I recently met with a company that wants me to become an “approved
vendor” for custom work. The company is trying to market more to an
upscale clientele and need a bench jeweler who can do custom
manufacturing. One of the sticky points is in stone liability while
setting. They want me to be responsible for any damage that may
occur to stones. Normally I will replace a stone that is small if I
break it while setting. It is such a rare occurrence that it doesn’t
bother me. I have never had a jeweler ask me to be responsible for
replacing broken stones. The other option is that I would be
responsible for the difference between the original cost of the stone
and the value of the stone after it had been repaired. I had assumed
that it was standard knowledge that it was the retailers
responsibility to let the customer know that damage was not the
liability of the retailer.
So, my question is, what are other bench jewelers doing as far as
liability is concerned. My gut tells me to let the store know that
it is their responsibility to deal with the liability. After all I
don’t charge that much to set stones. Even if I only have a problem
with 1/2 a percentage of the stones I set, if the one that chips is a
2.50ct pear shape diamond I don’t want to be out a couple of years of
diamond setting charges to pay for the difference in value between a
2.5 ct and a recut stone or, God forbid, a new stone altogether!
The other thing I was considering was significantly upping the price
I charge for stone setting. I’ll have them send me a value of the
stones that they want me to set and then charge them a percentage of
the value, say 2 or 3 percent of the wholesale cost above what I
normally charge to set the stone.
Am I out in left field with this? I know that the stone setters they
have on premises are awful. I have already done work to reset stones
and rework pieces that they have butchered. Perhaps they are just
gun shy because of the experience they have had with their own
people. Still, I would like to get some feedback on this issue.