Lessons on Losses

I recently read the book “Black Privilege, Opportunity comes to those who create it” and one of the principals is: There are no losses, just lessons.  I find this to be true, and it happens to me constantly.

A few months ago I bought a diamond ring.  The ring was ok, just about a carat.  To be honest, I don’t like buying diamonds.  I get a little intimidated because I don’t have the grading skills needed to be the diamond business.  Diamonds are a very competitive business, I would rather just grab the low hanging fruit on the tree and stick to silver.  I find the return on smaller items better than that on the high end items…but that is just me.

A woman came in to the shop with her grandmothers diamond.  I knew this woman’s husband who passed away last year.  I let emotions get involved and I ended up paying too much for the stone.  She said she wanted $500, but I thought I could get more, so I paid her $700.  I never talk a customer up on price, but I let my feelings get to me, and I wanted to help her out.

When I went to my diamond guy, he said the most he could pay was $500 cash.  It was not like he was low balling me, it was my fault that I didn’t notice the stone had a small chip on one side. (LESSON ONE: For future reference, many jewelers will hide chips under the setting prongs)  Of course I didn’t want to take a loss, so I negotiated $700 in store credit instead of $500 cash.  With the store credit I purchased more silver out of his scrap bin. I figure this would be the way to turn the loss into a break even and then into a profit.

I ended up getting lucky.

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I pulled this Historic Navajo Arts & Crafts Guild cuff out of the scrap for about $40 from the credit.  I was going to put it up for $125, but I did the research and saw people asking crazy prices for it, so I figured why not ask something crazy myself!  I put it up for $999 or best offer, and within a day I got offered $700,  Ca-Ching!  I ended up turning the loss on the diamond into a profit.

I was proud of myself for the score, but I ended up not doing enough research on all the items I pulled out of scrap.  (LESSON TWO:  DO YOUR RESEARCH EVERY TIME!!)  Just like I didn’t do enough research on the comic book score a few months back, this time I let a signed silver piece of jewelry slip by.

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I listed this yesterday, a Sterling Silver shetland sheep dog brooch.  Even though I saw it had an unusual hallmark, I didn’t bother to research and I put it up for $35.  It sold quick, and to another dealer.  The hallmark I didn’t bother to research is Thomae & Co.  The person who bought it from me has similar brooches (Dogs from different breeds) up in their store for $250.  So, while I am happy I turned $4.50 into $30, I would have been happier turning it into $200.  I still sent it out to the woman who bought it.  She will make 6 times her original investment.  I can’t hate on that, it is the game we play as hustlers. I usually get to be the one turning the better profit, but lesson learned.

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