Help me make a customer service request in a totally unfamiliar world?
August 4, 2011 10:38 AM   Subscribe

High-end boutique jeweler delivered a custom ring with an obvious inclusion in the stone. Another jeweler saw the ring, was very surprised and said I absolutely should expect a replacement of the stone. Help me approach/phrase the replacement request?

We ordered a customized engagement ring (this ring in 18K gold; stone is a peridot with flat surface on top, not the cut shown in the pic). The gold setting is gorgeous and flawless, but the stone has a large dark-grey inclusion (obvious to my untrained naked eye in low indoor light -- c. 1mm long and just under the middle of an 8mm stone's top flat surface).

Please help me figure out what I should say in my request for her to replace the stone, and whether this should be by phone or by email. I have no prior experience at all with fine jewelry (beyond googling to learn basics when we were researching engagement rings) and I'm intimidated.

Biggest question is how I should explain my delay. It's been eight months since we ordered the ring (six months since I first saw it). I was trying to give myself time to see if I could just accept it, for a few reasons. It's an emotionally loaded situation: engagement ring from a partner who already thinks I'm a frustrating perfectionist (and has little visual-detail orientation himself, so I assume he both hasn't noticed the inclusion and will find it very frustrating to know I'm spending any time and thought on this).

(Also, to be nice to the jeweler, please don't mention her by name in the thread -- she seems so universally well-reviewed that I'm assuming this must be a crazy aberration.)
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total)
Another jeweler saw the ring, was very surprised and said I absolutely should expect a replacement of the stone.

Call her and see what she says. "So, universally well-reviewed jeweler, I had my ring cleaned the other day and the jeweler said..."
posted by anti social order at 10:50 AM on August 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Start the conversation with the expectation that she wants you to come out of the situation happy. Let her know that another jeweler mentioned the issue, but also that you have noticed it and have been trying to live with it, but that the ring cannot be a permanent part of your life with the flaw. If she has great reviews, she probably runs a good business, and will be willing to fix the problem.
posted by freshwater at 11:10 AM on August 4, 2011

I'm looking at your jeweler's website, and it appears they have a 30-day return and exchange policy. So you might be out of luck unless you can convince them that the inclusion in the stone is a defect that would be covered under the warranty. I think you should call to see how they would suggest you go about pursuing having the stone replaced under the warranty.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:10 AM on August 4, 2011

Yeah, a fault like that isn't something that you could do to the gem. I would ask her what her policy is for gems that don't meet the spec. Generally jewelers are like artists, they really only want their best work displayed.

Also, Peridot is an inexpensive gem, as gems go. It's not like you're asking her to replace a flawless diamond, or a black sapphire. Replacement should be really easy, no hassle, and should just take a day or two once she has a replacement gem in hand.
posted by dejah420 at 11:11 AM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Notify them, be really nice, play clueless, "The mark inside the stone always bothered me, but I didn't know it wasn't normal! If I had known, I would have contacted you much much sooner."

Agree peridot is an inexpensive stone and the work to replace it is easy. I had a stone swapped out in a custom platinum ring and that was a big favor.

Just call them! Have a pic of the stone you can email them so they can see first-hand what you are talking about.

Please don't live with it.
posted by jbenben at 11:40 AM on August 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Your partner did not pick out the stone. did he? I was generally given a choice of stones. It would be weird to offer one with an inclusion, though.
posted by jeather at 11:42 AM on August 4, 2011

I would start with an email, including photos of the ring with the flaws in the stone prominent.

I might do the classic "shit sandwich" approach: 1. compliment their usual product, 2. state problem with specific product and what you want done 3. compliment their business with your faith they will make you happy.

I would not even mention the time-table of when you bought your ring, much less make excuses for why you waited to contact them. It's been suggested that presenting clear excuses/arguments in a negotiation just invites easy counterarguments.

"I was flattered and thrilled that my partner chose a ring from your excellent well respected [adjective yay!] establishment for my engagement ring. Because I am not an expert in peridot stones I did not immediately assume the worst about the stone in my ring, but trusted in your reputation as a supplier of high-quality jewelry [etc]. However, when I visited [second opinion] for a cleaning, they expressed surprise that such a flawed stone would have come from your workshops, and suggested I contact you to find out how this had missed your attention. Now that I know that the dark-grey marking that had been bothering me is an indicator of a potential quality problem with the stone, I would like to replace the flawed stone. I am supplying a photo in which you can see [blahblah]. I have great confidence in the intended quality of your product and your website is full of glowing reviews of your customer service, so I look forward to resolving this issue. I am happy to handle this by email but if you prefer a phone conversation please call me at [X] or recommend a number that I can call to discuss this and tell me what case number to reference."
posted by aimedwander at 12:03 PM on August 4, 2011 [16 favorites]

Since you are concerned that your partner picked it out when you do call you could emphasize that you like the ring design and choice of stone & cut but don't like the flaw in the stone. That should also let them know that you're mainly worried about the stone and not the whole ring while also not seeming to criticize your partner's taste.
posted by oneear at 12:04 PM on August 4, 2011

Don't say it was being cleaned by the other jeweler if that is not the case. There are warnings of unscrupulous jewelers swapping out stones while offering 'free cleanings', your jeweler may well be wary of replacing a stone from a ring that has been in the hands of another jeweler and out of your sight.

If your partner bought it in the store he may well have picked the stone having been informed of the inclusion. If he bought it online and is unaware of the inclusion, then he may well want to pursue it himself when informed.
posted by IanMorr at 2:17 PM on August 4, 2011

No jeweler would swap out a peridot--they're pretty stones, but very inexpensive. When I had a small stone replaced in an old peridot ring, the jeweler gave me several free spares in a baggie, just in case I lost more down the line.
posted by Scram at 10:51 PM on August 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

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