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Mounting broke off Platinum Ring. Shoddy Jeweler Work? Please review pics


#1

I would greatly appreciate any expert advice. Pictured is my platinum engagement ring, which up until yesterday housed a 2.64 ct emerald cut diamond. The ring is barely two years old, was reset with the emerald 7 months ago (previously held a 1.4 ct round). Yesterday after light laundry and a walk I discovered that the entire center mounting and stone were gone (and not just detached, but disappeared). I can’t believe that just 1/2 year of normal wear could cause such catastrophic damage. There was absolutely no impact to the hand that could explain this. Short of me welding or smashing it off myself, how could this have happened? I am absolutely certain that the work was faulty and/or the stone was put in a setting that could not properly support it. The jeweler who sold/serviced the ring has been less than helpful so far, (“these things happen…you must have hit it…”). Has anyone seen an incident like this with such a new piece? Could properly-welded platinum seriously fail like this? Shouldn’t platinum be strong enough to withstand years if not decades of wear? Suggestions/input for how to proceed? Thank you!


#2

If I had to I would Guess from the pictures that the head was Laser welded in to the band. It doesn’t look like the laser did a good job of penetrating deep enough to make a good connection. One of the problems with attaching a platinum head when there are diamonds already set it is that using platinum solder requires heat that would destroy the diamonds. It should have been welded and then backed up with some 19 karat white gold solder. This mounting was very light to be supporting a head and diamond that large and that tall. Hopefully you had it insured. If you didn’t then you are probably out of options. 1 year is most jewelers limit to warranty on service work.


#3

I am finding the images a little hard to follow. The images of the ring on the hand do not show any of the dark molting and discoloration that is very noticeable in the images showing the damage.

The image quality is low enough that the pics do not show when magnified.

Without actually handling the ring, and examining it under magnification I would be very hesitant to offer an opinion. I am disturbed by what looks like a black, spotty surface on the mounting, but the metal where the new Emerald Cut setting was attached looks in the images as if either it was very poorly laser welded, or possibly like solder was badly overheated.

When installing a new Platinum setting into a ring like that I would have laser welded it in place after fitting the new head, and then I would also have pulled white gold solder through the new seam, so I could see that the head was totally secure.

I can not tell a great deal about what the images show, or appear to show, just from the pictures shown.


#4

Hi There,

This will need some forensic work to get to the bottom of this failure. Its afterall mainly a metallurgical issue… But before we get this far, some nos would be useful. As theres no name and address disclosed,

  1. what was the original purchase price of this e ring?
  2. what was then the additional cost of modifying it to its larger stone and setting?
    then what did you have it insured for?
  3. The total cost amount? to?.
  4. That is what you are looking for to replace it.

Now the forensic stuff.
Here in the uk we have our exceptional Gov assay office for hallmarking such items, and use a non destructive spark erosion analysis to accurately identify the elements in ANY metal object accurate to 1%.
This is for a nominal cost excluding to and fro insured costs of under $50.
They will tell you if and what metals were used to make the modification, and if a white gold solder of lower quality was used.
Once you have this knowhow you can tell your insurance co of the failure either from the use of the wrong remaking alloy or if its all platinum, then the technique was completly faulty. and then the jeweller? who did the alteration, that it was totally unfit for purpose.
Next, To get a new price for the remake theres only one person good enough here and thats Jim Grahl on your West coast.
his work is impeccable particularly in platinum.
This price is what your claiming for from this so called jeweller.
The sooner he knows what hes in for the better.

As to the pictures, they show what appears to be an oxidised non metallic joint with no proper clean metal continuity from the ring band to the stone base setting.
Such a joint with properly fused ie continious clean metal will last a minimum of 10 yrs. This joint will have a yield point ie bending factor before the metal actually tears apart. Quite impossible under the terms of use you describe. This amount of force would severely injure your finger, to the point of A and E the minimum, or surgery to remake all damaged blood vessels . Just think what tearing this stone setting could do to the soft tissues over the finger bone.
Verdict, a complete balls up of joint assembly.

Technical Ted
Dorset
UK.
Master metal worker.


#5

Thank you for your response. Yes, the ring is insured however the work is 6.5 months old so I (optimistically) believe that if the jeweler wants to maintain their reputation the appropriate thing would be to accept liability and correct the matter without insurance having to be involved. I am meeting with a higher-level manager on Monday so hopefully we can come closer to resolution.
Again, appreciate your input.


#6

You’re fantastic! Such a thorough response, as well as entertaining! My husband is a metallurgist by trade however has not done much hands-on work in many, many years. I surely wish he still had access to all of that equipment now (best he could do was quick review with handheld magnifying glass). He did find your feedback spot-on and very insightful. I am meeting with the jewelry store manager on Monday (it’s a somewhat large regional chain in the US Southeast), I now feel stronger in my conviction that this case warrants further review and not just a simple “submit a claim” situation. I cannot imagine the jeweler would want to be associated with a 6-month failure of this magnitude. The ring all-in was @ $20,000 USD, my insurance policy replacement value is $30,000.
And yes, my ring finger is still very much intact and without even the slightest bruise. A friend joked today that perhaps I have a superpower of being able to break platinum…
Thanks again, wish me luck on my fight!


#7

Thank you for your feedback despite the subpar pictures. Every bit of information helps me to be better prepared for my discussion with jeweler, as I think they typically hope for consumers to be uninformed in such matters. I think you and the other experts have given me some valid talking points and variables that must be explored before I concede my fight. I greatly appreciate your time and consideration!


#8

Hi Katey,

Thank you for your detailed reply.
Now, in view of your short notice time frame meeting, next Monday,

  1. you MUST have a witness with you, preferably your metallurgist husband,
  2. Ask if the interview can be recorded, for legal reasons, and have a recorder with you.
  3. And that you will be having the break area analysed by the aforesaid assay office, and technical method with a full written report.
  4. You want the ring to be fully remade by the USA’s best platinum jeweller, using the remainder of the stones of course.
    5.At their expense.

Thats the least they must do to salvage their reputation.
Keep me posted off list , to
vladimir.frater@gmail.com

Ted.


#9

Either way you get this resolved it will most likely involve an insurance
company. I’m assuming the jewelry company you have been dealing with has
jeweler’s liability insurance and they will submit a claim to their
company. If you use your own insurance they will, at their option, either
reimburse you in accordance with the policy or replace the ring with one
most probably from a jeweler of their choosing, in accordance with the
policy provisions. If they do that, they will most likely subjugate against
the jeweler that did the work to begin with, (Many years ago I was an
insurance adjuster), and the jeweler would probably then refer it to his
company. Since there is probably a deductible, you would most likely be
better off filing a claim against the jeweler who did the work, which was
obviously faulty. If you use your insurance company you are bound by the
terms of the policy. In a claim against the jeweler, you are not.

Jerry in Kodiak


#10

Thank you, Jerry. I luckily do not have a deductible on my personal articles policy, however I’d of course prefer not to go that route as I do not want my future premiums to be affected given these circumstances. I definitely expect subrogation if I do submit a claim (rightfully so!). When I was in the store on Weds and spoke with the brash and (I think) uneducated general manager, her only response to me was to file my own claim. Now I am communicating with her boss, who I will meet with on Monday and has alluded to wanting to avoid a claim (likely because he has a better understanding than she that the situation will not simply go away once I use my own insurance).

In your experience, how would one file against the jeweler’s insurance? Is that something the jeweler has to initiate - meaning, do they have to accept liability first?

Thank you!


#11

I’ll risk repeating what’s been said. That head was improperly laser welded onto the ring. Laser welding in itself is not bad, when done well it can be an excellent tool to use. However the weld can sometimes be brittle. In this case the bench jeweler overestimated the strength of a superficial weld and created a bad weld at that. You need to avoid all that black carbon when welding. If they were going to weld rather than solder, the weld would have needed to fully penetrate the contact points and be cleaner. Instead they just welded the outside of the seam. But they should have soldered it.

As has be said, platinum solder has a melting point too high for diamonds. If used with a torch the diamond surfaces will burn and look frosty. So standard practice is to use a laser welder to tack the head in place so it’s straight, then solder with 19K white gold solder. The color match with platinum is close and if you fit the head properly there are minimally visible seams, it could be rhodium plated after if desired to make it undetectable. The advantage of solder is it flows into the seams via a capillary effect and so creates a very strong joint. Though nothing is indestructible.

If I were you I’d want to get the money and then take it somewhere else to get the work done. To someone who is skilled and experienced with platinum.
Mark


#12

Lola

 You do not file against the insurance, you file against  (in this case) the jeweler. He then may or may not contact his insurance company. In any event it is the jeweler, not the company who is responsible to you. For what it's worth, your insurance company only owes you what is specified in their contract with you according to your policy. The jeweler on the other hand owes whatever you can get him to agree to or whatever judgement you might get against him in a court of law.                

Jerry


#13

Lola,

 I don't know what I'm doing wrong here but most of my answer to your email

seems to run off the page. Maybe it will work this time. In answer to your question
you do not file against the jeweler’s insurance company, you file a claim against
the jeweler or the company he works for. If he wishes to use his insurance then
it is his responsibility to submit the claim to his insurance company, He owes you,
not his company. Just send a certified letter to the jeweler stating your claim and
specify what you want in recompense. It’s not necessary but it may be a good idea to
Have a lawyer do this for you. The lawyer’s fees and any other expenses are part
of your claim. If you’d like to communicate more on this matter, my email is:
jholtak@yahoo.com.

Jerry in Kodiak


#14

Hi Katey,
I have been looking at the total cost of remaking your ring.
Need to communicate off forum. If you get this post please reply.
Thank you
Ted


#15

I see you have RVA in your screen name… If that is Richmond Virginia, bravo neighbor!

I have a fairly decent metal detector and could search around the area you took a walk in to see if the setting can be located as well.

Drop me a line and let’s chat if you are interested.

Kerri


#16

Hi Kerri,
I’m trying to send you a private message but can’t for the life of me figure out how! Please reach out to me privately if able? I do have a question for you. Thanks!


#17

Kerri here… I sent a private message… You can email me at silverforgestudio@yahoo.com.