And then there was the time I lost a $12,000 pear shaped
diamond… for a few days.
I was carving a wax model for a the wedding set into which this
stone was to be set. I always leave the stones on the wax bench,
if I’m gonna cast the model that day… Well, needless to say,
after I cast, and rough cleaned the casting, I went to get the
loose stone. Not there… slowly the level of anxiety begins to
rise… I go to the safe to see if maybe I stuck it in the stone
paper that contained the melee that was to go into the same
ring… the melee is there, but the big diamond is not.
Things start to get serious… I search the entire shop. Every
bench. Nothing. I get out the broom and sweep the entire shop.
Nothing. I get the jewelers’ most used tool, the flashlight, and
begin shining it under every bench… Nothing. I start thinking
about whether or not anyone else might have looked at it, or
moved it… I realize that no one has been in the shop all day.
Now the floor in that shop was made of wood, tongue and groove
2x6s. Since I was the one who built that building, and it was my
first, I was not yet accomplished enough to get every board to
fit perfectly. (And besides some of them were a bit warped
before I laid them, or had warped and separated a bit, from a
very wet year we had had.) There was a quarter inch gap, about
3/8 of an inch deep between most of the boards. They had filled
with debris over 23 years, and every time a stone fell on the
floor, I would think to myself, it’s time you finished this
floor and covered it properly… but I always found the missing
stone. (Excepting a few half pointers over the years!) Could
this stone, which was almost 2 carats, have fallen directly onto
one of these gaps and then been stepped on, burying it in the
dirt? I got out a chisel and scraped every crack between the
boards for ten feet around the wax bench… Nothing.
Real panic starts to set in! I noticed that there was crack that
went all the way through a couple of the boards way at the back,
underneath the bench. Never saw that before! Could it have made
it into that particular crack, and fallen through the floor onto
the dirt below? Murphys’ Law said it had to have.
Opened the access to get underneath the floor - 20 feet away,
and began to contort myself into what had had been an eighteen
inch crawl space… It was no longer 18". Over the years, we had
had a flood, and about 10 generations of gophers… There was
only about 10" in most places, some places less. I thought I
could see something sparkling just about right under where the
crack was, when I aimed the flashlight over there.
I go and get a skill saw, move the bench that has been on that
spot for 20 years, find some of the engraving block fittings
that have been missing for countless years - and begin cutting
out a section of the floor… While doing so, I hit a nail that
buggers up the saw blade. I go get another saw blade. I get the
hole cut, pry out the section, and look into the dirt below.
NOTHING! I am really getting panicked now! I sift through the
dirt, and find a chip of bright metal, probably platinum, 'cause
who knows how long it’s been down here, and it’s not tarnished.
Maybe that is what I saw from the crawl access?
By now it is 3:00 am. I go to bed. Can’t sleep. Thinking of how
long it will take to refinance my house, or get a second
mortgage to pay for this diamond…
In the morning I go over the whole shop again. I sweep again. I
cover every square inch of the floor with the flashlight and the
chisel… Nothing. I sift through the dirt under the floor
It’s noon now, and the ring is promised for tomorrow. How am I
gonna tell the client I lost a $12,000 stone? Should I start
calling banks and mortgage companies?
My girlfriend walks in as I am sitting on the floor in front of
the excavation I have made in the floor. She asks what I’m
doing. I tell her that I suddenly got an urge to put a basement
under the shop. Then I explain what has happened.
She offers to help, and begins looking around the shop, starting
with the wax bench. I am still sitting on floor… wondering why
God has done this to me. Or whether it’s a karma thing. Or
whether this all might be a bad dream. I pinch myself. It’s not
She walks back over to where I am sitting, and asks me if the
stone in her hand is the one I have been looking for. It is.
It was in the tray in front of my ultrasonic cleaner and
steamer. I never looked there.
I always leave the stones on the wax bench if I am going to cast