The Unworn Pendant that Needed A Bail Out

A Beautiful Pendant That Wasn’t Being Worn

Irene's Beautiful Tanzanite Pendant

Irene’s Beautiful Tanzanite Pendant

Irene came to me with a newly purchased pendant that desperately needed an adjustment. The pendant itself was gorgeous – a beautiful, finely-cut tanzanite gem set elegantly into a platinum setting.

Her issue was with the short, frail chain that (barely) supported her pendant and made it fit too tightly around her neck.

Buyers Beware – Chains That are Dangerously Thin 

A Chain This Fine Works Well With Small Pendants, But Can be Problematic For Heavier Ones

A Chain This Thin Works Well With Small Pendants, But Can be Problematic for Heavier Ones

Irene’s problem is a common one to be aware of –jewelry salesmen know that if they beguile buyers with high-quality gems or eye-catching designs, they can cut costs by using poor-quality and insubstantial chains.

The result is an expensive pendant dangling precariously from a cheap, flimsy chain. This may save you a few dollars at check-out, but can suddenly be responsible for pricey repairs when the chain breaks and drops your delicate pendant onto the hard ground.

An Easy Fix Became More Complicated

Our New Chain Could Not Fit Through Here

Our New Chain Could Not Fit Through This Ridiculously Small Opening

I was able to find Irene a sturdy, proper-length chain as a replacement, but we ran into an issue – the bail (part the chain slides through) was too narrow to allow anything thicker than the original chain.

torch with flame for solder

Open Flame Soldering Uses a Stream of Controlled Gas Flame to Heat the Gold or Metal to be Worked On

Usually, this would be a simple fix – use an open flame soldering torch to heat the bail and make the metal ready to work and adjust it, add metal, etc.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option for Irene’s pendant.

Tanzanite is particularly heat-sensitive, and even the most careful of soldering jobs would risk cracking or discoloring Irene’s precious gem. We had to try a different method.

Problem Solving with Lasers


This Jeweler Looks Through an Eye Piece to Focus the Laser on the Ring She is Sizing

Laser beams aren’t just a thing of sci-fi anymore (thanks, Einstein!), and we jewelers have the privilege of working with them to make delicate adjustments to narrow sections of jewelry.

By using a laser welder, (my blog about laser welding)I was able to carefully heat the bail on Irene’s pendant without endangering her tanzanite. This allowed me to widen the opening and, voila! – her new chain fit perfectly!

With these adjustments made, Irene’s pendant sat comfortably and elegantly at her chosen neckline length. And she was able to wear the pendant confidently without worrying about the integrity of its chain.

Wear It, Don’t Warehouse It!

Close-Up of the Re-Sized Bail

Close-Up of the Re-Sized Bail

Do you have a pendant that sits at home because you don’t like how it fits or are worried about its chain breaking? You can find a fix to get it out of your jewelry box and onto your neck!

Having the option to use different lengths of chains makes a wonderful pendant versatile enough to wear with different neckline lengths, giving you more opportunities to wear it.

Don’t let a poorly-undersized bail or a cheap chain prevent you from wearing a pendant that you love!

Bailing Out my Clients,
Calla Gold
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About Calla Gold

Calla Gold is a Personal Jeweler and Author who takes pride in working with clients one-on-one to integrate their personal sense of style and taste into custom designed jewelry and repaired jewelry pieces.   Unlike typical Santa Barbara jewelry businesses, Calla Gold has no brick-and-mortar location. Calla Gold comes to you, bringing you the jewelry collection you want to see and collaborating with you to create unique custom jewelry. Calla also works with at-a-distance clients.

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Linda Havlik
8 years ago

Thanks for another great fix, Calla. I can really relate to bails that are too small. We all have one or two of them and they do hold us back from switching chains around.Now I learn maybe they endanger the pendant they are on.
I learn so much from these types of posts. The problem is that I also covet the the gorgeous results of your craft!

The Goddard Company
The Goddard Company
8 years ago

Your constant reminders to not store jewelry that we’re not wearing, but to repurpose it is really important! Like Linda said, we all have some of these laying around, and it is so easy to bring our beauties into you, and have you make them even more wonderful! Thanks for the post, Calla.

Dani Antman
8 years ago

HI Calla,
How wonderful that you can use a laser to fix the problem, without damaging the stone. I didn’t even know that technology existed for jewelers. I love that you can make a piece of jewelry functional and safe to wear again.
Dani Antman

Amy Marie Orozco
8 years ago

Great advice on being aware of cheap chains. And don’t you just hate it when you think something’s going to be an easy fix and it turns into a can of worms?! Do you tell clients when an easy job has turned out to be not so easy? Good job, Calla Gold!