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True Tales

True Tales: The Weirdest True Stories Ever

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American jewelers share their weirdest storiesYeah, we’re suckers for a great story. 
 
Since launching INSTORE back in January 2002, we’ve consistently asked the jewelers we meet a question that, for some odd reason, always seems to get them talking: 
 
“So, what’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?” 
 
We’ve asked, and they’ve shared. And over time, as you would imagine, we’ve amassed a pretty large number of such stories. Some have appeared in our popular monthly column, “True Tales”, subtitled “Strange Stories From the Front Lines”. But many others didn’t quite fit into that department – they were too short, too long, or perhaps not quite the theme we were looking for at a certain time.  
 
This month, we’re remedying that – by dipping into our archives and sharing the best of those never-before-published stories with the world. 
 
Some stories we decided to avoid because they seemed to come up a little too frequently to merit the “True Tales” seal of approval. These included:  
 
1.) Numerous I-lost-a-really-big-diamond but luckily found it in: a.) the cuff of my pants; b.) the sleeve of my shirt; c.) the pocket of my jacket; d.) a food product I was just about to eat. 
 
2.) Older man walks into the store with the hot young girl, buys an expensive item, which he pays for with a check and says he’ll pick up later. The check bounces, and when the jeweler follows up for payment, the man says forget about the purchase – then grins and thanks the jeweler for the best weekend he’s ever had. (Do us a favor, jewelers: if that guy really exists, next time he comes into your store, kick him in the you-know-whats, just for us.) 
and: 
 
3.) You want what soldered where? 
 
What you will find is a collection of some of the weirdest true stories to ever occur in American jewelry stores.  
 
There are examples of compulsive behavior, jaw-dropping self-indulgence, plus marital crises averted (or unwittingly abetted). We’ve got weird products, gemological goof-ups, and custom-design requests that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. 
 
And we’ve got lots and lots (and lots) of truly bizarre customers. 
 
Many stories are funny, while others are heartwarming. Some are a little sad, and still others are downright creepy.  
 
Anyway, we picked the best. 
 
Those of you who diligently crack open INSTORE each month to boost your knowledge and extract fresh ideas from our pages, might be shaking your heads and saying: “Uhh, what am I going to get out of this?” 
 
Our answer: we think you’ll find more fresh ideas, more potential angles to deal with customers than in any other story we publish this year. 
 
Best of all, you’ll never be caught unprepared again. Because, after reading this story, you will have truly seen it all. 
 
If not, here’s one thing you will definitely learn: 
 
This job is never boring! 
 
 
This was in the mid 90s, when my father was still working in the store. A gentleman in his mid-40’s stopped in to drop off a rope chain for repair. He complained to my father that, occasionally, when he wore the chain, it turned his neck or clothing black. My father examined the chain and told him that when this occurred, it usually meant the person wearing it had a high acidity count in their system. The man looked at my father and said, defensively, “Hey, man – I haven’t done acid for at least 20 years!”  
SUSIE FREEMAN 
Freeman Jewelers; Ft Wayne, IN 
 
 
 
We had a customer – a very, very nice man, but one who definitely “marched to the beat of his own drummer.” He was a big guy, with a pony tail and multiple piercings, including his nose.  
 
While putting a third hole in his ear one day, I joked to him that now he could hang a chain from his nose to his ear. He wore a one-carat yellow diamond of ours in his nose, and a blue one in his ear. (He had expensive, albeit unusual tastes.) Anyway, you guessed it – the next time I saw him, he had followed my “advice” and was now wearing a nice chain attached from his nose ring to his earrings. Only he could get away with it … 
“DIAMOND DAVE” SALKIN 
Salkin’s Jewel Case; Freehold, NJ 
 
 
 
A man came into our store and asked a three-carat round brilliant cut diamond for his secretary. He wanted it ready within the hour. The request was fulfilled. Five days later, the same customer called and requested to see a five-carat diamond. I called the same vendor, thinking that the three-carat would be a trade-in and the vendor sent along three five-carat diamonds and one six-carat diamond. The next day, while showing the diamonds, the conversation went dead. So, to lighten the atmosphere, I joked that he should buy all four diamonds. Instead of laughing at me, he thought for a second and said, “No, I will only buy the three five-carat diamonds.” The three diamonds were mounted into a man’s ring. Which means I may have sold the largest past, present and future ring in history
DAVID RUNNELS 
Benold’s Jewelry; Austin, TX 
 
 
 
We’re a family business specializing in custom design and repair. Many times customers will bring us a challenge to repair. Rarely do we say, “No, it can’t be fixed.” One day, a lady came in as I was working at my bench and I greeted her from across the room. She asked if I could fix her “—–“. As I’m a little hard of hearing, I couldn’t quite hear her. But, as usual, I said “Sure, we can!” I walked over to her, held out my hand, and she promptly put a glass penis in my hand. It had been on a chain. The chain had broken. Yes, we fixed it. But the razzing I took from my family!  
RICHARD TYLER 
Kester Jewelry; Craig, CO 
 
 
 
A FAT LADY comes into the store (props to Al Bundy) with a one- carat cluster ring (50 x .02) of frozen spit diamonds, and wants to know if I can turn them into one single large stone. I assume she wants to trade them in on a bigger stone. I tell her that I really have no use for her stones, so I couldn’t take them in on trade. Oh, no, she wants me to melt them down and reform them into a single bigger diamond. The first thing I thought of was to tell her that I had to let Superman go, and he was the only one that could possibly do that. But I didn’t tell her that. Instead, I sent her down the street to the competition, telling her that they had a machine that could preform the required task. 
RICHARD TYLER 
Kester Jewelry; Craig, CO 
 
 
 
A man calls on the phone and speaks to my daughter, Janelle, and asks if we can fix an urn with a broken handle. She said to bring it in to show to me. Sure wish she had given me a “head’s up” after the call came in. Anyway, the man arrived with what looked like a big vase – and that’s what I referred to it as. I told him I could fix it, but I’d have to clean it up as there was “all this dust” all over it. I promptly took a rag and cleaned it off. My daughters stood towards the back of the room, and one said to the other, “Should we tell Mom what that is?” And the other one said “Nah, this is too much fun!” Anyway, after the customer left, they finally caved and told me to turn the “vase” around and look at the picture on the front of it.  
TERI VOGAN 
Vogan Gold and Silver Works; Colorado Springs, CO 
 
 
 
Sent flowers to top 50 customers. One wife received, forgot the $5,000 three-stone ring she had gotten earlier in the year, and called me to accuse her hubbie of cheating. She said, “I’ve haven’t gotten any jewelry. He must have bought it for another woman”. Talk about embarrassed when we reminded her to look at her right hand. 
RONNIE GODWIN 
Godwin Jewelers; Bainbridge, GA 
 
 
 
A customer came in and gave us $830. He told us that several years ago, we had accidentally charged his credit card only $83 for an $830 purchase and he wanted to pay us back. He wouldn’t tell us his name or exactly when it happened. We gave the money to charity. 
VICKI CUNNINGHAM 
Cunningham Fine Jewelry; Tulsa, OK 
 
 
 
A customer called to order a diamond ring and earrings for his daughter’s 21st birthday. Due to health problems, he couldn’t come in and paid by credit card. He called us three times to tell us she would come by limo. At 7:30 pm, we called him as she had not come yet. Both cell numbers were invalid. The next morning he called to tell us she would arrive at 10 am in a Rolls Royce. By now, we were suspicious and called the police. With a little investigating, we found out the card number was stolen. When the girl arrived in the Rolls Royce, she and her boyfriend were arrested right there at our diamond counter. Quite exciting! 
JAMES WOLF 
James Wolf Jewelers; Cincinnati, OH 
 
 
 
I had two appointments scheduled with different couples on the same day.  
 
The day before the appointments, I realized that one member of each of the couples were previously married to each other.  
 
The good news was that they both trusted me enough to bring their new mates to me to design their rings.  
 
But the bad news was that the woman’s appointment was first and she was always running late. And the guy’s appointment was an hour later and he was always early.  
 
I knew they were bound to bump into each other. So I called one of them, described the predicament, and, with a huge sigh of relief, rescheduled one of the appointments. An inevitable disaster averted! 
T. LEE 
T. Lee Fine Designer Jewelry; Minneapolis, MN 
 
 
 
We have a customer who’s a little strange. (She’s a psychiatrist – figures, right?) She has been on a quest for “The Ultimate Diamond” ring for years -not from her husband (this is something she does herself). She started with a one-carat,VS/G, then immediately wanted to upgrade to two carats and we did.  
Then, a couple of months later, she decided she wanted flawless, but saw she couldn’t quite afford it, so we went VVS/E.  
 
Guess what? Once she got it, she said she would save and actually get the flawless one. We went through that again (and each time, made a new ring, with many design changes – you can only imagine!). So now she has a beautiful platinum handmade ring, with a two-carat flawless diamond. She loves it. But is she finally satisfied? No, clearly that would be too easy – because she’s back!  
 
Now, she wants to know what it would take to upgrade to three carats. AARGH!  
 
I have too much of a conscience to add a serious markup on each of these deals, yet they are getting harder. It’s not easy to find a dealer who will take a two-carat flawless in! 
 
We try to explain to the customer that all these changes end up costing her far more than if she just bought a stone once, since our dealer has to earn something on each transaction, and so do we … however minimal.  
 
She understands this, but says “That’s the way I want it!”. What are you gonna do? The upshot: she can’t quite afford a three-carat flawless (yet), but we just got her a 2.67-carat. It’s beautiful! She loves it! It’s making her cry!  
 
Is this the one? Don’t bet on it!  
EVE ALFILL? 
Eve J. Alfill? Gallery & Studio; Evanston, IL 
 
 
 
A client of mine who was getting married purchased a necklace for his fianc?e from a very well-known designer during one of our trunk shows. The necklace was returned just prior to the couple’s wedding, due to some financial problems they were experiencing.  
 
The bride-to-be returned the necklace and, though disappointed, was satisfied with other pieces purchased. She asked if she could “borrow” the necklace to wear at important events, as long as we hadn’t sold it. This was no problem – because, what she didn’t know was that her future husband had actually paid for the necklace in full.  
 
During the year, to perpetuate the ruse, I sometimes told the now-wife that the necklace was at another store, or that someone had on a conditional sale, etc. All the while, the necklace was not only at the store, but paid for. The husband, my friend, last week, picked up the necklace to present, once and for all, to his bride. God, I love this industry! 
DAVID MAZER 
Bernie Robbins Fine Jewelry; Newton, PA 
 
 
 
A lady came in to have her ring sized. First, she wanted to know if my jeweler smoked. She said she didn’t allow anyone who smoked to work on her jewelry. Then she wanted to know how we did the sizing. She didn’t want us to use solder on the ring because it would disturb the “energy” of the ring. (I was waiting to see if it glowed when she put it on!) Then she told me that she didn’t wear it on certain days because it drained energy from her. At that point, I decided she was draining energy from me … and suggested another jeweler. 
RANDY RASSBERRY 
Fuller’s Jewelry; Plano, TX 
 
 
 
A couple in their late-20s came into my store in February 2005 and asked me to design a wedding set – engagement ring and wedding band – and a wedding band for the groom.  
 
Several weeks go by with designs and waxes and getting approval to cast and set. The wedding is set for early June. The couple picks up and pays for all the rings and we present them with a bottle of champagne (standard procedure in our store). Satisfied clients, great!  
 
In mid-June, the woman of the couple comes into the store and wants to know if I would purchase the rings back. The man had left her standing on the altar, literally.  
 
Wow, that was a first for me.  
 
OK, I told the young lady that I would purchase the rings back for “X” dollars – a price less than he had paid.  
 
She accepted the offer and I wrote her a check and put the custom rings back into inventory.  
 
A week later, the man comes back into the store, wanting to re-purchase the rings. I re-sold him the rings at the original price. He was delighted I still had them.  
 
Hang on now, it gets even better. About two weeks later, the bride returns to my store and asks me if I would buy the rings back as he left her on the altar – again! She said she was finished and leaving town to go back home. OK, so I purchased the rings back – once again, for “X” dollars – and returned them to inventory. Whew.  
 
Several weeks later, another young couple are browsing for engagement/wedding rings and they see the custom set. They try them on. They really like them. He looks at the price and cringes. But she really wants the rings. He looks startled. They argue, and the argument gets heated.  
 
They leave and I hear from friends that they split up and the wedding is off. She is dating someone else. This is too much for me. I scrap both rings.  
 
Karmic gold and stones?  
TERRY PARRESOL 
Parresol Jewelers; Lakeland, FL 
 
 
 
A regular customer came in and asked if I could make him two ladybug pendants. No problem, I answered, telling him that I had dozens of books he could look at for design ideas.  
 
Nope, he insisted that these had to look like the ones on his wife’s and daughter’s butts. (They have matching tattoos.) So I say, okay, but I need a picture to carve a wax. He waits till his wife is asleep, takes pictures of her butt, and brings them to me. I have just about finished two very nice-looking rose and white gold ladybugs with diamonds for spots that exactly match his wife and daughter’s butts. 
“DIAMOND DAVE” SALKIN 
The Jewel Case; Freehold, NJ 
 
 
 
Last Christmas, I sold a walrus penis bone for $95. This bone is called an “Oosik” by Native Alaskans.  
 
It came it in a collection of artifacts I bought from a retired archeologist. We have a nice antique/estate department and we get some unusual items. But this is definitely one of the most unusual.  
 
When I first saw one, I asked “What is it?” The grandson explained. (The grandson of the owner – not the grandson of the walrus.)  
 
But what really surprised me was how many of my customers knew what it was. One man told me he had two oosiks on display in his office.  
 
The nicest thing about our estate department is that a customer can’t “shop” the items in every store in town. And there’s no Rap Sheet on walrus penis bones … yet (whew!). 
HAL JONES 
Jones & Co Jewelers; Las Cruces, NM 
 
 
 
A customer comes in on December 20, when the place is rockin’. He says: “I understand you do free gift-wrapping here ?” “Yes,” we answer, “of course.” The customer then whips out a stack of boxes – presents he purchased in other stores. After the laughter stopped, we explained that meant our gifts … and he left. 
“DIAMOND DAVE” SALKIN 
The Jewel Case; Freehold, NJ 
 
 
 
I arrived at work the day after Christmas to see a man waiting very impatiently in front of my store. I recognized him and asked what was the problem – assuming, from his expression, that something had gone wrong with the piece of jewelry he had recently purchased.  
 
Desperately, the man said: “I need a piece of jewelry that costs exactly $300, and I need it in a hurry.” 
 
“Why?” I asked. He told me his wife had found the receipt for $300, and he had told her he had forgotten the item at the jewelers.  
 
I had what he needed. He was lucky! 
GREGORY LACKI 
Clifton, NJ 
 
 
 
Some years ago, a client – a grandmother in her mid-70s – purchased a long jade necklace which we shortened for her into a bracelet and choker necklace.  
 
She wrote a check which bounced. On the day she came to pick up the items, we told her about the problem with her check. But we let her try the redesigned jade items on, to be sure they were the proper length. They were.  
 
We asked for the jewelry back, telling her we would let her take it once she could make the check good.  
She told us to call her husband – she could leave with the items now, and he would pay later.  
 
Of course, we said this was not possible – we told her we’d hold the items in our safe for her until she could pay for them. She refused to take the jewelry off. We tried to convince her.  
 
Finally, she decided to just leave. Now, we have a very heavy glass front door, which requires us to press a security buzzer to let customers in or out. She backed slowly up to the front door, and when she reached it, just kicked out the glass, leaving through the empty frame.  
 
Grandma had left the building … driving away in a frilly, ruffled muu-muu with puffed sleeves. 
 
We called the police. Luckily, the woman was insured for such behavior (due to her sometimes erratic actions).  
The family took care of the glass door and the bill for the jewelry.  
BRENDA REICHEL 
Carats & Karats Fine Jewelry; Honolulu, HI  
 
 
 
By our estimate, my husband has set over 54,000 carats of diamonds over 42 years in the business. But, his most unusual setting was a glass eye. The customer’s wife had died and the husband wanted to have her glass eye set into a tie-tack. My husband very carefully set it bezel-style in 14K gold. It seemed odd, but we figured that the gentleman wanted his wife to “keep an eye” on him.  
TERRY & SANDY SMITH 
GoldSmith Jewelers; Little Falls, MN 
 
 
 
We had just opened for the day, when an elderly woman with a walker came in. Since it was her first visit to her store, she peered into our cases and asked a lot of questions.  
 
Suddenly, I heard the sound of running water. It started slowly and then intensified, like a tap turning on. I looked at the other staff members and all were busy, as was the woman with the walker.  
 
After a while, the sound stopped, and then came again in a gush! This was too much. I walked, slowly, around the counters to see if I could spot anything. Did I ever! The old lady, as she browsed, was also urinating where she stood, on our brand-new carpet! First, it was a trickle – then, Niagara Falls! All sorts of things passed through my mind. Could this be a gag for Candid Camera? Nah. I wondered what to say to her, and even if I did, would she, or could she even, stop?  
 
In the end, I did what I think any sane store owner would – I walked outside to take a breath. I couldn’t help myself. The tension and uncertainty of the moment caused me to, literally, double-up in laughter. In fact, I almost joined our new customer by peeing in my own pants.  
 
Eventually, the store door opened and the old lady left, carrying three pieces she had purchased for almost $8,000 in cash!  
 
After the carpet-recovery finished shampooing the rug, the question was broached: “What if she comes back tomorrow?” My answer: “Welcome her back with open arms, and even a big glass of water, if she wants it! Just see that she gets another load of jewelry to take home!” 
STAN LYNN 
Gemset of Saratoga; Saratoga Springs, NY 
 
 
 
I HAD A COUPLE – successful, mid-40s – who had been coming in for a few years. The female customer came in alone, wearing a wide pav? diamond wedding band on her right hand. It was stuck. She asked me to get it off. It was way too tight. I told her we would have to use a cutter, cut the ring at the bottom, bend it open, and then we could resize it, refinish it, and check the stones. We could give it back to her in a week. A look of horror came across her face, and she told me: “I can’t wait that long. I’ve got to take it home tonight. I’m going to leave my husband and get a divorce. I just wanted to see how the ring would eventually look on my right hand. I have got to have this ring on my left hand tonight or he’ll be suspicious. Just grease up my finger and pull the damn thing off!” That finger had a wart on the knuckle. I greased her finger with lotion, got a rag to give myself a better grip and yanked. She screamed and I had the ring in the towel – along with the wart, which had also popped off. I bandaged her up, steamed the ring and she was off. The next day she came back into the store for something else, wearing a fresh new bandage on the right finger. I asked how she was. She said “I went to my doctor this morning to have it checked. He said you did a fine job of removing the wart and you saved me $60”. True story. 
DAVID GELLER 
Jeweler Profit; Atlanta, GA 
 
 
 
Betty and Larry had never been in our store before. They asked to look at larger marquise diamonds. I asked how large and Betty says at least a carat and a half.  
 
Hearing this, Larry rolls his eyes back, crosses his arms and sits back in his chair (clearly thinking that this was going to be a long, painful visit).  
 
Betty told me that her mother had left her some money and she would want Betty to have whatever she wanted. And what she wanted was an exquisite diamond – and she was trusting me to find her the best one.  
 
I planned to show her a 1.25-carat and a 1.5-carat stone – with the 1.5-carat coming first, of course. I never even got to the second stone. It was love at first sight. She didn’t even want to see the smaller diamond. Her hands even shook. The VS2 H knocked her socks off. Larry just shook his head, not believing his wife would spend her inheritance on a diamond.  
 
Trying to get him on board with the purchase, I asked Larry if he didn’t agree that Betty would show off her new diamond to everyone. He agreed. I asked him if everybody knew that Betty had inherited money. He said no. “So,” I said, “don’t you think everyone will assume you bought her the diamond? And that all the other ladies are going to be jealous because their husbands haven’t bought them a great diamond?’  
 
His arms slowly uncrossed. His eyes quit rolling back and he started to smile. He said, “I guess I’m going to look pretty good, aren’t I?” When they picked up Betty’s new diamond, Larry commented on how great it looked on her hand.  
 
Since then, Larry has returned many times and made several purchases since then. We made good friends and a very loyal customers. 
LAURIE PFITZER 
Artistry in Gold; Spokane, WA 
 
 
 
A customer comes in and tells us she wants to make pendants for her brothers and sisters. She wants to have their mother’s fingerprints cast, much like your children’s handprints are done in kindergarten.  
 
The problem: their mother just died yesterday! So the customer gets a fingerprint kit, goes to the mortuary, gets the prints and brings them back to us.  
 
Everyone in the store is really creeped out. But, of course, we made the molds for the customer to see and gave her the estimate.  
 
Fortunately, it was more than she was willing to pay. I still wonder if she found someone to do it cheaper. 
TIM OTTMAN 
The Gem Gallery; Reno, NV 
 
 
I KNOW A VERY WELL-OFF lady who lives in Manhattan. She’s in the entertainment industry and has three or four large parties in her penthouse apartment each year.  
 
During one party, her hands became soiled from cooking so she proceeded to the bedroom, took off her four-carat emerald-cut diamond ring and set it on the dresser where she always leaves her jewelry. Then she washed up, closed her bedroom door, and returned to the party.  
 
After the party, as she prepared to go to bed, she noticed the ring was not on the dresser. She looked everywhere, but couldn’t find it. The only thing that could have happened was someone at the party had gotten into her bedroom and stolen her ring. She called the police, but with more than 150 people at the party, it was clear they would never find the thief. She was advised to call her insurance company.  
 
Making a bad day even worse, the woman’s beloved ten-year-old Great Dane became extremely ill and had to be rushed to the veternarian. After two hours in the waiting room, the vet asked the woman to come into the X-Ray room. He had found the problem: a piece of metal lodged in the dog’s stomach, shaped like a ring. The woman didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. To make a long story short, the vet gave Fido a pill to “loosen” things up, and he was fine by the next day. And one very expensive ring got the most intense cleaning in history!  
ROLAND SHERMAN 
Bryant & Co. Jewelers; Claremont, CA 
 
 
 
About five years ago, I received a request from a local funeral director. He called to see if I cut off rings stuck on fingers. Of course, I replied.  
 
Within 15 minutes, a hearse pulls up in front of my store followed by an entire funeral procession. The director came in the store and asked that I come in the hearse with him to cut a wedding band off the deceased. At the last minute, the wife of the deceased had decided she wanted the ring and by then there was no way to get it off except to cut it off. This I did.  
 
After I had finished and stepped out of the hearse, the family applauded … then went on their way to the cemetery. The job was no charge. 
CATHY CALHOUN 
Zenker Jewelers; Royersford, PA 
 
 
 
The best one I ever heard was a woman who chose a $15,000 diamond bracelet and asked her jeweler to sell it to her husband for $10,000 as he had told her that was her limit. She promised her jeweler she would return the next day to make arrangements to settle the difference. The following day she came back and announced she was here to return the bracelet.  
 
The jeweler said, “I’m a little confused, I thought you wanted to keep the bracelet and were going to pay the difference”.  
 
“Oh, no,” she said. “You misunderstand. I do want to keep the bracelet. But another gentleman will arrive today and I want you to sell this bracelet to him for the remaining $5,000.” Smart woman. Now she can wear the bracelet all the time, with both her husband and her boyfriend thinking they were the ones who gave that beautiful bracelet to her. 
JUDY RICHARDS 
Davidson’s Jewellers; Ottawa, Ontario 
 
 
 
Tonight, I emptied the till and noticed a stack of $100 bills, paper-clipped together. Then, I noticed something written on the lower margin of each bill – one phrase for each bill. It went like this: 
 
1. “From fifty dollars each week, the first twenty I put away -“ 
2. “I dreamed of giving you this gift, on Christmas Day -”  
3. “More important than the total here, is how it came to be -“ 
4. “My love for you is constant, I hope this you see -“ 
5. “When I was younger and poorer, I bought you an engagement ring -“ 
6. “Now, less young and less poor, you do this one thing -“ 
7. “Find a Ring more suitable for one as beautiful as you -“ 
8. “My gift, I still have, when you said ‘I Do’ -“ 
9. “The total you spend is up to you, this is just the start -“ 
10. “Merry Christmas and I love you, your happy husband _______.” 
Ten phrases, ten hundreds. 
MARK CLODIUS  
Clodius & Co., Rockford, IL 
 
 
 
An absolutely beautiful lady in her early 20s came in and asked every question you can imagine about hoop earrings.  
 
What kind of posts? Could we make them longer? What type catches we could put on them? Weights? How easily would they bend? On and on.  
 
I finally told she could try some and see which she liked.  
 
She asked if had one of those measuring tools so we could measure the thickness and length she needed. I showed her our micrometer. She looked around the showroom and confirmed that she was the only one in the store. 
 
“What the hell”, she said, then proceeded to pop her left breast out of her top for me to measure how long the post needed to be to go thru her nipple. It took everything I had to act professional and actually get an accurate measurement.  
 
I wrote up the order and told her it would be ready in a few days. She thanked me and left.  
 
I very calmly walked into my shop and slowly banged my head against a wall. 
CHET BLACKMON  
Jewelry Works; Leesburg, FL 
 
 
 
A rancher comes into the store and drops a Zip-Loc sandwich bag full of “sheep pills” (that’s sheep excrement for you city people) on the counter. He says he wants a pair of cuff links made.  
 
Hmmm, I think. I asked him if there was a significant reason for such a strange request.  
 
“Yes,” he answered. “I have a son and I want him to remember where the money came from to send him to that fancy eastern college!” 
MARK PRIEST 
Legend Jewelers; San Angelo, TX 
 
 
 
An elderly couple came in looking for a ring to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. The woman picked several styles of “Past, Present and Future” rings and displayed them to her husband, who regarded each with an encouraging smile. The look showed he wanted her to be pleased.  
 
After she decided on one, she asked her husband if he thought it would look beautiful on her and he again smiled.  
 
After the purchase was complete, she told me her husband suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and she had had many challenges in caring for him.  
 
Before suffering the disease, he had always been frugal and had never purchased her jewelry.  
 
Now she felt she deserved this ring. And it seemed he felt she deserved it, too. 
BROOKE BRINKMAN-FISHER  
Rodriguez’s House of Stones; New Philadelphia, OH 
 
 
 
A NEW CUSTOMER told me she needed some jewelry cleaner. I showed her the type I sell in my store and explained how to use it. She replied that the last time she used jewelry cleaner the jeweler that she bought it from told her that it was best used when it was hot, and to stick it in the microwave for a minute to warm it up. I thought that was interesting and asked how the technique worked for her. She said that it ruined her jewelry and almost broke her microwave. I was shocked to hear her reply and then asked, “Did you put your jewelry in the cleaner … in the microwave?” Yes! she had. And now her jewelry was burnt and couldn’t be fixed! Talk about a major communication failure! 
SARAH PRIEST 
Forever Jewelers; Warwick, NY 
 
 
 
A 40-something woman came into the store for us to change the battery on her husband’s watch. I did and charged her the appropriate fee. After handing her the change from the sale, I said “Thank you, Mary. Have a nice day.” She looked at me strangely and said, “My name is not Mary.” I apologized and said I thought her name was Mary because on the back of husband’s watch was engraved: “WITH LOVE …MARY.” Turns out Mary was the old girlfriend. One hour later, the woman was back with her husband. They bought a nice Seiko, and we engraved the back … with her name, of course. 
PHIL FUNCHS  
Phillips and Fredricks Jewelers; Bernardsville, NJ 
 
 
 
Two Christmases ago I was in the hospital with my grandmother. We didn’t think she was going to make it. So, I missed the whole week before Christmas – by far, the busiest week of the year. I left the store in the very capable hands of my staff. There were three of them and customer’s lined up waiting to be waited on.  
 
Some were asking for me, but hearing the explanation for my absence, they understood. Things were humming along just fine until 4 pm on Christmas Eve.  
 
One of our very good customers came in to get an engagement ring he had been eyeing for about two weeks. He picked a ring and center diamond, then wrote a $7,000 check and waited patiently for the jeweler to set the stone and the salespeople to wrap the gift. (Because of the crowds in the store, they were using the conference room to wrap gifts.)  
 
Anyway, they had him out the door by 4:30. Soon after, there was a short lull – the calm before the after-work rush. So, everyone took a few minutes to clean and straighten.  
 
One of the associates picked up the job envelope from the customer who had just left and asked what to do with it. The other associate said to trash it, as the customer had the ring and would be proposing in the morning. She said, “If he’s got the ring then what is this in his envelope?”  
 
You guessed it, amongst all of the hustle and bustle they wrapped up an empty box!  
 
Needless to say, we finally got hold of the customer around 6 pm and hatched a plan. While he and his intended bride were at Christmas Eve services at a local church, we went to his truck – which he had left unlocked for us – and switched his empty box with the correct one.  
 
Everyone laughs about the scenario now, but while we were experiencing it, it was a nightmare. Can you imagine proposing and opening an empty box?!?! 
JEREMY SHEA LEACH  
J. Shea Jewelers; Abilene, TX 
 
 
 
I had a male customer ask for a “Before, During and After” ring. 
MARTA VAN ZANDT 
L. Morgan Jewelers; York, PA 
 
 
 
Couple years ago around Christmas we got a call from a young lady asking if we cut rings off that were too tight to remove. I assured we could take care of it for her. But her next question left me speechless. She asked “Can you do it while I wait?” 
CHET BLACKMON 
Jewelry Works; Leesburg, FL 
 
 
 
I worked with salesman 25 years and witnessed him working a customer. The client had asked him his professional opinion if the piece of jewelry she brought was gold. He studied it for a while and than very seriously proceeded to “sniff” it. And replied why yes it was. The customer thought this perfectly acceptable since we use the scratch the pearl on the teeth method! It was incredibly funny. 
BRENDA NEWMAN 
The Jewelry Source; El Segundo, CA

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If She Didn’t Like the Platinum, She Really Won’t Like the Moissanite

This real customer wanted the sheen of sparkly copper.

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A customer sent her fiancé into the store with a piece of copper wire coated with a sparkling something. He said she wanted a ring just like it in platinum with the same finish. We told him there was no finish available to re-create what he was showing us. We called a month later to tell him his platinum band was ready for pickup. When they came in, she became quite snarly because the sparkle finish she asked for was not there. We tried to explain, but she was not hearing us. She said she needed the sparkle to remind her every day of “the sparkle in their lives.” She demanded to know why it took us a month to tell her it was not possible. We explained that we had told her fiancé the day he came in. When she glared at him and asked why he didn’t tell her, he just looked at the floor. (She is 5 foot tall. He is 6 feet 4 inches.) She refused the platinum band we had special-ordered and walked out of the store. We were left to wonder what will happen when she finds out the focal stone in her engagement ring isn’t the 1.5-carat diamond she thinks it is, but rather a stunning moissanite at a tenth the price?

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A 5-Carat Diamond Wasn’t Big Enough for This Client

Go big or go home? A jeweler wishes this customer would.

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A CLIENT LOOKED at many different fancy yellows, each above 5 carats, for over six months with countless meetings and still couldn’t decide. The most recent excuse? “It’s just not big enough.”

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‘Even If You Were Cher, I Wouldn’t Loan You This Jewelry!’

An owner refuses to fall for this dumb yet real scam artist.

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ONE DAY, a limo pulled into my parking lot. The young lady who alit claimed to be the P.A. for Cher. She went on to pick out pieces from my case that she swore would work in that night’s performance and be returned the next day. I informed her if the star herself walked in, I wouldn’t hand over thousands of dollars worth of jewelry “on loan.” She called me some nasty names and left. Seems Cher was not performing anywhere near the East Coast that night and it was just a scam. Oh well! — James Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH

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