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Thursday, October 30, 2014

I'm Working Again, Parking is Available and What is With This Pricing Nonsense

18k pink toned metal ring with large and small diamonds alternating in bezel settings with milgraine
18k pink gold ring with diamonds
I'm happy to report that as of last Friday I was given permission to get back on the bench and I have jumped right back in.  I can't say that working is pain free but I'm just happy to be able to be back doing what I love to do.  I've gotten started on replacing my best selling ring (see it here) which I just sold again recently, working on a piece for my wife's upcoming birthday, and working on some tanzanite earrings for a customer who just ordered them.   The tanzanites are 7.5 mm round stones so they are big!  I'll get a picture of them up in a few weeks when they are finished.  And I'm mucking around with some of the new stones I got recently to see what else I can come up with.  So if for some reason you were waiting for my personal touch on a piece, you can now get it again.

For those of you who live in Cambridge, or those of you who regularly travel through Cambridge, you already know that virtually the entire city seems to be under road construction right now.  My area of Massachusetts Ave. is part of this and large parts of it seem to be under constant construction.  Besides the fact that the construction itself is both temporarily and permanently taking away parking spaces, it seems the construction crews only want to park and leave their supplies on Mass Ave. so we have even fewer parking spaces available than usual.  So I am coming to the rescue to my many customers who come in from out of town and don't have Cambridge parking permits.  We have one parking space behind the store that is only in use at certain times of the day.  Anyone who wants to come see me is welcome to call me when they get in the area and if the space is available, I will direct you to it.  This service will be permanent, regardless of whether or not they actually ever finish all the construction.

In two different articles I have posted (here and here)I have discussed pricing issues in America.  Both of these articles came to mind last week when we were once again booking some airline tickets for our winter vacation.  We had been checking fares regularly for about a week and finally made the decision to purchase the tickets because it appeared the prices were going up.  Kathy had looked at the prices and they were up significantly and we figured we had better make them before they went up any higher.  She was planning on doing it in the late afternoon but got busy and couldn't get to it.  That evening she went back on line and the prices had dropped by $300 (for the pair of tickets) for exactly the same seats.  In other words, simply by waiting approximately three hours we saved $300 (which works out to $100/hour).  How could this possibly make any sense?  What could have happened in three hours that would have lowered the price by that much? Three hours!  Not an entire day.  Not looking at 11 pm and then at 1 am.  Just three hours on the same day. 

The very next day there was an article in the Boston Globe that brought this subject home further.  It was about how online retailers (especially in the travel industry but also some retailers) are tailoring their pricing to the individual customer who is searching on line.  Apparently if in the past you stayed in high end hotels, the sites will offer you prices that are higher than if you stayed in dumps usually because they feel you will pay more for the exact same room.  Also some of the retail sites have started to do this as well; adjusting pricing based on your past spending patterns.  (You do all know that everything you do is watched on line these days, right?)  This is so patently unfair to the customers and I don't understand why people put up with it.  It would be a little like my quoting different prices depending on how you are dressed that day! 

So again, you can rest assured that I won't charge you more if you're dressed in a suit (or less if you're in jeans) and my prices don't go up and down by the hour.  And that's just
the way I think things should be!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It's Been Awhile.....

18k and 22k yellow gold with blue chalcedony and rubies.
Some of you may know that I recently had some shoulder surgery.  Hence the delay in the writing of any articles here.   I am, as of today, out of my sling and able to type once again.  I should be back on my bench in a few weeks, something I really want to get to.  Since I was 16 I haven't spent this long off my bench and, given how much I actually like making jewelry, I'm a little frustrated.  But it's more important that I get the shoulder fixed properly so I can get back to regular productivity. Fortunately I had some warning on the operation and I was able to get a fair amount of new stock out before I went under the knife, so there is no lack of wonderful things here for people to enjoy.

There are some changes happening in my world of jewelry right now that I would like to discuss. The first is that gold has continued to fall in price, albeit slowly.  However there are now a majority of pundits claiming that it will continue in this direction (it had been about 50/50 up/down until recently).  Because of this I am telling anyone who has been considering turning in gold scrap towards something new that now is definitely the time to do it.  It's looking less and less likely that by waiting you will get more for any scrap.  And given that the holidays are coming it would be a good time to turn some of that old metal into something new.  For those of you who don't know, I will take in scrap anytime and put a credit in your name in our accounts until you decide what you want (you don't have to use the credit immediately) so it's not too early to think about it if there is something new you would like for the holidays. 

The second issue is that my suppliers are recently back from the large Hong Kong gem and jewelry show.  They have all come back with reports of sharply rising prices on colored stones, especially the better, high end material.   Gemstone prices in the past had been somewhat stable (except for opals which have been going up rapidly for a number of years) however they now seem to be making up for lost time.  Sapphire, ruby, opal, tourmaline are all going to see price spikes as soon as the dealers old stocks are sold off.  Again, if you're looking at making a major purchase of one of these gem materials, sooner is probably better.  My opal dealer reported he could find only twenty stones that weren't priced so absurdly high that he actually bought them. 

My new German carved drusy moon face supplier was back in town recently and I made some new purchases from her.   I now have a matched pair of the faces for a pair of earrings that will go out shortly after I am back on the bench.  I also got some beautiful ruby beads, an amazing (unfortunately only .58 ct.) orange sapphire with an unusual cut that just makes it yummy, some carved blue chalcedony for a new pair of jellyfish earrings and a few other odds and ends.  If you're interested in seeing any of the new material please stop by and take a look.  I should be back on here a little more regularly from now on. 

Have a great Columbus Day weekend!