Across The Counter
Reprinted from February 1991
Translations for the Jewelry Trade
Customer: Isn’t this a lovely ring? It was my grandmother’s. At least 60 years old. You’ll notice the 18K gold mounting and genuine ruby. I’ll bet you don’t see very many like this one!
Jeweler: Ah, yes, it is very lovely isn’t it? There are even some spherical bubbles inside that would seem to indicate man’s scientific ingenuity, and it sure is pretty. Here take it with you.
Translation: Glass. 10K gold mounting.
Customer: I paid you to repair this watch only last week. Now it stopped dead. What kind of work do you do here anyway?
Jeweler: Just a moment, please. Let me check the record.
Translation: Customer paid for a new watchband and had a new battery installed.
Customer: I have Aunt Hattie’s old watch here. It is very valuable so I wouldn’t trust it with just anyone. I brought it clear across town for you to look at because I know you’re honest and wouldn’t steal the jewels.
Jeweler: That’s very nice of you to say, and this certainly is a beautiful old timepiece. Haven’t seen one exactly like this before. Unfortunately, though we simply cannot get parts to fit those valuable old antiques. I’m sorry. Why not display it in a treasure dome so you can continue to enjoy it?
Translation: Rolled gold plate & jewels.
Customer: I want you to see my diamond I got at a Seedy Discount Store. It’s blue white and perfect! And I’m so-o-o happy with my purchase. Didn’t I get a fantastic buy?
Jeweler: Wow! Now that’s really a ring.
Translation: Coal mine.
Customer: I’ve just returned from the Orient where I picked up some lovely jewels for practically nothing. Let me show you my genuine Persian turquoise ring and Imperial jade ring.
Jeweler: How lucky can you get? These are very interesting. You sure can’t buy anything like that in most independent jewelry stores.
Translation: Dyed turquoise matrix, aventurine quartz.
Customer: The diamond I purchased here just ‘fell out’. I didn’t do nothing. It just fell out.
Jeweler: Then let me look at it, please, to see what damage has been done.
Translation: One prong missing. Two prongs bent. Diamond gone.
Customer: Just put it back together and I’ll get my uncle to fix it. He is an expert watchmaker and never charges me for anything.
Jeweler: (forcing a smile) If your uncle can’t get around to it, bring it back we will be happy to serve you.
Translation: ‘Unk’ started a correspondence course in watch repair back in 1949, and quit when the lessons got too difficult.
Customer: I can get it from my brother-in-law. He’s in the retail jewelry business and therefore buys wholesale. He sells to me for the same price jewelers have to pay, so why should I pay you more?
Jeweler: Since you are already another jeweler’s regular customer and both you and he are completely satisfied. I’m sure he will appreciate your business.
Translation: The brother-in-law is in the dry goods business and there are certain wholesale jewelers who will sell to him. However, the two families haven’t spoken to each other for 15 years.
Customer: I know a great deal about diamonds. I’ve been studying up so I can buy with confidence in my own technical knowledge.
Jeweler: Then I’m sure you recognize the superior cut and clarity of this magnificent diamond and realize the extraordinary value we are offering you.
Translation: Customer watched a “Mr. Wizard” TV show about prisms about 3 months ago. Now he’s a diamond expert.
Customer: Would you be kind enough to install this watchband? My husband picked it up someplace – maybe here.
Jeweler: We will be delighted to lady, and the charge is only a dollar.
Translation: I’m absolutely overjoyed to install your discount store watchband that you purchased across the street 20 minutes ago.
Customer: Can’t understand it. Last time this was worn, it ran fine. I put it on yesterday, though, and now it won’t run at all.
Jeweler: These things are mysterious, aren’t they? But it does need some cleaning and adjusting now and we will be happy to restore it to good working order.
Translation: It was last worn by the customer’s deceased grandmother who died 29 years ago. The inside is a mess.
Customer: I’d like to wear a wristwatch. Really I would. But I just have so-o-o much body magnetism I can set off blasting caps if I don’t control it.
Jeweler: Yes, ma’am. Anyone can tell from your bright personality that you have tremendous personal magnetism. May I interest you in one of these new solid-state models? There’s nothing about these beautiful watches that can possibly be affected by body magnetism, and a lovely lady like you deserves a fine wristwatch.
Translation: Vain old biddy. With a face like her’s, she could stop a clock at 20 paces.
Customer: I’ll have to ask my husband before I have it fixed. He always makes the decisions about things like that.
Jeweler: I understand perfectly. And may I say that I truly do admire you for trusting your husband’s fine judgment. Please explain to him the recommendations I’ve made regarding repair, and should he decide your fine watch needs attention, bring it back to me for I will certainly be glad to see you again. Thank you.
Translation: Wonder what they’ll tell her when she takes it down the street to the discount store?