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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Vacation Time Again

While I wasn't working quite as hard in the first six months of this year as last year I have been picking up steam again recently and have been back to seven day work weeks in the past month. For those of you wondering it's not a huge increase in work time since I seem to work at least 6 day weeks the rest of the time anyway. On the other hand for those of you who have somewhat normal five day per week jobs, it's something for you to consider before following that dream of starting your own business. I can assure you that you don't work less working for yourself. I do love my job. I enjoy meeting and talking to all of my customers. I really enjoy actually making jewelry and I enjoy that I can personally make something for so many people that is so meaningful in most cases (not that I mind making things for people to wear who just feel like buying a present for themselves too!).

But eventually I need to get a rest. So I will be closed the week of July 4. Anyone having an emergency present giving need will just have to wait until after July 9. I will also be closed for a portion of one week in August (not sure of the dates yet) as well. I do know it will be shortly after the tax free weekend this year. Speaking of which, we will be having our annual one day tax free weekend day sale (tax free day hasn't been formally approved by the state legislature yet but there have already been comments made by the powers that be that it will be taking place again). This sale is ONLY open to existing customers of ours (in other words you have to already own something of mine) and every year it's a little different so I don't know the details yet but it's a great time to pick something out of our cases that you've been admiring. (Think early Christmas present!). I do know that we will be discounting some of the pearls in our cases significantly so if you've always wanted one of my strands it will be a good time for it. And as always, if you can't make it in on the day itself, if you come in during the week ahead we will allow you to pick out something to hold until the day itself and we will run the charge through on the tax free day for you.

I hope everyone has a great Fourth of July! I will post again when I return from my vacation.

Pictured above is a custom necklace recently completed for a favorite customer of mine. This is, I believe, the third one of his custom jobs that I have posted on this blog. This was white gold with the Chinese character for a rabbit in the center and the horoscope Cancer sign on the sides with a handmade chain attached. It's always fun to step outside the box once in awhile and do something different.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting Engaged

I have had a number of people in looking for engagement rings recently and while I've written about the topic before, it seems to need a more recent recap. The biggest question is what is a gentleman or gentlewoman supposed to do about buying a ring for someone when that someone isn't right there with them saying: "No not that one but Yes that one" hopefully with a squeal of delight. It's not an easy topic. If you get your intended involved in the process you can't really surprise them with the whole thing. On the other hand if you don't get them involved you may end up with something that they really don't like. Then ten years later they come to me and say "I can finally tell him I hated the ring; can we put the diamond in a new one".

So what is there that you can do to try to mitigate this issue a bit? Well there are a few things that certainly help and it's a plus, gentlemen, if you can actually open your eyes a little bit about your intended.

1) What color metal do they want? This is usually not such a hard question to answer. Do they wear white metal? Do they wear yellow metal? Do they wear both colors? This is one of the most straightforward items to deal with, although sometimes people wear silver because they haven't been able to afford gold in the past. However normally people tend to prefer one color or the other and it's pretty obvious in what they wear already.

2) What is their ring size? Now this is a bit trickier for a number of reasons. If you are trying to surprise them, you can't just come out and ask what their ring size is. The other problem is that even if you can sneak one of their other rings away for a measuring, it is highly unlikely that they are wearing the ring on "that" finger because, traditionally "that" finger is left free for "that" ring. Additionally a person's dominant hand is usually larger than the other one so if you have a ring from their right hand ring finger (and they are right handed) it's probably larger than they need. So you have a number of things you can try to do that will at least get you in the range. The first is to grab one of the rings from the other hand and most jewelers can make an educated guess about the approximate size. The second is to recruit a friend of the intended to inquire although this usually takes away a lot of the surprise issue as well. Third is to LOOK at her hands. Are they big? Small? Are the fingers long? Short? It might be possible to guesstimate a size by telling the jeweler about them and comparing them to someone's hands in the store you are in. I always encourage people to err on the large size because it's always a bit more important to be able to get the ring on the finger at the time. If she has to wear a bandaid wrapped around it for a few days until it can be sized properly for her. Fourth is to work with a jeweler who will resize the ring for free regardless of the size (and preferably in a timely fashion). Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers offers free resizing on everything I make and when it is an engagement ring I always try to get it redone within 24 hours because I know how important it is that you get to show it off right away.

3) What kind of design do they want? This is by far one of the hardest questions to deal with. Again, spending some time looking at what is already being worn can provide some good hints. Do they always wear wide rings? Narrow rings? Rings that are simple? Rings that have design in them? Something in between? Also it doesn't hurt to occasionally go out shopping with them and try to get them to look in jewelry stores. What they look at can give you big clues to what they would like. The other issue with this for men is that (most of the time) men have simpler tastes in jewelry than women do. The thing is guys, you're not picking out something for YOU----you're picking out something for HER! You have to step outside of your own thinking and think about what THEY want. I do get gents in here who bring in helpers on and often---sisters, future sister-in-laws, and friends of the intended. This can help sometimes---but again you have to remember that what one person likes is not necessarily what your girlfriend will like. They may be BFF's but that doesn't mean they have the same taste in jewelry. It helps also to work with a jeweler who offers some type of exchange policy. I never give money back but I am always happy to exchange for things of equal or greater value as long as you have bought something that is in my normal range of designs. In other words if you have me custom make a ring with dancing unicorns and the words Lisa and David forever carved on the outside, it's yours no matter what, but if you say I love that design you have in the case but I want it with a different stone in it and can you throw a few more beads on it I am always happy to work with getting your bride to be into something that she is happy with, because after all it's all about making her happy.

4) These days there are some things that you are simply going to have to ask about like: Does she object to diamonds (some people do these days)? Does she only want a diamond? Is she looking for something so large that people will be blinded by it (in which case you'd better be saving for awhile)? If she doesn't want a diamond but would like a sapphire (the only other stone I recommend for daily wear) what color sapphire? Some of these may be easy questions to answer if you've been together for quite awhile. Some of them may not. Some people really want to be completely surprised so you may just have to fly by the seat of your pants.

I think this covers some of the more pressing issues on this topic but please feel free to email me with any others you might have when you get to considering these issues. And if you are reading this because you are going to get engaged then a big CONGRATULATIONS to you!

Pictured above are two 18k yellow gold rings with Lazare Diamonds in them.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Earrings But You Can't Have Them

As I said in my last posting I have been busy trying to get some new earring stock out and I did.....but you can't have them because I've already sold them. The pair of earrings pictured above is composed of carved spectrolite moon faces. I can't get any more spectrolite carvings in this type of quality (although I have one left in the larger size) because the carver ran out of this quality of rough material and then retired anyway. Unfortunately you can't see quite how beautiful the larger face was in this picture. It had wonderful green and very light yellow light rolling across one side of the face. There is also a moonstone and a diamond on them. They sold within 24 hours of putting them out.

The picture below are some ruby and diamond earrings I made up recently that have also sold.

I have just put out a few other new things, a sapphire ring (pictured below with a magnificent 1.63 ct. natural color, unheated blue sapphire in the center), a pair of 22k gold dust capped black pearl earrings and an opal and emerald pendant with a stunning boulder opal in it (pictures to follow).

Friday, June 1, 2012

It's All About the Love

Periodically I am reminded of what I really sell, and honestly it isn't just jewelry. Yesterday I had a gentleman in getting a new wedding band from us about 20 years after getting his first one from us (his wife had also recently gotten a new one from us---someone had lost theirs). Then I had a gentleman in buying a ring for his wife for their 25th anniversary. Later I had a very nice young couple in who picked out a double strand of freshwater keshi pearls for their 10th wedding anniversary. And, in a new one for me, I got a call from an old customer who is getting remarried to her husband some years after they got divorced and is coming in for new rings today!! Now I've had people who have gotten second and third wedding bands from me with different people, and I've had couples renewing their vows with new wedding bands but I can't say that I've ever had someone who got divorced get remarried to the same person with rings from me.

But like I say it isn't really jewelry that I'm selling. I'm selling memories. Whether the memory is of someone you are with, someone who has passed (I recently made up an 18k gold ashes container for a young gentleman), or just a significant point in your life, I truly believe that selling you something that you can wear that reminds of you of a special time in your life is one of the best parts of my job. It may sometimes be a sad memory but the fact that my customers allow me to play a role in these memories is something I personally treasure.

I know that there are a bunch of you out there who are reading my posts because I keep getting people in who reference things I've written here. It would make me really happy if I could get a few comments from some of you about how I've helped some of you with your own memories. I'd love to be able to post a few of them.

The ring above is an 18k gold wedding ring with a sandblasted background with 950 platinum wires on top and a .03 ct. diamond. This was a custom job for a customer.