Okay, I have this problem and I am anxious to get advice from my fellow jewelry makers.
About 7 years ago, I made a bracelet for a co-worker of mine. It was for her daughter. It was right about the time I started selling my work, and it is certainly a different style than what I typically do now. You have probably seen bracelets like this - it featured the names of her children in sterling silver letter cube beads, surrounded by Swarovski crystal beads, pearls, and other pretties. At the time she had 3 children, so it was a double stranded bracelet. I charged her $80 for it. She loved it, wore it every day, etc.... However, she is a nurse - a profession that demands quite a bit of physical activity that might not be suited for jewelry. Needless to say, the bracelet broke one day and I fixed it for her. I was horrified that this happened and felt so bad.
Then...... a little while later it broke again. If this has ever happened to you as a jewelry maker, it is quite embarrassing because you don't want the person to think that you do crummy work. So, I fixed it again. Of course, when something breaks, sometimes not all the beads can be found so I had to replace some.
Now the situation started to get weird.... over the course of the years I think I have had to repair that bracelet about a dozen times. I am not joking. Since I do not keep alphabet beads on hand, I have had to place special orders to replace some of them. Also, since I had used up some of the other beads I had originally used in the bracelet, those had to be replaced too. I came to realize that this was not a problem with how I made jewelry, but that the wearer was being too rough on it. I had tried everything - double crimping, enforcing it anyway I could think of. It was not hard for me to imagine her catching it on a bed when she might have been moving somebody, but seriously??? Her mother (my co-worker) started to pay me to repair it, but it was still awkward every time. Each time I had to repair it, my tension level went up a bit. I have so little free time as it is, I want to spend it creating something not repairing something. The whole thing has become very irritable for me.
Well, I ran into her one day last week and guess what? The bracelet is broken again. She hasn't given it to me yet, but I am baffled at what I should do. Especially considering the fact that I will continue to see her at work. What would you do? Help! I feel like this bracelet is going to plague me for the rest of my life!