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Stories from our jewelry experiences

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to start a thread on interesting and funny things that
happen to us in our jewelry experiences. I have many stories to tell
my students and have always treasured stores told to me by my many

This is the first one.

Many years ago, I’ll say at least thirty five, little Todd wants to
buy a ring for himself. Where does go? To the local pawn shop of
course. I must have looked for all of about two minutes when the
proprietor asked if he could help me. I told him I wanted to but a
ring for myself. I also knew I wanted a silver one. So looking a the
dozens of styles there he pointed me toward a real shiny one with a
pretty blue stone. I remember asking him very specifically if it was
a silver ring. Now this is coming from me a kid of about ten years
old. Of course he assured me. So I took my seven dollars and bought
my first ring. It didn’t even fit, but I was so thrilled to own this
cool thing. This memory followed me for many years. I took my first
class in jewelry making in 1971. Within a month or two my uncle who
was a dentist found me used casting equipment. I bought everything
for about fifty dollars. I still use the casting machine which is an
original Torit vertical casting machine. It is sold now as the best
manual Platinum casting machine around. At that time I also took a
closer look at the ring I bought at the pawn shop and saw that is was
just silver plated. Ripped off!

Happy stories,

Todd Hawkinson
TR the Teacher

This should be a fun thread! A few years back I had a phone call
from a lady that was distressed that one of her diamonds fell out of
her wedding ring. Since she had a guarantee from Kay’s Jewelers she
thought I would be happy to honor the guarantee. I tried to explain
to her that since I didn’t sell her the ring and had no affiliation
with Kay’s that I couldn’t replace her stone for free. She says “But
I have a guarantee”. I told her she would have to take the ring back
to where it was bought to have them work on it. She says “You mean I
have to go all the way to Arizona?”. I really should have had her
come to the shop, I would have loved to see if she was as stupid in
person. Just one of many memorable moments working with the public.
Janine in Redding California.

I have a really good one and it has never been told to colleagues
because it is personally embarrassing but it has a happy ending.
Sorry its kind of long but its the whole truth and nothing but the

Many years ago, I was at a craft fair (the biggest and busiest
outdoor show I do that draws over 250,000 people in 3 days) and a
long time client, Becky, came up to me and pulled off her engagement
ring that I had made a few month earlier and handed it to me. It was
a straight channel with .85ct TW of princess cut diamonds and needed
to be sized up. I wrote up a job envelope, said it would take a week
and put it in my case drawer. After each day of the show I empty the
drawer and put all the jobs and receipts into the safe each night-on
the next Monday in the studio we sort all the jobs to their
appropriate place and it’s back to business as usual. We took in
about 40 job envelopes that weekend.

A few weeks later I got a call from Becky, Was the princess cut
diamond ring ready? OHMYGAD, we had not seen it come out of the safe
and with all the jobs we took in, its presence had slipped my mind.
No one knew where it was. We absolutely tore the shop apart and it
was not anywhere to be found.

The ring had been a custom carved model I had made for her fianc to
give her and thank goodness, I had made a mold of it. I told Becky
I would have it ready in two days and in two days I had reproduced it
exactly. I felt that since I was confident that she would get back
the exact materials that I had originally sold to her fianc, that I
didnt need to tell her I had lost it. Thank goodness I did remember
the size it was to be. I delivered it, it fit perfectly, end of
story…we thought.

The next craft fair.

We slide open the locking cash drawer and it feels jammed. With
some effort, I see there is a job envelope stuck in the drawer rail.
You guessed it, it was the missing princess cut ring. We had looked
there originally but never found it. I was relieved, chuckled and now
had a new piece of inventory. I polished and cleaned it that night at
the studio and at the second day of the show a woman falls in love
with it and her fianc buys it for her as a wedding band to sit next
to her engagement ring. The new client, Sharon is happy with her
new ring and I thought “All is well.”

The next day the first customer, Becky, calls. She loves her most
special ring and we chit-chat and she tells me the story of how he
gave it to her-a very romantic event. Could we engrave a date and a
message inside of this most special symbol of their true love? “Of
course we can-bring it in tomorrow and it will take just one week to
do.” I can’t tell you about the depth of guilt I had knowing this
is not thee special ring that he gave her at that very romantic event
they shared. I tossed and turned and felt very guilty for not telling
the whole truth to her when I lost the original. She and many
members of her family have been a clients for years and she would
have understood.

Somehow, the fates must have fun with our lives, watching us weave
such tangled stories. Within a few days, the second customer, Sharon
calls. She loves her new wedding band but it seems to be a bit tight
and needs to be sized up. She’s bringing her ring in. Both rings are
in the shop at once!

The whole messed up event put itself right within the day. Sharon
brought Beckys original ring in which we then had engraved with
Beckys message and returned to her-the special ring back to its
original owner. The imposter it was cleaned, checked and
returned…to Sharon. No sizing necessary, it was the perfect size as
if it was meant for Sharon all along.

A real life Lord of the Rings story with a happy ending.

t lee

(612) 789-2656