As an amateur silversmith, I read this forum regularly but don’t
have experience to share. So I hope you professionals don’t mind my
question, and can help me find resolution for a situation that is
driving me crazy.
Many years ago my mother bought an inlay bracelet that she really
loved from a studio jeweler (now well known, then starting out). One
of the stones fell out several years back, so I suggested to her
that she bring the bracelet to one of the shows that the artist
participates in, and ask for a repair. She did so, about 5 yrs ago,
when he was at an ACC show. He took the bracelet but made no effort
to send an estimate or fix it, and for some reason my mom didn’t
follow up on it until we saw him again at a show in 2006. He was
very pleasant but made some excuse for the delay like “I don’t work
in silver any more”, and said he would send an estimate. Right.
Meanwhile, my mother passed away shortly after that encounter, and I
inherited her jewelry. Last year I spoke with him again, once by
phone and another time in person at a show. Same story. Now, I do
know enough about silversmithing to question his excuse, and IMHO he
has some obligation to fix his own work (maybe I will get flak from
you all about that, but that’s how I would feel if the situation
were reversed). If he refused outright in the first place I would
have grumbled, but at least I would have the bracelet and would find
someone else to do the work (no way I would trust myself with this).
Next week I will have an opportunity to talk with him again, and
really don’t want to go through the same nonsense with no result.
What should I do about this, in your opinion(s)? For me, the optimal
outcome is to get the bracelet FIXED and returned. Second best, to
get it returned as is. What is the best approach to get the desired
outcome? I can’t believe I have to do this, but I’ve learned the
hard way that my sense of responsibility is not everyone’s. Thanks in
advance for your advice – if anyone needs/wants to learn about the
Sun, I’d be happy to reciprocate off-forum!
What should I do about this, in your opinion(s)? For me, the
optimal outcome is to get the bracelet FIXED and returned. Second
best, to get it returned as is.
I would contact him, ideally by phone, ASAP, and ask him outright,
does he still have the bracelet. If he says yes, tell him you expect
to pick it up from him at the show. Sadly, this repair is never
going to happen (from him).
If he says no, then that’s a different ball game, but I would start
by asking how he proposes to compensate you for the loss. Same
question if he fails to hand the bracelet over at the show.
After that, the question becomes, do you sue him? You don’t have a
receipt for the piece, I imagine. Do you out him on Orchid, or
threaten to? It gets nasty quick…
Five years? That’s pretty shameful! I wouldn’t wait for the repair,
just get the piece or compensation.
I think the time for being nice is long gone. Send him a demand
letter, registered return receipt(keep a copy for your records),
informing him of the facts and his continued refusal to return the
bracelet. He may or may not respond to the letter but you will need
this in order to pursue legal proceedings. In addition to a civil
suit you MAY be able to file a criminal complaint as this seems to be
to be conversion. But you will need adequate documentation for court
that he did indeed receive the piece from your mother. You may not
need them with the police as a phone call from them just might jar
him, if they decide to do that.
or you could try the JVC. He may be the type who has to be shamed
into action. Which btw, mentioning his name on a public forum may
have much the same effect for a hundred bucks less.
walks away shaking his head
Well, as a jeweler whose girlfriend is an attorney, all I can say is
a demand letter on legal stationary will probably get the artist’s
Well, tell Mr. “Fancy Pants too good to work with silver” that he
should stand behind his work. Especially inlay. There is such a thing
called customer service. Even though you sell at shows you still have
an obligation to your customers. Situations like this really burn my
butt. Tell him to give your damn bracelet back, you want it repaired
by someone who takes pride in their work and stands by it.
Contact me off list. Repairing inlay is one of my specialties.
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Rocky Mountain Wonders
Colorado Springs, Colorado
getting the now-well-known jeweler to return your late mother’s
bracelet, and the stone that fell out, is probably dependent on you
taking a firm stand with your request. if i were you here is how i
would do it:
first, find his email address and make a copy of the email you
posted on orchid.
add on a mention the worldwide number of orchid members reading
the post and call his attention to the fact that you did not post his
name in the email so he could return the bracelet to you without
penalty of bad publicity.
then add that you will be at the ‘such and such show’ to pickup
send email. save copy in a file.
if he doesn’t respond and doesn’t return the bracelet when you
arrive, just tell him that you didn’t post his name in your first
orchid email but you feel no compunction to shield his name in a
’warning’ post to protect other orchid members from the
disappointment you feel. warning other orchid members is one of the
things we do for each other.
go to show and repeat all of this in a quietly polite but
stick to your position.
my opinion, humble or otherwise, he should have done what was needed
to retain good will and a happy customer. at one show a woman bought
a 4 inch panther i cut and engraved from 16 g brass, on a sterling
chain i also made. I wrote out detailed instructions for her to use
only ‘wipe and rinse tarnex’ (underlined) when needed, explaining the
difference between the ‘wipe’ and the ‘glaze’ tarnex bottles.
she showed up at the next show and put down a mangy metal creature,
a mottled, brownish, fuzzy thing, missing its emerald eye (perhaps he
closed in shame). anyway - you guessed it - she had used the wrong
tarnex. it took over 2 hours of experimenting with vinegar,
chemicals, wheels and burs to get under the mange, then some lines
had to be re-engraved.
why the effort? i did it to keep her happy as much as to preserve my
- we sell not just pieces of metal but our passion and integrity to
preserve those pieces of metal WE produced - no matter who buys our
work, it is ALWAYS ours. plus i feel that someone has to repair the
damage idiots often do.
good luck with what’s his name -
ps: or you could just hire an unemployed NFL lineman and let him
retrieve the bracelet.
I would contact him, ideally by phone, ASAP, and ask him outright,
does he still have the bracelet. If he says yes, tell him you
expect to pick it up from him at the show. Sadly, this repair is
never going to happen (from him).
I agree with the above. See him at the show, early. If he doesn’t
have the piece or payment for you, chat up everyone coming to his
booth about how he refuses to stand behind his work, or to give your
piece back. That should spur him to get out his checkbook. And then
run to the bank!