Asking for the sizing scrap seems to point to a more radical
departure from normal bench repair culture that's one part
inconvenient and 5 parts annoying.
Interesting. As you know, I'm not a professional jeweler, but I
would have assumed that returning precious metal scrap was the
norm. After all, your job is the resizing, not buying.
The job, Al, is also giving the customer the best value for their
money, for the service they’re paying for. The average customer has
absolutely no use for that little bit of precious metal. It’s too
small an amount to actually sell, unless the customer has managed to
accumulate a good deal more metal to add it to. And when those
customers DO sell any scrap metal they’ve got, they generally don’t
get more than half it’s market value, if even close to that. In
contrast, the bench jeweler sells scrap for a few percent under that
market value, if it’s sold at all. Often, those scraps can be
directly reused on other jobs. All that means that the scrap retains
more of it’s value if kept at the bench instead of returned. And
that value can mean the jeweler either makes a better profit margin,
which is good for the business, or is able to reduce his/her costs of
buying all new metal. Also good. In the end, it allows the
competative jeweler to charge just a little bit less for the
service. The customer gets a better value for their scrap if the
jeweler is able to pass on the value of the scrap in the form of
better service, or lower price, than they get if the scrap is
In addition, simply the process of returning the scrap can be a PIA.
When sizing, one is cutting out often a fairly small sliver of metal.
That can drop easily into the bench pan, and one then has to spend
time finding it right then, At the least, you spend time putting it
in a zip lock, keeping it with the job, etc. That slows down the job,
at least a little. Many jewelers I’ve known or worked with charge
slightly more if asked to return the scrap unless there’s a good
practical reason, such as if the scrap is a part that concievably
would be needed again in the future. Things like bracelet links
removed, or other usable parts. Those sorts of things, I’d normally
return as a routine matter. Same thing if the scrap is actually a
significant amount of metal with significant value, rather than the
often pennies the sizing scrap might be worth. But the little bits
cut out in sizing? Not normally returned unless requested.