British tourist feels ripped off by local jewelry store

POSTED: 09/12/11 12:17 PM

Store owner prepared to make amends

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten – Jacky Evans, A British tourist who bought a gold ring for $1,280 at a jewelry store on Front Street during her vacation in May is not happy with the quality of the jewelry and she feels ripped off. When this newspaper approached the retailer he acknowledged that there was a problem, but he also said that he was in touch with the customer and that he is prepared to resolve the situation.

“I have emailed Ms. Evans and told her that I will take my responsibility. I offered her to cover the costs of the repair, and if that is not satisfactory, she can return the ring and I will reimburse her,” the merchant said.

Jacky Evans discovered on her return home that her ring was far from perfect. She took it to Neil A. Whetstone, a jeweler in her residence Coventry for an evaluation. Whetstone wrote a devastating report.

“In all my 33 years in business I have never seen such a poorly patched up piece of jewelry. The item should never have been sold.”

Whetstone notes that the ring is not hallmarked. A hallmark is a guarantee for the purity of a precious metal. For instance a 0.999 hallmark guarantees the buyer that he is looking at 24 carat, or pure, gold. The ring Evans bought includes three colors of gold, but no hallmarks.

The bulk of the ring is yellow gold with two inset red gold sections and four white gold sections inset with diamonds.

“The ring itself is poorly cast with cracks evident all round the back. This is where the gold is porous and badly cast. All the diamonds are supposed to be held in place by four claws on each section but it is clear the center section has fourteen of these claws missing,”

“Whoever worked on the ring presumably to size it for Mrs. Evans at the jewelers where she bought the ring must have been aware of this,” Whetstone wrote in his one-page report.

Whetstone concludes that the jeweler used “super glue or a similar product” to glue in diamonds at the spots where the claws are missing. He found more deficiencies.

“Several solder repairs to the center section have been made prior to selling. It appears that the center section has collapsed in three areas.”

Whetstone’s final remark sends a clear message to jewelers in St. Maarten.

“In my opinion there is no option but to scrap this item and make a new one. If the owner of the shop has any sense he will sack those responsible for this terrible case of miss selling and unprofessionalism in what can only be (an attempt) to avoid the loss of a sale to an unsuspecting tourist.”

Because of the willingness of the retailer to correct the situation, The Today Newspaper refrains from identifying the jewelry store that sold the ring, and its owner.

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