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?