Connect with us

Real Deal

Real Deal: Metals Misconceptions




Editor’s Note: Real Deal scenarios are inspired by true stories, but are changed to sharpen the dilemmas involved. The names of the characters and stores have been changed and should not be confused with real people or places.

Kerry Johns really hated working with know-it-all customers … most of the time. When she could dig deep and find the patience, though, she occasionally landed that seemed to make effort worthwhile, at least financially. Such was the case with Dean Philips and his fiancée Michelle.

Michelle paid her first visit to Keller & Starr Fine Jewelers in early April when she came in with an office friend who needed a watch battery. She and Dean had been looking for their engagement ring for several weeks with limited success, so she couldn’t help but take a peek at Keller & Starr’s huge bridal jewelry collection while she was in the store.

It didn’t take long for Michelle to find several styles that caught her attention, and one set in particular that was exactly what she had envisioned. The fact that Kerry was able to show her a coordinating man’s wedding band made the ring just perfect! She asked Kerry to hold the rings for a few days, until she could get Dean back to the store to look at them.

Dean came in – without Michelle – the very next day. He let Kerry know immediately that he had done his homework, and considered himself a “highly educated consumer.”  He was happy with Michelle’s choice of rings, but said he was surprised that she had found something she liked at Keller & Starr; he expected that she would prefer a brand name, designer ring, or at least something from a more “upscale” store.


Despite his arrogance, he seemed to be pleased with both the quality and price of the mounting set, commenting that it was significantly less expensive than comparable pieces he had seen elsewhere. Kerry explained that the set had been in the store for some time, and hadn’t been re-priced to reflect recent increases in the price of gold.

Dean asked Kerry to keep the rings on hold until he and Michelle could come in together to finalize the deal. He made it clear that he was planning on buying the diamond to go into the ring online, because in his words, “no intelligent consumer pays retail for diamonds any more.”  Kerry bit back her annoyance, largely because Michelle had seemed so nice – and listened patiently while Dean described the diamond he planned to buy – and how much he planned to pay to get it. She asked for an opportunity to find a diamond to meet his specifications, and promised to have something for him to look at by the time he and Michelle came back.

Two days later, at Michelle’s insistence, Dean bought her engagement ring, 18K white gold with a 1.81ct G, VS2 Asscher cut diamond, and their matching wedding bands from Keller & Starr, and Kerry was happy to run his American Express for $22,580 plus tax. The diamond was set while they waited. Michelle wore her engagement ring home, and Dean’s wedding band was sized and picked up the next day, along with their diamond report and insurance appraisal. They were delighted.

The following week, Kerry took a call from an extremely agitated Dean.  He said that when he delivered the appraisal to his insurance agent, he noticed that the rings were detailed as 18K white gold. He insisted he was told that everything was platinum. Kerry was certain that she gave both Dean and Michelle the correct information when she showed the rings and swore they were both aware that all three pieces were white gold. Dean insisted on talking with store owner Stuart Keller. In his conversation with Stuart, he called Kerry a liar and the store a fraud, and threatened legal action. He demanded that the store get the rings in platinum, because regardless of the notation on both the sales receipt and the appraisal, that is what he was told, and that’s what he paid for. Calculating the cost of the fight, Stuart decided to cut his losses and replace the rings.

The platinum rings came in three weeks later and Michelle’s diamond was re-set, all at no cost to Dean. Michelle picked the rings up, happy with the job and with the service. She looked the appraisal over carefully, and as she did, she mentioned hearing that gold prices were actually higher than platinum prices. Stuart confirmed her facts, and went on to explain the difference in metal purity, labor costs, etc …  Michelle thanked him and left, apparently satisfied with her rings as well as with his explanation. Two days later, she called Stuart again, telling him that it turned out she was allergic to the “poor quality” platinum in the rings, as was her fianc?, and wanting to know what he was going to do about it.

THE BIG QUESTIONS: What IS Stuart going to do about it? Should he stand firm and tell Michelle and Dean that they are stuck with what they asked for? Since he bought the diamond from his memo vendor and bought both 18K and platinum versions of the same set, is it even reasonable to consider cutting his losses and giving Dean his money back?






Wilkerson Testimonials

Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular