Friday, October 06, 2006

If I were going to steal one, I wouldn’t steal this one

There’s something you should know about The Husband. Whenever he plans to buy something, he does research, because he likes to buy only the best. The more expensive and/or packed with electronic features the item, the more research he does. This is often quite handy for me, because if I want to get, say, a video camera, I say, “Husband, I think we should buy a video camera.” So he goes off and finds out all the features that are important, what Consumer Reports and Slashdot have to say about different brands, makes a list of the pros and cons of the top three models, and returns to me with a brand and model number and says, “I think we should get this one.” Meanwhile, I watch movies. Couldn’t be easier.

Naturally, The Husband was similarly diligent about doing his homework when he was buying my engagement ring. He read all about the clarity of diamonds and learned the difference between a VVS1 (one very very slight inclusion) and a VVS2 (two very very slight inclusions). He examined inclusions (flaws inside the diamond) through a microscope and compared a grade A diamond with a grade D (has to do with color). He also learned about laser inscription of serial numbers. In short, by the time he decided which diamond to buy, he really knew his stuff.

After we got engaged, we discovered that the ring he bought me was about a half size too big. Since neither of us wanted the ring to fly off my finger with a sudden gesture, we brought it down to Jeweler’s Row to get it sized. The first store we went into said they’d be happy to resize the ring, but that we’d have to leave it with them for a few days.

“That’s fine,” said The Husband, “but I’d like to copy down the serial number of the diamond before we do that.”

The jeweler looked mildly affronted, as though he was offended that we didn’t trust him, and said, “Oh, does it have a serial number?”

“Yes,” replied The Husband. “It’s laser inscribed.”

The jeweler very skeptically pulled out a jeweler’s glass of the sort you hold up to your eye and examined the ring. “I don’t see it,” he said.

The Husband started to feel a little panicky. “Well I saw it before I took the ring home,” he replied. “I know it’s there. I have papers on the diamond and everything. It’s a VVS1 grade A stone.”

At this, the jeweler regarded The Husband with pity. “Oh, I don’t think this is a VVS1 diamond,” he said. “I can see inclusions all over the place, and I can’t see a serial number anywhere. And they usually don’t inscribe diamonds this small*,” he added, very condescendingly. “There’s no point.” His tone clearly implied that The Husband had been scammed.

At that, we took the ring back from the jeweler and said we’d be bringing it elsewhere, thank you very much. The Husband, meanwhile, was in a full-on panic and asked if we could please go back to the lab and look at the diamond through The Doktah’s dissecting scope so he could reassure himself that the serial number was really there. Which of course it was.

The next day, we brought the ring back to a different jewelry store and asked them if they could size it. This jeweler was quite happy to do so, and in fact, sized it while we waited instead of asking us to leave it for days. Neither was she offended that we wanted to show her the serial number and write it down before she took it into the back. To find the number, she set the ring in a clamp and looked at it through a microscope instead of holding it in her shaking hand and examining it through a shaking, hand-held jeweler’s glass. But first, she cleaned it.

“Oh, this is a nice stone,” she said. “What is it, VVS1?”

“Yes!” said The Husband. “You know, we took this to another place yesterday, and he kept trying to tell us there was no serial number and that there was no way it was a VVS1 diamond. Of course, he didn’t actually clean it before he looked at it,”

“That’s strange, becuase dust looks just like inclusions, so it really should be cleaned first,” said the new jeweler.

“Well we’ll never go back into that store again,” I said. “They basically called my ring a piece of junk.”

The new jeweler made a surprised face. “Huh. We sort of have a policy of not insulting our clients’ jewelry,” she told us.

Good policy.

*For the record, the diamond is not particularly small. It’s no 5-carat or anything, but it’s a nice size.

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