Help, Kay Jewelers Destroyed My Wedding Ring During A Routine Cleaning!

Kay Jewelers deformed Lisa’s wedding ring during a routine cleaning and refuses to provide a replacement ring. Lisa first noticed that a tiny diamond was missing, which Kay Jewelers found stuck in their cleaning equipment. In the process of reseating the diamond, Kay again deformed the ring, scratching out the ring’s beaded edges. Kay decided they couldn’t repair the destroyed ring, but rather than ordering a new one from the manufacturer, Kay decided to remake the ring using a low-resolution picture of the original as their guide. Shockingly, that ring didn’t work out either. It’s now been three months and Lisa wants her wedding ring back.

Lisa writes:

My name is Lisa. My husband is a USMC Sgt. who recently left for his third deployment. He has been stationed at Camp Pendleton (I live in Oceanside) but was most recently stationed in Jacksonville, NC. Before he left I took his wedding ring to be re-dipped in gold to make it look nice before he left. It takes about a week and is about $40 (any store can do it). I picked the Kay Jewelry store in the local Jacksonville mall because it is a well known chain. While I was there the salesperson asked if she could clean my rings for me. I let her. The next evening we were out of town when I noticed my wedding band had a (tiny) diamond missing. I had no clue where I lost it.

A week later I picked up my husband’s ring from Kay Jewelers. While I was there I half-jokingly asked the salesperson if they found a diamond in their cleaner. Crazy enough – they had it. It was scotch taped to an index card with no name or notes, by the register. They happily took my wedding ring and agreed to repair it. We were again out of town when it was ready so the day we returned I sent my husband to the mall to get it before they closed. When he came home I opened it up and put it on. My first impulse was that it wasn’t my ring. Upon closer inspection it seemed to be my ring only it had been made nearly unrecognizable. Among other things, there is a tiny beaded edge on the top and bottom edges of the ring that was completely gone in some spots, but still there to just barely be made out in others. And instead of being one width and thickness it now tapered off where the diamonds stopped and looked, for lack of a better word, “smooshed” at the ends. It no longer sat flush against my engagement ring.

I returned first thing the next morning and gave my ring to the manager, explaining it had somehow been damaged. She was skeptical that it could have happened at their (offsite) repair shop but she took it back. I was upset (in tears) and wrote out a detailed explanation of what was wrong with the ring. When I got home I contacted the store where I bought the ring and they emailed me a photo from the manufacturer. I printed this email and brought it back to the mall the next day so the manager could also send that to the repair manager. It was originally purchased on 7/20/07 (our wedding day) at another jewelry store and I do have all the original receipts.

I was supposed to have the ring back from the second repair in about 10 days. When 14 days had gone by I was calling daily, waiting for it to come back. I was finally told they couldn’t repair my ring but that they would “remake” it, using the same diamonds (as if I could see that they are the same). They wanted to use the email photo to send to a ‘laser shop’ to have the ring cut. At this point I contacted the corporate customer service office by phone. I told both the store manager and the corporate customer relations person it is very upsetting to have lost my (actual) ring now just because I agreed to have it cleaned. Even having it recreated, it still wouldn’t be “my” ring. I’d of course rather have mine repaired to its original state but if that really wasn’t possible I’d at least prefer to have the same ring from the same vendor instead of trying to remake it from a tiny email photo. I asked why they couldn’t just get a replacement from the manufacturer. Neither one could tell me if they could do so or not. They just took the information and said I could expect the ring in about a month.

My husband is now gone on his third deployment and every day I am without my wedding ring. It is traumatic enough to have him gone, to be without my wedding ring is even worse. Because I returned to Oceanside after my husband deployed, the repair shop shipped my ‘remake’ to the Kay store at the Westfield shopping center, Plaza Camino Real. I got a call to come pick it up today. I was optimistic that this whole mess was about to be over and I would have my ring back. However, the ring that was sent was not a good replica of my wedding ring. It was wider and thicker than my ring and while ‘close’ in style, it simply was not the same style as the ring it was meant to replace. My ring was very delicate looking and this was like a brick in comparison. It did not look like a ‘set’ when worn with my engagement ring. I was devastated again to give the ring back to the manager and tell him I could not wear it. The store manager was very sympathetic but didn’t know anything of how the ring came to be in his store. He promised to make some calls tomorrow to the NC store and to the corporate office but I knew there was nothing he could do tonight and I was upset and in tears so I left the store and came home.

The information on the ring (manufacturer and style number) was available but it’s clear no one at the repair shop contacted the maker to get the dimensions of the ring. I was concerned that this ring was going to be remade from a photo in an email (not a decent size photo or even one of high resolution) which is why I gave them the information on the vendor. I have been patient with this process but I have had enough. I told them I don’t want a remake or something ‘close’ again. If my ring is beyond repair I want the same ring, from the same manufacturer. Close may be good enough for a costume piece someone wears occasionally. It isn’t good enough for a wedding ring and certainly not my wedding ring. It has now been several months since this began. My ring was damaged in their repair shop. I don’t believe it was intentional but this failure to replace it now feels malicious and cruel.

Short of hiring a lawyer and suing them I was looking for any advice or assistance you might be able to give me. I don’t want to drag this out. I don’t want anything but my ring back. Any suggestions?

Lisa adds:

I have been told time and again that Kay doesn’t deal with Master Craft (the maker of my ring, style #R9018-026) so I won’t be able to get the same style. I contacted Master Craft myself yesterday and found out from them that they DO in fact, do business with Kay. I am INFURIATED that I have been put through this, lied to and caused so much emotional distress for THREE MONTHS when my ring could have been IMMEDIATELY replaced. I have spent multiple nights sobbing because my ring is gone. And now that my husband is deployed to Iraq, it is even more painful not to have it.

No one at the corporate office or the NC store where this happened has even said “we’re sorry this happened to you”. Instead the store manager and the first customer relations person I’ve dealt with (Carol) have acted like I was trying to scam them. It has been beyond frustrating. I did nothing but let the sales person clean my ring and now its ruined.

Lisa already wrote to Kay’s executive office asking for help. If they don’t respond, you don’t need a lawyer to sue them in small claims court. North Carolina’s small claims courts hear any cases involving items worth less than $5,000. Read our guide to small claims court to help prepare your case.

(Photo: Lucid Nightmare)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Ozyman666 says:

    Kay Jewelers – where every kiss-off begins with K.

  2. rpm773 says:

    That sucks. OP should check out Lifehacker!

    How to clean your own jewelry

  3. YoHenYo says:

    lk hw sh trd t s th fct tht hr hsbnd ws n th mltry t gt sympthy. Tht ws ttlly nncssry.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @YoHenYo: Maybe, but it does reflect on her state of mind which, considering her husband has been put into danger for the 3rd time, means she is most likely super stressed, worried, and doesn’t need to be ALSO worrying about a stupid jewelry store.

    • @YoHenYo: That’s a shitty thing to say.

      Did it ever occur to you that she’s been made to feel helpless and stupid and as if she has no recourse and her husband isn’t even there to support her because he’s gone? Try it sometime when you’re young, you’ve got no family in the area, no one is helping you, and then you get to move on your own to an even newer town . Then get back to me.

      I’ve been there. It sucks.

    • deadspork says:

      Wow, you totally calld her out, what a b!tch for wanting her wedding ring to not be completely destroyed while her husband is doing the most dangerous job in the world.

      I feel sympathetic for her, even if she does mention the military thing frequently, I think it’s because it is in the front of her mind right now. She could lose her husband at any moment, and while her wedding ring is not her husband, it’s a piece of him she wants to have with her at all times. I hope Kay gets their act together quick!

      • maztec says:

        @deadspork: I do agree with you. However, the most dangerous job in the world is not in the military. For a bunch of reasons, one being that the military tries to keep from putting you on the streets as much as possible, and that being an Alaskan Crab Fisherman is the most dangerous job. Don’t believe me? Look it up ;). The death statistics per capita in that job market are insane.

    • SarcasticDwarf says:

      @YHnY: Yp. Jst bcs smn y knw s n th mltry ds nt smhw chng wh Y r. ll th prsn hr s dng s tryng t s hr hsbnd’s stts t mk ths mr pltclly tchy ss. t s nt mch bttr thn plyng th rc crd.

      • deadspork says:

        @SarcasticDwarf: This isn’t just someone she KNOWS. This is her husband. Are you saying military families don’t make sacrifices, too?

        • SarcasticDwarf says:

          @deadspork: No, I am clearly NOT saying that. She makes sacrifices because her husband is in the military. Good for her. But what relevance does it have to this story of her ring being destroyed? None at all. This is no different than a reply from a company posted here where they talk about another issue to gain sympathy (such as their dedication to the environment, families, etc) while obscuring the real issue.

          • deadspork says:

            @SarcasticDwarf: It makes a difference because her husband is not with her very frequently, and is in a situation of great danger that he may not ever return from. That makes the ring that much more important.
            I know she overstated the fact that he serves in the military, but I think she’s trying to say, “And I could lose him at any moment, the threat is very real,” not, “And i should get preferrential treatment because he is in the military.”
            Again, as I said, I think the issue is on the front of her mind. She did overtstate it, quite a bit, but I think with a different feeling behind it.

          • @SarcasticDwarf: It has to do with why she is so upset. How do you not get that? He is gone. So is her ring. She is alone and wants that connection to her husband. Too much to ask? Apparently so, according to you. It’s not as if he’s off playing poker in Vegas – he’s off risking his life on deployment.

            As my 10 year-old son says, get a clue.

          • johnva says:

            @SarcasticDwarf: It has a TON of relevance, because it’s her WEDDING RING that is in question. She’s not just using it as a sympathy card; him being deployed is truly a major part of why this is so upsetting to her, understandably.

    • Nofsdad says:

      Actually, you’re totally unnecessary but that’s never stopped you, has it?

    • PsychicPsycho3 says:


      ‘m srry y gt dsmvwld, bcs cn’t hlp bt gr. Wht ds hs ccptn nd rnk hv t d wth nythng?

      • deadspork says:

        @PsychicPsycho3: If she was this upset about a pair of earrings she bought for herself, I would be surprised. This is her wedding ring, though. Purchased by her husband. Who is in IRAQ. He’s not on vacation in Hawaii, he’s not on a business trip, he is in IRAQ during a war. Is the concept of sentimental value completely lost on you people?

    • Little Time Bomb says:

      @YoHenYo: I don’t know why but the last 2 stories I’ve read here have comments bashing people for mentioning that they are involved with the military. It’s not cool. Often times people will mention they are Army wives, or in the military because to them it conveys a lot of information. What these people often don’t realize is that it doesn’t really convey that much info to non-military associated people. I think she mentions it a few times to explain that she have moved around frequently. The reason she couldn’t go to the original store the ring was purchased at, the reason that she now has to deal with another third location is because she has moved. She may also have mentioned the military hoping that someone might know of a military resource she could use. Most branches of the service do in fact offer low cost or free legal advice. They will not however provide a lawyer for civilian court cases.
      Having a deployed husband is also worth mentioning because it means she is on her own, and longing to have a reminder of her husband while he is gone. If she lives on post it may also be hard not to have a ring because until you have that wedding band on enlisted men will hit on you. Maybe she said in a different way by just mentioning the military and her husbands deployment, it’s just a way to convey information.

    • Needy's Body says:

      @YoHenYo: Glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed that…

  4. hills says:

    kay sucks – I hope she gets a NEW ring – kay’s handling of this is ridiculous

  5. wickedpixel says:

    she should take the ring and have the diamonds set in the appropriate Master Craft setting by another jeweler then send the bill to the original Kay that screwed up (along with their “replacement” setting back). Give them a date to expect payment by and then sue if they don’t pay up.

  6. msbask says:

    I agree with the over-dramatization of the “my husband is in the military” thing. How many times did she mention it?

    However, she is entitled to have her rings returned to her in as-good-as-new condition… and would be even if her husband was a garbage man, accountant, stock broker or Target cashier.

  7. maztec says:

    That absolutely sucks.

    However, two important lessons:

    1) Always get your rings cleaned by the store you purchased them at. Why? Because usually your warranty requires that and is renewed by doing it at their store, not some other store.

    2) Always get your rings repaired by the store you purchased them at. Should have told Kay they will be receiving the bill, but due to their ineptness the original store you purchased it from will be taking care of the ring. Most likely you would have to take it to court, but it would probably have been enforced.

  8. craftypants says:

    I hope the OP is either able to get the original ring returned to its almost new state as that particular ring is the one which her husband placed on her finger and as such is highly sentimental. IF the ring has to be replaced (from the manufacturer and not some bodged copy) then when her husband returns (which I am sure we all hope he does complete with all the limbs he left with) they could re-affirm their vows in a private ceremony with the new ring.

    How did a jewellery shop manage to so completely destroy a ring during something as simple as a cleaning. I was under the impression it was a short dip in a light detergent solution with some sonic agitation, the story sounds like it got a bath in boiling nitric acid or similar to remove so much detail. The shop has a duty to sort this out fast and sincerely apologise for their mistake.

  9. OMG! Ponies! says:

    This isn’t a place for politics. Whether you agree with the war or not, someone’s whose spouse is in danger of being shot or blown up on a daily basis is someone under stress.

    And what Kay did – there’s a word for it:


    I have to say – I’d even look into the possibility of a full lawsuit against Kay with a cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress.

    Funeral directors have special insurance for when things like when the bottom of the coffin falls out and they can be sued for that sort of thing. The logic is that disposing of people’s loved ones requires a higher duty of care.

    A similar theory could be extended to jewelers handling wedding bands. Will it work? Depends on what your definition of work is.

    Will she be awarded damages for non-economic loss “pain and suffering” or trebled damages? Probably not. But it will scare the bejeesus out of Kay Jewelers corporate and probably ensure that she doesn’t pay a dime for her replacement ring.

  10. marsneedsrabbits says:

    Having the store break her ring and then lie to her face is simply disgusting and inexcusable. I’m going to tell a friend who shops there about this – I’m sure she won’t after this.

    It sounds like Kay Jewelers has no intention of doing the right thing after several months and are just trying to wait her out and hope she goes away.

    Where I live, the jewelry stores at the mall advertise specials for military members, so, in addition to suing them, she might also call the local news channel or newspaper if they have a consumer hotline-type thing.

    Military members in Jacksonville will want to know how poorly Kay Jewelers treats one of their own, especially with the holidays coming up.

    If Lisa is reading: thank you for your sacrifice and for the sacrifice of your husband. I live in a military town and have friends in your position, so I have an idea of how hard it is for all involved.

  11. TheName says:

    Sympathy all around for the OP.

    We quit dealing with chain jewelry stores when we were engagement ring shopping (looking to move the diamond from grandma’s ring into a new setting) and none would do so without us paying a huge amount in insurance. We figured anyone that comfortable suggesting they’re gonna mess things up really didn’t need to be handling anything we own.

    A great little, independent jeweler designed and made a ring around our diamond for less than the chains wanted. They also call every now and again to remind us to come in and get it cleaned, checked for damage (free of charge).

    I’ll never touch a chain jeweler and I hope after the OP is made whole, she’ll do the same.

    • Snowblind says:


      I agree, my local Jeweler is absolutely fantastic…

      However, I am sure in their case, where they are going to move around a lot as 90%+ of military families do, a chain seemed like a better hedge.

      Boy, are they wrong.

      My advice to the OP: Call the local TV station that has a hotline. NBC San Diego seems to be local station to go to, says my wife the SD girl.
      Bad press will make companies take a second look at their stupidity.

  12. QrazyQat says:

    If you were part of a large block of potential customers you’d be foolish not to mention it when you are trying to get satisfaction from any business’s mistake.

    Kay Jewelers here reminds me of the guy at the photo lab in Seinfeld who airbrushed Kruger out of the picture instead of George, and then tried to get away with drawing a cartton version of Kruger back into the photo; “Considering I did it from memory, I think that’s a pretty good job!”

  13. FCL says:

    I would flip if my husband was KIA and I didn’t even have my wedding ring to hold onto in my grief. I suppose this could happen to anyone — people die every day, not just in combat zones — but it is a very special stress for anyone whose spouse is working a dangerous job, especially one where people are actively trying to harm them on a daily basis.

    The shop needs to rectify the situation. If they can’t, I hope the OP can find another, qualified shop to take care of the ring, then recoup her losses from Kay.

  14. bwilliams18 says:

    try working with there parent company Signet who also owns Jared

    • ShortBus says:

      @bwilliams18: Kay and Jared are brands both owned By Sterling Jewelers, which in turn is owned by Signet. Sterling also owns several other “mall brands” including JB Robinson and a few others that I can’t remember.

  15. morganlh85 says:

    I would buy a new ring myself and send Kay the bill. Then if they don’t pay up, take them to small claims.

  16. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    The only acceptable solution after the fiasco above is to give Lisa a new identical ring. Hopefully the jeweler realizes this and does the right thing before being dragged into small claims court and getting vilified on the internets. Oops, too late.

  17. YMMV says:

    It seems to me that trusting a “mall” jeweler with an irreplaceable
    ring (sentimental value) is the first mistake. We take the few pieces
    that need cleaning to a trusted private jeweler (not a chain or
    “brand”) where the cleaning takes place in front of us while we wait.
    The owner thinks this is a good way to keep us as customers and to
    mitigate risk to his business.

    The second mistake was to be trust the same shop to fix their problem
    without close, microscopic supervision — this would be like re-
    electing a Republican President after the Bush administration.

    While I think it’s appropriate to justify the importance of the
    problem by saying something to the effect of this “this is a wedding
    ring and my husband is away at war” I don’t think the repeated
    references are necessary, but “Lisa” is not running for office and
    shouldn’t have to watch her every word to be politically correct.
    Having a wedding ring damaged is just one of those “stuff happens”
    experiences in life, but reading about how it impacts the families of
    the people serving in this war is a reminder that we all need to keep
    in perspective as we struggle through our daily lives and sometimes
    tend to forget for a moment that other families are suffering. If
    someone like Lisa wants to walk down her street and knock on every
    door and (politely, even with a tear in her eye) say “I want to be
    sure you understand that my husband is away in battle.” I think it’s a
    message we all need to be ready to wake up at 3:00am and think very
    clearly about whether US troops should be risking injury or death
    overseas or the people of other nations dying in their countries and
    does this war justify their sacrifice.

    Back to the point, I think the advice to go to small claims is correct
    and with a national retail chain, there’s a chance they’ll cut a check
    once they’re found at fault. I’d begin that process in parallel with
    taking the original ring to a trustworthy jeweler to have the ring
    repaired. Whatever that costs (I’d guess around $1000 from my
    experience having custom rings made from scratch and then modified)
    would be paid and then a letter demanding reimbursement should suffice.

    For what it’s worth, a similar problem unfolded with my mother’s ring,
    a very modest wedding ring from leaner times, which she wanted to have
    updated to better quality, without changing it, just getting a nice
    diamond. Sadly, they modified the ring unwittingly, to “improve” its
    strength. It had lasted fifty years on that finger, so we were happy
    with its hold on the stone, but that critical factor had been
    overlooked. Fortunately, we had a good couple of “before” photos,
    which, in an old-fashioned world pre-digital photography, meant we had
    literally three little Polaroids for the repair work and then some
    iterative time where my mother sat with the jeweler to get the
    proportions and details as close as possible. In the end, the
    sentimental value was undiminished and the objective of a nice, clear,
    brilliant diamond was achieved and the ring had another chapter added
    to its story. A bit like have a classic car that gets a scratch or a
    dent, you don’t have repair work done beyond a minimal effort — the
    car is not the same car once it has been dismantled, stripped and
    restored regardless of the talents of the modern day worker, you lose
    an important quality, a part of the soul of the thing if you go too
    far with a repair.

    • mythago says:

      @YMMV: “Trusted private jewelers” can screw up too. It’s not the OP’s mistake that she thought a large national chain would be reliable and care about their reputation. FFS, I suppose next we’ll see postings about how the OP shouldn’t have married somebody who went into the military.

  18. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:


    Please stop the back and forth about the military and politics. Let’s focus on the article’s content itself, rather than this hijack.

    No more military pro/con posts.

  19. wordsmithy says:

    Do I believe that families in the military should get preferential treatment? YES, YES, YES, a thousand times, YES. Those in the military are working in horrible situations with little pay in order to defend us. The spouses and children did not sign up for this work and yet they are making sacrifices every day. A few discounts here and there or a replacement ring can’t begin to repay them for what they do.

  20. wordsmithy says:

    Sorry, Roz, saw your post too late.

  21. raleel says:

    Well, I guess there goes Kay getting my business. Since my wife and I got married when we were still in school, we only got cheap gold bands. I was looking at getting her something for our 10 years together and our first child on the way. Of course, now I’m making 8 times what I was making in school, and “two months salary” is enough to by a good new foreign car. tsk tsk.

  22. psyop63b says:

    This looks like a job for: Smaaaall Claaaaaims Coooourt!

  23. trillium says:

    Oddly enough it doesn’t shock me that it is an issue with Kay. When my grandmother purchased my senior high school class ring it took them three tries to get it right (wrong color stone first, followed by my initials being incorrect, and then the small side etching had the wrong high school mascot). A year later the stone fractured and it took them twice to replace the stone with the proper one. In the process they whacked the setting up so bad that the stone wobbled and fell out less then 6 months later. If you consider buying anything from Kay – please for the sake of your sanity – consider somewhere else.

  24. Hoodooz says:

    To be fair, the store employee was trying to do something nice for her by giving her a free cleaning. Some of those Master Craft promotional bridal sets are notoriously cheaply made, and an experienced jeweler will often avoid putting those in an ultrasonic cleaner as the melee sized stones can fall out easily if already loose in the setting.

    The jeweler who tried to re-set the stone had trouble working up a bead obviously – it’s a painstaking task sometimes, and if you screw up even a little bit it will show – especially when the examiner is very attached to the idea that it had better look exactly the same as it did before.

    As an ex-jeweler, I can see how the whole situation transpired, down to trying to cast a replacement from the original – and why they said they “don’t deal with Master Craft” (probably not on the store’s regular vendor list – the home office probably buys selected item’s in quantity for Christmas promotions etc. but don’t consider them a regular supplier) – all the while having an irate customer breathing down your neck.

    The woman is of course upset, she only wanted the ring cleaned in the first place, and it does have a lot of sentimental value to her. But casting Kay Jewelers as the villain in all this is wrong it seems to me.

    The employee who offered to clean the woman’s ring made a rookie mistake in not properly examining the setting with a jeweler’s loup and testing that the stones were still securely seated before putting it into an ultrasonic bath. That’s not malicious, that’s a kind gesture gone wrong. That they’ve made real effort and probably spent 3 times the original cost of the rings to make things right is also apparent.

    I don’t and never have worked for Kay’s, but I was a jeweler (I’ve set many a diamond over the years) for almost 2 decades and also managed 3 retail stores from mid to high end during that time; and the scenario is all too familiar unfortunately. But there needs to be a little perspective here, this outrage over a simple human error is misplaced, especially when terms such as “pain and suffering” are being tossed about.

  25. Paul D says:

    The entire jewelry industry, particularly the gemstone industry, is a racket. I’ll never understand why otherwise intelligent human beings place such high value on shiny rocks.

    Oooo, shiny!

  26. ideagirl says:

    If I say local jewelers are worth there weight in gold will I comment-spanked??

    • zentec says:


      Nope, because I was going to say the same thing. Local family-owned jewelers are more expensive, but likely to be properly trained and know a few things before putting jewelery with a high sentimental value in a cleaner from Wal-Mart.

      Kay, Osterman’s, JB Robinson et al are all the same, and they do an equally lousy job. The added advantage of local family owned jewelers is that you get some very original pieces.

  27. ideagirl says:

    oops…”will I BE comment-spanked”

  28. rinse says:

    She led off her story with her husband, which is enough to get the sympathy vote, as you can see from the thread. If she had stopped there, she probably would have gotten away with it without anyone criticizing her. After the third time, though, I can see why some people would think, “Okay, I GET IT!” …Art of telling a story, folks. :P

  29. superchou says:

    This is why jewelry shops like KAY etc… are crap. You get what you pay for… ineptitude… go with a company which is local, well reputed and stands by their work – dealing with quality… not shit from some craptastic company who probably makes high school class rings.

  30. Who her husband is, his position, or the job he is performing is NOT relevant to the issue at hand.

    Kay farked up. Kay owes her. End of story.

    With regards to MasterCraft. Kay may do business with the company, but the products that Kay purchases may not include this style ring. Technically the Kay employees are correct (in a manipulate the words kind of way), but regardless of whether Kay does offer this model of ring or not, Kay has an obligation for the same or better. Screwing up, can and should cost Kay a couple bucks.

  31. fredmertz says:

    Kay is owned by a British company, SIGNET. They will soon be listing their stock in the US, so I’m betting that if brought to the right person’s attention, this will be resolved very quickly. The CEO is Terry Burman and their contact info is:

    Signet Group plc
    15 Golden Square
    London, W1F 9JG
    United Kingdom – Map
    Phone: 44 20 7317 9700
    Fax: 44 20 7734 1452
    Web Site: []

    Zales happens to be their “mortal” enemies, so you could probably get them to help you — this is the sort of thing they live for. The new CEO of Zale is Neal Goldberg — he was previously an executive at the Children’s Place and is very concerned about keeping people happy. Helping you here would make a customer for life, I’d bet. The contact info for Zale is:

    Zale Corporation
    901 West Walnut Hill Lane
    Irving, TX 75038-1003
    United States – Map
    Phone: 972-580-4000
    Fax: 972-580-5547
    Web Site: []

    Good luck — I am sure this will be resolved for you.

    • Red_Eye says:

      @fredmertz: Grand. I had Zales totally trash my custom wedding band about 8 years ago. It was a custom made 14kt band (so not as soft as 18kt. It had been custom knurled with vertical lines prior to the diamonds being set in it. Left it there for a cleaning, came back and they had done something to the ring that flattened the knurling out over 90% of the ring.

      So keep in mind quality jobs can be had anywhere.

  32. oldheathen says:

    Kay Jewelers? Really? Crap jewelry, much like Zales. I wouldn’t trust them to shine my shoes, military or otherwise.

  33. I find this ironic coming from (most dangerous jobs)


  34. Zulujines says:

    What a horrible experience! From the photograph, the ring looks pretty intricate and I wonder why they didn’t inspect it before they cleaned it. I also wanted to avoid chain stores like Kay when purchasing our wedding bands, because they just seemed kind of cheesy and inept. I’m not clear on why they can’t just replace the original ring.

    Although, to be honest, I don’t think a new ring is going to make her feel any better. I think the damage is done, and it’s never going to “feel” right again. The ring is obviously very sentimental and it just won’t be the same. There’s just no excuse for this mess.

  35. Onouris says:

    Moderating comments based on the moderator’s personal feelings about something is a very, very bad way to go about things.

    • dlynch says:

      @Onouris: i agree. the comments that have been disemvoweled made valid points in a respectful way – and the moderator’s obvious contrary POV should never have come into play.

  36. Petra says:

    What an awful experience! I’d be completely distraught too…and for commenters stating that her husband’s deployment has no point in being in this story, you’re wrong…we’re talking about her WEDDING ring here. Naturally not having her husband with her adds immensely to the stress and frustration.

    I steer clear of ring shops in the mall, especially Kay, since every time I have gone in there before to browse they never seem to know what they are talking about. Personally, if you have any issues in the future, only deal directly with the store you originally purchased the ring from.

  37. jwissick says:

    Perhaps the pro-military folx like myself would be willing to take a collection so that this young lady does go through the hassle of going to court and give her some piece of mind with the correct replacement?

  38. diamonddude says:

    I have worked in the retail jewelry business for 20+ years and wanted to explain the process that caused her ring to be damaged. After the Bench Jeweler reset her diamond, it was given to a polisher who polished out the beading or millgrain on the edge of the ring. It sounds like an attempt to repair this damage was unsuccessful, and a second ring was made to replace the first one. The model for the new ring was a lo-res photo, which is difficult to make a matching 3d wax model matching the original ring from. The store manager should have used the engagement ring as a model to have the new ring made, along with the photo, then they would have matched. Kay’s certainly has realized their error, but is trying to solve the problem with as little $$ outlay as possible. A new wedding band to match should be made from both the photograph and the engagement ring, and sincere and profuse apology issued.

  39. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    When my hubby and I first started looking at engagement rings last year, we were fresh from graduating college, starting new jobs – we didn’t have much money, but when we walked into Kay, you would’ve thought we were lepers with garbage stuffed into our pockets. They “listened” to what we were looking for, and then proceeded to tell me all about exactly what I wasn’t looking for, whilst steering me clear away from the rings that I did want to look at. Why? They never even asked about our budget! They made assumptions about two young people, and they had no clue what kind of money we had and didn’t care about what we wanted. Sure, our paychecks weren’t much, but they didn’t know and shouldn’t have assumed.

    Kay definitely didn’t get my business. And though I don’t typically like chain stores, I walked into Jared on a whim one day, and I was greeted with smiles, a bottle of water, and within minutes a woman was showing me the exact type of rings that I wanted to see, whether they were $400 or $5,000. They were there, I felt welcomed, and we ended up getting our wedding bands there as well.

    This woman should not only take it up to Kay corporate, but she should also include the Better Business Bureau. I’m not a big fan of protests outside a store, but with the Internet she can help others from being swindled by these people.

  40. backbroken says:

    I doubt that a simple cleaning could damage a ring that badly.

    On the other hand, putting the ring in a clamp and trying to quickly extract your quality diamonds to replace them with some inclusion ridden cheapos…well, let me just say that wouldn’t surprise me AT ALL. Why do you think they keep the cleaning machine out of sight? I feel for the OP. Used car dealers have nothing on your local jewelry shop employee.

    • geckospots says:

      @backbroken: That’s why you insist on having your diamonds tested before and after you have your ring cleaned. Any reputable jeweler will do this for you. Ask to look at it with a loupe before and after as well, if you are really concerned.

      Having worked in a higher-end jewellery store and cleaned my fair share of diamond rings, I can tell you that it would take far more time to pop out small diamonds, find a matching size in a poorer quality stone, and put it back in than it does to just clean a ring in an ultrasonic. For all the people who worried about this that came into my store, I never saw proof of it actually happening (and I worked there for two years).

  41. Skankingmike says:

    don’t you have your ring insured? My wife’s ring is insured mostly because it costs a lot of money.

    I guess if you haven’t now you may want too. don’t’ have to deal with the store then. though shy should replace the ring for you or at least pay you the value.

    if it is under 5k then you should go small claims but really in the end, they screwed you out of more than just the ring it’s the original item that was placed on your hand during a ceremony you can’t replace that.

  42. linsea says:

    I would lose my mind if my WEDDING ring was destroyed, even though my hubby is a computer geek. Her husband being in Iraq is very important to her, so she kept writing it. I don’t believe in the military actions that are going on right now, but I do support those who are in them. Some people join the military to make their lives better.

    You can get a ring (with a diamond) at tiffanys for about the same price they probably paid. Not everything is outrageously expensive. I’ve never had a problem with my (modest) Tiffany’s jewelry.

  43. audiochick says:

    I used to work in a mall jewelry store (worst job I’ve ever had, BTW) and the first thing that we did when we cleaned someone’s ring was to use a pair of tweezers to check all of the stones to make sure none of them were loose. Our “cleaning equipment” was a small ultrasonic machine filled with diluted jewelry cleaner and a regular old toothbrush. Both the ultrasonic and the toothbrush could easily cause stones that are loose to pop out. The Kay should have made sure all of the stones were secure before doing anything with the ring.

    Once the damage was done and the first attempt to fix the ring failed, they should have tried to order a new one from the manufacturer. Sometimes it’s impossible to get the same exact ring, though. Ring styles are almost treated like copyrights sometimes. If the ring came from a manufacturer that Kay didn’t work with, it is very hard to replicate the style. I realize that the OP did eventually find out that the manufacturer does work with Kay, but in the event that they didn’t have a relationship, and therefore couldn’t get the exact same ring, Kay should have paid for the ring so the OP could have gone back to her original jewelry store to buy another one.

  44. night_2004 says:

    I’d get a small claims suit started. Claim in damages, at a minimum, the cost of an entirely new ring and the cost of transferring your old ring’s stones into the new ring.

    Then add in some extra for emotional distress and gross negligence.

    You’d have to consult with a lawyer about this, but I’m guessing that because they have persistently tried to turn you away you might find cause to add a multiplier in on the damages. I don’t know, but in your case I’d say go for it.

  45. supertechman-protests disemvoweling by disemvoweling himself says:

    In tears. Over a ring….*sigh* this is exactly why much of the world thinks Americans are soft.

    Look, I understand that you have some sentimental value associated with your wedding bauble (and moderator, if you disemvowel me for calling it a bauble, which it literally is, I will be exceptionally pissed), but my reccomendation is to first put this whole thing in perspective.

    It. Is. A. Piece. Of. Jewelry. I’m a married man, and I gave my wife a custom designed ring for our nuptials. If she lost it, or it was damaged, or stolen, or disappeared in some sort of semi-Christian jewelry related-Rapture event, I would tell her the same thing; “Don’t cry, it’s just a ring. We’ll get you another one.”

    By all means, you’re justified in seeking restitution. But remember; you may cry because you don’t have your ring, until you meet someone who doesn’t have any fingers.

    • HasnaBelle says:


      thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for saying exactly what I’ve been thinking as I read through all of these comments.

      Kays absolutely needs to clean this all up, and right their wrong.

      But, in saying that, when you’ve walked the streets with, and lived with people who have lost multiple limbs [and loved ones] so that we could have pretty little rocks on our fingers, you realize just how wrapped up we are in all of this.

    • dianabanana says:

      @supertechman: Yeah, Kay screwed up and needs to take responsibility for it, but emotional distress and being traumatized? Come on. Let’s not be overly dramatic. Pissed about being lied to and having the ring destroyed would be a much more believable emotion.

  46. ColtonFlaccus says:

    OK, the straight story:

    Kay may very well ignore your demands, polite or otherwise. Small claims court could be effective, but a HUGE hassle. Hold that as a reserve option. You have two excellent choices that have not been mentioned, neither of which will cost you a dime:

    1) Contact the Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee in NYC (212-997-2002) and see if they’ll go to bat for you. (They’re at 25 W. 45th Street, NY, NY, 10036)

    2) Contact your Better Business Bureau and tell them you want to file a report. They’ll send you the paperwork, or you can do in online.

    (By the way, you can do both of these things at the same time, if you wish.)

    I would strongly advise against having some other jeweler make you a new ring, and sending Kay the bill, because the chances are that they will not compensate you for the new ring. (Kay is going to pay retail price for it? I think not!)

    (FYI, my company provides a jewelry advisory service to the public, and functions as a consultant to retail jewelers.)

  47. ViperBorg says:

    And this is why I shop at Zales. I feel sorry for the OP, I hope Kay makes this right and that OP never shops at Kay again.

  48. sapphirepalace says:

    I used to work for a Kay Jewelers in Oregon. It sounds like the Kay’s sales associate did not follow proper procedure during the cleaning process. The first thing they drilled into our heads in training, was that you always check all the prongs with a diamond loupe before putting any piece of jewelry into an ultrasonic cleaner. The reason for this is that gold is a soft metal – 24K gold being the softest – and during general everyday activities the prongs that hold diamonds in place can be worn down or even bent sideways. It was standard operating procedure at our store to tell the customer that they had a worn prong if we saw one, and then ask if they still wanted to proceed. After cleaning, we would then strongly recommend that they have the prong built back up, so that the diamond couldn’t fall out.

    I am very saddened to hear that this whole thing has happened to Lisa. I cannot believe the district manager didn’t take care of this immediately. Rhonda Russell used to be our district manager, and she always made sure customers were taken care of.

    BTW, I believe the reason they have been unable to make a replica of Lisa’s ring, is that Lisa’s original ring was undoubtedly made in a factory by machines that are much more precise than human hands can usually be. (Although a highly skilled Custom Jeweler should be able to make her one with no problem–just have to find one in your area).

    As to fixing her original ring, the only way I could see that they might not be able to fix her ring would be if the ring were hollow underneath (a way for the manufacturer to save money, while also allowing light to shine up through the setting to make the diamonds sparkle more). If this is the case with Lisa’s ring, if they heated the gold to put the new beading on the edges, the gold underneath would heat up and melt into the cavity (thereby destroying the structural integrity of the ring). However, I believe in such circumstances there are other measures they could take, although I’m not familiar enough with the procedures to say exactly what that would entail.

    Unfortunately, from a legal standpoint Kay’s will probably win if she takes them to small claims court, because the ring was taken off the store premises without a complaint being filed first (because her husband wasn’t as familiar with the ring as she was and didn’t realize anything was amiss). That being said though, Kay Jewelers should stand by its work. And unless she has made multiple repair claims in the past, which would give them probable cause to doubt her claim, they should either find a way to fix her original ring (no matter how expensive), or if they cannot repair it, they should purchase her a new one through the original manufacturer. There is no gray area here. There is only a question of whether or not the company will do the right thing.

  49. MartaLolzor says:

    My wife works for Kay’s Jewelers in Indiana and has been in the market
    for over 20 years. This type of situation happens more than you think
    with all the jeweler stores.

    Diamonds are held into place with prongs built into the ring itself.
    These are not iron, They are gold prongs. Thus, They can become loose
    and most stores will offer a free check of your diamond ring to make
    sure the prongs are tight. During cleaning the diamond can fall out when
    the prongs are loose. This was evidently her problem.

    KJ’s didnt “Break” her diamond. It was broke most likely when she
    brought it in. The missing diamond was loose in its setting. Replacing a
    ring is not like replacing a bad TV. They are not mass produced. They
    are handcrafted and thus from one ring to another there are suptle
    differences. Its very hard to make an exact copy. There are going to be
    small differences from one ring to another.

    It is unfortunate that the ring was damaged in repair. That shouldnt
    have happened. However, In the future the following will help you in
    such a situation:

    1. When buying a diamond pay attention to what type of
    replacement/repair warranty they offer. This isnt a “Best Buy” extended
    warranty thing. Its important.

    2. Most stores offer free inspection/repair of rings. Most people dont
    do this and end up in this situation. Get them checked and cleaned

    3. Do not wear the diamond when doing things like washing dishes or
    working in the yard. Take it off and put it somewhere safe.

    4. Before they are cleaned ask them to check the prongs.

    5. Never ever put your ring in a kleenex or paper towel for temporary
    storage. Otherwise you run a good chance of throwing it out by mistake.

    6. Never temporarily store it near the sink either for obvious reasons.


  50. Mysterry says:

    I hope you haven’t agreed for them to replace your diamonds for you. If you have the diamonds as a “loose diamond” then you should get that checked out first as it can be worth more then the diamond that they are replacing it with.

    Good luck with the Execs!

  51. Jabberkaty says:

    I dunno, speaking as someone whose hubby isn’t being sent off to war zones, I’d be super-stressed if I didn’t have my ring. It would so much worse if the hubster wasn’t around or was in danger. I feel so sorry for her.

    I hope they resolve this and I’m totally on her side. She doesn’t seem to want anything above and beyond, it seems like she’d take her OLD ring if that were an option at this point, but clearly, it’s not. So replace it – work with her. It’s not like these things are cheap, even without the sentimental value. You’d think there’d be a bit more service on Kay’s end.

    Grr. Now I’m cranky.

  52. MeOhMy says:

    I think Kay also sucks. Bought a white gold chain from them and the clasp went to pieces after a few months. It had a lifetime warranty, which they gave me crap about…I took it back to them and they gave me another one and it had the exact same clasp failure within a week!

    I’ve a couple observations/suggestions:
    The suggestion to get your ring cleaned/serviced at the place you bought it is a good one but in practice it can’t always be done. What if you move away?

    My jeweler (independent small-town shop) never uses a machine to clean my wife’s rings. He steams them and hand buffs them with microfiber and that’s it. I don’t know if I’d trust those machines.

    Get recommendations on a good jeweler in your area, just as you would with any other major purchase.

    And finally, remember that’s just a bunch of minerals and metal. Of course it has a lot of sentimental value, but things will go a lot better for you if you can divorce (pun intended) your sentimental attachment to that one specific hung of minerals and metal. Get it insured if it’s that expensive and if something happens to it just get it replaced. My wedding ring may symbolize my marriage but its a symbol and nothing more. Of course you want it replaced and you want the replacement to be up to spec, but if you can get over the “it’s not THE ring” you’ll have an easier time controlling your emotions.

  53. WhitneyGH says:

    @supertechman: I agree. I don’t understand all the distress and tears over a piece of metal and glass. Then again, I’m quite the unromantic gal: I didn’t get my wedding and engagement rings until months after my husband and I got married, and to this day I never wear either one. (My husband, however, wears his wedding band all the time, which leads to some interesting looks from other people when we’re out together, haha.)

    That being said, of course Kay screwed the pooch on this one and should make every effort to resolve the issue to the OP’s satisfaction. It doesn’t matter if the jewelry in question is the wedding ring of a military wife or the diamond tennis bracelet of a billionaire socialite…Kay should be held responsible for damaging it. Best of luck to the OP.

  54. ladycola says:

    i see no fault in mentioning that her husband’s in the military. the kay store should have treated her wedding ring with more care for certain, but i can understand how having to worry about a spouse who’s overseas and in harms way would exacerbate the stress of losing a wedding ring. i would say the majority of americans believe a wedding ring to be more than just a piece of jewlery and would be equally distressed at having it handled in such a way without having to deal with a military situation.

  55. savvy999 says:

    No doubt Kay’s solution to this will be to have customers sign a form releasing the store and its employees from all repercussions resulting from possible damage during these ‘free’ inspections +/or cleanings. The fine print will be revised.

  56. Propaniac says:

    It sounds like a great story for the local news station: “Up next, how a jewelry chain destroyed the wedding ring of a local woman while her husband is fighting in Iraq!” My best wishes for Lisa in getting this resolved.

  57. Geekybiker says:

    Doesn’t the military typically have some sort of free legal advice on base? Seeing as she is married to an on-duty soldier I imagine this is available to her as well. At the very least it is worth asking about. If nothing else maybe the base lawyers can sent a request letter to that Kay store on their letterhead. That might get them moving.

    As for what happened, yes kay should be liable for damage like this. They probably took it to a buffer that had the wrong compound on the wheel, or simply used way too much force for a delicate ring.

    At this point there is no getting the original ring back. Its gone. There is only getting damages.

  58. SomeoneElseNotMe says:

    So . . . very . . . tired . . . of hearing “so and so is in the military so I deserve special treatment.” Career choice (it’s a volunteer deal, no draft) does not get you special treatment. If it did, I’d be king.

    Stand up for yourself, woman!

  59. sarabadara says:

    My diamond has a serial number on the stone. Everytime I get it cleaned (at Jared, for free since that’s where it came from) they put it under the scope to make sure the number matches and let me have a look.
    It’s kind of reassuring. That and they’re super nice and give you drinks if you want them, and clean the jewelry on-site.

  60. SteveZim1017 says:

    grrr… how come its the comments that 40 other people reply to that always get “de-voweled” I hate having to try to DECODE posts to know what everyone else is talking about.

    Good Luck to the OP, and my only advice is to try to steer clear of the “mall jewelry stores” ask friends and family who they use to find a reliable mom and pop type store. I found a great one off of a referral, been in business for 3 generations, cheaper and better quality every time

  61. madfrog says:

    She should file a small claims case and let Judge Judy handle it, she would set them straight!

  62. CraigCarson says:

    Consider contacting and file a complaint with the NC Department of
    Justice – Office of the Attorney General – Division of Consumer
    Protection. That’s what they are there for. I don’t know what is more
    criminal, the fact they tried to fake it, or the fact they’ve been
    jerking around a Marine and his wife. Shame on you Kay Jewelers!

  63. AllenK says:

    What makes them any worse/better than any other jewelry store? They all seem the same to me! You think you’re getting a good deal,but they’re always gonna come out ahead no matter how much it’s marked down.

  64. ninabi says:

    As a military spouse whose husband deployed (but not multiple times like this poor woman’s husband), I understand the stress.

    I’d be upset about the messed up rings, too. There should be some compensation by Kay. Getting the rings replaced would be nice.

    If that can’t happen, when her husband gets back they might consider going to a quality jeweler and having both their rings redesigned, perhaps to commemorate all they have been through in their marriage.

    I’m hard on jewelry. My wedding ring has been changed/repaired 4 times in nearly 25 years of marriage. The original ring was not expensive (my idea, knowing how much I work with my hands) so my reasoning is this-

    we are still married, but like the ring, we change over the years.

    Could The Consumerist do a follow up on this story? I take a special interest in military families.

  65. JeanKhayos says:

    I’m currently in an ongoing battle with Kay Jewelers in Cambridge, MA
    because they essentially destroyed my engagement ring when all I wanted was
    a simple re-sizing done. It’s a long story, but they lost a stone,
    scratched the surface of the main stone to the point where it’s all I can
    see when I look at the stone, they made the center stone irreparably
    crooked, they messed up with the re-sizing, and they chipped the bottom of
    my center stone while trying to prove to me that it was the size they said
    it was. Throughout this entire ordeal, (which, so far, has been going on
    for over a month), they’ve made me to feel as though it’s my fault that they
    keep damaging my ring. Not to mention that the staff at the store has done
    everything from hanging up on me when I call them to check on the status of
    my ring, to trying to sign me up for a Kay’s credit card, to trying to sell
    me a completely new and totally different ring, to saying the only way to
    fix my [poorly made – their words] ring, is to have it completely reset and
    they could do it for a price at the next Diamond Event.

    I finally got sick of the runaround enough to get Customer Relations
    involved, and I’m also seeking a second opinion from two very trusted people
    every time my ring comes back from Kay Jeweler’s off-site shop. After the
    most recent trip, (in which I picked up my ring after they replaced a
    diamond that fell out), I discovered that one of the supposedly tightly
    reset diamonds was loose and they had chipped the underside of the center
    stone. I never had a problem with my ring in the nearly 4 years we’ve had
    it, until I brought it into Kay’s. At this point, it’s destroyed beyond

  66. emich27 says:

    If a jeweler cannot understand the importance of a wedding ring to someone than they should find a new career. For many, the ring is far more than just a piece of jewelery – its also a religious symbol blessed by a priest or minister. To mishandle someone’s ring and then mishandle the situation is wrong and someone with that store should be held accountable.

  67. fisherstudios says:

    Kay seemed to have many opportunities to resolve/address this issue. I’m sure that the offer to remake the ring for Lisa wasn’t made lightly.

    Unfortunately Lisa was not satisfied with the remade ring, due to the very poor workmanship of it, and has every right to ask for closure to this issue.

    Lisa has had to put up with one thing after another with Kay Jewelers, and at this point she does not have to give them another chance to remake the ring, she can just take them to small claims. That said, she may wish to give them one final opportunity to correct the issue regardless, and possibly ask for a gift voucher as a concession for her troubles.

  68. Needy's Body says:

    And I’m not understanding why so many commenters think being in the army is the most dangerous, stressful job. I’d say THE PEOPLE LOSING LIMBS AND DYING SO YOU COULD HAVE THE SPARKLIES FOR YOU RING HAVE THE MOST STRESSFUL LIVES!!

    I tire of American materialism so quickly…

  69. hhippo says:

    Going to a chain store in a mall for something like a diamond scares me! I always go to the same independently owned store and they are wonderful. They even showed me how to clean my own ring. Soak it overnight in ammonia and use a soft toothbrush (very gently) in the morning. I do this about once a week and my ring always looks brand new! I take it in every once in awhile to have the prongs checked. Never have any problems!

  70. howie_in_az says:

    My uncle is a jeweler and told me stories of people going in for a ring cleaning and coming out with a fake diamond or ruined ring. I had laughed about it, figuring that he just wanted more business, until I read this. Now both of our rings will only be going to him for cleaning and re-dipping.

    The nerve of Kay Jewelers to ruin a wedding ring and then try to offer up a half-assed copy astounds me.

  71. ShyamasriFerret says:

    Well, my daughter had her wedding ring screwed up after a sizing and then when they sent it back in, it mysteriously came up lost by UPS. They did give her a new ring. What a weird mess.

  72. Anonymous says:

    first off, did the ring originally come from kays or one of its sister companies? second, master craft is not a vendor that the stores can order from directly in their stores. master craft company may supply signet with some of their product indirectly but the stores don’t have a catalog to order from directly. customer service will do everything they can to rectify the situation but they are blind to what the store is looking at. setting a stone is not a complicated process and shouldnt have been a major ordeal. it sounds like it may have been damaged during the cleaning and polishing process by the shop it was being repaired at. If master craft can send the shop a wax mold of the original ring, then the shop can re-create your ring exactly as master craft made it. I hope this helps and i am sorry you are having a problem with your ring. If you have any questions about this or need any assistance with this, e mail me.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Am going to buy my wife an anniversary ring for Christmas this year. Was looking on line and ran across this aricle about Kay Jewelers. Guess where I WON’T be buying the ring from!