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Lost stones' policy


#1

We have recently been asked a question by one of our buyers abroad.
Therefore, we would like to pose this question to the very
knowledgeable members of this forum …

Our buyer abroad wholesales diamond jewelry. He claims that a few of
our pieces were returned to him because end-buyers lost a couple of
stones, apparently, due to poor setting. Therefore, they want us to
replace the stones free of cost.

The total value of the lost stones is less than 0.1% of the value of
the business we have done with them. Therefore, it is more a case of
setting a precedent … Imagine if we would have to replace a few 2ct
white VVS1 diamonds!!

We have various tests for loose stones. All the jewelry pieces are
tested at our end for loose stones in the ultrasound and, finally,
the stones are hand-tested with a pin. Our contention is that there
is no way to ascertain whether the stones have been lost due to poor
workmanship or due to mishandling or even removed by an unscrupulous
end-buyer. After all, it would not be too difficult for an
unscrupulous person to remove a stone and claim it as lost. We trust
our buyer but we have no way of knowing where our jewelry pieces end
up! Although we understand our buyer’s point of view and empathize
with him, we cannot find a solution to this question.

We even asked a major online store about their policy regarding lost
stones. They said that they do not have a warranty for such incidents
and the insurance company of the buyer is suppossed is address this
issue.

In summary, our question to this very erudite audience is: What
should be a jewelry manufacturer’s policy towards replacing lost
stones?

Thank you for your time.
Rasesh in Mumbai, India.


#2

Rasesh you said “no way to ascertain removal or replacing stones?”

I would very much like to look at the setting. Why? Are there any
plier marks just below the girdle on the claws. Are the "bearing cuts"
not matching the pavillion of the stones? Have you looked at the
claws in general? do they look “out of sync”…as in moved around? do
the claws seem “worked on” by some unqualified tradesperson ? do the
claws seem out of alignment to the whole ring in general? If any of
these questions say …YES! you have no reason to replace at your
cost. If it is bead setting items, are the “beads deformed”? if so it
ain’t your problem!

If these are larger stones you have to replace, I would seek out an
arbitrator to settle this claim. If your client ways no, he actually
might have done something to the ring(s)…my humble opinion…be
aware of these requests, something is “Not Kosher”…if you replace
the stones now, he might do it again and again…“Gerry, the
Cyber-Setter!”


#3

Rasesh, You are caught in a lose/lose situation at this point. The
best outcome in this specific situation is a win/lose solution. You
win the grace of the buyer, and you lose some of your profit on this
specific sale.

May I suggest you certify your quality control before the jewelry
leaves your facility and perhaps look into an insurance policy for
yourself. A small certificate accompanying the jewelry stating “hand
cut and set with pride.” This jewelry is allergic to clorox and
other cleaning solutions, please remove to protect.

I am certain you can come up with something charming to hopefully
ensure the jewelry is not innocently abused. I see jewelry in hot
tubs as well as in the kitchen. My own son’s lovingly hand made by
me silver bracelet looked like pewter when he exited a spa.

Teresa


#4

Rasesh, I agree with Gerald you should look closely at the piece, but
I assume you are casting the stones in place and there is precedent
for problems with losing stones from that technique. So you need to
keep track of what designs they come from and look for patterns of
loss. Then go back to your models and look for problems. During your
wax setting what procedure are you doing to tighten up the stones?
What metal are you casting with?

If they are loosing small stones replace them with no questions, if
it is larger stones look carefully at the piece and use Gerald’s
advice.

Regards,
James McMurray


#5

Thanks James McMurray for the kudos here.

I once worked for a company that did loads of wax-set rings. I used
to replace and DIG OUT of gold mounts some of the “misplaced” wax-set
diamonds. It was estimated that about 20% of the stones were chipped,
broken or even lost due to misuse in the “wax” technique…! Many
times even in polishing, stones would actually “fall out” & get lost
the power suctions.

It was my job as a setter, to tighten all of the diamonds “one by
one”. I found many, trust me!

I also agree with James have a quality control department correct
the actual model, you never know who is looking at your rings once
they are out of your office. I am presently a contract setter for a
very large international company ( no names here) they are receiving
mountings for a Pacific-rim country. Do you know how many stones are
literally falling out into the hands of the jewellers? I can assure
you that there is no quality control over there!

Rasesh, spend some precious time and go over your problem mountings,
you don’t need the headaches! If YOU want a good setter to help you
in person I am available…:>)…Gerry!


#6

Dear Mr. Dubois,

Here are the answers to your questions

What is your current rate of falling stones? 

We do not have the actual figures. But, our buyer has claimed about
3 - 4 out of approx 7,500 that we have sent him.

What QA/QC procedures does your factory applied? 

Ultrasound and hand testing with a pin. All departments have
experienced supervisors who watch over the operations.

How many stone setter do you employ? are they all "in house"
setters or you sub contract the job as well 

About 10 setters. When the orders are more, we bring in setters to
do the extra work.

May I ask you the reason for your questions? BTW, we emailed you but
our message bounced back.

Regards,
Rasesh in Mumbai, India.