Saturday, April 5, 2008

The trouble with Thailand

We have all bought cheap shoes and expensive shoes, while we aren't surprised when the cheap shoes start to fall apart before the end of summer, we do expect the expensive shoes to last for years - same with your jewellery. When you buy a $20.00 turquoise and silver ring from a street vendor don't expect too much, you get what you pay for. I realize you really like that ring, but please understand why your local jeweller isn't thrilled to have to fix it anymore than the cobbler wants to work on your Walmart sneakers, they were not made to be fixed, they were not made to last 50 years.
So imagine you want me to size your new ring up a little...
- The first thing I must do is clean your jewellery before I work on it, that involves getting it wet and now my simple sizing just got harder because to save time the Child Labourer who made the ring put something weird under the stone to raise it to the correct height for setting. The ring on the left was packed with something organic that swelled and pushed the stone right out of the ring! From the smell and texture I am guessing it was a mixture of cow dung and sawdust. The ring on the right was scarier, the stone was already loose so I decided to pull it out before working on the ring, glad i did because it was resting on 2 hunks of what looked like ceiling tile/fiber material, if it didn't have a fire retardant in it, than it probably had some asbestos in it. So after cleaning out the gunk I made a seat in the rings with shellac, at least is wont seep out and smell and then I reset the stone - Wow there is an extra 45 minutes I hadn't budgeted for, so much for any profit margin...
- My silver is different than their silver, my silver is 92.5% Fine Silver and 7.5% copper, theirs is 92.5% silver and 7.5% UNKNOWN stuff. That means that I will probably have compatibility problems - the colour wont match, there will be pitting, and after polishing there may be a noticeable 'step' at my inserted piece because of a hardness difference between the metals. You will be unhappy with the job and blame me.
- To keep the silver shiny, many pieces are now coated with nickel, maybe that's why you are having an allergic reaction to it. I can try to remove it for you, but its hard stuff and is very hard to get out of grooves in the design - if I try your jewellery may have a weird 2-tone look - part grey shine, other parts tarnished white. The nickel also causes problems if I have to solder on the ring, it may be fuzzy and pink before I am finished....really!
- if the Child Labourer soldered a dome onto your ring and there isn't an air hole it may explode when I reheat it. This makes me unhappy. If I predrill holes in your ring so I don't have to worry about flying shards of hot metal you will probably be unhappy too.
- There has been many times when I have gently pulled apart a ring shank to fit in a sizing piece and ripped the darn thing in half. You can tell that the Child labourer didn't quality check his work to make sure that the solder flowed properly. Darn kid, you would think a tired 8 year old would do a better job.
- My repair is going to cost more than the original purchase price of your jewellery. Its amazing how mad people can get - "But its only a $20 ring, why is the repair going to be $35!?" Well I am not a Child living in a sweatshop. I live in North America and have bills the same as yours, my cat's food costs more than what that kid makes daily. Fixing a poorly made silver ring takes more time than fixing a well made gold ring, and time is money.
Support the poor kid and buy his ring, just dont ask me to fix it!