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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why am I in this business?

Gold prices soar! The market sinks! The market rises! Gold prices plummet! It's the new world we seem to live in. Personally I have a theory that it is the speed with which information is available and the speed with which stocks can be traded that is actually accounting for most of the wild swings we're seeing in the marketplace. Fifty years ago it would have taken weeks before financial news from Asia would have impacted our stock market. Now the news is there within seconds and the traders respond seconds later. Good news/bad news/no news, it's all become fodder for a market that no longer seems to be driven by the basics of sound business management, supply and demand, etc. but is actually driven by traders out to make a quick buck and news from a media that obsesses over far too many things. The real problem is that the economy of any country doesn't turn on a dime this way. It takes years to get into a downturn and years to get out. But everyone wants it all to happen instantly because that's what we're used to now. With a click of a button you can order almost anything and 24 hours later it's in front of you. Need a new book? Download it in a minute or two. Want to see a movie? No need to go to a theater. Turn on your television and there it is. My personal belief is that the economy has actually been improving for well over a year now but it has been a slow and incremental recovery. I think the doomsayers are wrong. But then if I really knew what was going to happen I'd probably be rich and retired in Big Sur California, and I am most assuredly not doing that!

My business in particular has been rocked by some of the market machinations because I work with the world's current favorite money maker: gold. Personally I'm faring well because, as always, I offer a quality product backed with stringent guarantees and I do stuff that is different than what most other jewelers are doing. But I think there is another reason why I'm doing well: I had a young couple in (I'm sorry but all of my customers seem young to me these days) today. He had been in before looking at engagement rings and this time he brought his intended in to look. He told me that he had watched the video that is on my website and also is available on this blog off to the right if you're reading this. He told me that one of things he liked about it was that I was obviously enjoying myself while I was making the jewelry. And I think that is what makes a big difference. I DO actually enjoy making jewelry. It's why I'm in this business to begin with. I mean, sure, I like talking to all the unique and varied people who come into my store, and like anyone who sells for a living, I enjoy that process as well but really, in my heart, I'm a real jeweler: I MAKE jewelry. And I have always enjoyed MAKING jewelry. And that is one of the biggest reasons I am in this business. Come on by and see what I've been making lately!

Pictured above is an 18k yellow gold and garnet pendant.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer is ending

I haven't had much time to write lately. Between trying to catch up from being on vacation (the work before and after vacation always does me in), getting a little stock made (tax free day is coming), and just the normal business in the store I haven't had a lot of spare time. But this time of year is perfect for stargazing so my thoughts have turned once again to objects located in the far reaches of outer space. Hence the pin that I have posted a picture of here. Once again my apologies for my photographic skills. You really can't see how stunning the boulder opal is in this picture but trust me it's a real beauty. As usual in my comet pin series this one has a name: "As the Opalian ship neared light speed the slipstream became quite vivid". I spend way too much time reading science fiction books these days apparently.

I have had more people in looking for engagement rings recently. A constant topic that seems to come up is the issue of ring size. If the intended knows they are getting a ring soon then it might be possible they have proactively gone ahead and gotten their finger measured at a jeweler. Unfortunately most of the time, the proposers are trying to surprise their intended so they don't know what the ring size is. Routinely I get them in with rings their intendeds wear on their right hand. This may get me in the general range but almost all people's hands are different sizes. Usually the dominant hand is larger than the other so if you are right handed your right hand will be larger. USUALLY. But not always. So I still won't have a real idea of what the size is. Sometimes I have found that the proposer (and this is usually guys) has no clue of even what size in general their partner's hands are. So a first step might be to actually look at their hands. Get an idea of whether they appear large or small, whether the knuckles are much bigger than the rest of the finger, are the fingers long or short? These are all first steps. They still won't actually resolve the issue but it's a beginning. Things like trying pieces of string on their finger while they are sleeping will NOT work. String stretches. Metal doesn't.

So what are you supposed to do when you haven't got a clue what their ring size is? Well my best suggestion is buy your ring from someone like me who includes resizing in the original cost of the band. Most jewelers will actually do this for you but many of them don't have in house bench jewelers so you may have to wait awhile to get it resized (never a good thing in my book---when someone gets an engagement ring they want to show it off!). Since I do the work myself, and I'm attuned to the need to get that ring on the finger I always try to get them resized overnight if it is at all possible. Admittedly, occasionally that isn't possible. Rings that have stones going all the way around the band may need to be made up from scratch and that can take some significant time. But generally speaking most bands should be able to be resized overnight.

Or you could always bring them into the process, especially if you're getting something unique, but I know that is not always quite as much fun. But people, please at least spend a little time looking at your loved ones hands. They're usually nice to look at anyway, and you'll be holding them for quite some time so you may as well know what they look like!

Besides the new pin, I have a new pair of blue sheen moonstone earrings out and a new pair of maw sit sit earrings out. More is coming. Stop by and take a look if you get a moment. And remember tax free day is coming (and those of you who have bought from me before know what that means---emails will be out shortly).