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PSA *kinda*: Local jewelers. working with them.

Gypsy

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So, when you buy the majority of your jewelry online, working with local jewelers can be an interesting experience.

I want to tell you guys about my day. First some background.

One of my husband's first gifts to me for Christmas, when we dating, was a Tahitian Pearl Pendant. The month after we were married we were robbed and one of the pieces taken was my pendant.

So last Christmas my husband bought me a lovely 11mm Tahitian Pearl from Pearl Paradise.

I was considering different options for setting it and ultimately, I decided to set it like this: http://media.tiffany.com/is/image/Tiffany/EcomBrowseM/tiffany-south-sea-pearl-pendant-32249582_941397_ED.jpg?op_usm=1.00,1.00,6.00&defaultImage=NoImageAvailable&&

I bought a pretty little platinum and diamond flower pendant on ebay (picture below). And a nice rolo chain. And I wanted to remove the bail off the pendant, flip it over so it's was squared, add a peg and fix the chain to it. Mock up below.

I have a local jeweler I typically work with, and I've been working with them for years for my repairs and resizing. But my policy is to get 3 quotes. So I went to 3 jewelers today. I emphasized that I wanted the connection to the platinum pendant piece to have the smallest "ears" as jump rings.

Work needed summary: Bail removed on pendant piece. 2 jump rings in platinum, connected to the flower pendant piece and chain affixed to them. One pearl needle thingy (I forget what it's called) attached to the pendant piece. Pearl mounted and glued in place.

All jewelers do their work on site. All are small businesses.

1. Jeweler one. Specializes in Pearls. I've only worked with them once, and that was to drill the pearl. I told the owner what I wanted. She was enthusiastic. Then she pointed out all kinds of 'challenges'. One, the finish on the pendant is a sandblast. She said she wouldn't guarantee matching it and that she would need to polish parts of it and that the finish would be uneven, so I should just polish the whole thing. And then she showed me the jump rings she proposed , which were clearly (to me) not what I wanted as they were large and they were 14kt white gold, not platinum as I'd requested. I nodded and smiled and asked her for a bottom line. $145. And she made it sound like a total bargain and went on for 10 minutes before I could leave, killing me with small talk and trying to get me to just leave the items with her right there.

2. Jeweler two. I've used this bench before, but find them priced high and their appraisals are lax, I have found, so I don't trust their word on my flip items. And they are very threatened by the fact that I am knowledgeable about jewelry and make snide remarks on occasion about the fact that I shop online. Still their bench work is very nice. Bench Jeweler and owner spent maybe 5 minutes with me. Insulted me in the interim with a snide comment. Quoted me $195 and walked away without even saying goodbye. I won't be going back here as I am fed up with how threatened they are.

3. Jeweler three. This is the local jeweler I use most often. When I flip jewelry I use them for verbal appraisals and confirmation that the item's I've bought match what I think they are. I also use them for repairs. Walked in, greeted warmly. Was told right away that they recommend laser welding the connections to the platinum piece so that the finish can be maintained, the work will be as fine as possible and promised me to match the sandblast finish in all parts. Quoted $95 with the stipulation that it would be the maximum charge, and could be less. They are always respectful and enthusiastic about the items I get online and even told me that they always enjoy the variety of stuff that I find and bring in and find it fun to work with me.


So the bottom line is?

When you find a good local jeweler, especially one that isn't threatened by online shopping appreciate them. Build a relationship with them. But it is still a good idea to get quotes and shop your projects, I FEEL.

There is a HUGE variety of customer service available to you and its important to feel confident in who you are working with.

Mock up of pendant project:

pendant_idea_2.jpg
 

gregchang35

Ideal_Rock
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Wow.. your project sounds exciting..

And totally agree with a local jeweller that you have built a solid r/ship with.

Cant wait to see the final result!!!
 

chrono

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Gypsy|1450248206|3962171 said:
When you find a good local jeweler, especially one that isn't threatened by online shopping appreciate them. Build a relationship with them. But it is still a good idea to get quotes and shop your projects, I FEEL.

There is a HUGE variety of customer service available to you and its important to feel confident in who you are working with.

I agree with the above wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, none of those I use are local to me because I live in the Boonies.
 

packrat

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Dec 12, 2008
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10,614
How fun! Will be a gorgeous pendant when it's done so am excited to see it completed. I wish we we had more options available to us here in the land of nothing. Just one jeweler in town..they're nice. They removed a stone for me for free. Mom has used them to resize a couple things and for appraisals. They've been here since I don't know when, before I was born I think, tho the original owners have long since retired and it still has the same name, it's been bought by a bigger company out of the lakes area. They're pretty helpful when I've been there, tho I've never worked w/them on anything b/c the prices seem a little off to me compared to what I can get from our vendors here. There's one in a neighboring town 30 miles away but I've only just talked to them on the phone once.
 

diamondseeker2006

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I am looking forward to seeing the finished pendant, Gypsy! I also live in an area without a bench jeweler I trust. I had my original wedding band sizing botched by a local jeweler, and I have been pretty cautious ever sense. Fortunately I haven't needed any repairs, so I basically use PS vendors for custom anything. I've told my girls that when they inherit my remaining jewelry, I will leave them the names and numbers of ringmakers we know here to try to get the rings sized! :lol: You are fortunate to have found one good one!
 

Gypsy

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It is hard to live in an area without a good local jeweler. When we lived in NJ I could not find one I'd trust to polish my rings, let alone anything else.

One good thing about the Bay Area is that you can pretty much find anything here.

:wavey:

Sorry, I wanted to post individual replies, but I'm feeling brain dead.
 

JDDN

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Wow, that was super helpful.

Gypsy, not sure but if you don't mind sharing your bench/jeweler I'd love to know. I'm also in the Bay Area. I've had some horrific experiences and some pretty good experiences but I'm always on the look out for someone stand out via personal recommendation.
 

rainydaze

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Gypsy, this was so helpful, thank you!

I have to admit, I get nervous at the thought of shopping my projects around locally. I don't know how to get the conversation started when I am looking for components or work and not just buying a piece outright. How do I find out if their bench is any good? Beyond asking if their bench is in-house, and maybe asking to see some examples of their work, I get tongue-tied despite knowing 'enough'. Some jewelers have been quite chilly when I give indication I have some knowledge, and others just don't seem to understand the PSer type of customer (knows what they want, particular with details, cut matters, understanding they work with Stuller, sourcing gems and settings separately, etc.).

Any chance you, and other seasoned PSers, could offer up some specific examples of things you ask to really understand if they know their stuff. I'm nervous about offending them, but learning over the years that if I do, they're not the jeweler for me. Even so, I've had some negative experiences and am somewhat paralyzed from fear of submitting stuff to the wrong person and hoping for the best.
 

rainydaze

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Fear of offending has gotten in my way too much over the years. In the last few, I have gotten better about this because my desire not to be screwed is greater than allowing myself to be screwed in the name of politeness. But it's a work in progress.

An example: bought a ring at an estate jeweler and needed it sized. Went through them since sizing was free. The bottom of the shank was nice and thick which another sales lady observed. I agreed, said I noticed that too, and asked my sales girl that the bench would be sure to keep that nice and thick, right? She said yes, but it was weak. Sure enough, it was thin when I got it back. I didn't speak up, any more than I drilled it in that I wanted to it remain that thickness when I bought it.

I'm guessing that you would have made sure they measured the thickness of the shank and noted it on the work order, with an note to keep it the same after sizing? In the moment, I chicken out of doing these sorts of things. But hearing how others go about it somehow gives me confidence I'm not acting outside the realm of reasonable were I to have handled it this way.
 

Gypsy

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JDDN|1450542792|3963518 said:
Wow, that was super helpful.

Gypsy, not sure but if you don't mind sharing your bench/jeweler I'd love to know. I'm also in the Bay Area. I've had some horrific experiences and some pretty good experiences but I'm always on the look out for someone stand out via personal recommendation.


Carlyle in San Mateo. They have a Fremont store as well. I always deal with Robert. I like him. The two ladies (I never remember their names) are perfectly fine if he's not there. But with Robert I click. He doesn't beat around the bush. I bought a ring I was going to keep because it was SO pretty, but when I took it in to get the prongs tightened he just flat out said to me "This is going to keep giving you grief as the prongs will loosen again and again, it's a design issue, so just flip it cause you got a great price on it." And I appreciate that king of bluntness. I've also bought a nice OEC from them, I also flipped. And they've polished and sized for me.

Joe Escobar in Campbell is flat out fantastic if you are in the South Bay.

There's a jeweler I worked with in Walnut Creek as well. Their bench was quite good but I disliked the sale people. I can't recall their names.
 

Gypsy

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Rainy, first of all HI!!!

Second of all. I'm sure you know by now that I'm a blunt and straightforward person. So with jewelers I usually go in to browse first. And ask questions about their stuff. And if they have an in house bench I ask if there are any pieces they've made. And then it just goes from there.

I find old cuts are the great conversation starters. Because some jewelers are biased against them. And that lets me weed out people.

As for getting work done. Yes, I am very specific on my work orders. And I make sure to note things that are important to me. Like the width you mentioned. I too had the same experience a while back. I was getting something sized and the shank width was skinnier because it saved them metal. I didn't even realize it was something I had to be concerned about. Seemed like common sense that the shank width would be the same. But nope.

Also, I really trust my gut. And I don't like people that hard sell me. If I feel something is off, even if I don't know what, I don't drop off my stuff. I go home and think about it. If it's not something that keeps bugging me I can always go back. But I usually figure out what the issue is at home, then I am glad I didn't leave my project there.
 

JDDN

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Gypsy said:
JDDN|1450542792|3963518 said:
Wow, that was super helpful.

Gypsy, not sure but if you don't mind sharing your bench/jeweler I'd love to know. I'm also in the Bay Area. I've had some horrific experiences and some pretty good experiences but I'm always on the look out for someone stand out via personal recommendation.


Carlyle in San Mateo. They have a Fremont store as well. I always deal with Robert. I like him. The two ladies (I never remember their names) are perfectly fine if he's not there. But with Robert I click. He doesn't beat around the bush. I bought a ring I was going to keep because it was SO pretty, but when I took it in to get the prongs tightened he just flat out said to me "This is going to keep giving you grief as the prongs will loosen again and again, it's a design issue, so just flip it cause you got a great price on it." And I appreciate that king of bluntness. I've also bought a nice OEC from them, I also flipped. And they've polished and sized for me.

Joe Escobar in Campbell is flat out fantastic if you are in the South Bay.

There's a jeweler I worked with in Walnut Creek as well. Their bench was quite good but I disliked the sale people. I can't recall their names.

Awesome!! Thank you for sharing. I've actually passed by their store on 4th, but have never ventured in. I will definitely check them out the next time I need something done. I know exactly where Joe Escobar is and if I were closer I wouldn't hesitate to try them out too.

Thank you!!
 

Gypsy

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:)
 

missy

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Gypsy|1450512611|3963419 said:
It is hard to live in an area without a good local jeweler. When we lived in NJ I could not find one I'd trust to polish my rings, let alone anything else.

One good thing about the Bay Area is that you can pretty much find anything here.

:wavey:

Sorry, I wanted to post individual replies, but I'm feeling brain dead.

Thanks Gypsy for sharing. I am having the same difficulty right now. Trying to alter 18K gold ear wires so the earrings lay correctly on my ears and I just don't know who to trust. We are in NJ at the beach house for 2 weeks and honestly I am at a loss as to who would have a good bench person. A relatively easy job until it gets messed up yanno?

Looking forward to seeing your pendant!
 

rainydaze

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HI Gyps! :wavey:

Yes I do know that about you and I have really come to appreciate that quality in people! Guesswork is so exhausting.

Again, so helpful, thank you! And YES, I always figure out what it was that gave me pause after the fact, but unfortunately I haven't walked away more often than not. Then I'm pissed at myself. Which doesn't help for the next time. I wonder how it is that other people can process things so quickly and make the right decision on the spot. Again, getting better with time and experience, but it's not like I'm making jewelry all the time, racking up the experiences!! :lol:
 

Gypsy

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Missy, I don't have an answer in NJ. I never found anyone there. And we were by the shore. I know what you mean about easy jobs.

Rainy, It is hard. Flipping has actually been good in that respect. It's given me more experience.
 

VRBeauty

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The local jeweler near my father's house (in the California foothills) always gets it right the second time. :lol: I have yet to walk out of there with something done right the first time! Two examples: I have a victorian 3-stone ring that needed to have the prongs re-tipped. I brought it in and they were able to do it same-day! (This is a tourist town, so same-day service isn't an unusual request._This was several years ago, and I think they charged $10 a tip or less. When I picked it up, the tips were no longer lovely pointed little claws - they'd been turned into little gecko feet! I walked out of the store hiding my disappointment (I hear you, rainydaze), got about ten feet down the sidewalk, walked back in and told them I wanted my pointy claws back. I don't recall if they were able to do that the same day, but the claws were restored at no further cost. The most recent example involves a pair of post earrings that I had converted to danglies - a fairly simple request, I thought. They're a round cluster of "champagne" diamonds that I had bought from JTV years ago before PS. When I picked up the new earrings everything looked OK until I tried them on at home later on... the earrings went "dark" as soon as I put them on. I realized that the ring they hung from had been put at the back of the setting - a natural place to put it, and pretty much what I had envisioned going into the project (although we never discussed that level of detail when I dropped the earrings off). However, putting it there caused the earrings to hang facing down slightly, since most of the weight was at the front where the diamonds are, so they didn't catch the light. They recognized the error right away when I brought the earrings back in and got it right the second time.

They're sizing a ring for me now. Since two errors were fairly recent and they made a comment about appreciating my returning for their business, I suspect they'll get this one right the first time.

I have a jewelery shop near my home that I trust without reservation. They're also the shop I go to if I need an assessment of something I bought online. Their prices are much higher than the foothills shop, but they're the people I go to when there's no room for error. ;))
 
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