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Trade relationships


#1

I have operated a one person trade shop for over 30 years. Recently
my 15+ year relationship with Samuel’s was terminated over a dispute
involving a heat treated sapphire that developed a fracture when I
retipped it. This was a brand new ring with a loose stone, the
prongs were too short to hold it securely. Perhaps it was a
partially healed fracture that open up, internal stress, or fracture
filled. In any case it is my position that they knew what they
bought or should have known. I can not guarantee the quality of
their merchandise nor be responsible for its problems for a $14.00
retipping charge. They want the lowest possible prices and no
responsibility on their part.

How are the rest of you out there dealing with this new aggressive
position of the chain stores? There had been a cooperative attitude
in the jewelry industry where everyone could earn an honest living.
With fracture filling, heat treating and the like, how are the rest
of you in the “Orchid World” dealing with this?

Mark Chapman


#2
   They want the lowest possible prices and no responsibility on
their part. 

Hi Mark; I won’t do business with chain stores (I run a trade shop
too). I tell them to take their price lists to my competitor and put
him out of business. Plus the fact that some of these companies are
paying only once a year, and are likely, if they are going to go out
of business, to make sure they close up shop before your payday
arrives.

   How are the rest of you out there dealing with this new
aggressive position of the chain stores?  There had been a
cooperative attitude in the jewelry industry where everyone could
earn an honest living. With fracture filling, heat treating and the
like, how are the rest of you in the "Orchid World" dealing with
this? 

I’ve unfortunately had to put in extensive disclaimers with my price
list/policy form about the limits of the liabilities I can accept
for stones subjected to undisclosed or unknown treatments. I’m not a
gemologist, nor do I have the extensive testing equipment, nor are
these treatments even easily detected by trained gemologists. If a
stone does not behave as I expect it to behave, given my years of
experience, I’m afraid it’s not a cost I can afford to absorb. In
fact, the retailer shouldn’t have to absorb this cost either. If I
break or damage a stone, I replace it with one of equal quality and
value, no charge. But here are some things I don’t cover:

I don’t guarantee any setting of any emeralds. . . period. I’ve
very good, I seldom break stones. I can minimize your risk, but I
can’t elimate it completely. I don’t guarantee setting of any
vulnerable stone if I advise you beforehand of the risks with a
perticular setting method, i.e., 18K nickel white gold chubby bezels
around tanzanites (which I’ve done, by the way), etc. I don’t
guarantee against heat damage during soldering, the following; over
heated saphires, drilled and filled diamonds, Hmong Su filled
rubies, or Moissonite. I don’t guarantee the appearance of plated
articles if there is any heating to be done on them. I don’t guarantee
the appearance of materials whose makeup is indeterminable, such as
plastic, base metals, and generally don’t guarantee any work done on
costume jewelry. I don’t guarantee stones that turn out to be
deliberate fakes unless there is some evidenct aspect of this, such
as facet abraision, included bubbles, suspicous hue, etc. I’ve seen
amethysts that, upon first glance give you no reason to suspect that
they are glass, turn out to be glass when you chip them even when
being as careful as you need to be with an amethyst. Not my problem.
I’ll get you another glass amethyst if I can find one. I don’t
guarantee the longevity of any repair that necessitates my resorting
to glue, paint, lead solder, bondo, spit or bandaids, and I’ll
advise a customer in advance if that’s their only resort. In short, if
I see a risk, I don’t take the risk. If the risk has been cleverly
hidden and I inadvertently uncover it, then the customer was the
victim not of me, but of the person that sold them it in the first
place, and I’m not going to undue his/her misfortune.

David L. Huffman


#3
    a heat treated sapphire that developed a fracture when I
retipped it.  This was a brand new ring with a loose stone, the
prongs were too short to hold it securely. 

I am afraid that I would differ with you on responsibility for this
stone. Any time I heat a stone, I assume responsibility unless I make
a call and pass that responsibility on to the client.

    How are the rest of you out there dealing with this new
aggressive position of the chain stores? 

There is an incredible amount of competition out there for the
repair work that took me years to “master”. It seems that the chains
are only interested in sizing, soldering chains and soldering charms.
Make up work seems to be of little or even no interest to the chains.
The stuff that they stock has a huge profit margin and that seems to
be what they want to sell.

As for my worries about all of the treatments being used on stones,
I am convinced that no knows them all and many are currently
undetectable. My invoices point this out and unless I guarantee that
the stones that I sell are not treated, it should be assumed that they
are.

There are a number of stones that I sometimes work around that
although I understand the care necessary to work with, I will not
guarantee. Emerald, boulder opal, rainbow hematite or pyrite hmmm …
there are plenty of others of late.

Bruce D. Holmgrain
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler
http://www.goldwerx.com