Some things you get to right away. Other things you don't.
I am the proud owner of a quartz bracelet that was custom-made for me. Each big piece of quartz represents a full moon — there are thirteen in total on the bracelet, or a full year's worth. The jewelry artist added in some small round quartz beads in between some of the quartz chunks to make the chain long enough for me (she joked those represented the eclipses).
One day at work, when I was in the washroom, I flexed my wrist when the bracelet was mostly down around my hand and one of the links broke. Luckily I was able to find the one chunk of quartz that fell off and the two halves of the bracelet.
That was over five years ago.
I'd already been making my own jewelry for a while by then, but wasn't very comfortable with making wrapped loops, and wasn't sure I could do the fine work required to make a new link for the broken piece. But I bought different types of wire, figuring one or the other would work. I even brought the bracelet to a local jewelry shop that claimed they did "all kinds of repairs" (they made faces at it and went back to talking about custom engagement rings with another customer).
I've started to plan out repairing it myself several times, but I'd get as far as pulling out all the different kinds of wire I'd collected, determine that none of them were even close to the wire used in the bracelet, and give up.
Then, last night, I was reading a back issue (September 2008) of Canadian Beading, and came across Cheryl Laakes's Victorian Gothic Cuff pattern. The pattern calls for you to string beads onto a head pin, make a wrapped loop, and then clip the head end off the pin and make a second wrapped loop.
When I pulled out some spare headpins I had, they were a little thicker than the wire in the bracelet, but a lot closer than anything else I'd seen.
It took three tries, (remember, I'm more into working with beads than wire), but I got it to work. The result blends in a lot more than I thought it would, and because I had to wrap six loops instead of just two I'm now more confident about my abilities to wrap tiny lengths of wire with special pliers.
The box highlights the replacement link. In the background you can see a leftover headpin and some of the tools it took to get this to work.
It's weird —I'm so happy about getting to wear my bracelet again it's almost a non-event. Mostly I want to be sure to change the wires on the matching earrings...