The wire came from a reputable supplier could they have sent me
I don't have any idea what metal it might be. I would ask them. If
they can't tell you, don't buy from them again.
I don't wont to break their hearts. Being told your very expensive
stone is only worth a few dollars is not a reaction I wont to deal
with. What do you high end jewellers say to customers, when
customers show you a stone that is not what it is supposed to be?
I don't know that I would call myself a "high end jeweller", but I
ask them to tell me the story. Every piece of jewelry has a story,
and the story can sometimes be more valuable than the jewelry itself.
A short investment of your attentive listening time will tell you
everything you need to know about how you might best handle the
situation. If it's something they found at a garage sale a couple
weeks ago, they probably already know or suspect it's not genuine
(and assuming you know and can prove for a fact that it isn't), all
you have to do is gently reaffirm their doubt. If you can honestly
say so, tell them they got a nice looking piece for a decent price,
so enjoy it (it's a little more gentle than saying "you got what you
paid for"). If you can't say at least that or something equally nice,
just do like Mom used to say and "don't say anything."
In any case, tell them what it isn't, not what it is. Naming a
simulant is too involved and fraught with risk if you don't do real
testing first. If they want or need anything more definitive or
anything on paper concerning the ID or value, we recommend they pay
for the time for us to do proper testing for a formal appraisal.
If the story is that it's from Grandma's personal treasures and
everyone knows that Gramma would never have owned anything fake, and
they want to reset it in a new mounting, you have a different set of
circumstances. In this case, you better know exactly what you are
talking about before you say a word about what it is or isn't. If you
tell them it's not genuine and it turns out that it is, or if it
turns out to be something other than what you told them (like it's
really a color change garnet instead of the more common synthetic
corundum you told them it was or the alexandrite they thought it
was), you look like an idiot, and if money changes hands, possibly
If you take the other path and tell them it's something special,
build something cool for it and it turns out to be a coated white
topaz or a garnet triplet, you could also have some serious
'splainin' to do.
Seriously folks, gem ID and valuation is a very complex subject and
shouldn't be taken lightly by anyone that considers themselves or
tells others that they are a jewelry professional. If you are a GG
(Graduate Gemologist) or equivalent you already know how to ID it. If
you are not, don't pretend you are. Sometimes the most professional
thing to do is admit you don't know what it is, but you know someone
that does know how to identify it and has the equipment to do it
Even if you do know exactly what something is, you should still be
careful when handling any situation in which something is not what it
is purported to be, or if it is of a very low monetary value. Even
armed with all of the metallurgical and gemological facts of the
piece, if you don't have the full story, you might still step in it
Early in my retail career, a lady brought in a very cheap 10K
serpentine chain and heart pendant. It had broken (surprise,
surprise) and she wanted to get it fixed. I told her that it wasn't
worth messing with, for the same money she should go get a new one.
Her eyes began to well up and I could immediately tell I had done
something wrong. I asked her to tell me about the chain. She told me
her 12 year old son had saved up and given it to her for Mother's Day
a few months ago and shortly thereafter, it broke. She had intended
to get it fixed, but never got around to it. Then a few weeks later,
her son was killed by a drunk driver. The store he bought it from
offered to replace it, but couldn't repair it. They referred her to
me. They told her I would take care of her. Of course I did take care
of it, but didn't I feel like a butthead for the rest of the day.
Knowing what something is and what it's worth is only part of the
story. Get the whole story before you make a fool of yourself like I