Gold is losing its shine for investors

December 20, 2014 Posted by admin

Ken and Rich Murphy, brothers who own the gold-trading firm Boston Bullion, remember the days not so long ago when their phones rang constantly, investors clamored for personal appointments, and customers dropped thousands of dollars on gold coins one day, only to return the next to buy more as gold prices climbed to new records.

Today, the Burlington company’s lobby sits empty. The company’s three employees have more time to practice their shots on the pool table in the common area. When the occasional customer does drop in, the single voice rings out through the stillness of the office.

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“It’s quieter now,” Ken Murphy acknowledged.

The quiet is the result of a sharp decline in gold prices, which have plunged to less than $1,200 an ounce from a peak of nearly $1,900 in 2011. Many of the companies like Boston Bullion that capitalized on the gold fever that followed the 2008 financial crisis are struggling; some have gone out of business.

The ads that blared, “Sell your gold” from TVs, radios, and billboards are gone. So are the people who dug through jewelry boxes and attics for necklaces, trophies, and dinnerware in the hopes of raising cash at gold dealers that popped up in storefronts, strip malls, and on the Internet.

At Cash for Gold in Lowell, Rick Finamore, the store’s owner, recalled people lining up before the store opened. Some people even went to dentists to have gold fillings removed from their teeth.

Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Rich Murphy, who owns Boston Bullion with his brother Ken, holds 1-ounce gold coins and 100-ounce silver bars.

“It was fantastic,” said Finamore, who got in the gold business nine years ago after nearly three decades as a rigger, moving heavy machinery for manufacturing companies.

Finamore added that the slump in gold prices has had some benefits for him, namely less competition as smaller dealers have closed. “It thins out the crowd,” he said.

Gold is a dependable currency that has charmed Egyptian pharaohs, marauding pirates, and nervous investors and tends to do best during times of uncertainty, if not outright fear. Gold’s most recent bull market was spurred by the worst recession in 70 years and fueled by the response of central banks around the world, which slashed interest rates and pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the global economy, stoking concerns that inflation would undermine the value of paper currencies.

But now, the US economy is motoring along and gaining momentum, adding more than 300,000 jobs in November — the most since January 2012. The Federal Reserve, citing better economic conditions, recently ended its bond-buying stimulus program aimed at lowering long-term interest rates. Economists expect the Fed to begin increasing short-term rates next year, which could further soften the demand for gold, which is a non-interest-bearing asset.

Peter Hug, director of global trading at Kitco, a precious-metal trading company in Montreal, says gold prices could fall to $900 an ounce in the next year.

“Gold is a very good investment and very bad investment, it’s very cyclical,” said Hug. “It performs well in financial uncertainty and political risk.”

Gold coin sales by the US Mint have declined by about 36 percent to just under 700,000 ounces this year from 1.1 million ounces in 2013. But some gold investors aren’t giving up on the precious metal.

Bob Dumont, 54, of New Hampshire, started buying gold in 2008 after he lost more than $30,000 in his retirement account after the stock market crashed. He accumulated about 20 ounces in gold, buying it when the price was between $1,600 and $1,700 an ounce. And while his retirement account has rebounded, Dumont said he doesn’t plan to sell his bullion, expecting prices to recover.

He noted that the US debt is about $18 trillion. “It’s still a good hedge,” he said. “That’s the thing with gold, it’s a long-term investment.”

At Boston Bullion, Rich Murphy wistfully recalled the gold rush that peaked in 2011.

Despite the brightening economic outlook and the fall-off in gold prices, the Murphys haven’t lost faith in precious metal or their business. They’re certain another financial crisis is coming to drive people back to gold.

Their unshaken faith is evident in their lobby, where the walls are papered with devalued currencies, and a sign quotes a rallying cry from the French philosopher Voltaire: “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value: zero.”

Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @fernandesglobe.

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Modesto Salvation Army gets unexpected boost: diamond ring

December 19, 2014 Posted by admin

Local News

Valley residents go all out with holiday displays

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Nearly 10000 ‘cash-for-gold’ violations found in six cities across N.J …

December 18, 2014 Posted by admin

NEWARK — About 70 “cash-for-gold” businesses in six cities across New Jersey have received a combined total of nearly 10,000 civil citations for allegedly violating consumer protection laws, officials announced today.

After undercover operations and unannounced inspections, authorities have cited 71 jewelry stores, pawn shops and other businesses in Newark, Paterson, Camden, Irvington, Trenton and Teaneck for various violations.

Each violation carries a fine ranging from $500 to $1,000.

“My message to the stores would be to follow the law,” said Steve Lee, acting director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, said today during a press conference in Newark.

Lee noted the impact on cash-strapped consumers at such businesses who are looking to sell heirlooms and jewelry to pay their expenses or buy Christmas presents for their children.

Those consumers “deserve to get the best price possible for the jewelry that they’re looking to sell for cash,” Lee said.

Today’s announcement follows the nearly 1,000 citations announced in June for alleged violations at 21 jewelry stores across Middlesex, Essex, Hudson, Bergen and Union counties.

But Lee said the latest investigation marks the first enforcement actions in the urban centers targeted in the probe.

“We have not gone into some of these urban centers with a ‘cash-for-gold’ operation like this ever,” Lee said.

Of the six cities, the most citations were issued in Newark, where authorities found 5,436 alleged violations at 29 stores.

The next highest-number of citations were handed out in Paterson with 2,459 alleged violations at 21 stores; Camden with 711 alleged violations at eight stores; and Irvington with 223 alleged violations at five stores.

Five businesses in Trenton were cited for 966 alleged violations, and three Teaneck shops were cited for 172 alleged violations.

While several individual businesses were cited for hundreds of alleged violations, the worst alleged offender was New City Gold Diamonds, located at 178 Bloomfield Avenue in Newark, where authorities found a total of 1,150 alleged violations.

Among the various violations, businesses failed to use a scale that has been state-certified and/or properly sealed to prevent tampering, authorities said. Some stores failed to weigh the metals in plain view of the sellers, Lee said.

Businesses also failed to prominently post the prices offered for certain precious metals, and they failed to maintain receipts with information about the buyer, seller, and/or precious metals purchased, authorities said.

During the investigation, officers confiscated 35 scales that were not approved for “cash-for-gold” sales, or were not registered with the New Jersey State Office of Weights and Measures.

The violations were found in part when undercover officers with Weights and Measures, and county or municipal police, visited businesses and pretended to be consumers looking to sell their precious metals.

Authorities also conducted unannounced inspections at the majority of stores.

“Our intent is not to drive these companies out of business, but it’s to bring them into full compliance with the law,” Lee said.

One “surprising result” of the investigation was that in addition to jewelry stores and pawn shops, alleged violations were found at “some unexpected places,” including a sneaker store in Paterson, according to Lee.

Those other businesses are not prohibited from engaging in “cash-for-gold” sales, but they must comply with state regulations, Lee said. But Lee also cautioned that consumers should question whether such businesses can offer the best possible deal.

Law enforcement officials today stressed the need for consumers to be aware of their rights and the law governing “cash-for-gold” transactions.

Teaneck Police Chief Robert Carney added during today’s event that an “educated consumer is the best precaution.”

The businesses issued citations for “cash-for-gold” violations are as follows:

Newark (29 stores with a total of 5,436 alleged violations):

- New City Gold Diamonds, 178 Bloomfield Avenue (1,150 alleged violations)
- KJ Jewelers LLC, 86 Ferry Street (861 alleged violations)
- Bloomfield Gold Silver, 312 Bloomfield Avenue (772 alleged violations)
- Gateway Cosmetics, Inc., 1 Gateway Center (476 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- KJ Jewelers, 141 Bloomfield Avenue (358 alleged violations)
- Fast Cash Jewelers, 518 Springfield Avenue (347 alleged violations)
- Brick City Gold, 104 Market Street (255 alleged violations)
- Rich Sons / New Loan Co., 857 Broad Street (199 alleged violations/ three scales seized)
- Ironbound Pawn Shop, 188 Ferry Street (151 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Mr. Gold Inc., 831 Broad Street (109 alleged violations)
- Cosmetic House, 166 Market Street (89 alleged violations)
- New City Gold Diamonds, 526 Central Avenue (87 alleged violations)
- Vinhas Jewelers, 197 Ferry Street (82 alleged violations)
- Halsey Street Jewelry, 199 Halsey Street (83 alleged violations)
- Quick Cash Jewelers, 712 Broadway (78 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- State Jewelers, 786 Broad Street (76 alleged violations)
- Dr. Kim Jewelry, 797 Broad Street (70 alleged violations)
- Delson Jewelry, 202 Ferry Street (61 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Golden City, 827 Broad Street (42 alleged violations)
- Raymond Jewelers, 1186 Raymond Boulevard (33 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- State Gold Buyers Loan Co., 75 First Street (26 alleged violations)
- Mega Jewelry, 154 Market Street (11 alleged violations)
- Simon Jewelers, 91 Wilson Avenue (5 alleged violations/two scales seized)
- Vinhas Jewelers, 87 Ferry Street (5 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Micro City, 146A Ferry Street (3 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Branford Art Gold Plus, 60 Branford Place (2 alleged violations/two scales seized)
- Carbo International Jewelers, 134 Ferry Street (2 alleged violations/two scales seized)
- Fast Cash Jewelers, 1087 Broad Street (2 alleged violations)
- Branco’s Jewelers, 144 Ferry Street (1 alleged violation/one scale seized)

Paterson (21 stores with a total of 2,459 alleged violations):

- Broadway Jewelry, 72 Broadway (545 alleged violations)
- Khal’s Jewelry, 122 Market Street (398 alleged violations)
- Holy Land Gifts Fine Jewelry, 1143 Main Street (346 alleged violations)
- Sneaker Stadium, 741 Market Street (261 alleged violations)
- Itani Jewelers, 249-A Main Street (198 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Rossy Elsie, 368 21st Avenue (159 alleged violations)
- E D Cashing, 213 Market Street (147 alleged violations)
- La Casa Bonita, 444 21st Avenue (82 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Fast Jewelry LLC, 263 Main Street (63 alleged violations)
- VIP Jewelry, 185 Main Street (49 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Cimoglu Jewelry 1141 Main Street (42 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Binson Pawn Brokers, Inc., 178 Market Street (40 alleged violations)
- All Out Bail Bonds, 94 Broadway (34 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- United Check Cashing, 430 Madison Avenue (29 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Mira’s Jewelry, 227 Market Street (20 alleged violations)
- Jewelry Express, 238 Main Street (14 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- George Jewelry, 282 Main Street (9 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Golden Textile, 239 Sixth Avenue (8 alleged violations)
- Belki’s Grocery/Bekli’s JM Gold, 356 Union Avenue( 6 alleged violations/ one scale seized)
- Gold Buyer Jewelry, 142 Washington Street (4 alleged violations)
- Galaxie Jewelers, 207 Main Street (3 alleged violations/one scale seized)

Camden (8 stores with a total of 711 alleged violations):

- F.H. Gold Buyers of Philadelphia, 2406-8 Federal Street (363 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Gold Way Jewelry, 204 Broadway (137 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- La Moda/RQ Jewelers, 1825 River Avenue (94 alleged violations)
- Sam Trading, Inc., 2502-A Federal Street (73 alleged violations)
- Broadway Jewelers, 218 S. Broadway (33 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Westfield Gold I Limited, 2720 Westfield Avenue (7 alleged violations)
- J Jewelers, 2501-A Federal Street (3 alleged violations)
- FC Golden Gate Jewelers, 1498 Mt. Ephraim Avenue (1 alleged violation/one scale seized)

Irvington (5 stores with a total of 223 alleged violations):

- ST Wireless, 1076 Springfield Avenue (211 alleged violations)
- A2Z Electronics Jewelry, 982 Springfield Avenue (4 alleged violations/ one scale seized)
- Garden State Check Cashing, 29 Union Avenue (4 alleged violations)
- Garden State Check Cashing, 716 Chancellor Avenue (2 alleged violations)
- M E 1 Jewelry Inc., 1053 Springfield Avenue (2 alleged violations)

Trenton (5 stores with a total of 966 alleged violations):

- Gomez Check Cashing, 1369 Broad Street (780 alleged violations)
- Havis Jewelry, 3 East State Street (176 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- NY Gold Express, 13 East State Street (5 alleged violations/one scale seized)
- Pawn USA Inc., 6 North Broad Street (3 alleged violations)
- Global Currency Service, 410 Lalor Street, Suite A-10 (2 alleged violations)

Teaneck (3 stores with a total of 172 alleged violations):

- Rainbow Jewelry, 491 Cedar Lane (66 alleged violations)
- Teaneck Jewelry Exchange, 565 Cedar Lane (64 alleged violations)
- Tony’s Jewelry, 490 Cedar Lane (42 alleged violations/one scale seized)

Bill Wichert may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @BillWichertNJ. Find on Facebook.

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The Everything Book: reading in the age of Amazon

December 17, 2014 Posted by admin

The story in Seattle

There’s another dimension to the future of reading, beyond how we read. It’s what we read: who writes it, who publishes it, how it gets distributed. Nowhere are more important decisions being made about those issues than at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters. With physical bookstores in a state of seemingly perpetual decline, Amazon has achieved a dominant position: the company sells 40 percent of all new books in the United States, and two-thirds of ebooks.

On one hand, that represents less than 10 percent of Amazon’s overall sales. But even as the company has pursued its dream of becoming a place to buy anything, books have retained an outsized place in the corporate imagination. “Books are home for us,” says Russ Grandinetti, senior vice president of Kindle content. “It’s where we started. Not only is it a great business that we like, and many customers know us for, but it’s something about which we have a passion. A lot of us on the team are personally passionate about books. Books changed our lives.”

In more ways than one. Because they are easy to ship and hard to break, and because could offer more of them than any physical store, books were the ideal launching pad for Jeff Bezos’ original vision of a universal retailer. Two decades after the company was founded, books remain the business in which Amazon is most dominant — and most feared.

“Books are home for us”

Initially, publishing houses found Amazon to be an excellent partner in selling books, in part because it returned many fewer books than the chain stores that previously dominated the business. But as it became more powerful, Amazon extracted a higher and higher percentage from the sale of every book, charging publishers fees for placement on its homepage and in search results. It has proved willing to remove books from the store of any publisher that won’t play along, raising the specter of a world where important books become unavailable because of corporate disputes.

These battles have been chronicled in exquisite detail this year by publications including the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times. A key issue is who sets the price of ebooks; each side has jockeyed for control. For now, there appears to be a kind of détente: Amazon’s high-profile war with Hachette ended last month with a multi-year agreement that lets the publisher continue to set ebook prices, with Amazon offering unspecified incentives for Hachette to price them affordably. A similar deal was signed with Simon Schuster earlier in the year.

Amazon Kindle reading feature

Russ Grandinetti, VP of Kindle Content

If you’re just a person buying a book, it’s not always clear why you should care about these negotiations: merchants fight with their suppliers all the time. (The largest publishers declined interview requests for this piece.) But there are real worries about what the world would look like if Amazon’s dominance continues, and the company’s relentless downward pressure on book prices is understandably unsettling to authors. “In the book business the prospect of a single owner of both the means of production and the modes of distribution is especially worrisome,” George Packer wrote in the New Yorker this year. “It would give Amazon more control over the exchange of ideas than any company in U.S. history.” If Amazon squeezes traditional publishers out of existence — or simply pushes them into irrelevance — what will we read?

I put the question to Amazon’s Grandinetti, who leads negotiations with publishers. For starters, he says, we shouldn’t assume that publishers’ woes mean that important writers will no longer be able to make a living at their craft. Writing literary works has never been a particularly lucrative occupation; authors have long relied on universities, foundations, and other non-profits to supplement their income. Publishers remain talented at finding and promoting literary works, Grandinetti says. “It’s as viable to write that work as it ever was,” he says. “And I feel reasonably confident, based on the way books are going, that it will continue to be as viable.”

Amazon Kindle reading feature

Meanwhile, other forms of writing may become more viable. The rise of self-publishing, which Amazon has heavily promoted, has led to an explosion of genre fiction. Kindle Singles, which allow authors to sell work of medium lengths, has become a home for projects no traditional publisher would consider. Cable TV, YouTube, and Netflix created avenues for new kinds of visual storytelling, and new ways to make money; the elimination of gatekeepers in the world of books is doing the same for text.

“Technologies change, and then what people make with them changes,” Grandinetti says. He points to the way cable allowed for both Breaking Bad, which told a single story over 62 episodes; and True Detective, a multi-season series that tells a complete story each year. “Nobody would take a chance on those TV shows 10 years ago, because the model didn’t exist. So even though the evolution of these media may taketh away in some places, it giveth in some others. And I think the same may be true in books.”

“Even though the evolution of these media may taketh away in some places, it giveTH in some others”

Meanwhile, Amazon has led an effort to translate more foreign-language books into English, potentially a rich new source of high-quality literature that hasn’t previously been accessible. As new kinds of books become digitized, too, they’ll change in ways that are hard to predict. Sales of travel guides declined as much of the information contained in them became available free of charge online; Grandinetti believes they will evolve in new ways and become useful once again.

They will have to evolve. Everything else that competes for our free time — social networks, games, television — is going to be evolving just as quickly. “Our job is to invent all the things we can to make taking that journey as pleasurable and as rewarding as possible,” Grandinetti says. “And I don’t think it’s mine to say, or ours to say, if you want to talk about it in zero-sum terms, that books are going to do better or worse in the future … Where reading will go will be determined, enhanced, or constrained by how inventive we can be in how we support it.”

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Quattra+ artists craft jewelry and wearable art – The Courier

December 16, 2014 Posted by admin

After teaching science for 22 years at Louisville Collegiate and Western Middle schools, Sharon Major of Indian Hills has put her knowledge of geology to a new use.

She took metalworking classes at the Water Tower, when it was the headquarters for the Louisville Visual Art Association and now makes jewelry that’s “inspired by the natural world.”

She used to talk in class during her teaching days about where gold and silver came from and what precious stones looked like before they were cut and polished, she said.

At the other end of the spectrum, she was displaying earrings and other jewelry she has made from copper, silver, a grade of brass called “new gold,” agate and other materials and engraved with images of trees, leaves and other images from nature at the Quattra4+ designer jewelry and wearable annual holiday fundraiser art show Saturday. Called “Art To Heart” and featuring many one-of-a-kind items, the show was at the Louisville Boat Club, 4200 River Road.

Part of the proceeds benefited the Heuser Hearing Institute and Heuser Hearing Learning Academy, at 111 E. Kentucky St. in Old Louisville.

Major was at the show with three other jewelry artists — hence the Quattra name — who also sell their work at Gallery Janjobe, of which she is a co-owner, at 1860 Mellwood Ave., in the Mellwood Arts Center. Some also are members of the Louisville Artisans Guild and show their work at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, 715 W. Main St. and online at

They include Lona Northener, a former china painter and longtime instructor who teaches metalworking classes at her home and studio in Hillview in Bullitt County. She taught Major at the Water Tower and also two of the others at the show, Roxy Lentz of Clarksville and Lesley Rahner-Ewald, who lives in the Twinbrook subdivision off Hubbards Lane.

The fifth artist — accounting for the “+” in the name — is Suzanne Spencer, a Windy Hills City Council member who used to own a design firm and who makes scarves and fabric accessories made from silk or silk and wool dyed through a layering technique.

Rahner-Ewald is known for taking flat sheets of metal and cutting, hammering, forging and embellishing them with colorful gem stones.

Lentz, who also sells her creations at, specializes in using “repurposed” materials. For instance, a pair of earrings came from metal in a silver tray, she said. She finds materials at thrift shops, and people give her trays and other objects, she said.

READ MORE | Valley church plans big “Drive-Thru Christmas”

Rahner-Ewald volunteers at the Fabulous Finds thrift shop, 2101 Frankfort Ave., where all proceeds benefit the Heuser Institute. Founded in 1948 as the Louisville Deaf Oral School, it started in the basement of the Louisville Woman’s Club in Old Louisville. It’s now a regional kindergarten program for three-through-five-year olds and some six-year-olds who are deaf or hard of hearing who live in Jefferson County and 19 surrounding counties. It has an agreement with the Jefferson County Public Schools to provide early education services for their pre-school and kindergarten students.

The institute has a Hearing Services Center offering diagnostic and treatment services to all ages that also has a research affiliation with the University of Louisville, said Brad Broecker, a past Heuser board president who was at the art show. The institute also operates a newer Health Village location at 3900 Dupont Square South in St. Matthews. Information: or 502-515-3320.

Reporter Martha Elson can be reached at (502) 582-7061. Follow her on Twitter at @MarthaElson_cj.

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Sharpstown jeweler shutters store after 24 years

December 15, 2014 Posted by admin

Samir Dharia moved to Houston from New York in 1985. He had a thriving business as a high-end watch wholesaler and came to Houston to be closer to one of his distributors.

After surveying the city, he moved into the tenth floor of the former Sharpstown State Bank building at 7500 Bellaire Blvd.

The Sharpstown State Bank shuttered after a stock scandal in the early 1970s, and by the mid-1980s it still held the distinction of being the largest bank failure of its time. Despite this storied past, the bank building anchored Sharpstown Mall, then a popular shopping destination for all of southwest Houston.

“It used to be, more than 90 percent of my business was young professionals,” Dharia said. Business went so well he expanded into diamond and gold jewelry sales.

By 1999, Dharia had expanded so much he relocated to the first floor of the bank building. The new store became known as Plaza Jewelers and later, the Jewelry Exchange Center. The old bank vault was transformed into a luxury watch display room and the rest of the first floor was packed with high-end diamond and gold jewelry.

Private security keeps a constant eye on the building, including the parking lot. Dharia said there has never been a break-in or burglery in his comany’s history.

As the company grew, more jewelry-related businesses opened throughout the building. For a time the building was considered the premiere diamond and jewelry marketplace in the city.

Now, after 24 years in the business, Dharia is closing shop. He cites demographic changes as one of the reasons behind his retirement.

Major retailers such as Macy’s and Finger Furniture left the mall back in 2008, just as it went up for sale as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The mall was purchased by a Philadelphia real estate investment group in 2009 and rebranded into the PlazAmericas marketplace. The mall’s focus is now on market-style shopping vendors and music events.

“Young business people don’t really come here anymore,” said Dharia.

He states there are many vendors in the mall selling inexpensive jewelry, but there aren’t many shoppers looking for the custom designs and luxury brands he carries.

Rather than reopen the business somewhere else, he decided to sell off the store’s inventory and retire. He hired liquidation firm NCAA Liquidations to manage the sale.

Jeff Parsons, a representative for NCAA Liquidations, stated sales counts are currently equal to or higher than typical holiday sales figures. He expects the inventory to be sold by the end of December.

NCAA has been aggressively advertising the liquidation, particularly on the radio, to attract shoppers.

“Loose diamonds are included in the sale,” Parsons said, “which is nearly unheard of. But he had so many settings available it only made sense to include the loose diamonds.”

“Everything will go,” Dharia said. “The fixtures, which I own. Everything.”

His lease ends at the beginning of January, so everything will have to sold by then.

The sale started the day after Thanksgiving with a 50 percent discount on merchandise. On Dec. 1, prices dropped up to 70 percent off retail. Prices will continue to drop until the inventory is gone.

Just as the neighborhood has changed in the last 20 years, Dharia is also ready for a change.

Starting in January, he will focus on what he says is his true calling. Dharia is building a 6,000 square foot church near West Airport and Beltway 8.

It’s something he’s wanted to do for many years, and now he’ll finally have time to focus on his ministry.

“My son is going to open a jewelry store in Sugar Land, and I may help advise him,” Dharia said, “but it’ll be a totally different kind of company, for young people.”

Dharia said he’s looking forward to his new life with family and church after so many years in the jewelry business.

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Guns, knives, gold and damsels in defense in Jefferson show

December 14, 2014 Posted by admin

JEFFERSON — The motif at the third Marion County Chamber of Commerce Gun and Knife Saturday changed a little since the last one.

Gun and knife shows normally are geared toward hunting enthusiasts, gun collectors and the average “Joe” who can browse through tables filled with all sorts of guns in various brands, sizes and colors, knives and accessories.

Saturday’s show had numerous additions — a table filled with Russian handcrafted birch gift boxes, two tables filled with specialty pens, several tables of gold jewelry and self-defense items for women called “Damsels in Defense.”

With 62 tables set up inside the Jefferson Transportation and Visitor Center, consumers had plenty to see and choose from.

Tammy Smith, coordinator of the event and vice-president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, was beyond excited about the show.

“This is our third one this year, and we have vendors from all over Texas and Louisiana.”

“Gun and Knife Shows are usually geared toward men, but we have got several women in attendance, and even some families,” Smith said, “and it is a good opportunity to pick up Christmas gifts.”

The Gun and Knife Show is a fundraiser for the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, but also has been beneficial for the community of Jefferson.

“The vendors come to Jefferson, people who want to come into the exhibit and shop and a majority of them stay in the community overnight, eat here and shop here ,” Kayann Hollomon, director of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, said. “So, it helps us economically.”

Hollomon was surprised, but happy to see the women coming into the show and men bringing their whole families.

“This is a good way to teach the kids to have a healthy respect for guns and knives.”

Jeff Story of McCloud was on hand to sell knives and guns.

“This is my first time coming as a vendor. I have been before, just looking, and decided to come back.”

Preston Taylor of Jefferson had several Russian birch boxes — hand-crafted boxes for gifts.

“These are the types of boxes that you put on tops of dressers or elsewhere to store things.”

Of the Gun an Knife Show and efforts of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce to pull the event together, Taylor was pleased.

“I am very appreciated of our chamber of commerce. It has taken on a new direction, and moving toward becoming effective for the community,” he said, “and that is something in previous years we didn’t see. We have a good working chamber office.”

Karen Dobbs and Buddy Langston of Henderson County brought guns to display and sell and trade. Langston has a shop in the rural area of Henderson County.

“This is our second time to come,” Dobbs said, “and it is a nice little show that shows promise.”

“We are very pleased at the way Tammy Smith and her team have organized the event,” she said.

New to the show was Michelle McClain of Longview. Michelle was on hand as a representative of “Damsels in Defense.”

Her table was full of feminine-looking, pink and light colored non-fatal weapons of self-defense for women.

“I have been with the company for a little while now. It was started by two women who wanted to give women the option of defending themselves, especially those who were not comfortable with the idea of carrying a gun,” McClain said.

“Everything on the table is non-lethal but will temporarily disable an attacker, giving the woman enough time to get away,” she said, pointing at the stun guns, pepper sprays and various alarms.

Carol Lanford had tables full of gold jewelry. From Tyler, Carol and her husband take their goods to gun shows.

“We didn’t want to do outside events, and you know, a lot of times women come to these events, and they are not interested in the guns, so we offer them another option,” Lanford said.

John and Betty Carlisle of Bossier City were on hand with their hand-crafted writing instruments and turnings.

“We were invited to come when we were at another gun show,” John Carlisle said, “and so far, there has been a good flow of traffic through.”

“The show is growing and word is getting out. With this third show, we are look at what we will do next year, if we will have two or three shows, “Hollomon said.

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No holiday cheer at the Gallery

December 13, 2014 Posted by admin

MOHAMMAD HOSSAIN has sold jewelry from his Gold Center kiosk in the Gallery mall on East Market Street for 10 years, and yesterday he wore a weary expression.

Despite the holiday season, Hossain and other merchants weren’t feeling cheerful. PREIT, the owner of the Gallery, has told them to vacate by either Dec. 31 or Jan. 31.

PREIT has plans to redevelop the Gallery, which means the stores and kiosks will be moved out for at least a year.

George Thomas, who has operated a jewelry kiosk there for 20 years, said merchants are angry.

“People have families to feed, mortgages to pay, and kids in college,” Thomas said.

He looked around and said this is the first year the mall hasn’t put up Christmas decorations. “There’s no Christmas trees, no Santa Claus,” he said.

Heather Crowell, PREIT vice president of corporate communications and investor relations, said in an email:

“We are in the process of readying The Gallery for a potential redevelopment and have notified several tenants, per the terms of our agreements with them, to vacate their premises.”

No details were released.

For Stephanie Jones, who sells handbags and jewelry, the news was especially hard because she just moved into the Center City mall last month.

“I was misled,” Jones said. One week after signing a lease to pay $7,000 for November and December, Jones said, she received a letter to vacate by Dec. 31.

When she had discussed renting the space, Jones said, a PREIT official told her she might be able to renew her lease in January.

Jones had been a “traveling vendor,” going to conferences and events to sell her merchandise.

“If I had known it was only going to be for two months, I could have kept my $7,000 and continued to travel,” she said.

Hossain said he learned about the plans in mid-November and has to leave by Jan. 31.

“What can I do?” Hossain asked yesterday. Had he known earlier about the lease being terminated, he said, he would have left in October.

Instead, he paid “triple rent” for November and December, he said.

Several kiosk merchants said they pay “double-rents” for the two months – known as “holiday rents” – because PREIT expects they will make more money because of Christmas shopping.

Some said they think the recent opening of a Century 21 department store has motivated the mall to replace their kiosks with higher-end businesses.

According to merchants, the stores and kiosks in Gallery I, along Market Street from 8th to 10th, are being vacated first.

Rodney P. King, who owns RA Works, a kiosk that sells books, DVDs and T-shirts, has been in the Gallery for 10 months.

He said it’s a good thing that PREIT wants to renovate.

“But why can’t we come back?” King asked. “I think they are going to pick who they want in here.”


On Twitter: @ValerieRussDN






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Indian jewelry gold purity called into question

December 12, 2014 Posted by admin

The Minister for Consumer Affairs in India has directed the officials under his ministry to present a ground report on practices followed in displaying price and purity of gold ornaments by jewelers. Ram Vilas Paswan called upon jewelers not to sell gold ornaments without proper display of price and purity information.

The Minister also questioned the current practice by which Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is authorized to certify the purity of gold as low as 9 carat. According to him, the Ministry has received suggestions from various corners that BIS should be responsible for certifying gold jewelry of 18-24 carat purity. A report from the agency is awaited. A final decision on the matter would be taken upon receipt of BIS report, he added.

According to sources, there exists hallmarking of gold jewelry from 9 carat to 24 carat. However, not many jewelry stores display the prices of various carats. The Minister called upon the jewelers to check the pricing mechanism of various grades of gold and ensure that the ornaments are priced exactly according to their purity standards. It was brought to the notice of Ministry that good number of local jewelers and sometimes even the branded jewelry outlets don’t display exact prices of gold ornaments in terms of carat.

Presently, sale of non-hallmarked gold is rampant in the country. Non-hallmarked gold sales account for nearly 80-85% of total gold sales in Northern India, 70-75% in Eastern India and 50% in Western India. According to surveys, almost 80% of the jewellers in the Southern part of the country indulge in sale of hall marked gold.

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All I want for Christmas is gold-plated KFC chicken bone jewelry?

December 11, 2014 Posted by admin

Screen Shot 2014 12 10 at 11

Only 15 pairs of the 14-karat gold-plated chicken bone earrings are available.

Highrise Living in the Highlands15 photos

Caitlin Bowling
Reporter- Louisville Business First


Are you contemplating getting your mom or girlfriend more Bath and Body Works products this Christmas because women are just so difficult to buy for?

If you are struggling to come up with something new and unique to give a woman in your life, Kentucky for Kentucky says you should look no further than gold-plated KFC chicken bone jewelry.

Kentucky for Kentucky is a Lexington-based business focused solely on promoting all the great things about the state. One of those great things is that it is the birthplace of KFC Corp., a universally known purveyor of fried chicken and side items.

To celebrate Christmas and KFC, Kentucky for Kentucky paired with Meg C Jewelry Gallery to create and sell earrings and necklaces for the chicken enthusiast in your family. The two businesses first collaborated in June to make chicken bone necklaces. Now, they have brought back the necklaces and added chicken bone earrings to Kentucky for Kentucky’s online store just in time for the holidays. (See the video below.)

The jewelry is made using a chicken-wing bone from KFC’s eight-piece dinner and 14-karat gold, Kentucky for Kentucky stated in a blog post about the gift.

The items go with anything, according to the post .

Unfortunately, though, only 12 large chicken bone necklaces, 13 small chicken bone necklaces and 15 pairs of chicken bone earrings are available. They cost $130, $160 and $200, respectively.

The gift doesn’t seem as though it was created with the help of Louisville-based KFC Corp., but the company seems to endorse it and retweeted comments about the offering, including one that read, “yes yes yess. Every kiss begins with KFC.” — a play on the Kay Jewelers slogan.

Earlier this year, KFC made its own splash when it sold chicken corsages with the aid of Nanz and Kraft Florists Inc.

Caitlin Bowling covers these beats: Restaurants, retail, human resources, and women minority affairs.

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