Ethical Issues

We, at Westdale Jewellers, would like to explain how we differ from most internet jewellery stores .

First, they are invisible remote entities that you cannot see in person, nor can you see the items you are about to buy before you buy them. All you have to go on when you put your money down is a piece of paper that someone has filled in and signed stating the “in my opinion …” And that lets them off the hook because anyone can give their opinion and collect money for it.  You, dear reader, have all the training required in the whole world to give an “opinion” on a gemstone. If someone pays you for it, then you are legally a “professional”. If you plan on buying a gem or a piece of jewellery online, start praying that the “appraiser” actually exists and that they are honest.

There are places, on line, where they change the meaning of the terminology.  They tell you about it in fine print, at the back of the site … and you have to look for it in terms and definitions, but they tell you that they mean something different than the accepted regular international meaning. They lower every grade by one step.  If you buy from them, thinking that you bought a VS2 stone, the best you will get is an SI 1. And it’s the same for every characteristic. Unless you are in the trade, there is no way to tell what you are going to get from a piece of paper. The courts allow an appraisal to be “off” by one level on each axis.  In the case of a diamond, that could amount to a great deal of money because there are many parameters.

Each defining characteristic has “steps”. There are “tops” of each step … and “bottoms”.  If a stone is rated SI 2 it could barely be above an I 1 or it could almost be a SI 1. The same thing is true for colour, clarity, cut, polish, symmetry and fluorescence. Variation in price accumulate for all of these differences. Each stone is unique and it is this variability that leads to a price range for what seems to be stones that are identical.  they are not identical … in fact they vary widely even when they are graded accurately. It is only by examining a stone personally that we can determine what we will pay for a stone.

There are “hard” graders like GIA and “easy” graders which is pretty well everyone else. If we, as professionals, have to see the stone to know what we will pay for it, how can an inexperienced person possibly know what they’re going to get for their money … sight unseen? This is one of the most important reasons for you to deal with a brick and mortar store, at a publicly accessible location, where you can visit and confirm /discuss with us personally how we are fully accountable for the truthfulness and accuracy of all of our claims. We can show you several stones that are all graded the same yet they are very different in price and appearance.  After you choose your stone, then we put it into a setting … which will change how it looks yet again.

Unlike our online competitors, who are mostly recent startups, we have been in the same location for over 25 years. We have developed and maintained an excellent reputation for our ability to do our job, accurately designing  and producing whatever our clients want. We take pride in offering reasonable prices while using only ethical products. We have never had a challenge made on our reputation that stood up to examination.

When you visit our store, you can sit and try various styles on your own body to see how they look on you. You can feel the weight, or the lack of it,  and compare everything that you will actually choose to receive.  Consider how many shades of blue  that a sapphire can come in. The number of shades and hues is limitless. On top of that, cameras and display devices all change what they see before you see it. How can you  possibly expect to choose what you want if you can’t see it?  When you come in person, you can see everything on your own skin tone with your own eyes. “In person” is completely different from looking at some pictures to guess  how it will look, or feel, on you. You can choose the exact items that will make up your piece and then you can stay involved as the piece develops.

We offer another service that no online dealer can. We allow the client to contribute their own materials into “the mix”.  If you have one of your grandmothers earrings and an old, but treasured ring from your dad, they can both become part of the new item we will make for you. This emotional attachment is possible only at the manufacturing level. If you want to use our materials, you can rest easy knowing that all of our metals conform to the most stringent and newest requirements for content. We have developed ways to overcome every allergy so far.

Since our chain of custody on the materials we use is so short, we can fully comply with all of the requirements of the Kimberly accord, which prohibits the importation or sale of any conflict materials. We do not conduct business with any dealers that we even suspect  of presenting material from oppressive or unfair dealers. We are proud to use Canadian Diamonds, Gold, Silver and anything else that we can, wherever possible.

Our diamonds are certified by the government of the north west Territories and are all considered part of Canadian natural treasures. Every Canadian stone is recorded and registered before they graded by the Gemological institute of America,(GIA), who developed the world standard. A major advantage we gain by “shopping Canadian” is we never have to consider if we “accidentally” got a conflict, or blood diamond. We never have to worry if we had a synthetic stone, grown in a lab, slipped in to our package.  The security in the far north is amazing. We always disclose any enhancements or treatments on all of our gemstones before starting any sale. We make every possible, reasonable effort to resolve every and any questions to the satisfaction of the client before we begin their project. If there’s any hesitation or doubt, then we advise the client to hold off.

“When in doubt … don’t”, or at least, “not yet” is safe advice for everyone. In our opinion, there is nothing worse for a store that counts on word of mouth advertising than an unhappy client. A satisfied customer may refer a few friends, but an unhappy client will tell everyone! Common sense dictates that we do our very best to keep everyone who supports us as happy as is reasonably possible.

Sometimes these policies result in slightly higher prices and sometimes they don’t … but please understand that we will not cut costs by compromising our ethics.  Perhaps we will see you soon.

Daniel Upsdell.

Owner & Operator of Westdale Jewellers

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