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Need advice: Jeweller chipped my diamond during setting

Icy Melona

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2008
Messages
161
Hi all, I took in 2 GIA certified cushion brilliant cut diamonds of F, vvs2, 0.8ct each to be set as sidestone rings on a 3 stone ring.
At the time I also picked up a pair of earrings, also of cushion cut diamonds of similar size and clarity, that I had made as well. When the jeweller was checking the GIA insciptions, it turned out that he had used the cuchion diamonds that I wanted as earrings as the ring's sidestones instead. I didn't mind that he had swapped it around as they were better cut diamonds. And since it was near closing time and I had a dinner date and also because I've brought in in total 20 stones to be set by the same jeweller I didn't check the condition of stones before I left.

A couple of days after I picked up the ring, I looked under a 10x loupe and I thought I could see a crystal in one of the F, VVS2 side stone on the ring. I thought it was strange as I had checked the condition of the stones on purchase and my vendor had sent through diamond reports as well as microscopic photos and videos. And I had checked the stones myself with 30x loupe when I purchased it and stone was eye clean even under 30x loupe. As a side note, I have been dealing with the diamond vendor for close to 10 years and I have no reason to believe he would have sold me a chipped stone without telling me first.

So I looked from the side of the ring under 20x loupe and sure enough I could see what looked like a chip on the culet. My suspicion was verified when I looked under 60x loupe. I could definitely see a chip.

So I messaged my bench jeweller and let him know that I have found a chip on the culet on one of my diamond. He calls me back immediately and said to me that if there is a chip, then the only fault he made was that he didn't check the stone thoroughly when he took it in for setting. Basically claiming that he is not responsible for the chip and the chip must have been there before I took it in.

I let him know that I have documented reports, photos and videos that show the stone was undamaged and that I trust the vendor that I bought it from. And also seeing that I purchased it in June and seeing that all the stones have been sitting in a box separately from June to now, there's no way that the damage could have occurred under my care. I also let him know that I made an appointment with GSL Lab to verify whether it is an inclusion or a chip and will let him know also what the outcome is.

I also asked him what the protocol is for cases like this because as he himself have said that diamonds can chip, break or fracture during setting. He didn't answer me on that question and just said he wouldn't have damaged the stone.

The stones were not insured on my part because Australian insurance companies (I've asked Q report, Allianz and couple of other bank insurances) do not insure loose stones, only set jewellery.

What I'd like to know is that, since I've never had a precedent like this, what are my rights and what is the standard procedure that jewellers are meant to take when they take your stone under their care. My bench jeweller did not document the stones but he did check them under the loupe before he took them in.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,495
Icy Melona|1475503525|4083159 said:
I also asked him what the protocol is for cases like this because as he himself have said that diamonds can chip, break or fracture during setting. He didn't answer me on that question and just said he wouldn't have damaged the stone.

The stones were not insured on my part because Australian insurance companies (I've asked Q report, Allianz and couple of other bank insurances) do not insure loose stones, only set jewellery.

What I'd like to know is that, since I've never had a precedent like this, what are my rights and what is the standard procedure that jewellers are meant to take when they take your stone under their care. My bench jeweller did not document the stones but he did check them under the loupe before he took them in.
It depends on whether or not your jeweler has insurance for setting a stone. Given that he has told you that diamonds can chip when being set, I imagine that counts as you accepting the risk when you went ahead with the setting.
 

Icy Melona

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2008
Messages
161
He did not and will not discuss what his insurance covers or what his business policy or protocol is with me. He has effectively said that it's not his fault, end of discussion. It looks to be a case of I say versus what he says. And just because I accepted the risk that there was a slight chance that the stones may get damaged during setting does not mean I am not entitled to an explanation of what my rights as a consumer are or that I am not entitled to an explanation of what the jewellers policy is in these cases.

I feel frustrated that there seems to be no ombudsman to inform me of what the due process is and I feel offended by the jeweller's response to me by laying the blame on me. I can understand that he wants to minimise any loss or culpability on his part but I have brought in 20 stones over the last 2 years and this is the one stone that I have brought to his attention for the chip. I think he should display some professional courtesy on his part and at least do his due diligence to see if anything may have gone wrong in his workshop. He will not say if it was him or his employees that set the stones and if it wasn't him that set the stone then who is he to say that it wasn't his fault especially when he himself checked the stones under the loupe before he took them in.
 

iwantsparkle

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 25, 2016
Messages
306
How stressful.

Maybe you can find information online? Do any large chains where you are (in Australia?) have policy posted online for you to get a general sense of how this type of matter is handled?

Do you have a Better Business Bureau or equivalent? Some type of consumer agency where you can file a claim?

I don't know what your rights are, but I think accepting a risk of damage or loss does not mean the vendor is absolved of any and all liability. At least here in the U.S. it does not work that way.

Random: sometimes you see big trucks carrying rocks here. They have signs posted on them that say : "Stay back 200 feet! Not liable for damage." But that isn't entirely enforceable. The company is not absolved of all responsibility if their trucks cause damage to things around them.

Two totally different scenarios. (Different locations, different everything!)

I am sorry you are going through this. I would probably communicate with the vendor over email instead of telephone so I could create a paper trail for documentation.
 

rubybeth

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 12, 2007
Messages
2,565
Icy Melona|1475513417|4083213 said:
And just because I accepted the risk that there was a slight chance that the stones may get damaged during setting does not mean I am not entitled to an explanation of what my rights as a consumer are or that I am not entitled to an explanation of what the jewellers policy is in these cases.
I think the majority of posters here are US-based, so that may be why you aren't getting a lot of answers here. Did you, by any chance, pay with a credit card for the setting? At least in the US, credit cards offer some protections. You may also need to check with a lawyer on this if the jeweler refuses to work with you. Most jewelers in the US will loupe and document with photographs any stone they are taking in for setting, so they can show the state of it before it was set, and then will also "check out" the stone and show you it under a loupe/magnification after setting so you can be assured your stone is undamaged. It sounds like the jeweler did not exactly follow a typical protocol in this instance. I would try being very pleasant (via email is a good idea, so you have documentation), seeing if there can be some kind of resolution, then escalate as needed.
 

MollyMalone

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Messages
3,083
I'm in the US, but here's a page from the Jewellers Association of Australia that might be of interest/help to you; note that at the bottom of the page, it also gives you the links to the web sites for, e.g., consumer affairs agencies.
http://www.jaa.com.au/consumers/complaints/how-to-handle-a-complaint
But I'd hold off on initiating contact with them or trying to engage the jeweler in further discussion until after you have the lab report in hand & have decided upon what course of action you'd like to propose that he take, e.g., are you amenable to having the stone polished/recut (if it's feasible), at his expense or will you want him to replace the stone?

His business insurance policy may not cover damage to, or outright loss, of "outside" stones while being set. Most jewelers here in the US (be they online or a "bricks-and-mortar" shop) do not have that kind of insurance coverage & will not assume any liability for such. That's one reason why you see Jewelers Mutual touted here on PS for residents of the US and Canada (who don't live in Quebec - JM will not issue a policy there); JM is the only personal jewelry insurer, so far as I know, who offers a policy to consumers that covers loose stones while they are being set, provided the setting of the stone(s) takes place within X number of days of purchasing the stone.

In my experience (with colored gems being set), I've been expected to either (a) sign an acknowledgment on the receipt given me when I left the stone(s) with them, or (b) execute an even more formal waiver, before they will accept an outside stone for setting into a ring or other jewelry mounting. Whiteflash, for one, has additional requirements:
http://www.whiteflash.com/about-diamonds/whiteflash-policies/working-with-customers-diamonds-and-jewelry-875.htm

And such a waiver/acknowledgment of the risk is binding; I mean, one could initiate litigation (you can start a lawsuit about anything here in the US), but that would be futile, at least in New York. I have no idea, however, if Australian courts hold the same views re assumption of this kind of a risk made known to you.
 

totallyfree

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 18, 2013
Messages
198
OP I think you are after the ACCC site: http://accc.gov.au/consumers

It's very much a "he said, she said" situation, but all of your rights are outlined on the site.

Hope this helps, and you can get a speedy solution.
 

SeekingClarity

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2016
Messages
133
Sorry to hear about your experience; sounds like a nightmare. Fortunately, Australia has quite strong consumer protection, so hopefully you will be able to come to a suitable resolution.

It is also a good reminder to get a receipt from your jeweler upon dropping any outside stones off!

While it may not help you now, it is worth noting that Alistair Kelsey (Jervis Bay) has a comprehensive insurance policy that covers loose stones from the time you ship them to him until you receive the final piece of jewelry.
 

Texas Leaguer

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 27, 2009
Messages
3,188
Icy,
I feel bad for you. Aside from the physical damage to the stone, I sense that you are feeling quite de-valued by the jeweler's attitude. Especially in light of having made a careless error in mixing up your diamonds between earrings and side stones, he should have been far less adamant that if there was any damage on the stone it was given to him that way! What he should have said is, "sorry for your concerns, please bring it in so I can see what you are seeing". Particularly because you are a loyal, regular customer. It's amazing that a business owner can be short sighted in this way.

I hope that you can work something out with the jeweler. That is always your best first avenue to resolve any issue like this. Perhaps when he has a chance to think about it, he will be reasonable.

One of the big issues here is take-in procedures, and many jewelers do not perform careful evaluations upfront. Sometimes the person taking the item is is not qualified. But at the soonest possible point, and before any work is done, a responsible expert should do that evaluation and notify the customer immediately if there is a concern.

From a customer's point of view, if the jeweler does not perform a careful take-in, that should give you reason for pause. And of course, it is always best to do your own careful inspection at the point of receiving the finished product, although sometimes that is not possible for one reason or another.

Bottom line is that we need to have faith in the competency of our jeweler, and more than anything, trust their ethics. When trust is broken, a consumer feels violated. And unfortunately, stories like this tend to diminish our respect for jewelers in general, which is a shame for all fine professionals out there.

Good luck and keep us informed. As you see from the other responses, there are many folks here ready to offer helpful suggestions and moral support.
 
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