Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Diamond is Forever… Your Ring, Not so Long

All That Glitters

Submitted Photo | The result of diamond loss.

Here I go again, preaching about having your valuable diamond jewelry checked for wear and tear and most likely… stone loss.

You know why? Apparently, no one is listening. I have been replacing lost diamonds emeralds, rubies and sapphires like there is no tomorrow. And business is good!

Business-wise I would be smarter to keep my mouth shut, namely because I end up with the lion’s share of gemstone replacement work in these here parts and have been for the better of twenty-six years now. Repair and restoration work is a big part of my store’s revenue. So, giving the following advice could cause me to hold off ordering that two-door convertible Bentley I’ve had in mind. (If you believe that, I still have some million dollar shares available for that diamond mine I found in the Everglades.)

The old saying “a stitch in time save nine” could not be more accurate. Just replacing a worn or missing prong before the gemstone completely falls out is worth the cost of the repair. This is short money compared to replacing a large diamond or a valuable colored stone. A diamond or gemstone that jiggles or moves in the setting is like a loose tooth, without attention it will fall out eventually. Same thing for a bracelet or simple pendant; sometimes it just needs a simple tightening.

OK, it’s time for a reality check… Losing a diamond out of a ring is your fault and no one else’s, especially since you neglected to have your ring checked periodically. And don’t give me the “I don’t have the time” or the “I don’t trust anybody to look at my ring” excuses. (The non-trusting types almost always lose gemstones, and then I always politely show them the door when they refuse to have the repair leave their sight.) And then there is my favorite oxymoron, “I‘ve been wearing it every day for over forty years and I never had a problem with it,” she exclaimed, as I stared dumbfounded at the ring, with all its prongs missing and no center stone.

Replacing half the ring, new six prong head and missing diamond ended up being a $3,000 out-of-pocket expense. Why? Her insurance company refused to pay because she neglected to have it inspected every year and turn in the report according to the insurance contract. Some companies require this obligation; check your fine print in the contracts. Another unhappy camper was not covered for stone loss because she did not lose the whole ring; the center gemstone alone was not covered.

Performing a simple inspection and cleaning to evaluate years of wear and tear only takes a few minutes, which by the way is a free service in my island jewelry shop. Diamond loss could have been avoided in many of the cases; a quick professional inspection would have caught it in time.

Swimming in the chlorinated condo pool wearing every piece of jewelry you own may to some folks be considered stylish, but all it does is destroy everything displayed on your person right down to that funky gold toe ring. Remove it all before you make the plunge or face the inevitable consequences. Also, additional jewelry pieces that are severely affected are earring posts and backs, and especially thin gold chains, you may also notice all silver jewelry turns brown or black from the effects of chlorine.

So, what have we learned here?

  1. Have your most loved and regularly worn jewelry inspected periodically, every six months at least.
  2. Replace worn or missing prongs immediately.
  3. Wearing diamond and gold jewelry in chlorinated swimming pools or hot tubs will only accelerate prong loss because it actually dissolves the precious metals and makes the jewelry brittle and prone to premature prong loss.      
  4. Have earring posts and backs inspected for snugness and make sure screw backs are functioning properly.
  5. Make sure catches are doing just that …catching! Replace worn or malfunctioning catches or clasps on your chains or bracelets, anklets.
  6. If you happen to possess a suspicious, non-trusting, paranoid schizophrenic personality unable to let go of any possessions, avoid asking me to perform any jewelry inspection at all costs.

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