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True Tales: Mystery Meat

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A customer and her husband came in to get a watch battery. While our jeweler was working on the watch I offered to clean her cluster-style engagement ring. As soon as she took it off I knew something was “in the air.” I dropped it in the ultrasonic and let it buzz for about 5 minutes. I hit it with the steamer and bam! — the most horrendous smell preceded something flinging upwards into my eye. Once I blinked the sting away I checked the undercarriage and the smell almost knocked me over — underneath was a nasty build-up of gunk. I held my breath as I used a long brush, tweezers and a dental hook to scrap it away. When I couldn’t stomach it anymore I dipped it in the ultrasonic and hit it with one more blast of steam (eyes closed), grabbed the watch and returned to the customer. I explained to her that the ring was worn and she might want to remove her jewelry before applying lotion. She mentioned she smelled an odor coming from the ring the week before, and I explained that an open back is bad news for funk. That’s when her lightbulb went off. She told me she wore her ring preparing meatloaf a few weeks back. I started to taste my lunch and excused myself to rinse my eye and wash my hands. Every time I see a cluster ring I still turn green. — Elysia Demers, Barnhardt Jewelers, Spencer, NC

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 edition of INSTORE.

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