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Jewelers Are Taking Longer to Do Repairs — Here’s Why

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It’s not that they’re complacent.

As the chart shows, repair turnaround times are clearly slowing. In 2007, 19 percent of jewelers promised to finish a repair job within three days. By this year, that had fallen to 12 percent, while 31 percent of jewelers were taking more than a week to complete a repair, up from 27 percent four years ago.

Are these numbers a sign of deteriorating service standards? Is the improved economy making jewelers complacent? Not really, thinks repair guru David Geller, author of Geller’s Blue Book to Jewelry Repair & Design.

Rather, he believes the longer waits times are a reflection of the rising demand for custom work and the “huge” shortage of bench jewelers.

“What’s missing here is that the jeweler’s repair box probably has other, better paying jobs,” Geller says. “The average custom sale is $1,500 to $3,000. So the jeweler thinks, ‘We can wait a bit to do this repair while I take care of the big money job.'” Geller notes that over 80 percent of bridal — a big custom sale — is still sold in brick-and-mortar stores. In contrast, the average repair is $125, he says. Jewelers’ priorities will be guided by the return, he notes.

Geller’s take was supported by the salary section of the 2017 Big Survey. Bench jewelers’ salaries have risen from an average of $45,305 in 2009 to $51,325 this year, outpacing wage growth in every other jewelry job category. Bench jewelers are in demand and the work is apparently piling up.

For all the results of the 2017 Big Survey, which was taken by more than 700 jewelers around the country, look out for the October issue of INSTORE. It should be arriving in your mailbox soon.

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2017
 

12%

 
2013
 

18%

 
2007
 

19%

 
2017
 

56%

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2013
 

55%

 
2007
 

53%

 
2017
 

29%

 
2013
 

26%

 
2007
 

27%

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2017
 

2%

 
2013
 

1%

 
2007
 

1%

 
2017
 

1%

 
2013
 

1%

 
2007
 

1%

 

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