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Repair take-in procedures


#1

I’ve read a couple articles on the Internet about "taking in"
customer’s jewelry for repair. From what I’ve gathered, when writing
a description, you want to be careful which words you use. For
example, White metal solitaire with one clear, square stone
measuring 6 mm. Finger size 7, etc… What about diamond testing?
Using a touchstone for testing metals? Do you write down on the
repair ticket your testing results? What about the legal issues?
Liability, etc. Is the valuation based on the customers estimate of
the price? If someone could write out their own procedure, I would be
much obliged.


#2

If one writes ‘one clear stone’ just be aware that this may make you
look unprofessional and maybe a little evasive in the eyes of a
distrustful client. If you are taking in diamonds, by now you should
really know how to spot a diamond. If you can’t spot a fake maybe you
shouldn’t be in the business of repairing diamond jewelry(‘you’ is
used very generically here). And if it IS a diamond, say so. I will
grant that sometimes old dirty melees can be a little problematic to
ID on the spot, this would about the only time I’d use ‘clear stone’.

I think if you started rubbing a customer’s ring on a touchstone
while they watch, you’re going to get some funny looks. Most of the
time you can tell solid gold by looking carefully and hefting it,
but this definitely takes experience, explaining the cues in print
just won’t cut it. On ‘iffy’ items it would be OK to discuss the
ambiguity with the client before writing the receipt.


#3

Neilthejeweler,

I’m not asking how to identify whether a particular stone is a
diamond or whether if a ring is “solid” gold or not. I’m asking what
is necessary / recommended to write on a repair
ticket/envelope to prevent (as much as possible) potential headaches
from: replacing a customer’s stolen/lost merchandise, disputes about
"that’s not my diamond", etc. What sort of disclaimers are necessary
to protect us jewelers in today’s increasingly litigious society?


#4

you could sign up for GIA classes and the will be quite
inclusive it will cost you some coin but then you get what you pay
for -

goo


#5

Dear Drew, When taking work in for repair, you always want to err on
the cautious side, and write down as much as is possible
and practical. Be as thorough in your examination while the customer
is still there, as you can be, and you will eliminate a lot of
possibility for error later on. There is nothing unprofessional about
saying “yellow metal ring with one clear stone” as opposed to
identifying it right there on the spot. You just want a ballpark
estimate of what the piece is worth in its current condition. IF it
is a piece of particular rarity or value, have a gemologist or
someone authorized to appraise it, look at it first. It is common
practice in many reputable jewelry stores to make a quick plot
diagram of any sizeable diamond (maybe 1 ct or more) or other
valuable stone, in case of loss or damage. This also protects you
from the old “stone switching” bit that we hear way more of, than
probably actually occurs. In terms of repairs, prevention is even
more important. Examine the stone(s) very carefully and note any
abrasions or chips, which you can then point out to the customer so
they know that you did not cause them. We also need to be wary of
fracture-filled stones these days. It’s always a good idea to ask,
but sometimes the customer won’t even know that a stone is
fracture-filled, which can be detrimental. There are some relatively
quick and easy ways to tell, using readily available and inexpensive
equipment, and it is not a bad idea to read up on it or ask a
gemologist for assistance. Antoinette Matlins has published some
excellent books on field identification of stones, treatments,
imitations, etc…that are very easy to understand and helpful
references. As for the metal, note any stamping, and learn the
meanings of these stamps. An experienced jeweler can usually tell if
a piece is gold or plated junk just by looking at it, but again, if
you’re not sure, test it. If you are a jeweler, just always assume
that a stone is heat-sensitive, even if it appears to be one of the
safe ones. You don’t necessarily need to go through all the hassle of
finding out, just treat it like you would a heat-sensitive stone when
you are doing the repair. I hope this helped. Best of luck! Diane
Driscoll BryantBryant Designs and Fine Jewelry(original message) I’ve
read a couple articles on the Internet about “taking in” customer’s
jewelry for repair. From what I’ve gathered, when writing a
description, you want to be careful which words you use. For example,
White metal solitaire with one clear, square stone measuring 6 mm.
Finger size 7, etc… What about diamond testing? Using a touchstone
for testing metals? Do you write down on the repair ticket your
testing results? What about the legal issue s? Liability, etc. Is the
valuation based on the customers estimate of the price? If someone
could write out their own procedure, I would be much obliged.


#6

Hi there,

I do a lot of work for stores & private customers…Right now I’m
looking at a job bag from one of my stores…It lists the usual-
Name, address, and here now is the pertinent stuff:

Article: " yg. elk’s tooth(cracked) w/leather thong strap".
Instructions: Est.#1 to glue tooth together #2 Est to recap w/new cap

Est. Repairs$ Cust. Declared value $ Salesperson

Here’s the disclaimer:

"The article above is the correct to the best of my knowledge. I
understand the store and its employees are not responsible for
the identification or condition of articles at time of receipt.
Any damage or loss will be limited to the actual repair or
replacement cost. Insuring these items is my responsibility. I
will inspect repaired items before leaving the store. I must be
satisfied with their condition before removing them from the
store." Customer signature _________ 

I could tell you of an incident that I heard yesterday… Bottom
line- this incident could have been avoided if the jeweler had first
warned the cust. that when silver is heated, it will lose the patina
and could be put back on.That’s right- cust. said “You ruined my
"antique charm” The antique look is gone" etc. And #2 if he had read
or had her sign to the disclaimer before the work…(She was in
because of what she read on YELP(sometimes that’s good & sometimes
it’s not)…She only remembered what she had learned in a high
school jewelry class and that had made her a pro.(Mind you that was
appx. 40 years back)… When you do this work, as my husband says, you
must see the big picture-both with the customer & the booby trap you
are about to touch…

Be very careful with repairs–this is not just metal, it is
someone’s property with its own history… Ciao from sunny for
now SF, Jo-Ann & John


#7
I'm not asking how to identify whether a particular stone 

I understand that. My point was that this bit about ‘clear stone’
that you’ve read about should have narrow applications. My feeling is
that this was meant for when a jewelry store has sales associates who
have little or no training, taking in diamonds and such, to help
prevent misidentification of CZs as diamonds at the stores liability.
You have to look at how your store is perceived by the public,
though. Customer gives you a diamond, you give a receipt that says
’clear stone’. The customer may think A) you don’t what you’re doing,
or B) you’re maybe going to switch the stone. I mean, how would you
feel in her shoes? Again I’ll say that ‘you’ is used very
generically, not meant as you personally.

If repairs are trust based, and they certainly are, anything one
does to cast doubt in the mind of the client only works against you.

I worked in one place that had any old associate take in repairs.
Another place had a dedicated repair take in person. Its much better
the second way.

What sort of disclaimers are necessary to protect us jewelers in
today's increasingly litigious society?

If its a diamond, call it a diamond. If its uncertain, discuss with
the client first, before you call it an unknown. Explain why you are
getting ambiguous indications. As far as customer’s stated value…a
good lawyer can trash that defense on the grounds that YOU are the
expert, that the customer puts her faith in you as the expert, that a
layman cannot be expected to know what you should know.

To put the customer’s mind at ease you can show her the stone under
10X and point out all the identifying characteristics. Describe these
on the receipt if appropriate. Review these at pickup.

There are perhaps one in many thousands of customers who may try to
set you up, pull a flim flam on you. personally I’ve never
encountered one. By rough quick estimate I have waited on 90,000
people. Pretty good odds I’d say. Reading people is a skill worth
learning.

Be honest, be forthcoming, don’t be afraid to say no if you get a
funny feeling. If it pleases you to describe the piece to the point
of minutiae, do so.


#8

You folks won’t like my answer.

Envelopes:

  1. Description should be good enough that many envelopes spill on
    the floor and you can tell what went into this envelope.

  2. We gave a receipt NOT for a white stone but for a DIAMOND. You’re
    a jeweler, if ANYONE should know if it’s a diamond or not, shouldn’t
    that be YOU?

  3. You have to put a value. You need it to tell the insurance
    company once a year how much to insure customers goods for. Also in
    case something happens to the customers goods (you lose just her
    ring) that you limit the loss.

  4. If you give a receipt for $3000, how could that be a “white stone
    in white metal”? A CZ in silver ring worth $3000? I don’t think so.

You can get away with white stone in white metal…Until
you lose her ring or break her diamond.

David Geller
JewelerProfit


#9

Arthur Gordon in Oklahoma City wrote a very excellent guide for
taking in repairs some years ago. I can’t remember what he charged
for it, but it was worth every penny, as we used it to help train
all the new hires. Well illustrated and very easy to understand and
very comprehensive.

Art can be reached at jewelsmiths.net

Tell him I sent you…
Wayne Emery


#10

A careful inspection under magnification of the item brought in for
repair will reveal most potential problems. Write down the findings
and use sketches. Chips or scratches on stones, stones poorly set,
parts that are worn out or damaged are noted and discussed with the
customer along with any other condition YOU are concerned about.

Sort of like lawyers and doctors do when you go in for repair or
service (appointment - full undivided attention - take notes), but an
A6 notepad is better for us because the notes/sketches will fit in a
job packet. If you just need a band aid you will be treated at the
receiving station. If you need more indepth analysis you will be
moved to the appropriate station. Why not with jewellery?

Ask the customer to sign the resulting notes if you like, I think
giving them a copy of the notes is better than a signature, but most
of all a careful and unhurried inspection along with frank and honest
discussion will gain trust. For the rare customer who is looking to
rip you off, this procedure will give them second thoughts.

If you see stones ready to fall out then write something like,
“stones have minimal metal over girdle, cannot guarantee” or whatever
is applicable, during the inspection. In many cases rectifying the
problem is added to the original request (quote for rectifying
accepted), and then you may guarantee it.

Now if the item is just put in the packet with only a cursury
inspection when receiving it, then all of the above should happen at
the bench. If you find something that you think the customer must
acknowlege, then do it before any work is done on the item.

If you don’t have time for all this then your exposure to
misunderstandings and unhappy customers will be greater. I believe
there are no generic magic words to have on the packet that can make
up the difference.

Alastair


#11

Hi Gang,

Another way to record items a take in is using a camera connected to
a PC. That way all the pertinent info, including a picture are in the
same location & any written description is legible.

A good usb camera an be found a, thelittlecameras.com. The Dino Lite
can magnify up to 200X.

Usual disclaimers, just a satisfied customer.

Dave


#12
If you give a receipt for $3000, how could that be a "white stone
in white metal"? A CZ in silver ring worth $3000? I don't think so. 

the reason for NOT writing the word " diamond" on the reciept is this
when they pick up thier ring from your shop they drop it off at the
other shop across town and have the diamond switched to a CZnow they
have a reciept saying CZ in gold ring then come back and accuse you
of switching thier stone. the reciept is what the judge looks at to
make thier ruling ! Soooo… Hmmmm… i know that i can always
trust myself to do the right thing but times are tough and people are
more desperate than ever and its not even about anyone being a bad
person. this is, what will you do to keep from getting thrown out
in the street or going hungry?

best regards goo


#13

Goo

Do you put a value on the customers receipt?

David S. Geller
JewelerProfit


#14
Do you put a value on the customers receipt? 

david- only if the cust shows me a valid A.G.S. certification with
matching numbers, maybee a gia will do in a pinch - goo


#15

Goo

Do you put a value on the customers receipt?

david- only if the cust shows me a valid A.G.S. certification with
matching numbers, maybee a gia will do in a pinch 

I know of two jewelers closed up from a robbery/burglary. The
customers goods were underinsured. Loss was over what Jewelers Mutual
covered. At LEAST twice a year, especially xmas and YOU value each
envelope so you can report to the insurance company correctly.

David S. Geller
JewelerProfit


#16
I know of two jewelers closed up from a robbery/burglary. The
customers goods were underinsured. Loss was over what Jewelers
Mutual covered. At LEAST twice a year, especially xmas and YOU
value each envelope so you can report to the insurance company
correctly. 

this insurance business is nothing to everyone on this list, there
are also two jewelers i know of who were in the habit of allowing
the words diamond and value on the reciept and when the jewelry
turned out to be CZ after take in guess what ? they had to pay ! and
perhaps i am mistaken but if my memory serves me correctly even GIA
says to use words like “round white brilliant”, instead of diamond,
at least i think thats where my practice came from.

i am quite sure you understand the reality that diamond pricing
comes from a profit motivated opinion and interperetation of the
diamond. i see you are advising store owners to risk matching someone
elses profit based opinion at the sales counter on mounted stones?
this is not the proper setting for accurate diamond grading ! unless
they bring a respectable diamond cerification and the diamond can be
clearly matched to the paperwork by numbers or inclusions i’m
sticking to what is safe for me ! and so should the rest of the
people who read this, round white brilliant,

best regards - goo


#17

Goo,

the paperwork by numbers or inclusions i'm sticking to what is safe
for me ! and so should the rest of the people who read this, round
white brilliant, 

You’re right in that you should stick with what is safe for you. I
was trained by the GIA and they always said to identify diamonds on
take in as white round brilliants. But that advice was geared more
towards people who weren’t properly trained (IMHO) or didn’t have
the right equipment. I’m set up in my shop with enough equipment
(binocular microscope, diamond testers, etc.) in front of the
customer that I can make a pretty quick determination of whether or
not a stone is a diamond. If it isn’t possible to identify something
immediately then I will write out the more vague description to
cover myself. But Neil’s point is well taken in this. If you,
representing yourself as a professional, cannot determine what a
stone is, you appear to be less than knowledgeable. So in my book
it’s better to be properly prepared to id a stone on the spot and if
you can’t, then you can always say, I need to do more testing to
determine what this is. Nothing wrong with that. But nothing wrong
with doing an id on the spot and writing on the take in envelope
exactly what it is the customer has.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com


#18
You're right in that you should stick with what is safe for you. I
was trained by the GIA and they always said to identify diamonds on
take in as white round brilliants. But that advice was geared more
towards people who weren't properly trained (IMHO) or didn't have
the right equipment. 

Daniel - your point is well taken and your explanation of your
proceedure is somthing i can live with and will i consider how i can
change my way of doing things as your points can help me to grow and
improve myself. but, in all honesty and respectfully, let me ask
you this how do you deal with a customer stone that is mis graded and
overvalued ? back at home they and they have a cerification from an
obscure gem lab to " prove it " and or a typed out reciept from
10cent town jewelers to say the stone is a VVS1 E color, they have
paperwork that you dont know exists! i look at this thing and i know
this stone is a run of the mill average I color SI-2 and now i am
being accused of switching stones on them when i did nothing of the
sort ?

this is a real dilema that we all walk the razors edge over, the
consequenses of bad word of mouth can be devastating when your
business is built on word of mouth.

best regards goo


#19
But nothing wrong with doing an id on the spot and writing on the
take in envelope exactly what it is the customer has.

Additionally…if you give a receipt for a ‘white stone’ how exactly
does that protect you from the claim that, “But I GAVE you a
diamond”? If the receipt says “CZ”, that at least diminishes legal
challenge especially if the customer signed it.

Because if a ‘professional’ could not ID the stone, how can he claim
what it WASN’T?

I’m not a lawyer but I do believe its possible to subpoena all your
repair records, and if its shown you routinely fail to identify
valuable client owned merchandise it could cast doubt on your
integrity. I’ll say it again, sorry to bore everyone, your
integrity/reputation is everything.

But, you should never let something like this ever GET to court. Are
you aware that legal action filed against your closely held
corporation may affect your personal credit rating, even if dismissed
or found in your favor? (to say nothing of bad PR) So you have to
settle if pushed hard enough. Having a receipt that says CZ, signed
by customer, will most likely give you a firmer grounding than an
evasively worded ‘white stone’ receipt from which your attorney can
negotiate on your behalf. What your lawyer is trying to do is
suggest to the other attorney that his case is not as strong as he
might think.

You might be better off to settle at say $5K(arbitrary, there’d be a
point where it becomes a survival thing) than put your fate in the
hands of the legal system. Despite what you see on TV, it doesn’t
always work all that well. Its not about how strongly you protest
your innocence, its about how well a judge/jury can be swayed to an
opinion by clever attorneys. If you consistently conduct yourself
with the highest standards as opposed to a devil may care attitude
about your clients interests its much harder to paint you as a crook.
Leave a paper trail of ‘white stones’ at your own peril.


#20

I’m reading some interesting points and I really appreciate the
different perspectives and advice offered. I’ve only been in the
business for a couple years and I’m just trying to broaden my
horizons.

Aside from diamonds, what about colored stones? For example, is it
perceived as “unprofessional” to describe what looks to be an
aquamarine as - light blueish green stone? Keep in mind, I’m
referring to writing a repair envelope “item description” and not a
bona fide written appraisal. Jewelers with gemology credentials
and/or knowledge, would you really take the time to deduce the
identity of a stone for the sake of repair?