Many times in the past I have spoken about the need to have jewelry prongs professionally inspected as the little guys get weak over time and that means we run the risk of losing a stone.
Normally to have your jewelry inspected, cleaned and repaired means you have to leave the piece for a time. That time span could be overnight, a couple of days or in the case of a send out (Heaven forbid) weeks.
Once that piece has left your hands you as the consumer lose all control over what happens to it.
Jewelers for the most part are honest - they don't want your stones. The catch is, not all of their employees are. If you think theft doesn't occur, can't occur or won't occur - think again.
There are certain steps you can take before you drop off your pieces.
Step 1: Take pictures - lots of pictures. This is not only from an insurance standpoint but it also provides you a record of what you are dropping off. In the digital world today, cell phones take very high quality pictures so get the camera as close as you can to show the detail including the cut. Be sure the picture is clear and not out of focus.
Take a picture of the metal stamp. That may sound a little nuts but not all jewelry is stamped in the same place or at the same depth and sometimes the stamp ends up crooked. If you are having your setting repaired this helps to ensure you have the same high quality setting returned to you. An example is a .925 sterling silver versus white gold. If you aren't paying attention you can be fooled.
Step 2. Research where you will take the piece. This is very important. I've had people tell me they have used a pawn shop - never a good idea. Try to locate a jeweler who does the inspection and repairs ON SITE. The fewer people handling your piece the better.
Step 3. Plotted receipt. This is very important. In the store have the piece inspected while you wait and have the person doing the inspection plot your stone on the receipt and record any identifiers (crooked stamp, chip in stone for a prong repair, etc).
Once the employee has done it be rude and tell them that you want to use their magnifying glass and verify what they have recorded. Politely object if you find anything they missed and have them correct it. Keep repeating until you feel your jewelry has been plotted correctly. Make certain the receipt has the name of the employee on it as employees come and go and this way you will know not only when you left the piece but whose care you left it in.
As far as plotting your stones, this step only works for natural stone. Lab created stones tend to be too perfect and lack imperfections but if you know you have an imperfection such as scratch or chip on the stone have it plotted.
To sum it up, no information is horrible, some information is slightly better but to protect yourself you want as much recorded as you can.
I've never had a jeweler refuse to plot my pieces but in the event one tells you no then be careful. It's a competitive business and most jewelers want customers to be happy, besides protecting you it also protects them.
Step 4: If possible, take a picture of the envelope they place your piece in. Make certain that whatever identifier is used on the envelope is also on the receipt and matches.
Step 5: When the piece is ready for pick up don't be the consumer who walks in, accepts the jewelry and hastily runs out of the door. Once again, have your receipt in hand and ask to use the magnifying glass to view your piece of jewelry. Pay attention to any repairs you had done and verify that it is still the same stone and setting by comparing the receipt to what you are now holding in your hand.
Once you leave the store, it may be months before you learn that you have an issue and frankly, after the fact doesn't leave you any grounds to complain.
Helping you make a statement without saying a word.