Lifting The “Veil” of Secrecy.

This interesting story on today’s News Wires:
____________________________________________________________________________

Jewelers in the west India city of Pune have requested state authorities permit a ban of sales to customers wearing veils, in response to a dozen robberies in the city.

Within the past two months, three women have been spotted by surveillance cameras stealing gold jewelry but authorities have been unable to make an arrest because their faces were obscured by traditional Muslim burqas.

The request has angered some in the local Muslim community, who feel unfairly profiled, but some Islamic clerics are defending the request, as reasonable and maintain that veils are worn by women of many different communities in India besides Muslim ones.

“Given the losses they suffered, they have every right to protect their valuables in their premises. They want to know who walks into their shop and that’s not asking for much,” said All-India Ulama Council secretary Maulana Zaheer Abbas Rizvi.

Internet Holiday Diamonds & Jewelry Sales Up 66%!

Consumer online spending on watches and jewelry jumped 66 percent this holiday season, according to data released by comScore Networks for the 2006 holiday season through December 20.

During the first 50 days of the holiday season, total online retail spending increased 26 percent to $21.68 billion.

“Late-season online shoppers spent more than $1.5 billion in the first three days of the final work-week before Christmas (December 18 – December 20) up 35 percent versus the corresponding days last year,” said Gian Fulgoni, chairman of comScore Networks.

“In past years, online spending slowed significantly well before Christmas, but this year, spending has accelerated up until the final days of the holiday season,” Fulgoni added.

comScore Networks attributed the surge in late season online buying to the result of retailers’ shipping guarantees, coupled with consumers’ willingness to pay for expedited shipping and their confidence that their purchases will arrive on time.

Growth in online retail this holiday season was boosted by significant spending increases in both high-ticket and popular gift categories, including jewelry and watches, video game consoles (up 54 percent) and consumer electronics (up 33 percent.)

Diamond Studded Wine Bottle To Be Auctioned.

The Associated Press reports this morning that a bottle of sparkling wine adorned with 49 diamonds will be auctioned off next month for charity, the Austrian company that produced it said Wednesday.

The diamond-studded bottle of Kattus Hochriegel contains sparkling wine from the year 2004 and is worth some $13,200, said Ernst Polsterer-Kattus, who runs the Vienna-based company with his wife, Maria.

It took a Vienna jeweler 38 hours to glue the diamonds to the bottle, Polsterer-Kattus said. He said his wife came up with the idea.

The auction will take place Jan. 22, Austrian broadcaster ORF reported on its Web site.

What happens when you finish the bottle?
L’Chaim!

Consumer’s Rights on Diamond & Jewelry Appraisals.

scamalert.jpg

Consumers buying diamonds and diamond jewelry should get Independent Appraisals of their merchandise.

Getting an Appraisal from the Merchant who sold you the item(s) is not the best way to go. In fact, it is extremely unethical for a seller of diamonds & jewelry to issue “an appraisal” for his own merchandise. This is frowned on by every one of the appraisal organizations and insurance companies alike because of the obvious vested interest a jeweler has in validating (at the very least) what he’s charged for the item, on one of his own in-house generated “appraisal” reports.

Certainly, anybody who gives you an “appraisal” together with their merchandise is going to tell you whatever they know you wish to hear…..truth is, these kind of “appraisals” are worthless and are usually designed to deceive not to enlighten.

While it may look cool for a diamond or jewelry vendor to “throw” in an “appraisal” with the package, and some unscrupulous jewlers even flaunt this added “perk” they give you, gratis, beware of this sham as it is of no practical value to you the consumer, and may actually be indicative of some other “shady” practices of said jeweler.

The same is true if the Vendor offers to directly pay the Independent Appraiser for your Appraisal or offers to reimburse you for this cost. This fee should be directly paid by you to the Appraiser and all fees negotiated directly between you and the Appraiser without the Vendor’s interference.
It just makes sense that if the appraiser is paid by the Vendor for your Appraisal, objectivity is tainted.

The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA) has distributed a Client’s Bills of Rights to more than 700 of its members.

After a six-month study of standard bill of rights from similar organizations, including the American Society for Quality and the American Society of Association Executives, NAJA’s Client’s Bill of Rights was created. It contains 13 abiding principles such as the right of the client to have the appraisal charges explained before the process, the right of the client to have his or her confidentiality respected, and the right of the client to have appraisal records retained for at least five years.

The NAJA is the largest membership association specializing exclusively in gem and jewelry appraising and related appraisal issues. It offers education, biannual conferences and networking opportunities with knowledgeable appraisal professionals. The NAJA Conference Scholarship gives a gemology student a first-hand experience of networking with appraisal professionals by attending the NAJA Educational Conference during a time when Tucson devotes itself to gems, jewelry and minerals.

For further information on becoming a NAJA member, attending the NAJA’s Tucson Educational Conference or the 2007 Conference Scholarship opportunity, contact Gail Brett Levine, GG, Executive Director, The National Association of Jewelry Appraisers, P.O. Box 18, Rego Park, NY 11374, (718) 896-1536, fax (718) 997-9057, naja.appraisers@netzero.net, NAJAappraisers.com.

I Left My Gucci In San Francisco, High On A Hill…??!!

No, Tony Bennett is not changing the lyrics to his world-famous song.

San Francisco International Airport’s (International Terminal,) now has a Gucci store. The luxury retailer claims it is the first to set-up a duty-free shop at an airport in the United States.

gucci.jpg

The store sells its namesake items including diamond jewelry, the most expensive of which is their large ladies’ watch with a mother-of-pearl face framed by ‘G’ encrusted in diamonds for $1,900.

Management at SFO –as the airport is called– said there were a dozen applicants for the space Gucci opened days ago, but the decision to permit the luxury brand fit the trend management felt is important to international travelers. Visitors from outside the United States spend between 15 percent and 20 percent more at the airport’s retail stores than locals, according to the management.