It was a busy Saturday morning…. (if you have ever worked retail, insert ominous music here) I was working for a small custom jewelry store and we had A LOT of people on the sales floor. Working with clients happened to be, in my opinion, one of the best parts of the job. A nice woman approached the counter where I was standing and asked if I would be willing to clean her engagement ring and how much that would cost. “We will clean your ring for no charge, ma’am”, I said, and gently took her ring back into our workshop. Since I was also one of the store’s bench jewelers, I wanted to check the ring under one of our microscopes to see:
If all the stones were tight (no movement)
If any of her stones were broken (nope)
What types of stones were in her ring (a diamond)
If there looked to be enough metal holding the stones in place (plenty)
And if the overall ring looked to be in good shape (tip top!)
The only problem I could see was that the ring was VERY dirty. I mean these diamonds looked like dull pieces of quartz. This was the kind of dirty one finds a great amount of satisfaction in cleaning. I briefly went back to the woman to inform her that everything on her ring looked to be in GREAT condition and proceeded to clean it.
I started with the ultrasonic. This is a machine that heats up a cleaning solution and then vibrates it to loosen the grime stuck in all the little nooks and crannies. After a sufficient amount of time I took out the ring and used the steam cleaner to finish the job. Do you ever want to know why you can’t get your rings to look quite as clean at home? After all, you can just as easily soak them in some hot cleaning solution. Our secret weapon is the steam cleaner. It shoots a stream of hot steam out of a nozzle that really BLASTS all the gunk from the ring. The steam cleaner is what makes diamonds sparkle like the day you first brought them home from the store. This whole time I am thinking about how amazed this woman is going to be when I bring out her squeaky-clean ring. She will be blinded by how sparkly her diamond now is!!
I placed the ring on a black velvet tray, walked back out to the woman, proudly handed her the ring, and watched for the amazed and joyous face I was expecting to see…. Instead, she looked at me with terrified eyes and said, “this is not my diamond! My diamond did not sparkle like this one does! What did you do to my diamond?!” My heart sank into my toes. I stood in confused silence, desperately trying to force my mind into one cohesive thought. She was so used to seeing a dull and dirty diamond that this clean and sparkly one looked completely foreign. Like a different stone. Slowly I pulled my jaw back off the floor and began to explain this to the now distraught woman. We walked over to one of our tables and took a seat where I began to discuss the difference between a clean diamond and a dirty one. I took out my diamond tester and showed her that it was still a diamond, and we looked at her ring under the microscope so she could find further comfort that it was, in fact, her stone. After about 20 minutes of explanation I, once again, had a smiling and happy woman who, a bit sheepishly, apologized and thanked me for all my help. Crisis averted!!
As I have said before, getting your jewelry cleaned and checked is VERY import to its longevity. I know it can be hard to find someone you trust to take care of such an important (and expensive) piece of your life and I will give you all of the info you need to find a reputable, local jeweler, in another blog post, but for now I want to leave you with a bit of honesty. Most of us jewelers out there only want to make sure you can wear that ring, pendant, or bracelet for the rest of your life. Seeing you happy is what makes our job the best job in the world!
Have a great week everyone!