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Jeweller ruined my ring but blames the diamond and the mount

diamondhoarder

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 5, 2012
Messages
543
I am hoping that some people with bench expertise can chip in on this :wavey:

I bought a 0.8ct cushion cut diamond from JA as a loose stone. Here is the ASET for the stone to show the shape - its a little elongated:


I then had a semi-mount custom designed and made by a trusted vendor in Hong Kong to fit my stone. I sent him the exact dimensions of the diamond so that the prongs would fit the stone perfectly. To avoid the logistics of sending the diamond to Hongkong for setting, I had the semi-mount shipped to me in the UK, with a plan to get a local jeweller to set the diamond.
Here are CAD drawings for the semi-mount:


The semi-mount when it arrived was beautifully made, exactly to the specifications we agreed. I had asked for the white gold inside the U=prongs to be highly polished, reflective and completely smooth as well as rhodium plated so as to get as brighter, whiter look under the diamond as possible (in case of light leakage etc) and this was done very nicely. The prongs were designed so that the culet would be visible and also so that a band could sit flush against it


I took the diamond and semi-mount to a local jeweller with their own workshop, who were happy to set the stone for me. I asked for it to be set low in the prongs (but without changing the setting in any way). When I arrived to collect the ring the sales assistant refused to hand it over until I signed a disclaimer - apparently the benchman (who is one of the owners of the shop) had concerns about the "longevity" of the ring and wouldn't guarantee the work. I was quite taken aback, but assumed that this was a reference to not wanting to guarantee the security of the pave shoulders on the ring, based on the fact that he didn't make it himself, so i signed the waiver. The ring looked OK under the lights of the jewellery shop but in daylight I noticed that the stone looked darker and less lively than it had before it was set. Once I got it home I cleaned it thoroughly and once I louped it I could see several issues:

1) My VVS2 stone looked like it had feathers in it, but on closer inspection they were reflections of scratches in the U-prongs under the diamond
2) The jeweller had drilled a recess down into the base of the U-prongs and sunk the diamond so low in the setting that the culet was no longer visible from the side
3) He had left rough metal filings sticking up around the site of the drill hole, as well as scratches from filing marks, so my bright white reflective gold under the diamond had become dark, dull and messy
4) He hadn't even set the diamond level in the prongs - one side seems higher that the other when the ring is viewed side on

I called the jeweller straight away and spoke to the co-owner (not the the benchman) about my concerns and that is where things started to get really upsetting. She said that she knew the benchman had had problems seating the diamond in the prongs "due to problems with the symmetry of the diamond"!?! and also due to the fact that "the mount was not the right shape for the stone". She specifically said that the mount wasn't made for my stone and that was a big problem, and the reason why the benchman wouldn't guarantee the work. I couldn't believe what she was saying - the mount was a perfect fit for my stone - I measured it myself and when balancing my stone on top of the prongs could see that the stone would sit perfectly in the ring. Also my stone is a really nice cut, and has very good symmetry according to its GIA cert, so it seems pretty ridiculous that the jeweller is also trying to blame my stone for his poor diamond mounting skills!

When they agreed to do the work, having examined the stone and the mount, no-one said anything about there being a problem with the semi-mount, or the diamond, or that the work would not be guaranteed. No-one asked if it was ok to drill a hole in the ring to drop the stone lower either.

So my question is, based on the info and pics I have supplied, is there any merit in what this jeweller is saying, or is he just trying to cover up his incompetence by blaming my stone and semi-mount for his shortcomings? Is there a fundamental design flaw in my semi-mount? Does the ring design look substantial, and workable based on the cads? Does it look like a ring in which the diamond would be secure? Why would someone decide to drill a hole through the prongs and drop the diamond lower - is that normal practice with a design like this? If so then shouldn't the hole have been incorporated in the original CADs?

I am due to meet the benchman/ owner of the shop on Wednesday to discuss what can be done now and I'm determined not be fobbed off with a load of excuses. If he had such concerns about the semi-mount and the diamond I wonder why he took on the work in the first place, or didn't at least call me to discuss concerns as they arose in the workshop. Would it be reasonable to ask him to unset my diamond and return the semi-mount to its original state before he got his hands on it, so that I can just take it elsewhere to have the diamond set? Or should I give him the chance to put it right himself? I am thinking in that case I would ask him to fill in the hole, build up the prongs again, re-polish and re-rhodium and then set the diamond (evenly) in the prongs like I was expecting him to do in the first place. Can I reasonably expect him to put the problems right for free? Or to return my stone and restored setting and refund me for the work?

If there really is a fundamental design problem with my semi-mount then this will change the conversation that I have with the benchman on Wednesday. But right now I'm thinking that the problem lies with the benchman......

_38448.jpg

cushion_ring_cad.jpg

semi_mount_photos.jpg
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jan 7, 2009
Messages
8,175
Re: Jeweller ruined my ring but blames the diamond and the m

Hi
Uy!
There's no way to make this pretty so let me just lay it out. The job of setting is a vital component in the manufacture of the ring.
Unfortunately, a given diamond setter who is not… as talented as another setter can easily screw up a ring. Top notch setters are extremely difficult to find. Mediocre work is quite easy to find.
It would also be unrealistic to expect the store that messed up with the ring to be able to put the ring back the way it looked when you got it, before he started working on it.
To further complicate matters, this is not a black-and-white case where you can lay the blame on the guy who messed up the ring. – Sometimes it is virtually impossible to set a diamond totally level, and at right angles to the shank of the ring.
Even if a diamond has an entirely symmetrical outline, differences in the pavilion, and variations in the girdle can make setting the stone straight and level a test of skill

Unfortunately (yet again) it is very common for jewelry stores to take work on even though they may not be able to produce the results you expect. First of all, they may not be aware of exactly what you desire.
Second of all, business is tough – stores are reticent to turn down any work.

I don't even have any great advice for how to resolve the issue. Maybe get in touch with the manufacturer of the ring, and see if it's possible to send them both ring and diamond to have them straighten out the issues.

I am super sorry that this happened to you. Unfortunately it is a great example of why it is in a consumer's best interest to buy the diamond in the ring from the same source.
 

pyramid

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 10, 2002
Messages
4,607
Re: Jeweller ruined my ring but blames the diamond and the m

I wonder if the fact that you asked for the diamond to be set low had any bearing on
the benchman drilling a hole in the ring?
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
Messages
9,466
Re: Jeweller ruined my ring but blames the diamond and the m

ugh
Another botched setting job.
Unfortunately it happens from time to time.
Bring three different companies involved makes it complicated to work out a solution as there
will likely be a lot of finger pointing,.

One point if the diamond is put in the setting and is at the right level before setting the mount is actually too big.
The stone will sit lower into the setting after being set because the stone sets into the prongs not on them.
Cushions sometimes have weird girdle profiles that can give even a good setter a headache and prongs
other than round make it tougher.
That said a skilled bench who takes reasonable care can set them properly.
I wish you the best of luck getting this resolved. The only advise I can give you is decide what the a reasonable acceptable
solution is for you and be firm but polite.
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,747
Re: Jeweller ruined my ring but blames the diamond and the m

Many jewelers, most even, would decline this job for this reason. The risks of unhappiness are just too high for the payoff. That's water under the bridge at this point and we don't really know what the root of the problem was. It may not even matter.

The 'repair', such as it is, is to replace the entire crown portion of the ring and start over on the setting job. If you go this route I highly recommend you use the original manufacturer if they're even willing to do it. Ask. It's a can-of-worms and the repair is significantly more difficult than the original job. You already have 3 hands in the pie and your plan would make it 5 (manufacturer, diamond cutter, the jeweler who messed it up, the repair jeweler, and the final setter). That's a lot of opportunity for fingerpointing. There are risk and tax implications to sending your stone to China and back but it's possible that the manufacturer can hire someone in the UK to do the setting work on their behalf. They may have connections that you don't. Again, ask.

FWIW, what you're asking for isn't an especially easy job and it's far from guaranteed that the stone and mounting fit together just because the manufacturer promised they would. I agree that this is a conversation that should have happened up front and I agree that this is often a problem area for jewelers. The people at the sales counter are not the same as the people doing the actual work and skill at benchwork is not the same as skill at communicating with customers. That's a big piece of the reason that thinking jewelers decline this sort of assignment, even though there's money on the table. Also bear in mind that the setter probably isn't going to provide any sort of warranty on this, no matter how well or how poorly it's done, and no matter how skilled they are. Given that the manufacturer is overseas, I doubt they will either, so be aware of your insurance or your own risks if you choose to go uninsured.
 

diamondhoarder

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 5, 2012
Messages
543
Re: Jeweller ruined my ring but blames the diamond and the m

Thanks guys, for the thoughtful responses. It seems from what you are all saying that it would be a bad idea to let the local jeweller do any more work on the ring.

I am so frustrated as it sounds like I now have to pay for an even more expensive job to get the ring finished properly. Would it be reasonable to expect the local jeweller who messed it up to refund me for the work which was botched?

It isn't possible to send the diamond back to Hong Kong for setting as there are no insured services from the UK to China accessible to private individuals. I will see if the if the manufacturer has any contacts in the UK, although I think he would have mentioned this before.

I do have a contact in London that I would trust with the re-make of the setting and re-mounting the diamond. I would just rather not have to pay for this work twice over :nono:
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9,637
Re: Jeweller ruined my ring but blames the diamond and the m

null
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9,637
Re: Jeweller ruined my ring but blames the diamond and the m

Its not how you wanted it, I get that, but does it look bad? Is there any chance you will come to love how its set? (Just asking)
 

oldminer

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Sep 3, 2000
Messages
6,378
Re: Jeweller ruined my ring but blames the diamond and the m

When the ring was designed, I doubt you told the designer you wanted to set the diamond lower than in a normal way. Then you asked the setting jeweler to set the diamond lower than the norm called for in the existing ring. The jeweler made it sit lower and it sounds like the job was poorly executed. You and the setting jeweler now have to share responsibility for botching the job. You for asking the setter to not use the ring as it had been designed and the jeweler for agreeing to do a job they seemingly could not handle to a high level of quality. What a mess!

No doubt it can be corrected by changing the central setting portion of the ring. You should set the new center within the normal height of the prongs which are replaced. It can be re-designed now to be set with the diamond set "low" and the culet virtually touching the finger, but it should be re-designed that way, not modified on the fly by the setter.

All of this can be done correctly, but ultimately, you, the retail consumer, is generally left holding the responsibility for all the added costs. Maybe you still trust the jeweler who botched it up or maybe you don't trust them any longer. If you do trust them, they may cut you a break, but if you don't wish to trust them, you likely have to find a new source for the repairs and setting. If you fully explain what happened to a good jeweler/setter, that new jeweler/setter can do exactly what you want done without any big problem. None of this had to happen, but once it happens, then whatever steps that follow are somewhat out of your control. Very sorry for your problems with this. The initial design and the actual ring looked just fine.
 

diamondhoarder

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 5, 2012
Messages
543
Re: Jeweller ruined my ring but blames the diamond and the m

Oldminer|1476737285|4088017 said:
When the ring was designed, I doubt you told the designer you wanted to set the diamond lower than in a normal way. Then you asked the setting jeweler to set the diamond lower than the norm called for in the existing ring. The jeweler made it sit lower and it sounds like the job was poorly executed. You and the setting jeweler now have to share responsibility for botching the job. You for asking the setter to not use the ring as it had been designed and the jeweler for agreeing to do a job they seemingly could not handle to a high level of quality. What a mess!

No doubt it can be corrected by changing the central setting portion of the ring. You should set the new center within the normal height of the prongs which are replaced. It can be re-designed now to be set with the diamond set "low" and the culet virtually touching the finger, but it should be re-designed that way, not modified on the fly by the setter.

All of this can be done correctly, but ultimately, you, the retail consumer, is generally left holding the responsibility for all the added costs. Maybe you still trust the jeweler who botched it up or maybe you don't trust them any longer. If you do trust them, they may cut you a break, but if you don't wish to trust them, you likely have to find a new source for the repairs and setting. If you fully explain what happened to a good jeweler/setter, that new jeweler/setter can do exactly what you want done without any big problem. None of this had to happen, but once it happens, then whatever steps that follow are somewhat out of your control. Very sorry for your problems with this. The initial design and the actual ring looked just fine.
I wanted the jeweller to set the diamond exactly as the ring was designed to have it set. When I showed the semi-mount to the sales assistant we agreed that there was leeway for the diamond to be set higher or lower in prongs by a small amount and so I asked for it to be set as low as possible (so there would be very little gap under the culet). It seems like the message got confused in the relaying of it to the setter by the sales assistant. I wish I had of drawn a diagram or something now!
 
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