New Frontiers in Jewelry Retailing

Can Brass + Glass = Class? There is a lot about the concept of "brass and glass"—which lets jewelers hold down inventory costs by only showing replicas—that is controversial, starting with the name. Spence Diamonds, a Canadian jeweler that recently bought three stores in Houston, features nothing but replicas and proudly uses the term "brass and glass" on its Web site. (See "Jeweler Has Open Showcases," JCK, May 2009, p. 51.) But others shy away from it, noting that their replicas are made of silver and other metals. Nevertheless, more jewelers are using sample programs, showing customers prototypes of jewelry and then ordering the actual item. The major benefit, advocates say, is that it lets jewelers carry more product with less expense, at a time when prices of gold and platinum keep rising and jewelers have problems with ca

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