One posting on the Facebook page for Tanguay Jewelers reads, “My boyfriend gave me a ring for our anniversary and it broke. Please tell me you can fix it!”
Jewelry repair might be an old-fashioned business, but when expensive jewelry busts – a missing prong on a ring, a busted clasp, a broken link on a necklace – even today’s throwaway generation seeks out a solution. And with the current economic doldrums, Seth Tanguay of Tanguay Jewelers said that he sees more customers bringing in pieces to be repaired rather than simply discarding them.
The proverbial butcher, baker, and candlestick maker might have closed up shop, but in downtown Gardner, Mass., a third generation of jewelry craftsmen continue their time-honored trade. “Jewelry has always been a big part of my life,” said Tanguay, whose workbench is in the old family cape, converted over the years into a jewelry showroom in the center of town. He learned his skills as a young child as he sat next to his father, an accomplished watchmaker, who let him help with orders and practice. Later, Tanguay honed his proficiency at the North Bennet Street School.
Tanguay, 23, likes to rock out to Pink Floyd while he does 15-20 repairs a day, ranging from resetting of stones to sizing rings or custom jewelry design. “I sit at the bench all day, and it’s kind of repetitive but I’m comfortable with myself and I’ve been doing this for so long,” said Tanguay.
Q: What are some examples of the more interesting pieces that you’ve worked on?
A: A customer came in and had five thin pieces of sea glass she’d collected throughout the years and wanted a necklace made out of them. I beveled a thin layer of metal around the stones, connected them with a chain of sterling, and hung it to chest length. She loved it. Another man had elk teeth that he wanted made into fun cufflinks. And charm bracelets are challenging because with all the links and charms, it’s very intricate to solder all the pieces.
Q: Can it be nerve wracking to work with diamonds worth thousands of dollars?
A: There are a lot of variables to watch out for as you work with stones. They can take only so much heat or the stone could discolor or crack, and if you hit them the wrong way, the stones can scrap, leaving a mark. But if you take your time and do all the steps, gemstones are a beautiful piece of jewelry.
Q: Do you wear jewelry yourself?
A: I wear a decent amount of jewelry for a man, but it’s my line of work. On my hands are two rings, one I made in school, that has the raised letters of my last name, cast in 14 carat gold. The other is a ring of my own design, a little mini-wrench cast in silver. Besides being a jewelry repairman and designer, I’m interested in cars and mechanics, so this ring symbolizes the two different parts of my life.
The author is solely responsible for the content.
about this blog
e-mail your question
Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.