What you should expect from your local jeweler?

Why do big jewelry store chains think they can take advantage of a
customer and lie to them from time to time? Isn’t it a bad business
strategy? Why do they send out all their repairs to small shop
jewelers and do not pay on time for it?

I am writing an article called “What you should expect from your
local jeweler”. Any input or thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Who are you writing an article for that you would go into it with
such a biased opinion?

I think the first and most important thing you should expect from
your local jeweler is that they be someone that you can trust,
someone that will take the time to explain things and help you
understand whatever it is that you have gone to them for help with.

You should expect your local jeweler to be a source of information
that will help you make informed decisions about your jewelry. The
only time there should be a surprise involving jewelry is when it’s
received as a gift. People don’t generally like jewelry surprises
after that, at least the bad ones like when their white gold starts
to turn brown because the rhodium is wearing off, the bottom of their
platinum ring is getting dull or their opal breaks in half while they
are building a water sculpture in their garden. Some of these kinds
of things are unavoidable, but with a little knowledge about how
their jewelry was created and what it is made of, these things will
not come as unexpected surprises of jewelry ownership. I believe
that the more a customer has, the better their choices
will be when it comes to their jewelry and the happier they will be
with it in the long run.

You should expect your jeweler to tell you the pros and cons about
the all of the choices you are considering. If you’re only hearing
good, positive things, especially when having a piece custom made,
there is something missing, and they’re likely not being totally
straight with you. There are almost always good, better and best kind
of choices, with their associated inexpensive,
not-quite-so-inexpensive and “holy cow!” prices, and all will have
some sort of downside. Ultimate perfection does not exist in
jewelry; there are always trade-offs in any decision, especially with
things like metal selection. Some of your choices (especially for
repair and custom work) can include fast, good or cheap. You get to
pick two. Don’t expect all three.

You should expect your local jeweler to level with you when things
go wrong. Jewelers and goldsmiths are human and working with jewelry
is an art, not an automated science. Nobody likes for bad things to
happen and such things are rare, but they do happen occasionally,
regardless of our best efforts to prevent them. When things do go
wrong, you should expect a good-faith effort to make it right, but
you can’t expect miracles from mere mortals. No one can un-chip
Grandma’s diamond (not even the guy that chipped it, although he
desperately wishes he could, probably even more than you do), but it
can be repolished and reset so that the damage isn’t visible. Give
them a chance to make it right.

You should expect your local jeweler to make a profit. Without a
profit, they will not be there to help you in the future. The vast
majority of us love what we do, and would most likely continue to do
it even if we didn’t need the money. But this is usually not the case
and we have families to feed, cars to fix and homes that need a
constant influx of money. Please don’t squeeze your local jeweler too

Which leads to something you should not expect from your local
jeweler; the lowest price in town. If someone needs the cheapest
price, they should go to Wal-Mart or the Internet. But then they
shouldn’t expect your local jeweler to be able to turn a sow’s ear
into a silk purse when the cheap stuff lets them down, or to stand
behind it like they made it or sold it. If your local jeweler sizes a
cheap discount warehouse setting and a stone falls out of it a week
later, they shouldn’t be held responsible. Or when another stone
falls out, the shank breaks away from the top, or for everything else
that ever happens with it in the future. It wasn’t purchased from
them, they didn’t make it, their only responsibility was to make sure
that it fit, which is all that was paid for.

There seems to be some sort of implied warrantee when a jeweler
works on jewelry that they didn’t sell that is intrinsically unfair
to your local jeweler. The saying in the trade goes “if you work on
it, you own it”. So don’t be too hard on your local jeweler if they
don’t want to work on cheap stuff. It’s only self-preservation. It is
also unfair to get upset with your local jeweler when they try to
gently tell someone the ring they got at 70% off is worth slightly
less than what they paid for it and that’s why it’s falling apart.
Most local independent jewelers are very accomplished and can do
wonders with worn or damaged jewelry, but magic wands are rare. The
batteries in mine went dead long ago.

I guess, mostly, you should just expect your local jeweler to be
honest and straightforward in all of their dealings. You should
expect to be able to look them in the eye and know that what you are
hearing and seeing is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the
truth. You should also expect that they are human beings, with all of
the foibles associated with that particular condition.

I had a customer once tell me that finding a good jeweler is like
finding a good car mechanic. When you find one, keep them, go to them
for everything and tell everyone you know about them. Help them stay
in business so they’ll be there when you need them.


When you find one, keep them, 

My first jewelry boss told me this story…

When he was eighteen, during WWII when hard working civilian young
men in small towns were scarce, he was employed in a grocery store.
An old battleaxe had some problem with him one day and told him off.
The boss came over, listened to both sides then said, “Madam, please
be nice to the help, they’re harder to find than customers”.