Our family has been buying and selling diamonds for four generations and we recognize the Gemological Institute of America’s expertise in the field as the gold standard. More than any other source, they offer training for professionals like us in the 4Cs — cut, clarity, color and carat.
Recently, we spoke with an expert from GIA on this topic. “Familiarity with the 4Cs of diamond quality is a crucial element in speaking the language of diamonds,” says Brenda Harwick, GIA Instructor. “Every diamond can be described by these attributes, which when taken together, help determine the diamond’s overall quality and value.”
When buying diamonds for a Valentine’s Day gift, consider how it will be worn by the recipient. You may be in the market for a statement piece that will be worn only on special occasions or a cornerstone piece like an engagement ring that will be worn daily. Jewelry is rarely an investment that pays high financial dividends. Rather, diamond jewelry is a beautiful expression of love that should fit your Valentine’s personal style. A good rule of thumb for buying diamond jewelry is to buy what you love, so long as you understand why you love it.
Harwick and the GIA offer six tips for helping consumers find their ideal piece of diamond jewelry.
1. Do the research
Familiarity with the 4Cs of diamond quality is a crucial element in speaking the language of diamonds. Every diamond can be described by these attributes, which when taken together, help to determine the diamond’s overall quality and value.
2. Choose a qualified jeweler
Consumers should select a jeweler as carefully as they would a doctor, lawyer or any other trained professional. Find someone who is credentialed, such as a GIA graduate gemologist. Take note of their affiliations with jewelry industry groups and professional associations.
3. Ask for an independent diamond grading report
A diamond grading report details the gemological quality of the diamond. It tells whether the stone is natural or synthetic, if it has been treated — and how — and its quality rankings in each of the 4Cs. Verification of information contained in any GIA diamond grading report can be attained by going to Report Check, GIA’s secure online database, or by accessing it directly through the GIA 4Cs app.
4. Keep the purchase secure
Have the diamond appraised and insured. A diamond grading report is the independent assessment of quality, while an appraisal gives a monetary value. A personal message or the report number can be laser-inscribed on the diamond’s outer edge, called the girdle, to help identify it if it’s ever lost or stolen.
5. Purchase the stone loose and have the ring set later
If someone is unsure what their future fiancé prefers in a ring, one option is to purchase a loose diamond and decide on the mounting together later. Make sure to have the loose stone graded.
6. Consider the alternatives
Colored gemstones and pearls make unique and memorable alternatives for celebrating special occasions. Consumers should look for independent reports for colored gemstones and pearls, also available through GIA.
See original post: http://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/1112331/tips-for-buying-jewelry
Seth Gold, who gained celebrity status via his role on truTV’s “Hardcore Pawn,” tells a story that should trigger an aha moment for any budding entrepreneur.
Gold, vice president of American Jewelry and Loan in Detroit, remembers a seminar at a local college where he met a woman who was trying to get a specialty popcorn business off the ground. She took a Baskin-Robbins kind of approach. Think bubble-gum flavored popcorn, cookies-and-cream popcorn, you name it.
“She brought in bags and bags of popcorn. She had 30 flavors you could choose from,” Gold said.
Gold, 36, had one question: What flavors are people actually buying?
While options are good, consumers can get so overwhelmed that they don’t know what to choose.
And truthfully, creating too many options only forced the woman — who still had to pay bills by working a day job — to toil away on the popcorn business until 4 in the morning. All those flavors created extra costs and cut into any profits, too.
“Let’s focus on what you can actually sell,” Gold said.
For many, focusing on keeping it simple can be a huge step toward financial independence. What can you sell? What can you do to keep a job, build a career, make money?
Gold and his father, Les Gold, 67, are partnering with Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan to encourage high school students who dream of running their own business. The so-called “Gold Bank” has contributed $10,000 to fund short-term microloans as part of the JA program.
The “Gold Bank” money is controlled and administered by Junior Achievement.
High school students involved in the JA Company program throughout Southeastern Michigan will be eligible for a loan, maybe $200 or $1,000. But before qualifying for any money, they’re required to do a “Shark Tank” style presentation to a panel of business leaders, including the Golds.
Margaret Trimer-Hartley, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan, said the size of the loan will vary, depending on the product and what’s needed to launch the business.
“This is a brand new concept,” Trimer-Hartley said.
Two student groups from Southfield High School for the Arts & Technology are expected to make pitches in late February. Other groups may be ready to make pitches for loans in early April, she said.
Some ideas include personalized iPhone cases and personalized footwear.
To qualify, the student companies must receive approval for their products from Junior Achievement USA and be able to successfully pitch their concept to the loan committee, she said.
The students will be responsible for paying back the loans, as well as paying interest at a low rate, in the same semester in which they borrow the money. The idea is to ensure that the program will fund more young entrepreneurs in the future.
“Young high school kids are going to come up with a business plan and present it to us,” Seth Gold said. “None of that money comes back to us, obviously.”
Les Gold, the patriarch pawnbroker who wrote a book called “For What It’s Worth: Business Wisdom from a Pawnbroker,” said he’d like to see more young people develop a strong work ethic and take on the challenge of running a business.
Gold said one of the challenges the business faces is finding dependable employees — including people who will show up as scheduled and stick with the job.
“Even as a kid, it was important to me to go out and work and make money,” said Les Gold, who is president and owner.
As a child, he started learning about the pawnshop business from his grandfather Popsie.
As a teen, Gold — who is often photographed now wearing eye-catching men’s jewelry — started designing and selling his own chain-style necklaces and bracelets to area stores.
Running three pawnshops — one in Hazel Park, one in Pontiac and the landmark one in Detroit at the corner of Greenfield and 8 Mile Road — remains the focus. But the Golds are taking part in several financial literacy efforts — including holding some seminars in their pawnshops.
A year ago, for example, the pawnshop owners teamed up with the Pontiac Regional Chamber and other local business owners to hold a three-week course on entrepreneurship.
Read the original story: https://www.freep.com/story/money/personal-finance/susan-tompor/2018/02/09/young-entrepreneurs-get-micro-loans-hardcore-pawn-stars/1083760001/
In 1978, American Jewelry and Loan opened as Metro Detroit’s first suburban pawnshop. The 1,500 square foot location in Oak Park, Michigan was an offshoot of Sam’s Loan, a pawnshop at the corner of Wabash and Michigan Avenue where Les Gold grew up working for his grandfather. The move would change the trajectory of his life in ways he couldn’t have imagined while working alongside his “Popsie” as a youngster.
To celebrate its 40th anniversary, American Jewelry and Loan, now with three stores including its iconic 50,000 sq.ft. Detroit location, Gold is partnering with Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan (JA), and its JA Company program to ensure young entrepreneurs in Southeastern Michigan are able to fund their own dream businesses.
The Gold Bank, gifted by American Jewelry and Loan, but controlled and administered by JA, will be the source for low-interest small business loans for students involved in the JA Company program, which teaches entrepreneurship to high school students.
“The hardest part of getting a business off the ground is finding start-up capital,” said Les Gold, Owner, American Jewelry and Loan. “With the Gold Bank, I am pleased that these young entrepreneurs will have one more option to find resources to build their companies and their futures,” Gold added.
Junior Achievement of Southeastern Michigan is the youth arm of economic development in the region. The volunteer-driven non-profit, founded in Detroit in 1949, will teach 60,000 students in 10 counties the “business of life”—financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work-readiness including career exposure and soft skills.
High school students involved in the JA Company program throughout Southeastern Michigan will be eligible for a loan from the Gold Bank. They must demonstrate the value and viability of their start-up during a “Shark Tank” style presentation to a panel of business leaders, including Les and his son Seth Gold. Students will be responsible for paying back the loans they obtain from the Gold Bank, with low interest, in the same semester in which they borrow it, thus ensuring the success of the program for years to come.
“The Gold Bank solves the problem every start-up business has—where to get money to launch a business,” said Margaret Trimer-Hartley, President of JA of Southeastern Michigan. “Our JA Company students will learn just how small business loans work in the real world,” added Trimer-Hartley.
2017 was a remarkable year for American Jewelry and Loan! Here are just a few of the highlights:
- The Detroit Regional Chamber hosted ‘Inside the CEO Mind‘ at American Jewelry and Loan, welcoming over 100 business leaders to their iconic store to hear their remarkable success story.
- We are always happy to welcome visitors to our store (including Naked Magicians) and were honored when the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau named our store to their list of ‘How to Spend a Day in Detroit’.
- Les and Seth Gold love spending time with their fellow pawnbrokers. They delivered the keynote speech and a breakout session at Midwest Pawnbrokers Convention in Nashville as well as the Dixie Pawnbrokers Educational Conference. Seth attended the NPA Legislative Conference in Washington DC. In July, they attended Pawn Expo in Las Vegas.
- Seth Gold was named to DBusiness Magazine’s 2017 Class of Thirty in their 30s.
- We created a Facebook Insider’s Group to connect with local customers who shop at our THREE Metro Detroit locations. Our VIP Insiders can take advantage of exclusive offers and see unique items as they’re added to our showroom floor. We also created an email address where customers can connect directly with our sales professionals for concierge service.
- American Jewelry and Loan Pontiac partnered with some of the most successful business leaders in the area to host a 3-week Entrepreneurship Master Class. Also in Pontiac, we repeated our popular Financial Literacy for Alternative Lending Customers Course in Pontiac.
- Seth Gold served as a panelist for Crain’s Detroit’s business webinar How to Grow Your Business Through Networking.
- Les and Seth Gold remained committed to supporting their community in 2017, beginning with attending the 2017 NAIAS Charity event. Les served as the celebrity auctioneer at The Big Auction, helping raise $125,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Detroit. They served as Honorary Chairs of the Wigs 4 Kids Gala. Winning Futures raised over $275,000 at their 2017 Corks and Forks event, where Les Gold served as the Celebrity Auctioneer.
- The 2017 Mackinac Policy Conference 2016 To-Do List Report, presented by Dennis Archer, Jr., included a feature summarizing the Financial Literacy Workshops that were hosted by American Jewelry and Loan in partnership with Junior Achievement, Greenpath Financial Wellness, and Operation HOPE.
As we look to 2018, we’ll celebrate the 40th Year of American Jewelry and Loan with gratitude and appreciation for those who have supported our business for four generations.
“For environmentally-conscious consumers, the pawnshop offers a unique opportunity. Donating or selling unused items is one of the best types of recycling because there are no resources required to process or replace the item. Instead, it finds a new home rather than depreciating in a drawer, on a shelf or worse, taking up landfill space.”
Despite widespread gloom and doom reports leading up to the holiday season, the news from retailers for Christmas 2017 sales is good–USA Today reports that U.S. year-end holiday retail sales rose 4.9% compared to the same period last year, a welcome gift to U.S. retailers amid new signs of consumer confidence.
Online retail shopping similarly increased 18.1%, while overall consumer buying during the holiday period set a record for dollars spent, according to the sales report issued by Mastercard SpendingPulse.
Some of the biggest jumps, both online and in-store, were seen in electronics and appliances (7.5%), jewelry (5.9%), and home furnishings and home improvement (5.1%).
These results are consistent with what American Jewelry and Loan reports for their 2017 holiday season. In addition to engagement rings, which are always a staple of the season, owner Les Gold shared that “we’ve seen many customers this year who are looking for an upgrade to their existing bridal sets.”
In addition to fine jewelry, other luxury items are commonly upgraded during the holidays. Beth Anundi of Capital Pawn in Salem, Oregon, has seen so many customers bring their luxury handbags to her store that she recently launched a dedicated Instagram channel to highlight the couture.
Upgrades were even more popular in electronics and technology. “By now, most households have at least one personal computer, so today’s customer is often looking to upgrade with newer models of laptops, tablets, or other personal technology” added Seth Gold, who works alongside Les at their family’s fourth-generation pawnshop.
Martin Strasser of Premier Jewellery and Loans in Kelowna, British Columbia adds “Re-cycled retail is here to stay. Not all gifts are the perfect fit, so we encourage our customers to ‘recash’ instead of ‘regift’.”
Taylor Packwood of Top Cash Pawn in Plano, Texas notes that timing is key when considering the value of electronics “for previous years electronics and tech, values will be dropping drastically, so cashing in quick is key”.
This leads to the question–what becomes of the items that these gifts replaced? For environmentally-conscious consumers, the pawnshop offers a unique opportunity. Donating or selling unused items is one of the best types of recycling because there are no resources required to process or replace the item. Instead, it finds a new home rather than depreciating in a drawer, on a shelf or worse, taking up landfill space.
For customers who mark a milestone by upgrading a sentimental piece of jewelry, for instance, the pawnshop offers a unique way to recoup a portion of the investment of the upgrade when they sell the original.
Similarly, while hardcore geeks may want the latest technology and the fastest processors, their existing gear may work sufficiently for a student or someone whose needs are less sophisticated. Increasing an item’s lifespan by selling it to a pawnshop is great for the environment because it generates less waste and uses fewer resources. According to the EPA, more than 4.6 million tons of e-waste ended up in US landfills in 2000.
“We’re accustomed to seeing lots of people come to the shop on the first few days after Christmas with items that they either don’t want or no longer need because they’ve been given a replacement as a gift,” Seth said. “It makes a lot of sense because the customer gets cash in their hand fast whereas selling online can be a hassle, consignment can take weeks, and returns can be a nightmare.”
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Individuals who are interested in converting their gold, jewelry, watches, luxury items, game systems, or other technology into cash are invited to stop by one of American Jewelry and Loan’s three Metro Detroit locations and find out why they’re known as being ‘Where Detroit Cashes In‘ for 40 years. For questions about the pawning process or available inventory, email [email protected].
From all of us here at American Jewelry and Loan, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season. Thank you for your support in 2017, it has been our pleasure to serve you for the past 40 years!