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Setting The Stones


nezzie
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Hi,

I am thinking of buying two stones for earrings on Blue Nile. I want them set in a "Martini" setting which they don't do. How do I find a completely honest stone setter who is also highly skilled? I am terrified of getting these expensive stones and having them poorly set or worse, switched. I live in NYC but so many people tell me how careful one must be in the "Diamond District" and also, some places only set their own stones. Any leads or suggestions of where to go would be very helpful. Thanks.

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Hi,

I am thinking of buying two stones for earrings on Blue Nile. I want them set in a "Martini" setting which they don't do. How do I find a completely honest stone setter who is also highly skilled? I am terrified of getting these expensive stones and having them poorly set or worse, switched. I live in NYC but so many people tell me how careful one must be in the "Diamond District" and also, some places only set their own stones. Any leads or suggestions of where to go would be very helpful. Thanks.

 

Many jewelers will not cover damage in the setting process if the diamonds were purchased elsewhere. Check with the specific jeweler you're considering. If not you may want to get them insured prior to setting (the number of insurance companies that will cover loose stones is limited). If possible, either consider buying the diamonds from a source that carries the setting style you like...or see if BN will set them for you, fully covered, if you send the settings to them.

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Variations on this question are pretty common and it leads to quite a bit of trepidation. I’ll try to make a few useful comments.

 

First, it’s incredibly unusual for a jeweler to switch or steal your diamonds while working on a job for you. Lots of people worry about this and it’s certainly prudent to be careful but don’t overestimate your risks. This happens a few times per year in the whole country. Your chances of getting into a car accident on the way to the jeweler are considerably higher. The way to protect yourself is to learn to recognize your stones before you take them in to be worked on. Most have distinctive inclusions that your appraiser can help you learn to recognize.

 

There are several general approaches to bench work at jewelers. The most common is what’s known as a tradeshop. This is a jeweler, or a bunch of jewelers, who do setting, sizing and similar work for other jewelry stores. Bench work is kind of noisy and dirty work involving some relatively expensive equipment and some unusual skills. Many stores in expensive locations find that it better suits their businesses to devote their space to showrooms and their staffs to selling things leaving the factory type work to a specialist. Similarly, many bench jewelers find that their time is best spent doing actual bench work rather than talking to customers about it. Most of the stores in the shopping malls, airports and similar high rent locations approach it this way.

 

Another strategy is for the store to have a shop right in the store. This has both advantages and disadvantages. The work generally gets done a little faster, there is a certain security confidence because the jewelry never leaves the property and it’s kind of nice to be able to actually talk to the craftsman who will be doing your work.

 

Most jewelers with sense are happy to set stones bought elsewhere, inherited or that are just being reset from a piece you want to change, even if they are a little annoyed that they lost the sale. This is actually pretty profitable work. There are still a few who won’t set anything they didn’t sell but basically this means that they don’t want your business. This attitude seems to be most prevalent with the tradeshop type stores where their whole business model is about selling things out of the cases. Fine, shop elsewhere, and when it comes time to buy another piece, remember who treated you well and who didn’t.

 

Oh, and drive carefully.

 

Neil

Edited by denverappraiser
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If you're still concerned about the stone-switching scenario there are 2 things you can do.

 

1)Full diamond certification with inclusion plotting - the inclusions in the stone will be mapped according to their placement and type (kind of like a rough fingerprint)

 

2)laser inscription - you can get a unique serial # laser-inscribed on the girdle of the diamond.

 

Either of these options are fairly inexpensive and can be done by most diamond certification companies. They're not fool-proof but can offer you additional peace of mind.

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