Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ring! Ring!

This is not a post about jewelry, title to the contrary. It's a post about amazing customer service that's almost unheard of these days.

I've always loved my engagement and wedding rings. Back when Kevin and I decided to get married, he did some Internet research about local jewelers after spending a rather frustrating Sunday afternoon store-hopping in a large mall. Washington Diamond, a small family-owned store in Falls Church, Virginia, got consistently high marks its customers, and so he decided to make an appointment there. We went on a Thursday night after work.

Our shopping experience there was clearly different than anything we'd experienced at the mall stores. Instead of being sized up, shaken down, or shamed into looking at bigger stones than we could afford (essentially, a used-car-buying experience), one of the owners, who'd apparently already discussed budget with Kevin, simply brought a tray of stones in our price range into his office, and I selected the one that I liked. No attitude, no condescension, no frilly showroom.

The photo above doesn't do justice to it. It was the smallest stone on the tray, but has incredible fire. Though it's not small, what it "lacks" in carats, it more than makes up in color, cut and clarity. And it was considerably less than a stone of similar weight (but of a lesser quality) that we'd seen at the mall stores.

It gets better. I brought with me a picture of a ring I liked from a bridal magazine. We found the setting in one of Robert's catalogs, and it was pricey. Robert proposed that his goldsmith would make a similar ring -- not identical, of course, but in the same genre -- for a considerably less inflated price. The goldsmith made me an elegant ring for which I still get frequent compliments. When time to buy a wedding band rolled around, we came back to Washington Diamond and they created a matching band.

So you can imagine my upset when I looked at my hand one day last fall and saw that one of the baguettes had fallen out of the engagement ring.

Together with my coworkers, I scoured the floor of my office, the hall and the restroom on the floor where I work. We took apart my computer keyboard. We turned off all the lights and searched using a flashlight. No stone.

I emailed Washington Diamond to inquire about a repair. The owner called me the next day and assured me that the ring could be repaired for a reasonable price. Essentially, I would pay for the new stone. That's it.

So last month, I finally took my ring in for repair. I left my wedding band as well so they could inspect it. No sense losing another baguette. Because before I took over the family filing system, Kevin had lost the certificate that came with the ring, so I wanted to replace that. And, yes, give me an updated appraisal, too.

I picked up the rings late last week. I swear, they looked new. The baguette turned out to be a bit more expensive than we expected because it's not a size they normally use, but Washington Diamond had cleaned and polished the rings beautifully, and replated the platinum parts with rhodium -- all for the cost of another baguette. And they even had a photocopy of the certificate in their files.

I love these guys. I love my rings!

My 10th anniversary is coming up. An anniversary ring? Oh, how I wish! But, those darned tuition payments never end. (That's not to say that she's not worth every penny of it.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are right - that is a lovely set. I haven't visited Washington Diamond even though they are literally walking distance from my house (I walk past there on my way to the Metro and the Giant). I think I will give them a re-think. Seriously - I have a few things that need re-work and I would not mind replacing the basket on my engagement ring with rhodium just to be sure. Can't wait to see your 'new' set in person!! ~sb