Friday, April 29, 2005

Am I Stoopid, or is the Jewellery Industry Corrupt and Messed Up? Part 2

The Drive to Roger Watson's Jewellery shop was just a trip down Corydon. Roger himself was unable to help us as he was tied up on the phone, so John (his son, I believe) came and helped us. We stalled for a few moments looking at pocket watches hoping Roger would become available but this didn't happen.

We told John that we had wanted to have a quote on a matching set of wedding bands, and that the wedding bands should also compliment the engagement ring, which was custom made here. I explained to John that currently we are only looking for a quote as we hadn't fully decided what we would do for rings.


I explained to John that Kerri's ring was 18K gold and that we were looking for a ring for her approx. 6mm wide in a size 7.5. White gold, non-rhodium plated. Myself, I would like a 9mm ring also in 18K and in a Size 12. Both rings would compliment each other and would be white gold with yellow gold accent. Furthermore, I would like a 05ct. diamond on my ring set with a rough setting.

He wrote this down on a sheet of paper.

I then told him that we even know how we wanted the rings to look. I pulled out the drawings on the business card and showed it to him. We discussed the exact same points as at Vandenberg's, although without the benefit of a digital photo to manipulate. We discussed the more flat top on my ring with a gentle curve to allow the diamond to be offset in the corner a little more. We discussed how the yellow gold should be elevated off the white gold and then blend back in. He appeared to fully understand.

In the past Roger was able to quote me in person what the cost of custom making a ring was, but he wasn't helping us. Roger did walk by saw me, recognized me, but got the name wrong. "Hi Pat" the said as he walked past. A little disappointing, but realistically how many people does he see every day right?

In the meantime, John's writing down all the details on a quotation sheet. and reads back all the specs to me. They all sound good. He then goes to copy the drawing I had made as a reference. Curiosity was eating him away. I could see it. The way the played with the business card, I knew he was consumed with the desire to flip it over to see who his fierce competition was. The desire won and he flipped it over just long enough to recognize the Vandenberg's logo. He quickly flipped it back and handing me the card.

"Thanks" he proclaimed and told me that he would submit the quote to his Jeweller and get back to me in a few days. Side note: I think that John merely asked Roger for the quote. I'm quite sure they're related and I think Roger's working on slowly thinking of handing the shop over to the younger generation......

A few days later (Wednesday I think), I got a call at work. It was John. My quotes were in. Kerri's ring was going to cost $400.00 even and mine was quoted at $850.00 plus the diamond. a .05ct Si1 or .06ct I1 (both G color) diamond would cost $100.00 and a .07ct VS2 H color would run $150.

I thanked John and told him I would discuss this with Kerri.

Now remember. I did everything I could to compare apples to apples.
The Mathematical Break Down.

Vandenberg's
    • Kerri's Ring ---------- $668
    • Tobi's Ring ---------- $1400
    • Taxes (14%) ---------- $289.52
    • Grand Total ---------- $2357.52
Roger Watson
    • Kerri's Ring ---------- $400
    • Tobi's Ring ---------- $850
    • Taxes (14%) ---------- $175
    • Grand Total ---------- $1425.00
Difference $2357.52 -1425.00 = $$932.52

What the heck? Now I can imagine a difference in price. Compare a $1500 TV at two stores and yeah, you may see a difference, but I can guarantee you that difference won't be $900! Same which furniture, appliances. Looking at percentages, Roger was 40% cheaper, hell you don't see that with cars!

I called Vandenberg's. I knew he was way more money, but he DID spend a long time with us helping us create the custom ring. This is worth something too. Perhaps he'll come with another offer.

I got in touch with Peter. I told him that being a buyer beware world, due diligence told me to get a second opinion, and this opinion was way lower. (I gave the price differences). I then told him that because he was so kind to us and helped us out, I'd like him to consider revising his quote and lowering his price. His reply seemed positive.

Three hours later I got a call back from Peter, but he caught my voicemail as I was on lunch. I returned his call and played phone tag with him pretty much all afternoon. After 4 calls, I finally did reach him.

The conversation went pretty much 100% from what I expected. Peter asked me to review what I told the other shop and their quotes. His immediate response was "In 8 years in this trade this has never happened to me. This other Jeweller must be smelting old gold. We only use new gold, and well the price of gold is the price of gold and that's what you pay for is the gold." He then proceeded to knock the other jeweller. (not a wise thing in my opinion as he didn't know I dumped $4000 on Kerri's engagement ring there.)

Side note: Just as a side note. The whole "In 8 years this has never happened to me" spiel.. I really heard... "In 8 years blah blah blah blah blah blah... " 'Cause really hasn't every salesman told you this crap... Come on. Roger said a similar thing back when I was iffy about the engagement ring. Only he used it in a different context and used 20 years I believe...

Anyway... Vanderberg's claimed that the diamond Roger quoted $100 for he had listed at $65 (whoa.. what's the deal with the near 40% differences here.) and that once again, Roger must be doing shoddy work with less than grade materials.

Less than grade materials? Well if it's stamped 18K doesn't that mean it must be 18K? How can gold, an Element in the periodic table be below grade when it's melted and poured into a mold? Doesn't the Karat designation give you the gold content of the metal alloy? I'm completely confused.

Okay.... Seeing how I get salesman talk I gotta be smart. I know that 9999 pure gold is sold by troy ounce (31.103 grams) I also know that Peter claimed that 26 grams of my rings total weight was representative weight of the pure gold mixed into the ring alloy (as this was his argument against Roger. I also knew based on the Royal Canadian Mint and CNN that a troy ounce of Gold sells for $440 US or $550CDN (Approx.)

So Based on Peter's Argument, I came up with this breakdown. Don't you love math?

Vandenberg's
Cost of Precious metals: ---------------------- $550/31.103* 26 = $460 approx
Cost of diamond .05c: ------------------------ approx $80
(Look at the fudge factor I gave he said $65 on the phone)
Cost of workmanship: ------------------------ $860
Total: ---------------------------------------- $1400

Roger Watson
Cost of Precious metals: ---------------------- $550/31.103* 26 = $460 approx
Cost of diamond .05ct: ----------------------- $100 (remember the diamond was extra in Roger's quote)
Cost of workmanship: ------------------------ $390
Total: ---------------------------------------- $950

I emailed the first part of that to Peter. Asking with these assumptions are correct, or even close. I also asked him to clarify the cost of the rings and give me a breakdown of costs. I didn't ask a shop rate as that is futile and uninteresting. I asked cost of Precious metals, cost of workmanship and other costs.

It's been 3 days and no reply. I've begun to wonder... Is the Jewellery Industry Corrupt and Messed up, or Am I just Stooopid?

Maybe the Better Business Bureau can help solve this.....

Continued in Part 3....

2 comments:

gfroese said...

Way to stick it to these guys. Way too many people just roll out the dough when these guys give out their price.

Nice to see some consumer action here.

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