and care. Nuckypuff

When a stone fell out of the beautiful diamond ring my mother gave me, I took it to Morrison's Jewelers in Orinda, (is it 925?) 253-9227. They are at 35 Moraga Way. They were very pleasant and professional. They went to some trouble to find a good match for the missing stone and didn't charge an arm and a leg. They had also reset the same ring a number of years before, making some good suggestions to make it more wearable without changing the original style. Louise

I had several very special antique pieces repaired at Pave on College Avenue in Rockridge. (They also designed and made my wedding and engagement rings). They do beautiful work. I would absolutely trust them to take good care of your special pieces. Christine

Repair/redesign in Berkeley

June 1999

I couldn't help but react to the recommendation for 14 Karats. I am glad you had a good experience with them, and I guess they are certainly successful, given their location, etc. However, the owner melted my father's wedding band, which had great sentimental value for me. My father had died, and this was the band he had from marrying my Mom (my Mom had since remarried and had lost her original wedding band). 14 Karats' owner (whose name I have driven from my memory) told us he could cast a replica and make a smaller band for me (my husband could wear my father's band perfectly). Then, not only did he melt it, but he was afraid to tell us and I found out 2 days prior to the wedding that I had no wedding bands! That was 19 years ago, and to this day I give a little Bronx cheer every time I go by that place.

I also couldn't help but remark on my experience with 14 Karats. I had taken some assorted pieces of gold into John (the owner). I asked John to melt this gold into a nugget ring for me. So this he did, but it came out looking like a stupid glob on top of a band like no time was really put into it. Keep in mind I would come into the shop frequently to admire his rings and imagine which one I would pick for my wedding set. So I took the ring and years later about 10 years, I went back into the shop to have him do something else withthe ring for me. So one of his workers looked at it and said that there were wires in the gold and he could work it the gold like that. So I told him that the ring was made there and he acted surprised. So I just left because once the damage is done to somethings there is not turning back. I live by the bible and it saysthat those things which are seen are temporal but those things which are not seen are enternal Which interprets as the ways you treat a person goes a heck of a lot longer of a way than diamonds or gold. Treasures in heaven will never fade away but those things that man can manipulate like trust comes and goes. You reap what you sow no matter if it is good or bad it's going to come back around. John's location of his store stands for the things which are seen and the way he treats people and conducts his business are those things which are not seen ( by passers by)! Think about it! Anita

I wanted to add my comments to the bunch. Personally, I had a wonderful experience with John. My husband and I had my engagement ring and our bands made there using the gold from a set of cuff links my husband inherited. John was well aware of the significance of the cuff links and the reason we wanted to use them for our rings. As a result, he took extra labeling precautions to avoid them getting loss mixed up with other items.

One of the things we especially liked about John was his willingness to trust people. When I looked at a set of estate rings, John needed to know if I could where white gold (which most vintage wedding sets are made of). Since I was not sure, he gave me a white gold band out of the case and asked me to wear it for a week. He did not ask for a deposit or even for my driver's license number. When we returned to look for stones a week later, John demonstrated additional trust. We were looking at color-changing sapphires. He placed three or four stones on my hand (worth somewhere around $3-5000) and told us to step outside in the light. The shop was rather busy so he turned his attention to another customer as we examined the stones. My husband and I truly appreciated this behavior because, frankly, it is very refreshing in our society of security cameras, undercover security guards, etc.

As for John's work, we are most happy. John helped us design a beautiful, unique engagement ring that best complements my personality (I'm not a Tiffany-setting kind of gal) and accentuates the beautiful stone we purchased. The wedding bands were also nicely done and made to look like antiques. As for the quality of John's merchandise and craftsmanship, an independent appraisal of my engagement ring (done for insurance purposes) resulted in an assessed value higher than the initial price indicating the piece had risen in value.

I highly recommend John and 14 karats. Using his services made one area of our wedding planning 100% stress-free. I think it is unfortunate that the other members had a poor experience with him. Hopefully, my comments and theirs will help you decide if John is a good fit for you.

I had happy results also. An antique platinum ring whose filigree dome had been crushed. It was beautifully restored and sized - they did a great job.

Although it sounds like some people have had horrible experiences there, I've had several different jobs done by them and done well, with no problems. They have pierced my daughter's ears (thank heavens they didn't screw that up!!), sized (made larger) an antique ring, advised us on the best kind of chain for my son for a medallion which cannot be replaced (and made a special effort to obtain the chain from their supplier in SF at a modest markup), and stretched a very valuable diamond ring for me for no charge. They seem like the kind of people who would stand behind their work and I'm really surprised about the problems encountered by others.