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11 Things That Only Jewelers Can Understand

Dirty rings, for starters.




EVERY INDUSTRY HAS its quirks. They are the things that make the industry unique from others – things that only folks who belong to the trade can relate to.

As a jeweler, you know there are some things from your job that only your fellow jewelers can understand. Take, for example, that customer who brings in her ring to have it reset – you know that moment when she hands it over and you realize it’s filthy or is partially coated in some kind of weird substance that only a forensics lab could identify? This is the kind of anguish that only your colleagues have felt.

After years of engaging with customers from every walk of life, experienced jewelers have seen it at all, for better or for worse. Stick around long enough, and you might find yourself empathizing with the folks below who shared these comments on our INSTORE Magazine and INSTORE Community Facebook pages.

Some customers just don’t get it.

“We do a lot of repair work at our store, and I love it when the customer says, ‘Well how come it’s so much money for soldering? … I tell them, ‘Why don’t you YouTube ‘soldering jewelry’ and see how difficult it actually is.’ Then after the work is done and the item is cleaned and polished to perfection, they don’t understand why it costs what it costs. It really irks me.” – Dana Bracco Mac, Country Store Jeweler, Brick Township, NJ

Others think they do …

“We all have that ‘know it all’ customer, right? I love the ones that want to use a loop and put it to their eye upside down! Or the customers who think they know what an appraisal actually is, and they ask for one for a bubblegum machine ring they found in the dirt. SMH!” – Caryl Francis Moore, LeRAVe Jewelry, South Boston, VA

And still others live in alternate realities.

“Being told by someone that they are a ‘good customer’ who comes into your store all the time, so you should do their repair for free and/or give them a discount – only to check your POS system and see that they have had one chain repair and three batteries in the last 15 years!! Such a good customer.” – Angela Cisneros, K.Jons Diamonds & Gems, Atascadero, CA


Those melee diamonds have minds of their own.

“Showing a diamond with tweezers and it pops out and flies across the room. Then all of us are on our hands and knees looking under chairs and counters, even using flashlights to see it show up.” – Rick Borchert, former general manager for Jared in Virginia

You see which romances will end before they begin.

“The young guy that you help find an engagement ring within his budget. Then he comes back with the girlfriend, not for sizing but for a different ring, because this diamond is too small. He winds up spending much more than he can realistically spend to avoid a tantrum. Just want to tell the poor guy, RUN! Run fast in the opposite direction!” – Elisa Reyes, Austin Roberts Jewelers, Ocala, FL

All you see is statement pieces.

“When I meet people (in a social setting), I can’t remember their name, color of their hair or what kind of clothing they have on. But I remember their jewelry – earrings, necklaces, rings, watches. Then when I speak about meeting them to someone else, I describe them by their jewelry! Example: Talking to my husband
about the picnic we were at last week and he asks, ‘You remember the woman with the red hair and blue dress? Me: (blank stare) … Then I say, ‘Oh, the girl with the 5ct diamond tennis bracelet and Cartier Tank Francaise watch? Yes, I remember her!’ – Rosalie Fittery, GN Diamond, Philadelphia, PA

Everyone wants to pick the expert’s brain.

“Being handed jewelry for repair/resetting everywhere I go – sidewalks, restaurants. … I was once given a 1.5ct diamond at a party to come up with ideas for.” – Chrissy Cook, MADE Jewelry Boutique, West Reading, PA

Sometimes things get emotional.

“Being unsuccessful in trying my best to hold back tears while a customer shares a heart-warming story of the love and meaning behind a sentimental piece of jewelry from a beloved one who has recently departed, and is entrusting me with the necessary service that needs to be done. I end up doing it for cost or for free just because I can.” – Sherry Jones Almond Ward, retired after 32 years in fine jewelry

The filth.

“How incredibly dirty rings can get. It’s crazy that people don’t think twice about sticking their germ-ridden ring fingers in their mouth to loosen their even germier rings. Then they want to share those rings with us to clean, all the while telling us about all the food, paint and other gross things that could be in it. And they never once think about all of that just having been in their mouth!” – Jennifer Zermeno, Rinehart Jewelry, Nevada, MO


And the nail salon is out of the question.

“Getting a manicure is never an option. I can’t go a day without rouge under my nails.” – Potere Azure Jewelry, Ellensburg, WA

But it’s all worth it in the end.

“What other job is there that puts smiles on people’s faces when you create something for them that everyone else said couldn’t be done, or you repair that heirloom that they were told could never be fixed. Those are the rewarding moments.” – Arabesque Jewelers, High Ridge, MO

Jesse Burkhart is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. A hair stylist from Poland once told him he looked like a conquistador, a compliment he accepted without questioning its merit.



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