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A diamond

I have an interesting story to share with everyone in hopes of
finding the correct end…

The other day, I was at my local coffee house, teaching my
friend, Beatrice, how to work with wax. Needless to say, we
attracted much attention from the other customers and we met a
lot of new people. One man, who was actually a friend of
Beatrice’s asked if I did custom work. He wants his old wedding
band turned into a different shaped band with an inscription. I
told him I’d charge around $100-$150 depending on what he wanted,
how many revisions, etc… In his orginal ring, there is a half
carat diamond. He asked if I’d take the diamond in exchange for
cash. I said sure.

Here’s my question… should I get the diamond appraised before
I start work, how do I know it’s even a real diamond? We’re
going to melt down the old ring to make the new one, so I’ll have
to take the diamond out eventually, but should I ask for it now,
even before I’ve had a chance to start the wax work on his new

If anyone has any input on protocol in this case, I’d love to
hear it. Also, is my quoted price $100-$150 for custom work an
average price? I am by no means a master jeweler, but I do nice,
clean work, and have two years of experience.

Any input would be appreciated.


Amery Carriere,
Assistant to the Director
Annenberg School for Communication
School of Communication
3502 Watt Way ASC304 F
LA, CA 90089-0281

phone: 213.740.0934
fax: 213.740.3913

Amery, I’d definately be sure that It was a diamond before its
even removed from the setting. Your price will depend on the
type of design requested by the customer. Are there commercial
waxes out there you can modify and use, or will you have to
design and carve to his spects? I makes a big difference.

Joyce in Colorado

I know little about diamonds but IMHO I do know a good bit about
deals if you agreed without conditions an appraisal will only
tell you how good or poor a deal you made. You were given an
offer and accepted.

Amery, definitely get the ring now, as you will need to get the
metal prepared for casting when you complete the wax model. Will
the ring he has have enough metal to cast the new one? Or will
you need to add additional metal? And do get the diamond
appraised by someone knowledgeable whom you trust. Your price
seems reasonable to me, IF you do not have to supply additional
metal, since you are charging for your service, using his metal.
But…if the current ring yields too little, you could spend
what you make to cast what he wants, so make sure he understands
the price is based on the diamond assaying to at least your price
and that no additional cost will be incurred by you in making
his ring.

Sharon Holt

Hi Ameri

I dont start custom work without first getting a deposit. So
asking for the diamond in advance and making sure the wholesale
value of it at least covers the usual price is common procedure.
I say at least, because you probably wouldn’t go and take the
money if he paid cash and buy that particular stone. On pricing,
figure your time and double it (since you have unaccounted for
time involved such as designing, paper work ect.) multiply this
by desired hourly rate (your level of experience, maybe $15 to 25
per hour) add materials times 2 or 3 and that should be a fair
total. Everyone has a different method. In fact at one store I
worked at, a frequent notation on the work envelope was L.O.L.
(Little Old Lady). We couldn’t resist giving them a break. By
the way, my experience tells me that giving special breaks to
friends, unless you explain it very clearly to them, is rarely
recognised. Many people just don’t seem to know enough about
custom work to appreciate a good deal.

Tom Tietze- Artisan Workshop Jewelry School & Creations

Have a gemologist look at the diamond to make sure it’s real.
You will need it graded if you are looking to resell it. I think
any 1/2 carat diamond is worth more that the labor on the job you
are describing, whe whole deal sounds kind of fishy to me!

Wendy Newman

I am new at this, so i am seeking the advice and wisdom of the
masters… I thank those of you who responded, and I have a few
clarifying questions.

Is is customary to have the stone appraised before accepting a
job? If I get it appraised and it is not a diamond, it is bad
form to back out of a deal? He told me that it was a diamond, so
he misrepresented his payment to me… Remember, this is a friend
of a friend asking for a custom piece… thanks, amery

Amery Carriere,
Assistant to the Director
Annenberg School for Communication
School of Communication
3502 Watt Way ASC304 F
LA, CA 90089-0281

phone: 213.740.0934
fax: 213.740.3913


Know a GIA trained & certified jeweler? He/she would be able to
verify the stone and give you at least a ball-park figure as to
it’s value. I would certainly do this before you do anything
else. Frankly, this guy seems a little too eager to part with
his “diamond.” I’d be suspicous.

Best of luck;
Steve Klepinger

Amery, It is bad business to " Not " , check out a stone that
somebody who may or may not know what he actually has. The stone
might have been sold to him as a diamond, he may not really know.
It may cost you to get a certified appraisel, you might have
somebody test it with a diamond tester first to see if it’s worth
it to even have it appraised. Make sure you clean it well before
either way. Backing out if it’s not shouldn’t be a problem, as
long as your friends friend is honest. If it isn’t a diamond just
tell him it will cost him cash instead. No harm done. But find
out first, before, the stone is removed. I always called the "
Diamond “, a stone when in the customers presance until I was
sure it was a true diamond, had one customer play the " it was a
diamond when I brought it in here game on me once”, and only
once. He made the mistake of assuming I’d done the work before
I’d had it checked. Watch yer butt, and good luck!! Matt the

Dear Amery, It took some of us awhile to respond…I’ve been
very busy… Matt is very correct and I must agree with what
he had to say…Do not take the stone out of the setting until
you know what it is… a diamond tester is your quickest try…
In Florida there are many small gem testing labs that will
check for a small amount of money …It has been many years
since I used one but they were not expensive, ten to fifteen
dollars…and if they are in your area, bypasses the need for
a certified appraisal.

You are treading on quicksand here though..Matt is correct
again.. do not identify any stone until you check it first,
and in front of the customer before they leave the
premises..If they are setting you up then they will be
successful if they leave and it turns out to be a
"z"..Unless of course they are truly honest then you do not
have to worry. Those of us with storefronts see a lot of uhh 
stuff goin' on..I do not mean to be negative , just
cautionary ( is that a word ?) 

My memory tells me you said it was a half a carat.. If true
even a somewhat poor half carat , an I1 or even an I2 if
color isn't too yellow would be worth the job. 

Let us know what happens

Terry Parresol