Letters

Dot Comments

While I enjoyed your “Jewelry Dot-Bombs” article immensely (JCK, April 2001, p. 92), I believe it is time that you were updated as to who the online jewelry leader really is.

My name is Daniel Berkovits, founder and CEO of netjewels.com. Although we never received venture funding, we are the most visited and only profitable online jewelry company. According to PCDATA online, we have been the most visited jewelry site in terms of unique visitors for an entire year. In some months we have more than tripled the traffic of the likes of Mondera.com, Diamond.com, Bluenile.com, Ashford.com, and FirstJewelry.com. (Naturally, we have the documents to support this fact.)

We are doing this with clever marketing and great product and pricing. While I fully understand that we have not had the exposure of the other companies and therefore did not make your “Still Standing” page, I think your readers who are interested in the sector would like to know who the “real” and only profitable leader is.

I enjoy the magazine, and I congratulate you on another great edition.

Daniel Berkovits netjewels.com

Gold Standards

When was the last time you paid $1 for 98 cents of gasoline? How about $1.50 for $1.48 of ground beef? Better yet, when you bought your last gallon of milk, did you only get .98 gallons? Of course not. But this is exactly how the majority of gold chain vendors charge us for our gold products.

I recently bought some product and double-checked weights on my very accurate digital scale. One item weighing 23.41 grams was invoiced at 23.5 grams. Another weighing 14.75 grams was invoiced at 14.8 grams. Yet another was invoiced at 16.7 grams but weighed only 16.65 grams. This practice has been going on for years, and it’s time to say enough is enough. With digital scales’ ability to weigh to the thousandth, why can’t vendors weigh to the hundredth? In addition, the items are invariably rounded up with much higher frequency than rounded down.

The gold dealers I have challenged on this through the years say this is how everyone does it. While this may be substantially true, this is not absolutely true. I commend HMS of Dallas as one of my vendors who does weigh to the hundredth and is always right on the money.

The amount of money per item is, in fact, quite small. However, the amount of money being overcharged during the course of a year is substantial. In addition, it is neither honest nor ethical to charge someone for something they do not receive.

I encourage the Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee, Jewelers of America, and jewelers across the nation to take a stand. There are standards for our groceries and items such as gasoline, but apparently not for gold products such as these. There should be.

Gary Youngberg Ames Silversmithing Inc. Ames, Iowa

I just read the article “Branded Love” (JCK, January 2001, p. 104). There is a lot of discussion in the trade press about retailers promoting branded jewelry as a means to increase their credibility and market share with the consumer. I wonder if this is wise? If the successful independent retailers promote and thereby endorse the brands, what is to prevent the manufacturers—or at least discount outlets—from bypassing the traditional retailer and selling directly to our customers by offering the same product at a lower price?

This is especially worrisome in light of the price-driven Internet. I would like to see a discussion about this and the pros and cons of branding ourselves, not the manufacturer or designer. Our store has successfully traded on its own reputation—not that of the brands we carry—for 71 years, so it is possible to survive by branding yourself.

Lou Castiglione Castiglione Jewelers Gloversville, N.Y.

Your Hometown

I enjoyed William George Shuster’s story on hometown jewelers (“Hometown Stories,” JCK, March 2001, p. 82). As a matter of fact, it was almost perfect. The article caught my eye right away. You see, Shearer the Jeweler is located on the same street shown in the photo at the top of your story (behind the tree about halfway along the block). The photo by Joseph Sohm looks down Washington Street, a great little street of shops in one of the best small towns in America. I’m the third generation to own and operate this family business. We donate tiaras and support the local hospital, the YMCA, and many other worthy projects. It is important to give back to the community we are so lucky to live in. Kudos on your story. Next time you use that photo, stop in … I’m sure we’ll be open.

Many thanks!

Steve Shearer Shearer the Jeweler Easton, Md.