Last updateTue, 07 Jul 2020 11pm

Howard Kelrick

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!

24 Karat Corner: Back to School

Two things happen like clock-work this time of year. First, our summer intern breaks all of our hearts and tells us that yes, she really must head back to school. And second, my staff yells at me for tasking her with planning her own farewell party. Despite their objections, I think it is a great idea. I give her the budget, tell her to show us what she has learned over the summer, and then “wow” us. Despite the awkwardness of having to plan her own event, and the complete lack of any surprise in it for her, we’ve never been disappointed.

24 Karat Corner: Words I don’t need to hear

Unless you are sitting in an astronomy class, you probably don’t hear the word “trillion” in too many conversations. Unless, of course, you are talking about our national debt. Our federal government’s total debt is almost $19 trillion, which is about equal to all the goods and services we Americans produce in an entire year. In other words, if the government were to confiscate every company’s production (and I’m not talking about their earnings, but everything that rolls off the production line), they would only be able to pay down the debt, and not have anything left over to pay for government services like national defense, medicare, social security, and the like. So, how will the government ever make a dent in this enormous number, much less pay it back? The same way governments have been doing it for years - they will just print the money, making it worth less each year.