Friday, August 23, 2019

Who’s Zooming Who?

All That Glitters

Wow! In the last Breeze column I mentioned the fact that some folks were under the impression that their supposed “diamonds” may not be real diamonds. That sparked an influx of curious folks who wanted to be sure of the fact. Let’s just say I looked at a lot of nice and not-so-nice diamonds these past two weeks. The results were positive. Most were in fact real diamonds, a few known (?) cubic zirconias here and there, and only one soul was disappointed with my prognosis.

I understand only too well that some people are very paranoid about leaving their cherished diamond(s) at a jewelry store. I once had a woman almost fly over the counter when one of my sales staff offered to clean her ring so we could inspect it for necessary repair work. I never saw such a traumatic reaction, shaking and sweating and ranting and raving she never let that ring out of her sight (the cleaner was in plain sight and only four feet away). So yes, she wanted to come behind the counter into my work shop and sit next to me while I performed the complicated repair right then and there… yea right! I guess she didn’t know me so well! This woman had a meltdown when we just cleaned her ring. Needless to say, I did not accept her demented demands or her repair. Obviously she didn’t trust me, so why would she think I would let a paranoid stranger behind my counter? Imagine her reaction when I put a jeweler’s torch to her ring! By the way, her diamond was in the top 10 for the worst quality stones I had ever seen in my career. A stone switch would have been an improvement in that case.

I honestly do understand some are hesitant leaving their precious rocks for repair, especially if the store “sends out” the work, as many stores do. In my world, 99% of the work is done on site right here in my island shop. Diamond or gemstone polishing, cutting or chip repairs have to be done out of state; no local diamond cutters or polishers that I know of around these parts, so that’s all that leave the premises, registered and insured.

For those of you who have the “I trust no one” gene in their DNA, there is a tried and true way to insure that the diamond you left at the jeweler is the same one you pick up later. It’s called plotting your diamond.

Plotting a diamond is like a fingerprint. No two diamonds are the same. It involves exact measurement and examination under extreme magnification and this is all done in your presence. Some stores have a photographic system that takes a high resolution photo so you can compare the details before and after the work is done.

So what the heck is a plotting?  All your diamond’s internal inclusions, (AKA flaws, imperfections, specks) are noted and mapped for their exact locations. This would also include exterior features, such as large or even the tiniest chips or abrasions. If the diamond requires removal to perform the repair that is even better, the stone can be weighed and all precise measurements can be made such as diameter and stone depth to the tenth of a millimeter. All this information is documented and put on a piece of paper.

Simply said, if your diamond has an inclusion that looks a little like the dog Goofy and after the repair you look at the plotting record and he’s still in the diamond, that’s your Goofy diamond.

The size, shape, color, weight and inclusions are all identifying factors in the plotting that will leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that the diamond is yours. Period. If you are still not satisfied, I have the number of a good shrink who can help you with your obvious problem.

Plotting can also be done with precious stones, such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

I had a bad experience many years ago working in a Boston area chain store when an elderly lady left a four carat antique marquis shaped diamond ring for prong replacement and she insisted on picking it up early the next day. I had to stay late and burn midnight oil to have it ready by morning. Now the facts… The ring was filthy, and gunked up with hand cream, various food groups and lord knows what else; all that stuff had to be boiled out and be sterilized before I could even begin the repair process. All old worn out platinum prongs were replaced with new ones and the ring was then polished to perfection; It was truly a magnificent ring. She showed up in her chauffeured limousine at exactly 10 AM.

My boss was so excited about the results that she personally presented the repaired ring to her. instead of joy and jubilation, the woman’s words were exactly “That’s not my ring! Where’s my ring?” I was summoned up from the downstairs shop and tried to deal with a very distraught customer. I assured her that the ring was indeed hers, only it was now clean and shiny with new prongs. She would have none of it! “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer!”  I thought my boss would have a cardiac episode by now. The lawyer called an hour later, and I politely explained to him that the Madam must have bats in her belfry because that’s the ring she left with us without question. I then inquired, a diamond of this value and magnitude has to have an appraisal. Luckily there was, and it was thirty years old. Not a problem, I said, “Are the weight, measurements and inclusions noted?” Yes, they were. I told them to come get the ring bring it to a gemologist to verify it’s the same gem. We were later notified she called off the wolves (lawyer). Obviously it checked out, it was without a doubt her diamond… Not so much as a simple apology for her blatant error. A plotting would have eliminated all that drama.

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