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Help! A jeweler damaged my Montana sapphire

Discussion in 'Colored Gemstones' started by Meganmalieh, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Meganmalieh
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    by Meganmalieh » Jun 14, 2019
    Hello everyone! I need some advice on how to proceed. I took my engagement ring with a 2.12 carat unheated Montana sapphire into a local jeweler to have the prongs repaired (Not the jeweler who originally set the stone). They had it for about a week and a half and when I got it back, the culet was broken off. I don't even know how they would have done this. Anyway, after initially trying to imply that somehow it was damaged already (it wasn't), his bench called me and apologized, said they sent it out to have the work done, she didn't loupe it before or after, and that they had an appraiser coming in later that month and that they would have it looked at and then we would proceed from there.

    After the date they had given me, I called them to see how things were proceeding and they told me that they were trying to source a new stone for me, were having some trouble matching the color, but that they believed they had found a stone and they would have it within the week. I said "Will it be a Seafoam Green, Unheated, American Cut Montana Sapphire over two carats with a brilliant pavillion and checkerboard-cut crown?" to which the jeweler responded "Yeah, everything you just said." :roll About 6 days after that, they called me, told me that the stone would be there in a couple of days and that they'd like to go ahead and set it in my ring. I told him absolutely not, that I would be coming in with my husband to inspect the stone before any further action was taken. A few days go by, and my husband decides to stop in and grab my setting and broken stone only to find that it isn't there - they have sent it off to have MY STONE re cut without my permission. I told them that this was completely unacceptable. They told me "it'll be fine, it'll be just the way it was." I'm livid, but of course, I need to wait until the next day to get my stone back. We went in today to pick up the stone. He assured us the carat loss was under 1%. We checked it under a loupe and weighed it on a high-end Tanita carat scale....you guys, it's now less than 2 carats. 1.98 to be specific. The pavilion is no longer brilliant style but keeled :(

    I asked to see the receipt for the cut, and he refused to show me even though he had told me that he would over the phone. I asked him to email me some information, he refused. I asked him to only communicate with me through e-mail, he refused. I am so upset. He ruined my stone. I mean, I guess at least he had the damage cut out, but I would have had it done by someone specific if I had decided to go that route. I didn't get to decide. My husband put so much effort into picking out this stone, this color, this specific size for my vintage setting. I didn't have an appraisal done before which I now know was so stupid. We have the receipts for the stone, for its re-cut by Jerry Newman, including its size, weight, dimensions, etc. What would you do? Can/should I seek legal action? Is there some governing body I can report him to? Do I just suck it up and accept my smaller stone? I would be so grateful for any and all advice. Thanks in Advance!
     
    


    


  2. whitewave
    Ideal_Rock

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    by whitewave » Jun 14, 2019
    I would at least pay a lawyer to send him a letter. He owes you money.
     
  3. MollyMalone
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    by MollyMalone » Jun 14, 2019
    I don't know where you live, but I would be surprised if your local jeweler is subject to any kind of licensing agency. Think the best you can hope for is $X representing the loss, as determined by an appraiser, in value between the stone they were given & what they returned to you. And the cost of such a comparative appraisal may not be much more than the difference in value. Do you have photos of the original stone, after Jerry Newman's recut? Would you like appraiser recommendations?
     
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  4. mdi
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    by mdi » Jun 14, 2019
    I am SO sorry this happened to you. At the very least, he owes you some money that you could put toward picking out a new stone. But that's still not going to take away the sting of having a special stone damaged, then recut without your consent. Ugh! Keep us posted.
     
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  5. bludiva
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    by bludiva » Jun 14, 2019
    Do you have insurance on the ring? Does the jeweler have insurance? Sorry this happened to you and the jeweler keeps making the situation worse. :angryfire:
     
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  6. lovedogs
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    by lovedogs » Jun 14, 2019
    Oh HELL NO! I'd be calling a lawyer asap. This "jeweler" owes you money, period. In fact, I'd argue that he owes you for an entire new stone.id also be contacting the BBB, and writing SCATHING reviews to warn everyone else to stay away from this fraud!
     
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  7. MollyMalone
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    by MollyMalone » Jun 14, 2019
    So I've been thinking....
    If you don't have insurance (which I'm guessing you don't since you said don't have an appraisal), have you & DH had time by any chance to scope out, e.g., Gemfix and Earth's Treasury -- and the source for the original stone -- to see if there is a stone currently in stock somewhere that pleases you? If so, how about proposing to the botched-it jeweler that they purchase that new stone for you & keep the one they had recut? After all, if the recut they did was so trifling that they think you should keep it, it seems they ought to be able to sell it or make use of it themselves.

    Most jewelers do not have insurance that covers work done on "outside" stones, but in my experience where that's the case, they have you sign a waiver of liability acknowledging that you won't hold them responsible. Did they give you any indication along these lines?
     
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  8. qubitasaurus
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    by qubitasaurus » Jun 14, 2019
    I second the idea of picking out a new stone (of a similar cost and specifications to your original) and getting them to purchase it for you, and in turn they can keep the one they recut.

    I would let go of it fitting into your vintage setting. As this is a complication which honestly will just impede you at this point. A lot of settings are too shallow for colored stones anyway. As they originally housed diamonds and the refractive index of diamond is higher so it can be cut shallower, whereas the colored stone needs additional depth. If strange things are happening to the cullet of your stone during setting, then I would want time to quietly check the depth of your vintage mount before plunging into repeating this exercise. You can find something else to put in there later when you have a better grasp on things.

    As to the stone only losing 1%. To be honest if the cullet was chipped off to the point where you could immediately see it, then it had already probably lost more than 1 % of its original 2.12 ct weight just from the chip. Otherwise I am not sure it would even have been advisable to repair such a small ding in the underside. It is probably a good outcome to preserve the weight of 1.98 ct. at that stage, which is probably only been attainable by cutting it with a keeled bottom. I understand this is not the point though -- they recut it despite you expressly telling them not to. But I would try to avoid anger as much as possible. Try to concentrate on what they can do to make you whole -- do not let them do this on their own agency though, it needs to be spelt out by you explicitly and preferably agreed to in writing.
     
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  9. Tonks
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    by Tonks » Jun 15, 2019
    I’m horrified for you. How awful.

    If you are looking to replace it, reach out to Caysie van Bebber. She has had a lot of Montana sapphires recently, and perhaps she can source something that would be what you are looking for.

    Again, I’m so sorry.

    Definitely call an attorney in your state, as these types of things can vary by state. Ask if there would be a claim under bailment law. That would be my best guess.
     
  10. arkieb1
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    by arkieb1 » Jun 15, 2019
    That's horrible, I would never go to that jeweller again and ask them for a refund or some type of compensation - but that is also a really minor recut loss, generally when they recut things they lose way more % than that.
     
    


    


  11. T L
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    by T L » Jun 15, 2019
    I think the bigger problem is that they gave her a keel cut, which is horrible for half-and-half extinction. Her original stone had a different cut. It’s also under the 2 carat mark now. Depending on the color, that can mean a lot of money lost.
     
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  12. chatoyancy
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    by chatoyancy » Jun 15, 2019
    What a jerk! I’m so sorry this happened to you. I’d be hopping mad.
     
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  13. Crazie4Cuts
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    by Crazie4Cuts » Jun 15, 2019
    I am very sorry this happened to you. I am going to throw out what I think you should do and hope others will provide additional information.
    1) I would write a detailed timeline on what and when things happened for your records. I suggest keeping to only facts and no emotional words.
    2) Also note that you had express under no circumstances that the sapphire should have been recut without your knowledge.
    3) Since the stone was recut and no longer has the original specs as it was certified by AGL or GIA (I am assuming that stone was certed) that that you no longer view this stone as yours, but with that wish to choose another sapphire stone and be compensated by having them purchasing it outright or provide you with the total amount of the sapphire as you have the original receipts.
    4) And if agreeable to be sure you document this in writing and see if this can be resolved in xx days. If no suitable stone can be found, they must pay for the original amount of the stone and the recut stone is theirs to keep.

    I hope you did not take repossession of the recut Montana sapphire! That would indicate you are happy with the recut and they are under no further obligation to compensate for the recut, recertification, or anything else.

    -C4C
     
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  14. Meganmalieh
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    by Meganmalieh » Jun 17, 2019
    Thank you so much for the responses and advice! I'm still just so shocked. I don't think he'll do anything to make it right. The exchange when we went to go pick up the ring was awful and he was just terrible. I'm worried that a lawyer will end up costing as much or more than a replacement stone. I'm still thinking about small claims court, but I'm just so unsure of all the steps and if I have enough to prove what he did. I can't believe that he behaved so unprofessionally. An apology would have gone a long way and we could have talked about options that we could both agree upon. Instead he kept treating us as if we were trying to cheat him or something. Is it worth going to small claims court or is that going to backfire on me?
     
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  15. bludiva
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    by bludiva » Jun 17, 2019
    i took a contractor to small claims a few years ago. it wasn't too expensive (a hundred or so dollars in fees in my jurisdiction), it was stressful, it was infuriating to hear him lie his pants off in front of the judge, and i didn't have enough evidence for her to rule in my favor. BUT it was satisfying to be a thorn in his side and let him know some of his victims WOULD try to hold him accountable. i also warned future customers as much as i could through reviews and filing complaints with various agencies, BBB etc. (side note: i learned a BBB rating is bull*&^%, if the offending party doesn't respond to the complaints/case, the BBB just closes it eventually. This vendor had a strong BBB rating but had ripped off a lot of people)
     
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  16. JPie
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    by JPie » Jun 17, 2019
    Do you have a local news channel that does those stories on consumer issues? If so, it could be worth telling them your story on the chance that they'll pick it up and bring some negative publicity to this vendor.

    In any case, I'm sorry you're going through this.
     
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  17. elizat
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    by elizat » Jun 17, 2019
    I think @JPie has a great idea.

    I'm very sorry that happened.

    I don't know how much your stone cost, to say if it's worth it to pay a lawyer to write a letter for you. I think that the threshold question from a financial sense.

    As to small claims court, it's usually a few hundred dollars to file, but you will have to draft a complaint, get service on the party, then go to at least one hearing usually. They will usually try to force you to mediate as well. This is in my area, Florida. They want the small claims cases closed. There are so many.

    I would try to do that as a last resort.
     
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  18. MollyMalone
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    by MollyMalone » Jun 17, 2019
    Small Claims Courts aren't all alike. E.g., unlike what @elizat has described, the filing fees in NYC Small Claims Courts are very low: a $15 filing for claims where you're asking for up to $1,000; $20 for claims of $1,000 - $5,000 (you can't use Small Claims Court for damages of more $5,000). No formal litigation-type complaint needed, just a very short Claim form that's on the court website. And you don't need to pay a process server to deliver the Claim to the other side; the court sends it (at no additional cost to you) via certified mail & 1st class mail. Yes, they encourage mediation here too, but there's no downside to that; if mediation fails, the case returns to Small Claims Court, so it's not like you're forced into binding arbitration.

    I have no idea if your local Small Claims Court is more like mine or elizat's. But think the fundamental problem is that you don't yet have a comparative-type appraisal... not sure if you have everything an appraiser would need to do that, such as good photos of the stone before it was first set (but maybe you have at least some close-up pics of the ring as you initially wore it). Even a lawyer would like to able to include before-and-after Botched-It Jeweler pics, in addition to a copy of your purchase receipt, etc., in his/her demand letter to the jerk. And a TV show too will want that kind of "visual aid" for its broadcast.
     
  19. elizat
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    by elizat » Jun 17, 2019
    @MollyMalone yes, they are all very different! I don't practice in small claims put for some cases, my firm does-pip and Auto Glass subrogation as an example. They actually send small claims cases to binding arbitration at times here... But they also send parties in non- small claims to arbitration that is technically non-binding but acts as an oj/proposal for settlement as a sanction depending on the result.

    So, definitely depends on the locale!
     

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