Jewelry Etiquette

 

You just got engaged

Your neighbors are drooling, your best friend is suffering from major depression, and your coworkers are plotting against you. This is because you have the most beautiful ring that makes them all green with envy. Are you ready to take care of your new shiny pebble? Did you take a jewelry safety course or attend a jewelry care seminar? Hopefully we can shine a light on the subject.

 

The undeniable elegance and grace of modern micro pavé jewelry is certain to draw the eye of anyone who happens to see it. However, these delicate pieces do require extra care and love on the part of their owner. At times, though the passion for your jewelry might burn with desire, a certain level of neglect might ruin the relationship.

The Clapper

It is the last few minutes of the Super Bowl. Eli is just about to throw the game winning pass. Your fiancé is screaming and jumping much like the rest of the stadium. Finally, the ball is thrown and the whole stadium explodes. You are excited. You are frantically applauding. And your new engagement ring is crying with pain.

Why? Unbeknown to you, it’s being bombarded with hundreds of hits by a right hand ring. When your hands meet during the applause, the right hand ring extols its revenge on your engagement ring. The back of your ring gets smashed at a rate of 4 hits per second.

It could be 14 hits per second if you are Kent French – the world’s fastest clapper. It’s like hundreds and hundreds of small hammers beating the back of your ring. Be smart about it – the rule of thumb is: no two rings should meet with the exception of a bunch of stackable bands.

Wear & Tear or Wear Till Tear?

With the exception of jewelry containing spring loaded, mechanical parts such as locks, clasps, etc., jewelry is usually one solid piece of metal. It could be a composite if there is any pavé. If there are any hidden defects, they will manifest within a week of two. The defects are usually cracks or stones getting loose. It is the manufacturer’s responsibility to reset stones and use a laser welder to fix cracks. Once the ring is worn longer than a month, it is safe to assume that any new problem is related to unkind wear. As upsetting as it sounds, the only person who could be blamed for the damage is the owner.

It is a customer relations nightmare to explain to a customer that his/her jewelry wearing habits are what is causing the damage. Some people feel embarrassed, some get belligerent. Surprisingly, the great majority of people, while still upset, are reasonable and fair in understanding the situation. The usual course of action is to repair or completely re-make the ring, followed by a stern warning to change your wearing habits. Alternatively, you might opt to change the setting completely, usually to a solitaire or a three stone ring.

You should not feel bad about it. In the course of life there are many events beyond your control. Your jeweler is like a family doctor – you go see him no matter how embarrassing or mundane your problem is. Your trusted jeweler will always reward your customer loyalty by performing a repair at little or no cost, or assist in filing the insurance claim.

 

The Knucklehead

Here is a conversation at a jewelry counter repeated in this form or another more than once or twice. Customer: "I expect to wear my ring every day. I am an active person and do a lot of physical activities. I travel, I garden, and I exercise.  Regardless, I do not want to take it off my finger for any reason. This is the way I am. Besides, if I don’t have the ring somebody just might assume that I am still single!"

Salesperson: "No problem at all, you can wear it non-stop, it’s really well made. It’s a quality item, not the cheap knockoff you would buy on 47th Street."

The salesperson just told her a lie. In order to close the sale, the salesperson will say whatever the customer wants to hear. A reputable salesperson will not hesitate in telling the inconvenient truth: micro pavé jewelry, although not fragile, has to be worn with more care than plain-vanilla non-pavé jewelry.

In your life (ideally) you get only one engagement ring. Choosing its style is difficult because you have to assess your lifestyle many years into the future to make sure that it’s appropriate for just about every situation you might find yourself – casual or formal. Imagine having to wear only one dress for the rest of your life. Which one would you choose: an evening gown or jeans? That is essentially the choice you make when you choose your engagement ring.

An evening dress is the equivalent of a micro pavé ring. It combines feminine elegance with delicate construction. A pair of khakis might stand for a plain solitaire. Do you prefer to show up at work wearing a sheer designer dress or have a romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant sporting sturdy overalls? The answer seems to be simple, but it’s not.

Unfortunately, there is no “in-between” option; it’s either one or the other. To find a balance between the beauties of a delicate micro pavé ring versus the durability of a shopping mall clunker we have to walk a fine line.

In our work at Leon Mege we tend to be drawn to the side of beauty at the expense of strength. Delicate but beautiful micro pavé does require some amount of sacrifice. Choose jewelry which aligns with your lifestyle and comfort zone. Its longevity depends on your care and constant awareness.

It is not an appliance. It is impossible to avoid contact between your ring and hard objects during the course of a day, but this is not what is required. By being alert and conscious, one can wear a micro pavé ring for 20-30 years and it will look like new. However, if the advice is not heeded, evidence of damage might become noticeable within few weeks.

Very few people admit being clumsy or rough with their jewelry. They might not even be aware of it. The damage to jewelry goes beyond the usual dents and scuffs. The ring might get bent, warp, have loose or lost stones, or even break apart. The usual cause – mistreatment, abuse, rough handling, applying excessive force, and/or friction (more on friction here: Engagement Ring Hand: Right or Left).

The moment you forget the ring is on your finger is the moment that will be the beginning of its demise. By being naturally cautious of your movements and actions you will avoid a lot of headaches in the future.