I have to confess: I also have a favorite piece of jewelry that I do
not always take off, even though I know I should not be wearing it
(like when I’m working). As a result, it gets exposed to abrasives,
chemicals, bangs, bumps, and really hard knocks. I’ve broken the
stone three times, and it is starting to look pretty bad. Luckily, I
know a good jeweler who will repair it for free. I do take it off
regularly to clean and polish it. I also made it heavier than
normal, since I knew I would abuse it.
I also have a really fine showpiece that I only wear on special
occasions. It is 22k and platinum and one-of-a-kind, and if I
trashed it, I could never replace or even repair it.
Having a retail store will give you a whole new perspective on making
jewelry. Most customers don’t have a clue about how jewelry is made.
They think that malleable metals stop being malleable once they put
them on their finger. They often equate expensive with durable. They
love their rings, and think that they can wear them all the time, no
matter what they are doing, and they are shocked to discover that
they have damaged the ring that they loved so much. I have seen some
absolutely incredible stuff over the years: rings bent, with stones
crushed (lifting weights at the gym), polished platinum sandblasted
from wearing it to the beach (does sand stop being an abrasive when
it is not attached to paper?), diamonds that mysteriously turned pink
(after stripping paint from furniture), filigree rings worn to the
thickness of a razor blade, dried spaghetti sauce in a diamond tennis
bracelet, white gold rings eaten away by chlorine (“I swim at the
YMCA pool every day”), and dirt, hair, skin, and who-know-what-else
backed so thick inside a ring that it took 6 hours in hot lye to
dissolve it. Does this sound familiar to the retailers among us? Then
we get “The Look,” like it must be the jeweler’s fault that the ring
is falling apart, and we should totally fix it for free.
Far worse that this, however, are the injuries that I have seen
caused by wearing jewelry when you shouldn’t. I have seen several
fingers badly damaged, or lost, when a ring got caught on something
at a construction site. I had an electrician weld his ring across a
terminal, turning it red hot while still on his finger. I have
friends and clients who work in the ER that seem to love sharing
jewelry horror stories with me.
So, although I violate my own rule about not always wearing my
jewelry, I am also willing to accept the responsibility and
consequences of my decision. I wear a ring that will take a moderate
amount of abuse, and I expect that it will not last forever. I just
can’t advise my customers to do this.
PS: Don’t tell my customers that I do this… ; )
35 N. Market St.
Frederick, MD 21701