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Bad situation with James Allen - looking for advice

mwalker2013

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
Messages
4
I am really sorry if this is the wrong forum, hopefully I am in the right place. My wife reads these boards a lot and said someone might be able to help or have advice.

My wife and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary on December 15th. I wanted to get her a new wedding set and she asked for a sapphire engagement ring. We did a lot of research and everyone recommended James Allen as the place to get it from, and that worked out well for us because we were providing our own (lab created, her request) sapphire. We sent the stone in to them a few weeks ago and received the ring back in the mail today.

As soon as I opened it, the first thing I saw was a large scratch on the face of the sapphire. We bought it brand new from Chatham Gems back in early October, and it definitely was not there before we sent it to James Allen. When it came my wife and I had checked it as carefully as anyone could, because we wanted to make sure that stone was absolutely perfect, and the place we bought it from had a guarantee that we could return it for another stone if we didn't like it for any reason.

We spoke to James Allen right away and were told that they made no notes about any sort of scratch when they received it. No one ever contacted us to say anything about it, which I assume they would have had to do if they received a scratched stone from us, if only to protect themselves. It goes through a quality check after it's made, and again, we were not contacted in any way about anything. The person I spoke to was sympathetic but wasn't really able to offer anything in terms of a resolution. We're sending the ring back today to see if there is anything they can do in terms of buffing it out, but I don't know if that's something that is even possible (and I don't really have a lot of confidence in them right now). And even if we tried to buy a new sapphire and have it sent to James Allen (something we can't afford), I was told they couldn't guarantee it would be ready in time for our anniversary.

The worst part about this is my wife was not going to look at the ring until I gave it to her on our anniversary, and I had to show it to her after it came this morning, and she was crushed. When my wife and I were married, we didn't have enough money for a ring and she didn't get a traditional proposal. I've been planning to do this for years, and now it's been ruined because James Allen was careless. I'm just so upset. I am really hoping they will make this right, but frankly, I don't really know how they can.

Does anyone have any advice on what we should do, or any knowledge on anything that can be done to fix this? We're grateful for any help and information. I've included before and after photos for reference, obviously the ones of just the sapphire were taken before we sent the stone to James Allen. Hopefully the scratch is visible, taking photos of it was a bit of a challenge.

Thanks for reading, and mostly for letting me vent.

-Matt

scratched_stone_1.jpg

scratched_stone_2.jpg

scratched_stone_2_2.jpg

unscratched_stone_3.jpg
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,747
Sapphire is pretty straightforward to polish. It may need to be taken out of the setting and it may not but I think it's fair to assume it will. That said, that's not all that hard either. I haven't a clue what JA's policy is on warranty work for stones they set but didn't sell, but they're a pretty well-regarded company and the first thing to do is definitely to send it back and see what they have to say. I'm not surprised the phone clerk didn't know what to do. This is pretty far outside of the sales department wheelhouse. When they've got the stone in hand, I'm sure you'll hear from someone who at least understands the question and is prepared to answer.

Chatham may have some sort of a warranty as well. I don't know their rules either but I"m sure they're prepared to tell you. In any case, yes this can be repaired to 'new' condition.
 

Blingalingaling

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
521
I have no personal experience with this but the first thought I had was, is your stone insured? Perhaps you can make a claim with your insurance company. I'm sorry that this happened to you.
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9,637
My first thought was to wait and see if it can be buffed out and then that issue is solved. I know you wanted to do the big proposal, and you can still do that. As long as it comes from the heart, it will be wonderful. (I get what you are saying about spoiling the atmosphere)

The ring is beautiful and I hope it all works out in the end.
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
9,466
Drop Jim an email Jim @ jamesallen .com and make him aware of the situation and this thread.
Remove the spaces in the address first however.
He is the boss there are will help as much as he can.
 

mwalker2013

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
Messages
4
Thank you all for your responses!

denverappraiser said:
Sapphire is pretty straightforward to polish. It may need to be taken out of the setting and it may not but I think it's fair to assume it will. That said, that's not all that hard either. I haven't a clue what JA's policy is on warranty work for stones they set but didn't sell, but they're a pretty well-regarded company and the first thing to do is definitely to send it back and see what they have to say. I'm not surprised the phone clerk didn't know what to do. This is pretty far outside of the sales department wheelhouse. When they've got the stone in hand, I'm sure you'll hear from someone who at least understands the question and is prepared to answer.

Chatham may have some sort of a warranty as well. I don't know their rules either but I"m sure they're prepared to tell you. In any case, yes this can be repaired to 'new' condition.
Thank you for this! It made me feel much better about the situation. The scratch looks like it is only on the center flat part (sorry if this is the wrong terminology), not on any sort of facet, so I am hoping that makes it easier to fix. And I will give Chatham a call and see what they think, because I believe they did say they have a lifetime warranty.

Blingalingaling said:
I have no personal experience with this but the first thought I had was, is your stone insured? Perhaps you can make a claim with your insurance company. I'm sorry that this happened to you.
It was not. We had planned on insuring the entire ring once we received it back, along with the wedding ring.

whitewave said:
My first thought was to wait and see if it can be buffed out and then that issue is solved. I know you wanted to do the big proposal, and you can still do that. As long as it comes from the heart, it will be wonderful. (I get what you are saying about spoiling the atmosphere)

The ring is beautiful and I hope it all works out in the end.
Thanks, I appreciate that. We love the ring and they did a wonderful job making it, aside from this.

Karl_K said:
Drop Jim an email Jim @ jamesallen .com and make him aware of the situation and this thread.
Remove the spaces in the address first however.
He is the boss there are will help as much as he can.
Thank you! I will reach out to him tonight.
 

jginnane

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
3
Simple question: Is it really corundum, aka aluminum oxide, aka synthetic sapphire?


Reason I ask is that all premium watches (like IWC) have gone to sapphire crystals for their Mohs hardness, and my experience is that you would have to struggle exceedingly hard to even put a tiny nick in the face of it. A long scratch? Just doesn't happen if it's real synthetic sapphire.

When you talk to JA see if the person who did the work made any notes about the gem. If it was sold to you as something that it wasn't, your recourse isn't against JA but the original seller. (GIA will examine sapphires etc for a nominal charge, like $100 or so, and if it's not what you expect it to be their word on a report is pretty much gold.)
 

mwalker2013

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
Messages
4
jginnane said:
Simple question: Is it really corundum, aka aluminum oxide, aka synthetic sapphire?


Reason I ask is that all premium watches (like IWC) have gone to sapphire crystals for their Mohs hardness, and my experience is that you would have to struggle exceedingly hard to even put a tiny nick in the face of it. A long scratch? Just doesn't happen if it's real synthetic sapphire.

When you talk to JA see if the person who did the work made any notes about the gem. If it was sold to you as something that it wasn't, your recourse isn't against JA but the original seller. (GIA will examine sapphires etc for a nominal charge, like $100 or so, and if it's not what you expect it to be their word on a report is pretty much gold.)
Well, it's a Chatham sapphire. Obviously I am not an expert by any means but we did a lot of research because we wanted to make sure whatever we bought was legitimate and looked good (i.e. not cheap, considering it was a synthetic) and everything I have read and been told is they are one of the best for synthetics and have been for a long time. It was sent to us directly from Chatham Gems (not from a third party), so I don't think it's really possible.

The person I spoke to at James Allen told me there were no notes at all about any scratches when they received it, and that it most likely would have been noted during their intake inspection if it was there when they received it. And that's another part that really bothers me: even if it was there when it was received (and it wasn't), no one called to say anything to me, or made a note to protect their own company? And it wasn't noticed during the quality inspection after it was made? Either it wasn't checked very carefully or they hoped I wouldn't notice/care.
 

mwalker2013

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2016
Messages
4
Good update on my situation. I spoke with Mr. Schultz today and honestly, he could not have been nicer. He thinks they will be able to fix the stone pretty easily, which was a relief, and basically made every effort he could to make everything right with me. Obviously this didn't go quite as smoothly as I hoped it would, but I also understand things happen, and I really appreciate the efforts they are making to fix everything.

Thanks to everyone who commented for their thoughts and help!
 

flyingpig

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 7, 2015
Messages
2,175
mwalker2013|1479414455|4099885 said:
Good update on my situation. I spoke with Mr. Schultz today and honestly, he could not have been nicer. He thinks they will be able to fix the stone pretty easily, which was a relief, and basically made every effort he could to make everything right with me. Obviously this didn't go quite as smoothly as I hoped it would, but I also understand things happen, and I really appreciate the efforts they are making to fix everything.

Thanks to everyone who commented for their thoughts and help!
Nice. I like JA.
 

jginnane

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 18, 2014
Messages
3
When the fix is made, I think it could be helpful to find out the depth and dimensions of the mark. It might align with a fracture line, or it may just be a surface mar -- either way, this is useful information to keep.

I know when I put my knives in the diamond-grit rig to buff up to a mirror finish, it's a usual practice to scribble with a Sharpie on the blade edge (where you're sharpening) so you can quick-check that your grit board is properly aligned. (If it's aligned, you'll remove the pen markings in the first pass or two.) I guess it is theoretically possible that something so simple could have skipped final checking and been returned to a customer, though this isn't exactly what you said you saw.
 
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