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chipped without insurance

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devastated

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 28, 2002
Messages
3
ok, so my fiance bought me a 3.01 carat ring in may. it is an f color, I-1 clarity, good cut. i had it appraised in canada, where the ring was bought but didn't have it appraised here in the US yet. i decided i wanted to get it cleaned first, and then take it to a US appraiser so it could be approved under my US insurance.

i took it to philp press jewellers here on sunset boulevard in los angeles. it is supposedly a great company. they cleaned it, tightened the prongs, and the ring initially looked great.

i took it home, but soon noticed that there was a chip under one of the prongs. it took me 2 weeks to notice that it was even there.

i took it to a diamond dealer who told me the chip was so large, i would lose an entire carat once he removed the diamond from the setting -- it woud literally fall apart and need to be recut.

philip press is denying any responsibility, but i am positive that it was damaged during the tightening and polishing. it is not insured and i don't know what to do. do i take him to small claims court?? any advice??? i am so devastated.
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
4,924
Devasted, here's the bad news. Even if the jeweler chipped the stone upon tightening it, he is not legally liable to make you whole.

It's impossible for jewelers, stone setters and cutters to assume tremendous liabilities for work which they do at comparatively small service charges, or often for free. If they had to cover this liability, the charges for the services they perform would have to be increased exponentially.

Insurance is the medium which is designed to cover this risk of liability. Without it, you are gambling on the experience of the person doing the work and your good fortune. Either way, it is entirely your risk. If you have not covered that risk, you are the one who suffers in the event of misfortune.

That said, there's two options you might consider. One, if you have homeowners insurance, there is usually a $1000 automatic coverage for jewelry loss. There's a possibility that you might be able to claim that against your loss.

Two, you might try approaching the jeweler under a different scenario. Tell him that you understand that legally he is not liable, but that you would like to appeal to his professionalism as a businessman. Ask him if he would be willing to "split the loss" with you. (This amount can be figured out by an independent appraiser).

He probably is not going to be anxious to give you hundreds or thousands of dollars from a mistake resulting from his trying to help you with your ring. But, he also is conscious of consumer opinion, and would probably like to try and make you happy. I would suggest asking him if he would give you a "credit" instead of cash. I think you might find him receptive to this.

If those two options worked out, you'd have a credit for half the loss and a thousand dollars cash. Not the best solution, but better than nothing.

Sorry about the bad luck.

Rich, GG
Sarasota Gemological Laboratory

By the way, a 30% loss in weight would be pretty unusual in recutting a diamond to eliminate a chip. Usually the weight loss in such a situation is between 5 to 15%. The person giving you the estimate might not have been experienced in recut analysis. It's a pretty rarified skill. I would have an independent gemologist appraiser give you an estimate, or better yet, an experienced diamond cutter. I can give you the name and number of one if you're interested.
 

devastated

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 28, 2002
Messages
3
thanks so much for the reply.

the person who gave me the opinion on the re-cut is an expert diamond cutter here in los angeles.

he took high quality, digital close-up pictures of the diamond and told me that it looked like the crack was directly under the prong -- most likely because the prong was tightened too tightly. the crack has turned into what now looks like a chip, although there is no actual piece missing.

it is a terrible incident, and unfortunately the jeweler who tightened it is being very uncooperative and downright mean.

do you think i could take him to small claims court? that is what the diamond cutter told me to do. he said that i would have a case since it is a jewelers responsibility to make me aware of an existing problem with the ring. since he did not alert me to any problems, he is the one that most likely caused this problem.

what do you think?

i'd appreciate if you could give me the name of another expert...
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

Super_Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 15, 2000
Messages
15,332
Rich has given you exceptionally good advice. If he was a lawyer it would cost heaps!!!!

Regarding litigation - I would go for the $1000 aand forget the idea of pubicly claiming that the "incident" happened outside of your home because your insurance might only cover damage that occurs on the insured property.
 

Googleman

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2002
Messages
53
I am sorry to hear about your ring. I can understand how upset you are!

With respect to small claim's court, I had an experience to share that happened not too long ago. We purchased new construction and the tile work in the shower bathroom was done improperly. We didn't notice it right away, but after a while the bathrooms started smelling of mold in the showers. We had someone come to take a look and he said the mold was coming from the fact that the tile had been laid improperly in the showers, without some sort of waterproof liner (I know NOTHING about tile) and so the water from the shower was seeping through and growing mold underneath. We contacted the builder because it was faulty work from the get go. He built the house and now we had to rip all the tile out, get the liner put in and have the tile relaid properly. He refused to take responsibilty for the problem. We had the necessary work done anyway and it cost a few thousand dollars. We decided to take the builder to small claim's court to try to recoup the losses we sustained redoing the tile.

A word of warning about small claim's court, you see Judge Judy, the People's Court and so forth on TV and believe that any Tom, Dick or Harry can take a case to small claim's court in their area without a lawyer (isn't that supposed to be the beauty of small claim's--you have a somewhat small suit to settle, in such a case the expensive of hiring an attorney would be prohibitive so you can take the case to small claim's court yourself). This didn't turn out to be the case for us. First of all, you can bet the builder had a lawyer (score one point for him). I can imagine that your jeweler would also hire a lawyer. As soon as we gave notice to the builder that we were suing him, his lawyer came back at us with a bunch of paperwork (sorry I don't know the legal terms for these things) attempting to have the suit thrown out. These legal documents needed to be responded to and I had no knowledge of how to handle it. Luckily an attorney friend was able to make a response for me pro bono. The case was eventually heard in a small claim's court (although the attorney kept burying us in paperwork). We did win the case, without an attorney, however we were only awarded a few hundred dollars instead of the few thousand we were asking for. In the end, for a few hundred dollars, it wasn't worth the time and aggravation.

I suppose small claim's court may work fine when you are suing your neighbor or ex-lover, like on TV. However, take a builder, or in your case a jeweler to court and you can bet they are going to show up with a lawyer. And you can bet they will try to stop the lawsuit before it can get to court. It will be difficult to win your case if they have an attorney on their side and you don't. I don't honestly know when you suggest taking them to small claim's court, whether or not you were thinking of hiring an attorney or just trying to do it on your own. However, in case you were thinking of taking them on on your own, be advised that small claim's court is not the layman's bastion to remedy inequities when he is competing against those with much deeper pockets.
 

devastated

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 28, 2002
Messages
3
i guess it sounds like small claims court isn't an option unless i hire a lawyer...

it also sounds like my other options are really limited here.

thanks for the advice so far!
 
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