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Emerald color has faded after repair


#1

hello friends

I run a jewelry shop and last week one customer (who is very known
to me) had dropped by. But I was not present in the shop. She had
bought one very expensive emerald ring from some discount store and
gave to one of my staff for resizing. We took the best care to take
out the emerald from the ring and then resized the shank and then
again set the stone. There was no damage to the stone. But after
receiving the ring the customer claims that the emerald colour has
faded and not the dark green colour which she had bought it. I said
her that probably the emerald was oil treated and the colour might
have faded off. But she says she has the certificate with her.
Because of all this I have lost the trust of one good customer. What
would you have done under such circumstance. Just want to know the
opinion of the others in the field.

Thanks and Regards,
Mithun Rao
www.gehnabazaar.com


#2

Dear Mithun Rao -

My current experience leads me to believe that: now that her ring is
clean, and her frame of reference is changed (with the mass of the
metal to the mass of the stone), more (or less) light coming into
the stone, her relationship to the stone is different than it was
before. She equates this difference as a negative effect - because of
YOU - and now her relationship to the stone is not as it was before.

No matter that a ‘discount store’ sold her an ‘expensive emerald’,
it’s your fault that any imperfection has come to her attention.
(please appreciate the sarcastic comments).

Most people do not want to stretch their brains to deal with the
science / engineering that’s a part of life. They are content with,
“Not what I expected, therefore YOUR FAULT.”

Sorry I have no solution to your customer problem. I’m eagerly
awaiting advice on how to handle this difficulty myself, Just cleaned
a customer’s diamond & revealed a crack

Kelley


#3

You say good customer twice, but she bought the emerald ring at
another store, I don’t think you are losing much. I would have told
her to take the ring back to the store for resizing because they
should do it for free, if she still wants to leave it there should
be a good description, ie: light colored green stone. I make note of
everything lately, even what finger the sizing is for. You can’t
believe how many women will come in and forget what finger the ring
was sized for and I had to redo it. A good lesson learned for
tighter take in procedures.

Bill Wismar


#4

Maybe you did too good of a job polishing under the stone area? More
reflected light = a brighter stone.

Judy Shaw


#5

Mithun-

Certificate from whom? Unless it’s a certified gemologists appraisal
I would give it no value. I’ve noticed that the shoddiest jewelery
scam artists offer the most colorful ‘appraisals’.

The Emerald was most likely color-enhanced. You can confirm this
fact, even at this late stage, by taking it to a qualified
gemologist. Remaining evidence of enhancement can still be seen
through magnification. The gem can also be easily re-oiled.

A precautionary note: have your client receipt/tags printed with a
notation that received items have been subjected to a visual
inspection only and do not constitute a guarantee without a
laboratory analysis. And that your firm accepts no liabilities
against claims except in cases of willful damage.

You will open yourself up to serious liabilities unless you
safeguard yourself from deceptive or un-informed clients.

Good luck. Kim.


#6

You are right about that “gemological appraisal”. We had a "good"
customer come in the store with another one of her buys. It was a
large ruby that was cut in a long oval. It was just thrown into a
stock setting. The stone stuck out on the ends and was getting hit
and made to stone loose. Every week I would have to tighten this damn
thing. So the boss finally talks her into letting us “beef up” the
ring. So I do my work and there was a number of rhodium details on
this ring that have to be replated. So I stick the ring ruby and all
in the plating cleaner at 100 degrees. So after about 2 minutes in
the cleaner I pull it out and steam it. I freaked at what I saw.
There was all these white lines that showed all the cracks that had
been filled. Needless to saw I had removed the store when I was
soldering. So we call the customer. Well she has a certificate from
the store she bought it from that certified that the stone was glass
filled not resin filled. So much for that “Certificate”. Needless to
say I think she bought it in “the islands”.

The reason why I said she was a good customer is she buys junk in
the islands on a cruise and she has to pay us to fix it.

Rodney


#7

Hi Gang,

You say good customer twice, but she bought the emerald ring at
another store, I don't think you are losing much. I would have
told her to take the ring back to the store for resizing because
they should do it for free, if she still wants to leave it there
should be a good description, ie: light colored green stone. I make
note of everything lately, even what finger the sizing is for. You
can't believe how many women will come in and forget what finger
the ring was sized for and I had to redo it. A good lesson learned
for tighter take in procedures.

Take in can be very important when dealing with jewelry.

Without proper documentation all kinds of ugly situations can arise,
even with the best of customers.

One way I’ve found to help with this is to take a picture of the
item. This along with a written description of the pertinent facts
goes a long way to resolving some of the issues that can arise.

A good way to take the pictures is with the Dino Lite camera. It’s a
usb camera with built in lighting & magnification that can show some
very small things. The camera is sold in the US by Wayne Emery (a
frequent contributor) & his brother Brant. You can see the camera at:
www.thelittlecameras.com

I’ve got one of them & it’s great. With a little imagination it can
be used for lots of things besides ‘take in’.

Dave


#8

Hi Mithun,

Boy, that’s a scenario I have nightmares about. It happens though,
and it’s a reason some people decide not to go into retail at all.

I know this is closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, but
this is one that I would have tried to avoid in the first place. When
I hear the terms “very expensive” and “discount store” describing of
all things an emerald ring, great big red flags go up in my mind.
(Other red flag terms include “the islands”, “cruise ship”, “the
Internet” or “a guy my brother’s friend knows in New York” - it’s
cool Neil, I know they’re not talking about you). I know you weren’t
there, but someone should have turned it over to you as soon as you
got back. The discount store surely has a method of getting rings
sized, and that’s where it probably should have been done. I would
normally be the first one to tell you that good customer service
means you should do everything you can to help a customer, but this
is one of those rare occasions when the best service for the customer
would have been to refuse the job.

This also illustrates the importance of a thorough take-in
procedure. While not totally protecting you from any issues like
this, a very close examination of such a stone while the customer is
present can do a lot to prevent such problems.

If she continues to pursue this, you can discuss what effect
cleaning and polishing under the stone may have had, even the
instability of some emerald treatments, but she will most likely want
something. Don’t offer her anything at this point. Tell her you want
to make it right and ask her what you can do. Then let her tell you
what will make her happy. She might be happy with far less than what
you might be willing to do, like not charging her for the sizing. Or
she may want you to buy the ring from her for what she paid for it.
It is my opinion that it would be in your best interest for you to do
anything she wants.

Whatever you end up doing, you can’t let her take you to court.
There is almost no question you will lose, and lose big time,
regardless of what you can prove or disprove. It doesn’t even matter
if the stone is changed or damaged or not, if she says it is, the
court will most likely believe her, especially if she has a
certificate (no matter who issued the cert or what it says). You can
bet the place she bought it from (and the lab that issued the cert)
won’t be there to help you.

Some may advise that in the future you should get the customer to
sign an agreement releasing you from any risk associated with working
with a particular stone. Although it may help to avoid some problems
by communicating to the client the potential risks, such a statement
(signed or not) will not protect you should a customer bring a
lawsuit. In fact, it may even work against you. There is a legal
precedent (not applying just to the jewelry industry, but to almost
any type of business) allowing the plaintiff’s attorney to argue and
consequently allowing the court to decide that requiring a customer
to sign such a release is a deceptive and unfair practice designed to
relieve a business of responsibility and risk that they inherently
assume simply by being in business.

“Caution, Contents HOT!” and “Smoking Causes Lung Cancer” are two
examples of release from liability statements being used as a defense
and failing miserably. Signed releases can be even worse, as a good
consumer fraud attorney can convince the court that they should be
construed as demonstrating a willingness on the part of the business
to deceive the consumer as to the risks and responsibilities
automatically assumed by the business.

You are a professional in the jewelry industry, and in the eyes of
almost any court, you are responsible for any jewelry left with you.
Period. The court will rule in favor of the consumer almost without
exception, with little regard to any "release from liability"
statement and they tend to take a dim view of a business shirking
what the court considers to be their responsibilities. The courts
have been known to make such businesses pay dearly to atone.

If you think I’m being overly dramatic about the dangers of fighting
a lawsuit in court (even if you can prove you are not liable), search
the archives for the Fred Ward emerald case
(www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/emerald-case.htm). Mr. Ward and his
company might have saved well over a quarter of a million dollars,
hundreds of hours of lost time and countless nights of lost sleep if
he had just given the lady her money back, right or wrong. Mr. Ward’s
case has (unfairly and inaccurately, imho) morphed into a treatise on
the disclosure of gemstone treatments, but it’s value to the average
independent jeweler is it’s demonstration that the courts will almost
always honor the adage that “the customer is always right” even when
the customer is wrong.

I feel your pain, Mithun. I have been where you are, although not
with a very expensive emerald. Good luck and I hope it comes out
alright for you.

Sorry to be so long winded, but I think this is a very important
subject for anyone dealing with the public in any retail venue, and
deserves to be discussed at length.

Dave


#9
Without proper documentation all kinds of ugly situations can
arise, even with the best of customers. One way I've found to help
with this is to take a picture of the item. This along with a
written description of the pertinent facts goes a long way to
resolving some of the issues that can arise. 

As a former professional photographer I will just interject here
that every camera records color just a bit differently; each printer
prints color just a bit differently; and some
colors/intensities/luminosities simply don’t photograph well at all
under any circumstances. So if you do take a picture, be sure to
print it while the customer is there, make sure you both agree that
the color matches your perceptions, and both sign and date the
printed photograph. Otherwise it seems to me to be a potentially
worthless step. The customer could simply say your photograph did not
correctly convey the color of the stone… and find plenty of experts
to back up that contention!

Just a cautionary note, and it is MHO for whatever mileage it may
give you.

Beth in SC


#10

As soon as I read this original post, it screamed the Fred Ward case
which was only mentioned a couple of weeks ago, when Daniel Spirer
(if I remember rightly) advised anyone who was not aware of the case,
to go and read about it. I did so and it was a huge lesson that I
will hopefully never forget.

The next time I accept somebody’s precious piece of jewellery, the
red flags will hopefully make me take all the necessary precautions,
or else send them elsewhere.

Helen
UK


#11

It sounds like you were not personally involved in the take-in or
subsequent work, that someone in the shop sized the ring. If that is
the case, how can you be certain the benchguy didn’t make some sort
of error? The final step would have been cleaning off the polishing
gunk, if the stone was oiled this would be the time nightmares
happen.

I might suggest that you make a strict policy that all high value
items in for repair must go through you(or staff gemologist) first,
and you will assign the task to whomever is most appropriate. Over
the years I have seen employees say, “Hell I can do that” only to
find out they didn’t really have the stuff but the company is liable
for the loss. The employee just goes home (permanently in some
cases).

More generally though, when confronted with a ‘situation’ you should
first assess the possibility that your shop may have indeed caused
the problem and balance that against the goodwill(or lack thereof)
factor. Sometimes a simple accommodation will suffice. Sometimes you
just have to eat it.