Last updateTue, 09 Jan 2018 9pm

Howard Kelrick

24 Karat Corner: Are you irreplaceable

I don’t often eat fast food, but when I do, I prefer McDonald’s. So, after a couple of hours on I-95, when I saw a sign for a MickieD’s at the next exit, I figured, why not? It must have been a long time since I’ve eaten under the golden arches, because I barely recognized the place. Yes, the usual signs were there for the order-by-number selections, but behind the counter, there were no order-takers/cashiers! Just a row of computer terminals for you to enter your order and pay!

24 Karat Corner: Babies and Cash

It’s been said that two of the most important things in the world come without instructions - babies and cash. First to babies...

My daughter was going to have a baby recently, and I was pressed into service (ok, I leapt at the opportunity) to take care of her two year old while she was in the hospital. When I got to New York, I was handed a small sheet of instructions that only included a few items such as bed time, nap time and snack time. It took me a minute to realize these were not suggestions for me, but for my granddaughter. This was not the complete set of instructions that would be useful to a grandfather taking care of his  baby granddaughter alone in New York City for the first time.

24 Karat Corner: The summer intern speaks freely

Summer is half way through. The beer aisle at my favorite liquor store is finally running out of those vapid light “summer” ales, the afternoon summer thunder storms are rolling in, and our summer intern has finally found her groove and is getting comfortable in the office. Perhaps too comfortable.

24 Karat Corner: So long 2015!

There wasn’t exactly a lot of things to be thankful for this past year. Precious metal prices languished throughout the year, meaning the pieces you bought earlier in the year cost way more than the current replacement cost. The already razor thin margins on diamonds have gotten even skinnier, and in some cases have gone negative as some dealers and retailers have been selling below cost to generate cash flow (do that often enough, and there is a name for you - bankrupt!). Store traffic was lackluster. Many of the brands that drove sales in previous years have grown tired and stale. Financial markets and housing prices were flat generating none of the “wealth effect” needed to generate consumer enthusiasm for jewelry. All in all, good riddance to you, 2015.

24 Karat Corner: The enchanted lives of jewelers

This time of year, with Christmas just days away, nobody I know in the jewelry business has time to attend holiday parties. It comes with the territory, just like my accountant friends who can’t get out much in March or April.

After the holiday, there is plenty of time for cocktail parties. And, if you are like me, when people find out you are in the jewelry business, you get some strange questions. Such as:

24 Karat Corner: First Kiss

Is there anything more magical than a first kiss? It takes great courage to initiate, and it is accompanied by great trepidation as you wonder how it will be received. And, if reciprocated, it elevates the relationship to a whole new level.

Everyone remembers the first kiss.

24 Karat Corner: Until you come back to me

If you are a fan of Aretha Franklin, you may remember her hit song from 1971, “Until You Come Back to Me” (by the way, if you are not a fan of the Queen of Soul, I’m not sure we can be friends). At the moment, I can’t get this song out of my head, and its all due to an unfortunate jewelry story, that of course, has a happy ending.

My neighbor’s son bought an expensive engagement ring from a jeweler in his home town, and sadly, a few weeks later, the engagement was broken off. Confident in the knowledge that diamonds are a great investment, he took the ring back to the store where he purchased it, only to be told that the best they could do was to refund half his money!


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