Saturday, 4 February 2012

Saturday Story Time - Gemstone handling

Welcome to Saturday story time.  Today I was reflecting back on all of the interesting retail client experiences I had.  Some were good, some were really bad.  All worth a read.

Back in 1987 when I first started in retail jewellery at Forest of Jewels in Heritage Mall, Edmonton I happened to be on the floor for what would become one of my most embarrassing moments.  A gentleman entered the store with a recently acquired prize possession.  I found-out he was father to a junior high-school acquaintance, so I established a connection before he told me what he wanted.  He had been on a trip with his new bride and in their travels they entered a gem-shop that had the most amazing gemstone.  It was a 42 carat ametrine.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, ametrine is a bi-colored quartz exhibiting colors of amethyst and citrine.  It can occur naturally or be coaxed out of amethysts using radiation and heat on one-half of the gem.

This gemstone was prized by this client because both he and his new bride had just turned 42 years of age, and it represented each of their birthstones.  In talking about ways in which we could make a piece of jewellery out of this gem, I dropped it on the glass counter-top and put a crack in the corner of it.  I’ll never forget the look on his face and the face of my manager who was also present.  “Dumb-founded horror,” comes pretty close to describing it.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, it wasn’t impossible to replace the gemstone, and Forest of Jewels made sure that the replacement was also 42 carats and was even brighter in color than the original.  It wasn’t overly expensive as I might have guessed.  I’m still grateful for the way Guy Forest backed me up in that circumstance.

Since then, whenever a client shows me a prized gemstone, I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS make sure there’s a soft pad to work on.  I also cradle my hand under tweezers when lightly gripping a gemstone – especially a heavy one.  Oh, sure I’ve had diamonds squirt out of tweezers since then, but with a little bit of practice and all necessary precautions you should never have to suffer the embarrassment I did.

Staffers, if you have never been fully briefed on safety precautions in handling gemstones, ask the boss for some lessons.  If you still have questions, I’ll be happy to spend a few minutes with you next time I’m in your store.

Play safe, and have a great day!

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