Get that out of your mouth!

Get that out of your mouth! As a mother of a 3.5 and 1.5 year old, this is a phrase I say often.  You would think I would remember to do that myself.

This week, I went through more silver scrap.  As a reseller, my favorite thing I get to do is go through buckets of silver jewelry that is heading to the refinery.   I get to see all sorts of things, all different pieces of jewelry.

I saw these “items” in my last “picking”.

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I love unusual things.  Anything that grabs my eye, I have to grab.  The item to the right is hollow, and I thought “This is a strange whistle” and I put it to my mouth to see if it worked.  DUMB.  I am dumb.  In my defense, these two items were not together when I pulled them out.  I didn’t see there was a tiny spoon to go with this “tube”.

As soon as I did it, the woman who works at the shop where I do some picking said, That is a coke straw!  Now I have no ideas how many nostrils touched this item, but it went in my mouth. YUCK!  I learn lessons everyday, and this one I will not forget 😉

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.

Jewelry Trends….

I just got back from Brimfield.  I usually go to all the shows, May, July, and September to shop at least one day per show, sometimes two days.  I have worked many shows, for a few different dealers until I set up myself.  What is interesting about Brimfield is how you get to see trends.

I can remember a few years ago, everyone was looking for goldfilled watch fobs and chains.  Then there was the year everyone was looking for garnets.  Then mourning jewelry.  Amber and bakelite was very popular a few years ago too.

It is a strange phenomenon, you will have 10 different people come to your booth from 10 different parts of the world (you can tell by the accents) and all will ask for the same items..verbatim!  “Do you have watch fobs”  “Do you have articulating charms” etcetera.  After every show, I would run back to the shop and list anything I might have in the shop that matched what trends I saw.

This show I didn’t set up, I only went to shop, so I don’t know what people are asking for.  It is strange that when I returned home, I had two very similar items on two different platforms sell.  Both were mosaic style earrings.

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This pair of earrings (above) sold on etsy, after initially getting listed in 2013.  This was relisted 11 times!!! Today it was purchased.  (On a side note etsy gives you some great stats to look at)

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This pair of earrings also sold, but on eBay. Unfortunately eBay doesn’t give you the great stats that etsy does, but I know these were most likely listed for as long as the other pair that sold on etsy.

Both sold for around $30.  It is just strange that they are both “mosaic” earrings that had been listed for such a long time, and they both sold on the same day.  Maybe this style is the new / next trend?

Wonka Vision?

I am a film geek.  I can’t count how many times a day I recall something as a film quote or scene from a movie.

That is exactly what happened yesterday, and I immedialty felt like I was reliving a scene from one of my favorite movies.

Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory.  I might know that film word for word.  Remember “Wonka Vision”?

 

(It isn’t my favorite scene, my favorite is when Gene Wilder sings “Pure Imagination” .  That scene is every fat kids dream!)

So, what happened to spark this scene in my mind?  I have been doing more you tubing lately.  There is one channel that I follow and check in with often.  Texas Gal Treasures.

I have been following this channel for a few weeks, since I started Merch by Amazon.  The “Texas Gal” Margaret does a bunch of walk throughs that I have found to be extremely helpful.  She does box openings so I decided to send a box with some jewelry in it.  My shop has a TON, and I am not exaggerating, A TON of jewelry.  I buy it by the pound, and one corner of the shop is dedicated to costume jewelry.  So I grabbed a random box and stuffed it with some jewelry and other odds and ends and sent it down to Texas.

Before I knew it, Margaret was opening the box.  I think it got there in 2 days, but it seemed immediate.  Unfortunately I missed the live box opening.  I saw it when I was checking back on youtube, and it was so cool and weird at the same time.  Weird in an alternate reality sort of way.  Most of the stuff was random stuff that was laying on one of my counters.  So to see it on the other side of the computer screen so fast was strange, sort of like when Mike TeeVee was sent in Wonka Vision!
I send out a bunch of packages every day because I sell on eBay & Etsy, but I never see where it actually goes to, so it was fun to see that.
As a side note, I do think this graphic is actually drawn to scale….
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Connecting with the past

I have tons of random stuff pass through my hands.  Some of the stuff brings memories up.  That is what I love about being in this business, you never know what you will find.

My shop is located in Rhode Island, where I was born and raised. Rhode Island has a very rich history of manufacturing, mostly Costume Jewelry.


Coro, Trifari, you name the costume jewelry company, and it is likely to have had a factory in Rhode Island.


This ring came into the shop today, as a part of a lot I bought.  I thought the design was cute, and upon further inspection I noticed it was marked “Coro” “Sterling” and “pat. Applied for”.

It is unusual to find a piece by a costume jewelry made in Sterling, but what I love most is that it is made by Coro.

My grandparents worked in the Coro factory!  I love to think that this piece could have passed through their hands 70+ years ago.  Who knows? It is a possibility!

The design is cool too, two Hearts with a chain link holding them together.

I think I am going to keep this piece 🙂