Monday, August 29, 2011

Ripped off? Maybe - grrrrrrr!

Over 10 years ago I bought my husband a beautiful gold crucifix and chain for Christmas.  He had worn several silver crosses on silver chains throughout the years but the silver turned black and corroded, and the chains broke, so I thought that a nice 14K gold one would be a "keeper" that he could wear forever.  He wore the crucifix on its gold rope chain, but that chain ended up snagging on his shirt collars and breaking several times, so in 2003 I researched chain types and decided that a rolo chain was the best style for him - nice smooth links that would not catch on his clothes, and strong.  His old rope chain was 24 inches long, but he wanted a longer chain to wear under his shirt that would be easier to take on and off over his head, although the only time he took it off was when I cut his hair.  (I was always paranoid I would snip the chain while trimming his hairline).
But, longer rolo chains were hard to find.  Eventually, I located a 14k 30 inch long one on a jeweler's website.  I had not dealt with them before  but I researched the store and couldn't find any complaints.  I ordered it and it was very nice.  He has worn it constantly since then, until last week when a link broke.  No problem, I thought, I'll just take it to the local jeweler that I trust and have it repaired.

Or so I thought.  I went back to pick up the chain only to be told that they couldn't repair it because it wasn't solid gold.  The gentleman informed me that the repairman tried to solder the broken link and it didn't act like it was 14k.  They had sort-of repaired it but thought it wasn't going to hold. 

Not solid gold?  Oh, really?  I asked him for his loupe and took a close look at the repaired link, and it was a mess.  The solder joint was uneven and the little link was half burned through. It surely wouldn't take any stress in that shape.  But the question remained, is it the fault of the chain or the repairman?  Did he just do a lousy solder job and try to make excuses, or was I sold an incorrectly marketed gold chain?  Is it really not solid gold?  I have always trusted this jeweler but now I'm wondering if I should.  Is it just a scam to sell me another chain?

This is a bad time to replace a piece of gold jewelry.  Have you checked on the price of gold lately?  It's astronomical.  I went to a reputable jewelry website that we have used in the past and priced a 30 inch 14 k 2.3 mm rolo chain, nearly identical to his chain.  $350.  And Sarraf's has exceptionally good prices.  Other retailers wanted up to $500 for the same chain. Ouch.  But I want to get his chain fixed or buy him a new one.  He is so used to wearing that crucifix that I'm sure it feels weird to not have the chain around his neck.  I suggested buying a gold-filled chain in the meantime but he has the same problem with electroplated and gold-filled jewelry that I do - body chemistry so acidic that it actually discolors and eats off the plating.  I found that out years ago.  I can't even wear pierced earrings unless they are solid gold - an expensive problem.

I have located a jeweler in town that can test the chain and determine its composition.  We'll run over there tomorrow and find out the news - good or bad.  Or maybe they could repair it even if it's not solid gold.  Husband said it didn't have to be the world's prettiest solder repair, just be strong. 

ADDENDUM:  I just dropped the chain off at another jeweler who says it is indeed 14k and it will be repaired by 4 p.m.  Shortly thereafter an email will be sent to the owner of the first jewelry store who lied to me and messed up the repair informing them that they have lost a long-time customer because of their actions.  Looks like I can't trust them anymore.

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