Last updateWed, 16 Jan 2019 9am

Retail Roundtable: What’s the most unusual request you’ve had from a customer?


RR Sorich“I started working in this business on September 15, 1970 at Goodman Jewelers. During my first week on the job, a woman came in the store and wanted her ring sized. I told her to remove the ring so we could get a more accurate ring size, then size it up by adding more gold content to the ring. She told me that she has never taken the ring off since the day she put it on. When I tried to explain to her the process of sizing the ring up, she simply giggled at me and walked out the door. It was at that time I knew I was in a unique line of work and that I would meet all sorts of interesting people in this job. Forty-eight years later, I still enjoy meeting people and learning from them each and every day. This is an incredible business we’re in.”

John Sorich, owner
Diamond Direct
Minneapolis, MN


RR Waddington“We have a regular customer, a very good customer who is a prominent member of our community, that has a fascination with rocks. I don’t mean rocks as in diamonds - although she has purchased some significant diamonds from us - I mean just plain old rocks. The kind she finds in various places, such as a piece of mica in a parking lot. There’s really no rhyme or reason to the rocks she has us set into jewelry. Some of the rocks are unusual shapes, sizes, textures and colors, but overall the rocks she has asked to be set into jewelry are simply interesting to her. We’re currently making a petrified sand dollar into a ring for this customer. It would make a great pendant on a chain necklace, but for a ring it’s very large. But, the customer gets what the customer wants. In the past, she also asked us to set a buckeye [a variety of nut] with gemstones into a piece of jewelry. Keep in mind she’s a Michigan fan. But again, she’s a wonderful customer who also buys really important, high end pieces of jewelry from us. She just has a thing for rocks. Also, a young man came to us recently to set a pebble into an engagement ring with a penguin design theme. Male penguins give female penguins pebbles as a gift before mating with them for life. And, the soon-to-be-fiancée is really into penguins. It’s a cute idea, but I’m sure she’ll be asking for a diamond ring upgrade in the coming years.”

Ben Waddington, owner
Waddington Jewelers
Bowling Green, OH


RR Leeds“A while back a young woman came into our store and asked me to solder a ring to her hoo hoo. Thank goodness my wife - who doesn’t work in the store - just happened to be in the showroom when this young woman came in, because I immediately burst out laughing and couldn’t finish saying anything to her. My wife explained that our insurance doesn’t cover such procedures. She then explained to the young woman about the high temperatures needed to solder precious metal and the dangers of using a jeweler’s torch so close to the skin. We directed her to the nearby tattoo salon where they also do body piercing. Second to that we’re not exactly a big city jeweler so we’ve had many people bring in animal parts to us to be mounted in jewelry. I recall one customer bringing in elk ivory - some teeth in elk are considered ivory. And, another customer brought in some sort of equine tooth material. Wasn’t sure if it was from a horse or a mule, but we cut it down and capped it for a pendant. It actually turned out pretty nice.”

John Leeds, owner
Leeds Fine Jewelry & Repair
Richmond, KY  


RR Kukovich“We do a lot of custom work so we have had a number of strange and unusual requests from people. One that pretty much tops the list came from a young woman who brought in the skull of her deceased cat. She asked us if we could make two eyebrow rings out of some of whatever teeth we could extract from the dead animal’s skull. We pulled the canine teeth, removed the root, and fabricated settings with a screw on ball, which she wore at the edge of each eyebrow. A couple of people have asked us to create custom jewelry to hold dog hair, in remembrance of their pets, as well. For one such request, we created a vial with a metal screw-on top that had a loop that went to the bail. And, other customers have asked us to put human teeth into jewelry, one was a ring, the other a necklace as I recall. Oddly enough, the animal jewelry creeped me out more than the human teeth jewelry.”

Travis Kukovich, owner
William Travis Jewelry
Chapel Hill, SC


“A few years ago a customer asked if we’d make a pendant or a ring - I can’t remember which - with a Nazi swastika on it. I told him no we would not do it. I kept my response to him very short and sweet, and didn’t feel the need to explain my position any further. For me personally, that symbol is against everything I fundamentally believe in and refused to accept this job. That’s really been it in my many years in this business.”

Harvey Berkowitz, president and owner
Factory’s Inc. Fine Jewelry
Atlanta, GA


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