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Customer trying to return a custom ring

I had similar thing once although my customer wore the ring
constantly for 2months. I just put it in the showcase and sold it
for her. I did think to myself “I could have sold one of my stock
rings or taken a fresh order” so I was out of pocket, strictly


Unfortunately, I don’t own a retail store or do retail shows, so I
have no real outlet for this ring. I’m a production wholesale
jeweler. Nor do I have the $$$ to refund her, or the desire to sit on
a ring for the foreseeable future. because she made a mistake. This
was a case of “oops, didn’t know what my partner wanted” remorse.

I am going to contact a few of my retailers and ask if they’d like
to take it on memo, to see if they can sell it. It’s 14k &
multi-colored sapphires, so it will be a harder sell for my retailers
than gold and diamonds. If it were diamonds they could sell it much
more quickly than mult-colored sapphires. I’ll take 15% of the sale
for the trouble. So she can wait until it sells with my retailer or
if she wants $$$ right away, I’ll give her the value of the gold and
the sapphires minus the labor and profit. It was done at wholesale
pricing, so there wasn’t much markup on it. It really is a pretty
ring, if it was a bigger size I’d wear it myself.


Amery Carriere Designs

I have my own horror stories about customers ordering custom rings
and then do an about face. There was the woman who ordered a custom
sapphire ring, then decided she didn’t like the sapphire. I was able
to resell the sapphire ring to a good friend. Then there was an opal
pendant that a customer loved, but wanted it as a ring, so months
later, I find a similar opal, have it recut, sent it to customer for
approval, made into ring, and then she repays me by telling me opal
doesn’t work for her. Again, I was able to sell ring to a student,
who heard about the story, and to this day, still think customer was
a total idiot. God bless my student who loves jewelry.

The worst one was a garnet/gold/silver ring that was bought at a
gallery . Garnet ring was worn for a year, and then customer chips
garnet. I get ring back, quoted $35 for a replacement garnet ( never
mind the fact I also would have to replace the prong setting), and
customer got all huffy, and basically return ring. She says she’s a
professor and all she does is read and write. Well, there’s more to
life than reading and writing, and I don’t buy her song and dance.
Gallery gave her credit and I was left with a broken ring. That
gallery was in a particular region of NH that locals acted like
whatever they buy, they never have to pay for repairs or
replacements. It took 8 years before I was willing to sell again
that that gallery. However, any repairs have to paid for for I am
not doing it for free. I still won’t give them pricey rings for I
don’t want a repeat of the garnet ring saga.

I’m still left with two platinum rings that was custom-ordered by a
psychologist, and then he flipped around, badmouthing me. You can’t
win anargument with a psychologist.


I'm still left with two platinum rings that was custom-ordered by
a psychologist, and then he flipped around, badmouthing me. You
can't win anargument with a psychologist. 

This is why I am firm on no returns on custom work. We give the
money back hoping they will have something else made and not bad
mouth us. Doesn’t work that way. The gallery giving money back
because of a broken garnet, that’s fine if they want to, but the
artist should not have to return money to them. It was their decision
to give the money back. You should have told them no. I can’t tell
you how many repairs I have made on artists work and don’t even tell
them. It’s customer service for my gallery. Now if the piece falls
apart, I am sending it back to the artist.

How many painters or potters let someone bring back a piece a year
later just because, why should we as jewelers.

Bill Wismar

this is driving me nuts!!!

every post has a valid point (and I’ve taken notes!)…and to me,
this whole ‘return’ thing speaks to something bigger!

…the WalMart mentality.

…that certain ‘something’ – in the name of ‘customer service’ –
that has been slowly injected into our society that says…“I can
absolve all responsibility for my desires, requests and
commitments…I can make it someone ELSE’s problem…I’ll just
return it…”

I had a co-worker who bragged that she merely ‘rented’ all the gear
for her one-year old’s birthday party. (Cooler, party tent, play
stuff for party-going infants, etc.) She returned it!!!
WalMart…with the rationale that 'they’ll take anything
back"…(even hotdogs!)

Many people expect ‘merchants’, corporate or otherwise to follow
suit. It is a ridiculous expectation that a lot of people think is
the norm. (They wonder why prices go up! Um…partly to subsidize
bloated return policies!!)

I love the advice to clearly define your return policy (taken
personal note of THAT one when I go ‘solo’)…and I love the idea
that you made the ring for ‘someone else’…you just don’t WHO

Your part of the ‘contract’ to make this ring was met…how’s
the client doing with her end of the bargain? Poorly, evidently.
You’re willing to make some adjustments…but methinks her
expectations are unrealistic. She needs to be brought back down to

I’m confident you’ll find the solution that feels right.


I had a co-worker who bragged that she merely 'rented' all the
gearforher one-year old's birthday party. There's a company around
here called REI - I know they're fairly nationaly but I'm not sure
how well known they are. They make outdoor equipment of very high
quality, and they have a lifetime, unconditional return policy. I
have two young cousins who have worked there for some years, but
no longer. They said that people returned worn out boots, tents
that were ripped to shreds in the  wind on mountain tops, things
that most normal people would think of as bought, used and worn
out. Talk about a sense of entitlement, but REI takes them back. 

(Hypothetical) You came to me and asked me to make you something,
and now you’ve changed your mind. I will help you in any way I can
to make you happy, but me giving you money in exchange for the piece
is just not something that’s going to happen. If you are a store
and you decided to do it for your customer, and my work is what was
ordered, then good for you. I applaud your generosity but you still
have to pay me - that was your decision, not mine. Not only that but
the law is 100% on my side, if it comes to that. Don’t be a doormat.

I had the same thing happen to me. After six months a customer tried
to return a ring that she bought for her son. He wanted one like his
father had. But she could not find it to show me. I had met with the
customer twice during the design process she was very happy. She was
very happy on delivery as well. But six months later???

My solution I will make you one like your husbands but will not
accept the return. She went away with in a foul mood. No pleasing
some people. Made to order is made to order if they are happy on
pick up. It is SOLD! I don’t need customers like her and neither does
anyone else.


this is driving me nuts!!! every post has a valid point (and I've
taken notes!)....and to me, this whole 'return' thing speaks to
something bigger!....the WalMart mentality. 

Audrey, you are exactly correct. In a city with a population of 200K,
Our local Best Buy had 24 televisions returned the day after the
super bowl. Its just the times we live in and the common mentality of
today. Set yourself a fair return policy, make sure you give it to
each customer wanting a custom piece of jewelry and live by it. Part
of that policy MUST be business and part of it MUST come from within
ones self.

Mine is simple. I do a rendering of what a customer wants to order.
The customer says…“OK”… I build it EXACTLY… THEY OWN
IT! I state verbally quite often…durnig the order process…
“Make sure this is what you want because there are no returns on
custom pieces of jewelry or custom made wax models.” I have a sign
that says the same… IN RED. In 35 years, it has never let me down.
BUT… You MUST have the policy!

I’m not WalMart… &… I Ain’t Bashful!

Good Luck. Dan.

You could offer her store credit less a 30% restocking fee, and any
shipping and handling. This way, she has reason to come back and buy
something with her credit and may wind up spending more. You are not
obligated to do another custom piece for her unless you want to and
until you get your policies regarding custom in order and may just
sell more than her credit. I had a beautiful costly diamond ring on
layaway in a very unique, custom setting. After spending month after
month after month (at least 6) making payments it was still only
about 2/3rd paid. I was getting tired of waiting, So I asked the
jeweler if we had enough to purchase the diamond and place it in a
similar, but less expensive setting. He happily agreed and I even had
enough left over to buy another ring, a pair of studs and a thin
bracelet. OF course, this did cost a bit more than what I’d already
layed away but only about $50. I was happy, as I got 3 more pretty
pieces and while my Diamond Ring wasn’t in the expensive, gorgeous
overpriced, beautiful setting I originally wanted it was still a
very pretty ring and mine. The jeweler wasn’t stuck with an item he
couldn’t sell since he could always repurpose the setting, and while
he may not have made as much as the original sale, he made enough
and kept a happy customer who went back to him whenever I wanted
something new.

Hmmmm, maybe I should look him up and see if he’ll take an
apprentice now. :slight_smile:

Win Win. It actually works sometimes.