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Jewelry repairers who are worth their weight in gold

These veteran shops, some in the family for 60 years, are the places to go for the repair and restoration of jewelry and watches.

May 02, 2010|By Emili Vesilind, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Unearthing gorgeous jewelry in Los Angeles is easy. From big-name brands — think Cartier and Tiffany — to independent boutiques such as Roseark and Des Kohan, there's no shortage of retailers dealing in covetable baubles and watches.


FOR THE RECORD:
Jewelry repair: In Sunday's Image section, a photo caption with an article about jewelry repair referred to a 3.8 karat diamond ring. The correct term is carat. —

But selecting a skilled artisan to replace a dislodged ruby or rebuild a fragile engagement ring is a prospect fraught with potential disappointment. Send your grandma's prized diamond-encrusted brooch to the wrong guy, and it could come back greatly altered — beyond repair.

Fortunately, L.A. is home to some veteran jewelry experts who know their way around a laser welder. Here are a few of the most trusted repair shops in town:

Denton Jewelers

While nearly every modern jewelry shop sends certain pieces — watches in particular — to third parties to be repaired, Denton Jewelers in Pacific Palisades is one of the few traditional, full-service jewelry stores left in Southern California.

A manufacturing shop on the premises boasts three jewelers who accept custom design orders and all types of repair and restoration jobs, and a watchmaker who's been trained by both Cartier and Rolex in the fine art of keeping the ticks tocking.

The shop, which counts Tom Hanks, Goldie Hawn and Billy Crystal among its regular customers, has been open since 1948, with the current owner, Lebanese-born Saad Mazboudi, taking it over in 1996 after training under its previous one.

"The traffic that comes through the service department is unbelievable," Mazboudi said. "If it has a piece of metal on it, we take it — from bras to bathing suits to shoes."

Prices for repairs range from $8 to replace a broken silver jump ring to well into the thousands for complex restorations (a retro bracelet from the 1940s was recently rebuilt and restored for $3,000).

Denton Jewelers. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. 15231 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. (310) 454-3612. http://www.dentonjewelers.com.

Regency Jewelry Co.

When Cameron Silver, owner of designer vintage boutique Decades, needs to rebuild or repair a retro bauble, he heads to the Regency Jewelry Co., which specializes in antique restorations.

"The design of antique jewelry lends itself to a different way of repairing it," noted owner Robert Goldman, whose father launched the business in a nearby storefront in 1948. For example, he said, "sometimes you have stones that can't take heat. Sometimes a piece has had so much work done you have to bring it back to its original state."

Though antiques are its forte, the shop handles all types of repairs and restorations, including fixing broken grandfather clocks, rebuilding sections of missing enamel, mending costume jewelry and updating old designs so they jibe with modern trends.

Prices range from around $5 to replace a single rhinestone to about $900 to reinvigorate the innards of a top-shelf Rolex.

Regency Jewelry Co. Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. 8129 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 655-2573. http://www.regencyjewelry.com.

Sam's Jewelry and Watch Repairs

Jeweler Sam Boktor starting working in his father's jewelry store in Egypt when he was barely able to see over the front counter. That may be why he's not afraid to touch broken and bruised pieces that other jewelers deem "unfixable."

Boktor's 8-year-old repair shop — located in the center of downtown's teeming jewelry district — is known for taking on problematic pieces and for its slick, made-to-order jewelry. The friendly proprietor, who moonlights at his new store, Galleria Jewelry and Watch Repair at the Glendale Galleria mall, made bracelets for singer Jason Mraz's 2008 world tour and once crafted a custom wallet chain for Ricky Martin.

Prices range from $20 to $70, but Boktor often doesn't charge for routine cleanings and "simple things."

Sam's Jewelry and Watch Repairs. Open weekdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. 637 S. Hill St., Suite F9, Los Angeles. (213) 817-6001.

Eugene's Jewelers

Tucked amid the hip cafes on Los Feliz's Vermont Avenue, Eugene's Jewelers has been in business for 64 years.

Below-average prices, high-quality repairs and smiling (but never pushy) service make it one of the best places in the neighborhood to drop off that broken bracelet or unhinged locket.

Owner Mark Sugarman, another second-generation jeweler (his father opened the store in 1946), cites an "old-school family feel and hands-on service" as benchmarks of his business. "Just the fact that we're honest makes us a good business model," he added. That may explain why, over the years, customers such as Michael Landon and Madonna have frequented the shop.

All types of jewelry-based jobs are accepted (some are sent out to contractors, while others are done in-house), including stone resetting, watch repairs and reproductions of antique pieces.

Prices range from around $8 to solder together a broken chain to upward of $300 to put a whole new shank on a ring and reset all of its stones.

Eugene's Jewelers. Open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. 1754 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 662-7007. http://www.eugenesjewelers.com.

evesilind@gmail.com

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