Wednesday, September 05, 2007

tales from the jeweler's box...

This past weekend, Sal and I were engaged in a conversation about jewelers that behave, shall we say, less than ethically. I was sharing a few horror stories that have come across my path recently, and at the end of every story I always finish with ‘and these flippin’ jackasses give me a bad name!’

As Sal always points out, it doesn’t give ME a bad name, per say, but I did have a client recently ask if I was going to switch out her diamonds for cubic zirconia. So, I feel it does reflect on me.

We thought I should share some of those stories… and I had the perfect one in mind… until yesterday’s events unfolded. I honestly couldn’t believe this happened!

SOOO… here is the first installment of ‘Tales from the Jeweler’s Box’…

(All major details and names have been omitted to protect the innocent and the smarmy bastards.)

A client had given me a diamond engagement ring that he no longer had use for. He wanted me to use the diamonds (a .68 ct, VVS2, H/I color, and 8 little melee to match) for one of my ‘big’ pieces. Then after it sold, I would pay him… he was in no rush for the money, he just wanted to see the stones get a cool new home.

Well, an opportunity came about that a client wants an engagement ring ASAP and really liked the idea of using an estate diamond. So, I worked out a great deal that both parties would really gain… and everybody was on board! Yay! Or so I thought.

For you that do not know, I am NOT a gemologist… I am a jeweler. This was the first time I had EVER gotten a stone from a civilian, I always get then from dealers. So, during this whole process I was going on the client’s info from his appraisal on the diamonds. On my way to meet the client that would be buying it for an engagement ring, I decided to get a verbal appraisal to make sure everything was in line. Well… thank the gods I did… BECAUSE IT WAS A FAKE!

I now how to go back and (1) tell the client that I need to find him another diamond for his engagement ring because it was a synthetic and (2) tell the other client that somebody switched his diamond.

You can’t even begin to understand how much this bites!!! I had recently been joking that a client asked me if I was going to switch her diamonds… and I honestly thought to myself that somebody would be so stupid to do that today, with all of the technology out there to tell fakes apart! Well, apparently some still do!

The ring had sat on consignment for 8 years at a jewelry store down south… then in a safety box. So, the only reasonable explanation is that the jewelry store, while it was sitting in the case on consignment, switched out the diamond. That, to be blunt, is pretty freeking ballzy!

Now, the really crappy part is the client really has NO legal recourse. He has no proof that they switched his diamond a couple of years ago. And that’s what these bastards hope for… time to pass. Makes it harder to prove. All my client can do is write a strongly worded letter to the jewelry store and the Better Business Bureau.

But the really crappy part for me… if this client didn’t realize that I had his best interest in mind throughout this entire process, he could have blamed me for the switch!

I am completely beside myself… I am just sick over this.

So… what did I learn from this…

1. I need to buy a diamond tester
2. After I pay off bills, I need to save money to become a gemologist
3. I need a new contract for dealing with clients stones to sell
4. I need to keep my clients as educated and informed as possible
5. Just stay me… always learning and ethical as possible.

Warren Buffet said it best…

“If you don’t know jewelry, know your jeweler.”

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