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Diplomatic phrasing

Hello All,

I’m about to meet a customer who is asking me to replace a faceted
emerald stone, 8x6, for his wife’s ring. He says he paid $200-300 for
a bright green, clean stone. I’m wondering if that is possible, not
having seen the stone before it was lost and not knowing what
standard he’s using for judging a stone’s quality. Is it at all
possible he may have had a lab grown stone (if it’s as clean and
bright as he says) and if it is (on that off chance) what’s the best
way to tell him when he obviously feels he paid for the real article?
I will be showing both a natural and lab created emerald to him when
we meet.



My opinion, not ever having had to do this, and knowing that it’s far
easier to say than do just about anything, is to keep your opinions to
the stones you can offer him as replacements. It seems as though he
was either very lucky or he was duped, but none of us can know what
really happened, especially since the original stone was lost and you
can’t get a good look at it. If he was, in fact, duped, you want to
let him come to that conclusion himself.

Show him what you have (or can get) in the size he needs. Give him as
many options as possible, refer him also to a trusted jeweler or two,
and let him come to his own conclusions. It doesn’t really matter what
he paid for the stone, whenever it was that he bought it; it’s a
separate issue.

Good luck,

Christine in sunny and cold Littleton, MA, US.

Hi Leda,

 I'm about to meet a customer who is asking me to replace a faceted
emerald stone, 8x6, for his wife's ring. He says he paid $200-300
for a bright green, clean stone. 

1st off, just about anything is possible. He might have got the stone
a looong time ago, the person he bought it from may not have know its
true value, it may have been a synthetic, or he may be quoting a
fictitious price. It seems to me, he’d remember what he paid for it.

What he paid for the stone really has no bearing on what a
replacement stone will cost. The stones are being bought in 2
different times & economic conditions. About the only thing you can
do is quote him a price for 2 replacement stones, a natural &
synthetic of the correct size, color & clarity. Then let him make the
decision wether to buy (& which one) or not to buy. If he gets
cantankerous, it might be a good idea to tell he to get lost. Could
be the sale would end up more trouble than it’s worth.


It is remotely possible that he might have gotten a very light green
emerald for the price he mentions but, as you said, it is hard to tell
without seeing the stone. There is also the question of when he might
have gotten the stone. Did he get it 20 years ago–or last year?
Was the piece new or used? You first need to identify these issues
before broaching the subject of synthetic vs. natural. However when
we get people into our store in a similar situation, we just show them
our merchandise and explain why it is priced the way it is, as we do
with all the customers. If they want to pay our price, they will. If
not, nothing I say to them about what they might have had is going to
change their mind, and I am not going to change my pricing structure
to accommodate some other jeweler’s pricing structure (or possible
fraud if they sold him a synthetic and told him it was natural).

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Dear Leda,

Usually it’s best to get a feel for your client’s personality and let
that guide your choice of words. Some people require very delicate
explanations while others appreciate straightforward, more scientific

A good place to start your discussion is with the history of the
original stone. You’re likely to get critical facts that will help
with estimating both what the stone likely was and how to proceed.
Giving your client the chance to share this shows you
care about them, and about best meeting their needs - it shows they
are important to you. It’s helpful to develop mutual respect any time
an uncomfortable or uncertain scenario arises. It’s just as
beneficial if you have a long history with the client in question,
everyone likes reassurances!

If they’ll tell you where they purchased their emerald - and when -
you’ll have some good clues. If they bought it from a friend or
relative, especially if it was a very long time ago, it may have very
well been natural. Obviously, if it came from a Generic-Gem-Emporium
type store, well-known for mass produced “value” merchandise just a
year ago, it could not have been bright, clear green & natural at
that price.

If you’ll be setting the new stone in the original mounting, the
quality of material, design, workmanship & any remaining gems ought
to give you more clues.

It’s not uncommon that customers think a synthetic or lab-grown stone
is natural and it’s never fun telling them it isn’t. Most of the time
I’ve dealt with gem mis-identity, I had the gem to examine & often
found it helpful to let them see it through a microscope while
pointing out indicators & what they meant. Many people really like
the hands-on education and that can buffer disappointment, not to
mention addressing doubt!

Finding out what that lost stone meant to your client will help
ensure their happiness with the replacement. Offering as many options
as reasonably possible might help them feel more comfortable - might
tsavorite garnet or green tourmaline interest them? Tsavorite is such
an under-appreciated gem - largely because it’s rarely presented as a

Hope this helps, feel free to contact me if you have more questions.
I miss retailing!

Best Regards,
Jeanette K