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Jewelers Tell of Their Worst Experiences Ever with Bridal Customers

Lots of disastrous tales … some funny, some not so much.





Tell us about your worst experience ever with a bridal customer.

  • Unbeknownst to us, our customer recommended her boyfriend get the engagement ring he gave to her from us. We made a beautiful set but with a 3-carat CZ center. Three months later, she came in crying her eyes out. Her fiancé had stolen her car and all of her money and fled the state. The only asset she had left was the wedding set with the 3-carat CZ center stone, and she needed to sell it to pay her bills. Informing her the center “diamond” in her ring was worthless was beyond the worst experience ever with a bridal customer. — Scott L., Scottsdale, AZ
  • A famous Olympic snowboarder and his Olympic skier fiancée came in two days before their wedding. They picked out designer rings after several hours, but of course they didn’t fit perfectly. So that left us Friday to modify them. We finally got them sized and looking perfect Saturday morning. We drove several hours to their exclusive wedding and delivered right before the ceremony. No gratitude … just entitled. They came back to complain about us arriving so late with the rings, shouldn’t they get a discount and how we made their day more stressful. Grrrr. — Caitlyn W., Brattleboro, VT
  • You mean my first marriage? Well, my legal team has advised me not to discuss it. — Cliff Y., Lowell, MI
  • I was sued for asking to be paid on the balance due. — Jeremy A. Los Angeles, CA
  • After spending four months working with a bridezilla and her mom, Karen. Her check bounced, she claimed one stone was 3 microns out of line with the other stones. The average human hair is 50 microns thick. The judge awarded me two times the amount of the check, costs and stated he wished he could fine her more. Took three years to collect the funds. — James D., Kingston, NH
  • The one who picked out our most expensive diamond, announced, “This is it! I’ve made my decision!” then left us with six pages of instructions about her ring and her absolutely necessary pile of accompanying eternity rings, then texted a week later to say she had changed her mind and bought a stone somewhere else. “Sorry! [smiley emoticon]” Hard to not feel performed upon … — Gretchen S., Sherman Oaks, CA
  • The child the couple had together dirtied his pants in the diamond room. Not a great experience … Yes, I sold the diamond! — Eileen E., Decatur, IN
  • The day the client arrived with his mother, future mother-in-law, sister of the bride-to-be, sister of the groom and the dog. P.S.: They’re now divorced. — Stew B., Natick, MA
  • I had one demanding lady and I feel like I was the one that screwed up … and she let me know it. She had been in twice before with other staff and looked for literally hours. Then she came in one more time and it was a crazy busy day, when one staff called in sick and another had some other issue, so I was short two people and I got her. As she looked at every ring for the third time with me, I was inpatient and rushed her. I also was not at my best with the phone going off every few minutes and nobody able to answer. She did have her fiancé buy the ring but left a review that I was impolite and created a very poor experience for her. She was correct, and while she was demanding, it reminded me of how to improve and not let it happen again. — David B., Calgary, AB
  • The couple who brought his mother in to “help”. Everything the girl liked, the mom hated. They finally picked mom’s favorite and the girl left barely holding it together with me humming, “Why do fools fall in love?” in the background … — Dorothy V., Tallahassee, FL
  • I sold a D flawless emerald cut 1.5-carat engagement ring in a white gold setting. However, the diamond showed to be yellowish. Of course, the customer couldn’t care less that the stone had a GIA report; they returned the ring to me very mad. When I removed the diamond from the setting, under the prongs had never been polished and still had the yellowish color from the casting. Live and learn. — Barry F., Bardonia, NY
  • Got in about six large diamonds and three mountings for a customer. He never came in, and then the customer went to a mall store and bought something. I heard that a few diamonds fell out and the marriage never happened. — Tommy T., Perry Hall, MD
  • A customer chipped her diamond. Complained that was how it was when they picked it up five months earlier. She said she knew she didn’t chip it, that it was that way, and he replied, “You didn’t chip it.” The sob story of how special it was and how careful she was began. I explained that diamonds can chip and gave some references from reputable sites for them to investigate on their own. I also told them that there are several inspections of their diamond before it is sold. The vendor inspects before selling to retailers, I inspect upon purchase, the goldsmith inspects before setting and it was inspected and photographed for the appraisal. They still tried to blame us for selling them a “flawed” diamond. He said he wasn’t informed and didn’t know what he was buying. He also said another jewelry store said it shouldn’t happen and that there was an inclusion hidden under a prong that we were trying to hide to try to discredit us (this is something those in the industry must stop doing, it makes us all seem untrustworthy). All of our customers are “educated” and look at their diamond with a loupe when they are choosing a loose stone. I finally sent them an email with the synopsis of the situation including: the process of his purchase, proof that diamonds can chip, five solutions for the problem of the chip and a couple of photos he sent to us when they got engaged, the close-up photo clearly showing a non-chipped diamond from five months earlier. — Julee J., Mankato, MN
  • After selling the engagement ring, the couple came in for wedding bands and sat down for hours learning and trying on all the styles of bands. The width, half round vs flat, comfort fit, finish, everything you could imagine. When it came down to inside engraving, which they just learned was possible, they said they needed to think about what they should engrave. When I called to follow up, they said they found it cheaper online. Now I charge for an appointment, if you want to use me as the internet showroom. — Niki N., Lyndhurst, OH
  • Made a custom ring to exact specs, she loved it till 48 hours prior to wedding and wanted a refund for the ring and a whole new set made in 48 hours. She couldn’t understand why we couldn’t get new stones, recast piece set and polish set in 48 hours. “It’s not like you do anything else.” Needless to say, she wasn’t happy but used the original set, which we bought back 18 months later as part of the divorce. — Trisha C., Lowell, MA
  • Middle-aged couple came in looking at engagement rings. She was surprised when he wanted to purchase the ring she liked. She cried. They were so happy when they left the store with the ring. We were having a 10% off event and she was excited to receive a discount. Our associate looked up the ring and offered her a slightly larger discount to close the sale. He proposed on the spot and they left the store happy. The next day, she returned alone and asked for the 10% discount in addition to the discount she had already received. We explained that she had been given a larger discount than 10% and because we are a small, independent business, we could not offer an additional discount. She then demanded a refund! She told the manager that she was made to feel “icky.” After several more minutes of trying to appease her, we realized there was nothing more we could do and we refunded the full amount. It was a snowy, stormy day and she left everyone involved with the transaction feeling very “icky.” — Theresa P., Edgewater, CO
  • I’d rather not respond to this. Too traumatic!! — Phil P., Pickering, ON
  • Customer refused to get engaged to the young man when he wasn’t going to purchase the 2.0-carat that she felt she was entitled to get. — Bruce B., Lyndhurst, OH
  • Two young adults came into the store to look at diamonds and rings. I pulled out a 1.0-carat to start and only showed the diamond to him. He kinda shook his head at the price. She said I want a bigger stone. He started sweating. I brought out a 0.75-carat lower in price. He smiled. I asked him if he wanted me to bring out any more stones? He responded no, he really liked that diamond. She was not happy and made a scene. Embarrassed, he said that they had to go. Boy, I hope they work through whatever they can before he puts a ring on her finger. — Karen H., Batavia, IL
  • A “bride to be” was six months out from her wedding. She was “anxiety eating” as preparations were being made on a lavish celebration. We had to size her engagement ring set four times. To keep the peace and not offend in any way, we had to insinuate we were simply not able to “get the size right” because of the width of the set. Sometimes being diplomatic can be expensive … — J. Dennis P., Johnstown, PA
  • Customer wanted a cushion shaped diamond set in a halo setting but wanted it set high. Not just in the prongs, but so high it was a weapon. He came back five times to correct the height for her until she finally came in to have the diamond set as high as she wanted. We called it the “Tower of Terror.” — Cindi H., Foxboro, MA
  • I get a phone call on a Friday asking if we could size a ring. I say we do offer that service, but we do not have an in-house goldsmith. It will be 2-3 weeks. No problem. Next day a woman walks in with a ring to be sized, it’s too big. I say of course, it will be 2-3 weeks. “NO! I called yesterday. I’m getting married in two hours. You said it could be done!” I informed her I was the only one here yesterday and explained I spoke to a woman (that was not a bride) about our services. She then changes the story to say her mother called and did not tell her about the wait. But do not worry readers! I saved the day. I put a plastic ring guard so she could wear her grandmother’s something borrowed down the aisle. — Ellie M., St. Michaels, MD
  • I was patiently waiting on a couple when the guy suddenly turned on me and accused me of trying to “hit” on his girlfriend. I calmed him down by making him realize that wouldn’t be a very effective sales technique. I did still make the sale! — Jon W., Virginia Beach, VA
  • The worst bridal customer I had was not really my customer. Many years ago when I was first starting out, a gentleman stopped in with an older engagement ring that needed sizing. The ring was a solitaire with a round diamond approximately 3/4 carats. It was a promotional quality I2 clarity from one of the majors. This gentleman had purchased the ring from his friend and wanted it sized and refurbished like new. He was very happy when he picked it up and paid extra in case his future fiancée needed an adjustment. My mistake was supplying him with one of my store boxes. He asked that if she came in to make any needed adjustments not to mention he had purchased it from a friend. She did return the following week screaming that she could not believe we would sell her fiancé such a poor-quality diamond. I did not tell her directly that the ring did not come from us, but I believe she got the hint when I politely said that she really had to discuss it with her fiancé. Thankfully this was pre-internet days and there was no such thing as online reviews. After she left, we never saw her again and I learned never to provide a store box for product that we didn’t sell. — Eric S., West Springfield, MA
  • Our worst experience with a bridal customer included multiple renders, wax molds, and remaking the engagement ring three times because the bride wanted the point on her pear-shaped halo to be more “pointy.” Less than a year later, the customer brought the ring in, the shank completely broken into multiple pieces, with missing stones, from catching it on a shopping cart. We remade the ring a fourth time for her. Thankfully, Jewelers Mutual covered the physical damages. Our bench jeweler is still recovering. — Beth G., Binghamton, NY

What’s the Brain Squad?

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This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

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