Also known as…Sunday.
What follows is a very true story.
This past weekend, Bob the Builder and I had grand ideas of going to Downtown Los Angeles and shopping for some wedding bands. Mostly, we were going to window shop, as B the B had never tried on wedding bands before, and didn’t know what he would like. So, we thought Sunday would be a fine day for some ring shopping. Until we realized that the whole jewelry district takes Sundays off. Oops. So much for our grand idea.
We quickly regrouped and headed over to Robbins Brothers in Glendale. For the unfamiliar, Robbins Brothers is kind of like the Target of engagement rings. That is to say: lots of rings, wide selection, and some debate about whether or not the diamonds are of good quality. I mean, they call themselves, “The Engagement Ring Superstore”, so the Target comparison isn’t that unfair. Anyhow, we ended up there. And they had some wedding bands, but not really a huge selection. Bob the Builder found one that he really liked. And he got sized as well, which was our goal.
Now, when we walked in, our consultant asked me if I wanted my engagement ring cleaned. I declined, as my ring is an antique and I was cautioned never to put my ring in a sonic cleaning machine.
I just realized I never told you about my ring, really. Here’s the short story: B the B bought it off of an antique dealer on Etsy. We don’t know exactly what year it’s from, but they estimated 1940’s. It’s a white gold setting, and a triple halo design.
Here’s my beauty:
I love her. I wear her everyday, even though I promised B the B I would not wear my ring to work. I am outdoors almost all day, hiking dirt paths or at parks with lots of dirt. No matter how many times I wash my hands in a day, it was inevitable that my gorgeous ring would get very, very dirty. And she did.
So, even though I knew that my ring should have a proper cleaning, I didn’t trust their super-sonic machine to be gentle enough on my ring. I’ll just stick to my warm water-Dawn liquid soap-soft toothbrush routine, thank you very much.
As we were getting ready to purchase B the B’s wedding band, our consultant asks me if he can “size” my engagement ring, so he can add my ring size to our file. I say ok and hand him my ring. He walks away to get the ring sizer mandrel. It looks like this:
When he walked back over to us, my ring was still on the mandrel, and our consultant looked slightly confused. He held up the mandrel, tilted it slightly toward me and said, “Your ring broke.”
Y’all, I became so instantly upset and my eyes welled up with tears that I didn’t even think to take a photo. My mouth literally fell open. I don’t even know what I said. I think I said, “What?!?!?”
I really wish I had the state of mind to take a photo of my ring, broken, so you can see how awful and sad it looked. It was sad. And broken. And awful.
(Side note: When you google search for “broken engagement ring” you just get a lot of pictures of Brittany Spears and her latest ex fiance. Hilarious.)
My eyes filled with tears and my brain started flooding with thoughts. “Did B the B get a bad deal on this ring?”, “Are we going to have to replace the whole band?”, “Oh my God, How much will this cost?”, “ICANNOTBELIEVEHEBROKEMYRING!!!!”
It was at this moment, with my panic rising by the second, that B the B took my hands and said, “This is not one of those times when we can both freak out, so I will stay calm. We should feel lucky that this happened at a jewelry store. It will all be fine.”
Our consultant came back and said that their on-site jeweler could fix it by the end of the day. He could just solder the band back together, but eventually we should think about re-shanking the ring (replacing the whole band). I would just have to leave my ring there for a few hours. I said “ok”.
Our consultant had us do some paperwork before I handed over my ring, including looking at my center diamond through a microscope and making note of any visible inclusions. This is to assure that no diamonds are ever switched out during the repair process. It made me feel very secure. Turns out, my center stone only has two very tiny inclusions, only visible under the microscope. And it was super fun to see my diamond that close and sparkly! It also showed how filthy my ring had gotten, so I agreed to let them clean it. I mean, it was already broken. How much worse could it get, right?
I distracted myself for a few hours, hoping that they would, in fact, be done by the end of the day. Exactly at 5:30, B the B and I walked back into Robbins Brothers. And there was our consultant, and there was my ring, all in one piece, looking brand new!
Ooh sparkly! Ok, maybe I was wrong about the sonic cleaner. It cleaned my ring so well, it looks brand new! And, can you tell where the break occurred on the band? Nope, neither can I. And I spent a LONG time last night looking for it.
Our consultant told me that the jeweler said that the weak spot in my ring was actually a hairline crack that had probably been there a while. Newer cracks are clear or white, and mine was black. It was so small, you couldn’t see it with the naked eye, but it was there. He said these things happen sometimes with antique jewelry. There’s no way to know when the ring was produced, or by whom. So, the quality can vary wildly. It’s just the risk you take with an antique ring.
All in all, I am super happy with how Robbins Brothers handled the situation. It was an accident on the part of our consultant. I had no idea my ring had a weak spot, and if my ring had to break, I am glad it broke at a jewelry store. And they fixed it for us free of charge.
We didn’t end up buying Bob the Builders ring right then, but I will be going back to purchase it, for sure. They totally earned our business. Thanks, Robbins Brothers!’
And, no, I didn’t wear my ring to work today. Or to work out afterwards. My hand feels a little naked. I’m sure I’ll get used to it. At least, until we get the ring re-shanked.
Please tell me I am not the only one this happened to? Actually, I think I might be, since I’ve never known anyone that this has happened to. Any other antique ring gals out there? Anyone get their ring re-shanked? Lemme hear from you!