FAQ's- Frequently Asked Questions
Compiled below are some of the questions we often hear from our clients here at Masterpiece Jewelers. We hope the answers will be useful not only to our own clients locally but also to jewelry lovers from all over the world!
My engagement ring recently started snagging on my clothing? What’s the problem?
Run, don’t walk, to Masterpiece Jewelers! A prong on your ring has become raised or the prongs on your ring have become worn and either situation can quickly result in your diamond falling out of your ring, never to be found again! Does this paragraph sound a little dramatic??? It should, because literally THOUSANDS of women a year lose their precious diamonds because they ignore this simple warning sign. Your personal jeweler can determine whether you need a prong straightened or some overall maintenance done, and you can trust their recommendations because you have a relationship with them and them with you- for a lifetime!
What’s the best way to find a reliable independent jeweler if I don’t live near Masterpiece Jewelers?
Use the old-fashioned way of simply asking the people you know in your area what independent jeweler THEY have a relationship with- co-workers, family, friends and neighbors all have horror-stories of incompetence, indifference and disappointment with mall stores, national chains, etc. but they will give a glowing review of the local independent jeweler they feel comfortable with and know they can trust completely.
Are “Cash for Gold” vendors set up in hotels a good way to sell my unwanted gold jewelry?
NO! First of all, it just makes sense that criminals will know that people going into the hotel have gold jewelry on their person that they want to sell and that people coming OUT of the hotel have cash on them from selling their gold- making you a prime candidate for crime. And as for the vendors themselves, they may advertise that they are paying “Top Dollar” when in fact that’s just a vague claim and they know that once you have made the effort to go there, most likely you will accept the amount they give you. When you ultimately find out that you were “taken,” those vendors are no where to be found. Dealing locally with an independent jewelry store will protect your interests because they are a part of the community and want to have you as a client for more than that single transaction.
I inherited a piece of jewelry. What should I do now?
Your first move should be to bring it to Masterpiece Jewelers where we can evaluate the wearability of the piece at no charge (and also let you know if it is gold or platinum, what the stones are, etc,). Don’t just slip it on your finger! When well-loved jewelry is passed down after a death, most likely it will need some “maintenance work” because it has been worn by the giver for a lifetime. This could include retipping (because the prongs holding in the diamond(s) are worn down or completely missing due to wear!) or reshanking (to replace the band of the ring which is in danger of breaking due to becoming thinner over time.) You definitely do NOT want to lose a diamond out of your precious heirloom because the prongs were not doing their job!
Next, you should get an appraisal done on the piece. It is obviously priceless to you as a reminder of your loved one, but “priceless” is not an amount your insurance company will recognize! An appraisal will tell you the current value of the piece as well as give you yourself details about it. Tracy and Stacy's Masterpiece Jewelers can appraise your heirloom for a nominal fee, and will keep a copy of that appraisal on hand in case you lose the original. This appraisal will also serve as "proof of ownership" should the jewelry become lost or stolen and you need to reclaim it.
If the jewelry is not your style, you have a couple of options. At Tracy and Stacy's Masterpiece Jewelers, we have the ability, creativity and know-how to redesign another piece of jewelry that you WILL wear and enjoy from the components of your inherited piece. This is an impressive skill- think of it as asking a contractor to take an old house and making you a new house using only the materials from the original house. It’s a lot easier to run down to Lowe’s and get what he needs, but it takes skill and experience to work with what you already have and make it beautiful.
CAUTION: National chain stores sometimes have remounting events where they bring in a jeweler for the weekend. Avoid these for a number of reasons, the most important being that you don’t know the skill level of the jeweler! Yes, diamonds CAN be broken in the wrong hands. Stick with your local jeweler who has a reputation you trust.
The other options you have is to trade or sell the piece you inherited. Trading in (versus selling) at Tracy and Stacy's Masterpiece Jewelers nets you your best value- and then you can get a piece of jewelry that you love that reminds you of your loved one every time you look at it. And if you ultimately decide to sell the piece, we buy jewelry of all types and can absolutely be trusted to give the best value. We’ve dealt with these situations before and have the knowledge to guide you.
My husband passed away and I am finally ready to take off my wedding set, but I want to preserve it and still wear it. What can I do with it?
With our Forever Memory designs exclusive to MP Jewelers, we have a number of ways to take your wedding set or your husband’s band (or both) and turn them into a lovely, meaningful pendant for you to wear around your neck and near your heart. And you can be reassured that we will handle this life changing milestone with care and empathy.
The mall chain stores seem more convenient to me with their longer hours, but whenever I go in, they seem to only be interested in making a sale, and can’t answer many of the questions I ask. Is this because they lack experience?
Mall chain stores can experience a high level of turnover in their saleshelp, and they are trained to only SELL, not about the many, many other aspects of being a client’s trusted jeweler. Their business is based on selling in high volume numbers and they might not be focused on the importance of establishing a relationship with you that includes much more than just seller and buyer! And if you end up being dissatisfied, you may find that your salesperson no longer works there and that the manager is unwilling to help- why should they? There are millions of prospective customers nationally for them and if you’re not happy, there’s someone else out there they can make a sale to!
Protect yourself by dealing with a local independent jeweler like Tracy and Stacy’s Masterpiece Jewelers. We want to build a relationship with you that is based on being your source for any jewelry advice you may need and any way we can assist you in jewelry matters. If there IS a problem after a sale or repair, we will be quick to remedy the situation because you are a important part of their business- you see the same people in the store to serve you each time you come in, and that benefits you because there is someone behind the counter who knows you and will remember the transaction.
I took my favorite watch to a national retailer and they told me they don’t change watch batteries. Why is that? Isn’t changing watch batteries simple to do?
A common misconception is that “anyone can change a watch battery!” This is far from true and inexperienced clerks handling your favorite timepiece (be it a Timex or a Rolex) should be something you avoid like the plague! Big discount retailers have learned this the hard way and now refuse to change batteries on most watches. (The exception is watches they currently sell, because if the clerk breaks the crystal, scratches the coil, or snaps off the crown, they can just grab another one off the shelf. If however, your departed favorite Aunt gave you said watch, the one off the shelf is NOT the same thing!) Getting your watch battery changed is something you should leave to us at Tracy and Stacy’s Masterpiece Jewelers- it’s a very nominal charge and you can rest assured that the person changing your battery HAS changed hundreds before that!
Is jewelry cheaper at the flea market?
The public’s conception is that anything bought at a flea market is much cheaper- and some vendors know that so they can charge whatever they want for an item knowing that the customer will assume it is cheaper. Since gold and gemstones are traded on an international level, what they pay is what everyone pays for their merchandise, not some greatly reduced cost they can “pass on to the customer.”
But even more importantly, they generally do not have a lease or any obligations to keep them from just picking up their booth and leaving town. This applies to booths that look “flea market-ish” and booths that appear as though they are built into the flea market itself almost like a store. THEY CAN MOVE OUT OVERNIGHT, meaning that any “guarantee” they gave you on the merchandise that you didn’t even get an incredibly great deal on (not!) will be impossible to use. And every flea market has some vendors that have been there every week for years, which may make you feel they are somehow "permanent", but these same vendors can leave at any time, leaving you with money spent on a piece of jewelry that has no support behind it. Dealing with an established independent jeweler like us at Tracy and Stacy’s Masterpiece Jewelers means that they have a lease and obligations which they must fulfill, so you can be assured that they will be there to stand behind every repair, appraisal or sale.
5 In these economic times, isn’t it smarter to deal with a larger chain store because they will likely still be in business versus a local jeweler?
Well, if there is one thing we have all learned beginning in autumn of 2008, it is that “The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall.” Huge banks folded- ones that we saw commercials for every night and a branch on every corner- and still your local community-owned banks are open, doing business. People who have bought jewelry at chain stores know that they have then merged, been sold, gone out of business or moved completely out of your town.
Meanwhile, independent jewelry stores like Tracy and Stacy’s Masterpiece Jewelers have been steadily in business through all these changes. Think about it your own town- it’s true! The reality is that because smaller businesses are more fluid and can react to economic changes quickly- larger corporations can’t. And the people in your trusted local jewelry store are committed to YOU so they have built a relationship with their clients that lasts through good times and bad times.
Is jewelry cheaper online?
Cheaper, maybe. Better, no. A good value, no. Simply put, you can’t see what you are getting. And that’s risky! Again, even worse than a flea market, any website- not matter how beautifully designed- can be taken down, the toll-free numbers disconnected and the emails never replied to. There is NO recourse for you as there is no governing body for the internet at all. They just disappear into thin air.
And eBay, although well established, has its own set of problems. For one thing, rings that may be offered for sale on there may be in need of major maintenance work (like retipping or reshanking). Especially in the “Vintage” categories, where a trained jeweler can see that the ring is completely worn out in the pictures provided, the consumer has no idea and is just looking at the design. And since these items are offered as vintage, which implies pre-owned, with enlarged pictures, you will have no recourse even to leave bad feedback. And no matter how much positive feedback any eBay user has, they can just drop out of sight completely, start a new username and possibly begin misleading people all over again. Circumstances can change in their lives that suddenly cause them to end their eBay transactions, even if they had the best of intentions when they wrote that large-type guarantee in the auction text. You have no recourse because in theory the transaction was between two parties and not eBay.
Lastly, and simply, you just don’t know how it’s going to look on YOU. In person. It may be larger than you expected, smaller than you expected, not as sparkly as you imagined, uncomfortable to wear or even just plain ugly. You will then waste time and money returning the item- IF in fact the vendor you bought it from allows returns in the first place. (And let’s not forget the possibility of it never being received back by them- then you’re out the jewelry AND the money!)
Buying a special item like jewelry online just doesn’t make sense- you deserve the whole experience an independent jeweler is there to give you- the enjoyment of browsing and trying on many items, an experienced person there to answer any questions you may have, and the confidence in knowing that if there IS any issue, you can just get in your car and drive back over!
How often should I have an appraisal done?
This is a difficult question to be specific on, but at the current fluidity with the gold and diamond markets you should definitely get your precious pieces appraised every five years or so. Tracy and Stacy’s Masterpiece Jewelers keeps a copy of your last appraisal so we can tell you how long it has been since then. And we can advise you as to your specific needs on this matter.
4 Why do I need an appraisal? I have my original sales receipt.
You need an appraisal to insure that, in the unfortunate event that your ring is lost or stolen, you can be reimbursed for the current value of the piece. (PLEASE check with your own insurer for specifics- this info is meant to be general.) Many insurance companies will accept your original receipt, but the fact is that the jewelry market has appreciated and so has your jewelry and you will be caught short. The diamond ring you paid $900 for in 1984 could now be worth $1800 or $2500, but the insurance company may only give you the amount on your receipt or old appraisal. That means you would not be able to replace your beautiful piece. Appraisals are a cost effective way to protect your financial interest in your jewelry pieces, and an independent jeweler like Tracy and Stacy’s Masterpiece Jewelers can provide you with accurate appraisals. We even keep a copy on file in case you lose the original!
I have appraisals on all my jewelry. Why do I need to get updated ones?
Due to inflation, fluid gold markets, fluctuating diamond markets and other factors, your appraisal is most likely out of date! This is an important issue because you stand to lose money if your piece is lost or stolen. Have your precious pieces appraised every five years to ensure that their value is up to date- your personal jeweler can provide an appraisal or update an existing appraisal you have had done in their store. The cost is nominal in comparison to the loss you may take if your appraisal is out of date!
I have heard rumors about people’s diamond being switched. How can I avoid this happening to me?
This question is one of the easiest to answer- take it to a local jeweler you trust. Period. If you don’t yet have a personal relationship with an independent jeweler in your area, ask friends, family members, neighbors and/or co-worker who they trust with their fine jewelry. At Tracy and Stacy’s Masterpiece Jewelers, we are have worked hard to earn the trust of our community so that you can rest assured your jewelry is safe.
It seems that everyone know someone whose "great aunt’s second cousin’s ex-girlfriend" supposedly had their diamond switched, but in reality this is incredibly, incredibly rare. An independent jeweler such as Tracy and Stacy’s Masterpiece Jewelers has no interest in switching your diamond. We have a reputation in our community and ethics to back it up. There’s a reason we have been in business for years. And if you are still feeling cynical, just realize that a lifetime of business with you is worth much more than such a switch would net anyone.
There is a much bigger concern for jewelry owners: incompetent jewelers!! This is far more likely to affect you and your jewelry than a urban-legend-esque diamond switch. Diamonds can be broken, gold can become pitted or even completely destroyed. Trust AND experience are equally important.
I bought a gemstone ring in Mexico while I was on vacation and although I had to bargain with the seller for 45 minutes, ultimately I got the ring for half the original price. I got a great deal, right?
I’m sorry, but wrong! First of all, touristy places internationally know that Americans will want to “bargain” with them for souvenirs. To make a profit, these places routinely mark the jewelry WAY UP and then give you the “experience” of getting them to come way down on the price. This is all a ruse- the vendor must make a profit to stay in business (be it a jewelry store or a street vendor) and so you are not getting a great bargain at all. You are getting taken! International factors affect the jewelry industry no matter what country you are in, so you are not getting some great deal- you are just paying what you would have had you bought it 10 minutes from your home. And even more serious, if there is a problem with your purchase later (and there often is- just ask friends and relatives), you are thousands of miles away from the place you spent your hard-earned money. Jewelry is not a good thing to buy when away from home- you can buy a lovely piece at your local independent jeweler to commemorate the trip (or even to wear ON the trip while you’re making memories!) and have complete faith knowing that your personal relationship with that jeweler has protected you from any problems down the line. Tracy and Stacy’s Masterpiece Jewelers wants to be your jewelry professional for a lifetime and we will provide you the service, quality and guarantees to ensure that.
A national chain store in our mall has “75% Off Sales” all the time, so when I needed a jewelry gift, I went there. Sure enough, the clerk took 75% off the price on the tag. Later, my friend told me that place starts with a much higher asking price just so they can discount it. I was shocked. How can I avoid being taken again?
This is one of the most shameful parts of jewelry-sellers. There have been lawsuits in the jewelry industry trying to stop these deceptive practices, but the outcomes did not really protect the consumer. Use your common sense: If a chain store continually offers their jewelry (or any merchandise) at a high discount (like 50% or 75% off) they simply could NOT stay in business if the merchandise was originally priced at fair market value. You don’t need a business degree to figure that out! So to make it appear to you like you getting a BIG savings, they exaggerate the “list price,” “manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP)” or “reference price” so that when their “permanent sale” takes place 50 weeks out of the year, the price you pay comes down to closer to what the actual piece is worth. This is certainly doesn’t build your trust with them- in fact, it makes you feel like you’ve been fooled or taken.
A business opened up recently in a little shopping center in my town and all they do is buy gold. Is that a good place for me to sell my old gold?
No, no, and no! During a gold boom like the one we are seeing now, these fly-by-night establishments pop up. They may give you the lowest possible value on your gold (because their entire business is based on making money on YOUR gold, so the less they pay, the more they make.) They know that you have no idea what your jewelry is worth for cash- why would you? You’re not in the gold business! And then these vendors close up shop and move on to the next town- probably right around the time when complaints start gathering steam. Avoid getting scammed by going to your local independent jeweler like Tracy and Stacy’s Masterpiece Jewelers who will give you your best value for your unwanted gold because we already have a relationship with you and want you to be our client for a lifetime, not just that one transaction. We also offer a safe selling environment and will treat you (and your jewelry) with respect.
When my cousin bought a diamond ring at a pawn shop, the owner also gave her an official-looking piece of paper that had the price of the ring at 3 times more than he was offering it to her for. It was signed by him. Is that ethical?
NO! But it is done and YOU don’t want to be involved in that at all. Among other issues, he may be telling her that if she loses the ring or it is stolen, she will get a nice payout from the insurance company- more than she even paid! That is fraud- and it is a selling tool that is rumored to sometimes be used in pawn shops. It is clear sign that something is wrong in the transaction- common sense tells you a person could not stay in business selling something at one-third its supposed actual value!
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