How do we fool thee? (Or maybe it should be, “How could you fool yourself?”) Let me count the ways —
You could be fooled into complacency, thinking that since there’s nothing obviously wrong with your necklace, bracelet, ring, or earrings, everything is perfectly safe and secure, when in fact, an expert eye may reveal a weakness that could lead to an imminent loss. It’s best to have your jewelry (particularly the items that you wear frequently) examined by a professional once or twice a year — this service is often provided free of charge, and sometimes comes with a free cleaning.
It is possible that someone could fool you into thinking that a sale price that you see is a bargain, based on the size of a discount — but if you are unfamiliar with the price that an item had been offered for sale to begin with, or are not at least familiar with the source, the “sale” may not be the great deal you think it is. (This is especially true with many “Going Out of Business” sales.)
Sometimes, you can fool yourself into thinking that nobody would ever manage to break into your home and steal your jewelry when you’re not there, so you don’t ever bother stashing it in a place that is not so obvious — you just leave everything in a jewelry box on top of your dresser.
Try not to be fooled into assuming that all of your jewelry will automatically be covered by your homeowner’s insurance in the event of any sort of loss. The bad news is that most of the time, this is simply not the case. Your insurer normally must have documented evidence (and a more-or-less current evaluation) of your items before anything bad happens, and if there is an incident, many insurers will require a police report as well. Check with your insurance company or insurance agent.
It is always possible to fool yourself into believing that you need to take half of your jewelry collection with you when you go on vacation to a nice resort. A large proportion of jewelry thefts occur when people travel, because there is usually no good way to keep the jewelry that you are not actually rearing safe. If it’s not absolutely essential, don’t bring it with you.
Professional marketers spent plenty of time trying to fool you into buying something that looks great on the TV or Internet, only to find that it’s “not so hot” in person. Could you return it? Probably — but the chances are that unless it’s something expensive, that’s not what will happen. The return will prove to be a hassle, and by the time you get around to it, the time window for returns will have expired. News flash: the vendors are counting on this.
Circumstances might lull you into foolishly thinking that as long as you’re spending tons of money on a spring vacation to a distant, exotic location, you should treat yourself with something nice from a local jeweler as a remembrance of the trip. The problem here is that certain savvy jewelers in other countries know that in all likelihood, they will never see you again, and by the time you discover that the quality isn’t what you thought it was, or that the “discount” was taken off a hugely inflated price, you’re already returned home.
Most certainly, you could be fooled into believing that a man-made reproduction of a natural stone is a great bargain, because it looks great (often times better than the real thing), and costs far less. The trouble is that these do not retain their value, and are sometimes absolutely worthless once they’ve been purchased — unlike real diamonds or fine colored stones. Sure, you can probably have them insured for what you paid — but if you ever want to sell such a thing, it’s a different story completely. As long as you’re OK with this, you have no worries.
So — it looks like spring is finally here, and after the weather we’ve had this past month, it’s a wonderful relief. Enjoy the “April Showers” and the warmer weather — but don’t allow yourself to be “April Fooled” when it comes to jewelry.
Joe Brandt is a local resident, and president of J.L. Brandt Company, offering diversified fine jewelry advisory services to the general public since 1928. Readers are invited to submit questions or comments to JLBCO@hotmail.com. Names or contact information will not be used for publication, and all inquiries will be answered promptly.