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My Review on my Aqua Braclet

SB621

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
7,863
I hope I'm posting this in the right place and if not then my apologies in advance. I will ask the mods to please move to the correct place.

I want to first say that I have always appreciated vendor reviews on PS before so I will try to keep this as fair and accurate as possible. I will say that I am NOT looking for any resolution or way forward. I have accepted everything and I'm just going to let it go. Now with that said.

I contact Sally last year to make a pearl and gemstone bracelet for myself. I had all the pieces I just needed her to actually make the basket for the gemstone and to piece everything together. I gave her creative freedom but had 1 stipulation- that there be no hearts. This was March 2011 I believe. Sally sent some drawings with a wonderful motif that I just loved. I approved the design and the bracelet was completed a short while later. When it was sent back to me- the first thing I notice when I take it out of the box is out high the gemstone sits up off the wrist- around 17mm if not more. The way Sally attached the pearls to the bottom of the basket (I thought she would do it midpoint) not only made the bracelet sit up high, but it looked extremely awkward- almost unwearable. In fact I never actually wore it. I took it out to show a few friends and they all mentioned how the gemstone sat making the bracelet look like custom jewelry. It also made it irritating to wear as the weight was very top heavy and it would pull away from the wrist.

I didn’t contact sally because I knew some of the fault lay in the fact that the gemstone was large at 72ct - which was a temp gemstone as I looked for a more suitable aqua. I put it to the back of my mind with some notes on how I wanted to correct everything. We were moving and having a baby so everything had priority over this. Fast forward to this year and I contact Sally about redoing it with a 6ct aqua I found. I tell her how the bracelet really isn't wearable because the basket and gemstone sit so high off the wrist. I also tell her I want to keep the current motif if possible. I know it will be scaled down but I really like it.

Something around 4-5 weeks go by and I hear nothing from Sally. I'm surprised when she sends me final pictures as I never heard back from her on what was going on with the motif. Of course I immediately put it on PS before I really start looking at the pictures and literally my heart drops when I see the heart design on the sides. I don't mean to sound picky but I hate heart designs on jewelry. It reminds me of an old boyfriend that I would rather forget. Plus I like my jewelry to be more classic and with elegant lines...hearts just don't translate with me.

The other thing I have an issue with is that the heart has a cross in it. It is actually a French symbol having to do with Mary I believe. I have a huge problem with this as I don't want religious symbols in my jewelry especially when I'm not Christian and this bracelet is meant to be passed down to my daughter and her daughter etc. When I contacted Sally about all of this she sent back a very flowery email about the wonderful symbology of this symbol and it's Catholic (?) background. I emailed her back more firmly that I was not happy about it and she should have sent me new sketches if she were changing the design and why I earth would I want a Catholic symbol in my bracelet if I didn't actually request it?!?!?! I asked her to once again redo the bracelet with either the old motif or if that wasn't possible with something else that didn't have hearts and crosses on it. Her response back was very polite but brief. She would not recast the basket unless I now paid a 3rd time to have it redone. That she hoped I learned to love it and at least this one was more wearable then the first. Now I have literally tripled my budget for this bracelet and spent a few thousand dollars on it to once again have something that I just don’t love, but I want to love it. I love it from the top down but every time I see the heart I literally just starting rolling my eyes at this entire situation. There are also a few other structural issues with this bracelet. The pearls have large gaps between the last one and the basket on 1 out of the 6 strings. Also one of the corners that holds down the aqua doesn’t actually touch the aqua. The workmanship on my topaz version of this bracelet didn’t have any of these problems so I’m guessing it was a new person who did this version.

I take complete responsibility for not communicating better with Sally this time and setting expectations. I should have told her I wanted to approve the sketches etc… I thought she would remember from our first go around that I did not want hearts. I probably could have pushed the issue more with her but have decided after talking to my DH that when we go up to NY this summer I will have a local person there that I like to work with remake the basket. It will take 3 times to hopefully get this right…taking my original budget is well blown over. However, with that said I won’t be using Sally again for anything else. I just can’t believe she didn’t let me know about changing the motif and approving the new version…plus why on earth would you put religious symbols into what would hopefully be an heirloom piece of jewelry to someone who never asked for it.

Well if you made it through this long post, I just wanted to say thank you for reading. I also want to reiterate that I like Sally and her design style. I think she can be fabulous to work with and does make great pieces. It just didn't happen for me with this piece.

bracelet3.jpg
 

Attachments

thbmok

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2010
Messages
891
Thanks for the review. Hopefully third time's the charm and it'll be an easy fix!
 

Lee Little

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jun 25, 2007
Messages
429
Well, at the risk of appearing biased I will not comment on the experience with the vendor but I will say that I like your basic design. Clearly the first stone was much too large but the second stone seemed ideal in proportion. Good luck, Lee
 

SB621

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
7,863
Lee Little|1340814268|3224431 said:
Well, at the risk of appearing biased I will not comment on the experience with the vendor but I will say that I like your basic design. Clearly the first stone was much too large but the second stone seemed ideal in proportion. Good luck, Lee
In retrospect I wish I had kept the blue topaz in the orginal motif/setting- as it was a stunning piece. My MIL loved it and has 12mm pearls from her grandmother that she would have made a pendant out of it. I think the large topaz would have worked much better with those proportions. Once again it was a shoulda/ coulda/ woulda.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,470
Thank you for the review - I can see all junctions where all this could have turned for the better so it's a learning point for myself; a reminder I need to contact the bench on my project as I haven't heard anything for nearly 2 weeks. The original basket has a unique motif which I much prefer to the newer one. I am also a bit bothered by Sally's comment of "learning to love it" and making a basket with a religious symbols where one might not even be a Christian, much less Catholic.
 

stargurl78

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 19, 2010
Messages
3,296
Sarahbear621, I definitely understand your frustration. The bracelet is lovely but it's not what you wanted. You state the ways you could have been more involved but for a custom hand-made piece I think they should have at least sent the sketches before they proceeding with making it. I also don't like hearts on my jewelry, I think it looks cheesy unless it's done well (there are some Tiffany designs that I would wear).

I had problems with 2 rings I made from Sally and in the end, I have 2 very pretty rings but one of them is just not what I (very clearly) asked for. I was told it could be fixed but the cost was just too high. Like you, I was also told that I would learn to love it. The other ring was fixed to meet my original request and turned out great but at a cost to me that put me well over my budget. Sorry to vent here but I just wanted you to know that you're not the only one who has been unhappy with them.

I agree that they have great designs and can make some beautiful pieces but they need to make some changes in their custom process, in my opinion. I'm sorry that you are disappointed and I would definitely have your local jeweler remake the basket so that you can be happy with the bracelet and enjoy it.
 

cookies

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 5, 2010
Messages
706
SarahBear, I feel sorry that you have to try one more time. Do you still have the basket originally made for the large topaz, or did Sally keep it? I don't know if it's possible to put the original back..
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
12,348
Chrono|1340816285|3224461 said:
Thank you for the review -I am also a bit bothered by Sally's comment of "learning to love it" and making a basket with a religious symbols where one might not even be a Christian, much less Catholic.
This, exactly.
 

SB621

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
7,863
stargurl78|1340820576|3224518 said:
Sarahbear621, I definitely understand your frustration. The bracelet is lovely but it's not what you wanted. You state the ways you could have been more involved but for a custom hand-made piece I think they should have at least sent the sketches before they proceeding with making it. I also don't like hearts on my jewelry, I think it looks cheesy unless it's done well (there are some Tiffany designs that I would wear).

I had problems with 2 rings I made from Sally and in the end, I have 2 very pretty rings but one of them is just not what I (very clearly) asked for. I was told it could be fixed but the cost was just too high. Like you, I was also told that I would learn to love it. The other ring was fixed to meet my original request and turned out great but at a cost to me that put me well over my budget. Sorry to vent here but I just wanted you to know that you're not the only one who has been unhappy with them.

I agree that they have great designs and can make some beautiful pieces but they need to make some changes in their custom process, in my opinion. I'm sorry that you are disappointed and I would definitely have your local jeweler remake the basket so that you can be happy with the bracelet and enjoy it.

Thank you star- I knew that PSers would understand the disappointment in receiving a custom piece which wasn't what they pictured. I'm sorry too you had a poor experience. I think it is important to write reviews so others can learn from our mistakes. When ever I have a major piece custom made I try to write about the good, bad, ugly and marvelous. I'm just so irritated that i have spent soooooooooooo much time and money on this piece. I know my custom bench in NY would have told me right from the start with the topaz that my vision wouldn't work with this stone. That it was too deep and it would sit funny on my wrist. Or he would have attached the pearls at the half way point instead of at the bottom to adjust for the depth. I just feel like we had problems from the get go on this.

Cookie- No I don't have the orginal basket anymore. It was melted down and used for the new basket. Like I mentioned before I should have just left it as it was exquisit and I could have done something else with the topaz.

Chrono and Minx- The last email was really the turning point for me. I was not thrilled with the response and that is when I decided to wash my hands of this. I think both the vendor and I made mistakes but the more glaring ones were on their end with the customer service. If you spend that much money/ time on a custom piece redoing it twice so it would be perfect- you shouldn't learn to love anything.
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,630
Oh Sarah - I am normally a fan of Sally but saying that you may "learn to love it" is totally unacceptable. You also may not!

Like you, I am absolutely against religious symbols in jewellery and this would bother me greatly! Presumably Sally doesn't know your religion and you could have been Muslim or Jewish for all she knew so adding a Catholic symbol is very foolish.

One thing I have learned while working with Sally on my projects is that I have to be very very very very specific. I am a bit of a control freak where my designs are concerned so I don't give much leeway. I agree that I think part of the problem was in the lack of specifics BUT I understand why it happened. One thing I never do (and I'm sure you won't in the future) is trust that the vendor will remember me and my likes/dislikes. So at the expense of repeating myself, I usually do go through my requirements in full each time.

I'm sorry that this bracelet has gone over budget. For what it's worth, it's exceptionally beautiful and deserves to be put right so that you can enjoy and wear it. The design of the topaz basket was lovely - I suspect however that the design is too intricate for the smaller size so it may be worth thinking about something different again that you may want.

Good luck and I do hope you get this put right. Please post photos when you do as it's one of my all time favourite pieces.
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
12,348
Sarah: I did not at all mean to imply that you had done anything wrong, as I am not sure you really did. It is gracious of you, the customer, to say you should've checked in sooner, and now knowing what you know, problems might have been avoided had you done so. But I think a lot of us might have made the same assumptions. In fact, from my perspective being inexperienced with custom work, I most likely would've patiently waited (so as not to disturb the artistry in progress) and assumed that she would show me something - drawings, CADs, a simple sketch even - before going live.

It is a tough one; you want to respect their creative process and not feel that you are bothering them by asking questions. OTOH, you want to make sure you get what you want, and not what they feel like making.

Thanks so much for sharing, because you might have saved many of us from making the same mistake with whatever vendor we subsequently decide to work with.
 

LisaRN

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
3,290
Sorry the bracelet is still not "right". Egads paying a "few" thousand and not getting what you envisioned makes me feel bad for you. I too do not like hearts or anything religious when it comes to my jewelry and am sorry for the breakdown in communication with Sally.
 

SB621

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 25, 2009
Messages
7,863
minousbijoux|1340842022|3224778 said:
Sarah: I did not at all mean to imply that you had done anything wrong, as I am not sure you really did. It is gracious of you, the customer, to say you should've checked in sooner, and now knowing what you know, problems might have been avoided had you done so. But I think a lot of us might have made the same assumptions. In fact, from my perspective being inexperienced with custom work, I most likely would've patiently waited (so as not to disturb the artistry in progress) and assumed that she would show me something - drawings, CADs, a simple sketch even - before going live.

It is a tough one; you want to respect their creative process and not feel that you are bothering them by asking questions. OTOH, you want to make sure you get what you want, and not what they feel like making.

Thanks so much for sharing, because you might have saved many of us from making the same mistake with whatever vendor we subsequently decide to work with.
Hi Minous- No worries :tongue: I just reread my response and it didn't mean to come off defensive at all. It was meant to agree with you both about how the idea of learning to love a piece is really a turn off. And it is completely find to imply that I did something wrong because I really did. I think LD summed it up so very well. You should never assume that the vendor will remember your likes/ dislikes and you should spell out all expectations. If I had done either of those this never would have happened. Oh well at least I love it from the top down. maybe I will just put some masking tape over the hearts and crosses for the time being?!?!? I'm sure DH would really raise his eyebrows at that.
 

Indylady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
5,574
Sarah,

I am so sorry to hear about this project. I've been following your project for a while and really enjoyed the progress. I, too, would be very upset if I were you as well. Even in the initial design, it is incredibly poor designing to attach the pearls to the bottom of the basket. My aunt necklace of double stranded pearls with a similar design (of a large "pendant" off set to one side)..and the pendant was structured to have the connecting points midway on the basket; I guess that I, too, would have thought that it just made sense that way and wouldn't have specified to Sally. Don't even get me started about learning to love hearts and religious symbols. :angryfire:

I hope that the third go around goes well. Sending lotsa dust!
 

Coco914

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 9, 2011
Messages
147
Hi Sarah, I'm so sorry that your project has turned into such an ordeal... I've never used Sally for a custom piece, and after reading about your experience, I won't be doing so in the future. I cannot believe that you were told to "learn to love" a religious symbol that was 1.) used without your express instruction and 2.) from a religion you don't even identify with and 3.) told it could be fixed at your expense. A person's belief system is a very personal thing. It is mindboggling to me that a custom jewelry designer would do this and quite frankly, I think she should be a little ashamed of herself. Honestly, she ought to accept it back and adjust it to your liking... I hope that things work out when you take it to the other jeweler you have in mind.
 

pregcurious

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
6,724
What's the point of paying for expensive custom work when a designer just does what they want? Custom work means it's custom for the customer.

I'm sorry this happened to you Sarahbear.
 

Lovinggems

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 28, 2009
Messages
3,448
Another one bites the dust. I find the Etsy vendors that I have worked with are pretty good creatively, but often lacks professionalism.
Hope it is done to your satisfaction next time.
 

Treenbean

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 25, 2010
Messages
798
Sarah I think that really sucks about your beautiful bracelet. My hope would be that if you are dissatisfied with the end product the vendor should make it right, but I guess not in this case. I'm sorry this happened. I really like some of her designs but wouldn't commission anything from her now.
 

bluebirrrd

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2010
Messages
398
Thank you for coming forward and sharing your experience, Sarahbear. I'm so sorry for your disappointment with such a special project. You paid a premium to have your bracelet made exactly how you wanted and I'm surprised Sally wasn't more concerned about getting it 100% right for you. When making changes to a basic design, I think vendors should always check first and get approval before moving forward. They aren't mind readers and neither are we.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
20,691
I'm sorry Sarah.

I remembered this bracelet from Pearls and I was wondering why you'd posted again, and now I'm wondering a lot of other things. I'm Hindu, if someone used my payments to put a Catholic motif in my jewellery without explicitly asking me - and then tried to justify it - I'd be fuming, and frankly I think it's very (perhaps unnecessarily) gracious of you not to push the issue. But I also know you didn't want my opinion on that, so I hope you'll forgive me for offering it.

I really hope your local bench can fix this for you and give you exactly the bracelet you've been wanting for so long now. I think you were very fair in your review and in your acknowledgments of things you could've done differently as well - contacting the vendor more, expressing your tastes in full a second time, etc. It is definitely a good reminder for others considering custom work, especially long-distance work.
 
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