Jewelry Markup On Trial

Jeweler Jim Jackson's biggest sale, the sale that almost put him out of business, started, as most jewelry sales do, with a romantic gesture. In 2005, Robinson Brown Jr., whose family company, Brown-Forman, in Louisville, Ky., is known for alcohol brands like Jack Daniel's, saw a picture of an emerald necklace that Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor. He decided that donating an emerald necklace to Louisville's Speed Museum would be a fitting tribute to his late wife, Jean McCauley Brown, who had died in 2004. He asked Jackson, his jeweler for more than 20 years, to make a necklace for him, saying he would be willing to pay $3 million for the emeralds. Brown and his wife had been customers of Jackson's sixth-floor Louisville store, Aesthetics in Jewelry, since a few years after it opened in 1976. Jackson called his emerald dealer, Ray Zajicek, of Eq
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