March madness

jewelry box
There are certain things everyone needs to do on a routine basis that would be considered madness to ignore. Taxes. (You only have a month to go— you can thank me for the reminder later.) Paying bills. (Everyone’s favorite activity!) Seeing your (ugh) dentist. But while we’re stuck in the winter doldrums, with not so much as a sign of spring on the horizon, now would be a great time to see to it that your jewelry is in the best possible condition for the year, and this may be easily accomplished with a professional inspection and cleaning. This is especially important for your most frequently-worn items, or those which employ the use of any sort of catch or clasp, and will insure not only that everything looks it’s best, but that the chances of incurring a loss due to a mechanical malfunction or a weak prong is greatly reduced. The good news is that many jewelers who offer this service will not charge (or charge only a minimal amount) for it, unless repair work of some sort is involved.
Joe Brandt
It strikes me that everyone has some sort of repeating occurrence that just drives them bonkers. Sometimes, it’s something as minor as walking into a room, and forgetting what you wanted there. (This never happens to you?) How about this one: you know someone’s name, but the information just isn’t available to you when you most need it. Or, you sit down to write a Christmas card to your  _______, and *BLANK*  — nothing. You really wanted to say something besides “Happy Holidays” or “Best wishes for a great New Year,” but the Hallmark elf in you has taken a powder. Writing can sometimes be problematic, which brings me to a personal form of madness we refer to as “writer’s block.” Sometimes, all that’s needed to break the block is a little stimulation, and I can tell you from experience that alcohol generally doesn’t cut it, at least for me. So — where should a famous columnist turn to for inspiration? What to do, what to do? Think! Think! (Think, think, think, think…..)
EUREKA! I’ve got it! (By George, he’s got it!) I will ask the readers of this column to offer suggestions for next month’s column! So — the subject matter will (obviously) have to have something to do with jewelry or gemstones, but this is a pretty broad area. All (practical) submissions will be considered, and depending on the number of ideas received, some suggestions will appear in future columns. All suggestions must be received (via email) by midnight on Sunday, March 24th. (Names or contact information of those offering suggestions will not be made public.)
There have been literally hundreds of issues that I have been asked to write (or speak) about over the years, and it never ceases to amaze me when someone comes up with something completely different. Some of the topics that I have addressed in the past include (in no particular order) “How are various colored stones priced?”, “What is the difference between synthetic and man-made?”, “How can ‘blood diamonds’ be avoided?”, “Are high-end watches worth the money?”, “What does the word ‘karat’ (or ‘carat’) really mean?”, and “Why is platinum so expensive?” Suggestions do not have to be couched in the form of a question; a general topic proposed (as long as it’s reasonably specific) will do nicely.
I will admit to having had a few ideas that were a bit more (or less) off-the-wall than asking readers for suggestions, but as the saying goes, “All’s fair in love and writing”. (OK, so that may not be exactly how the saying goes, but for our purposes today, it’s close enough.)

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Joe Brandt is a local resident, and president of J.L. Brandt Company, offering speaking engagements and 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.

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