Steve Duke Presents Tradio Gems: Gift Ideas for Christmas and any time of the year
(Excerpts from Tradio)

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Steve Duke:
I was in one of the establishments the other night and one of the guys came up to me and he said “Steve, I listen to you on Tradio. You come up with all kinds of information and I’ve been learning about diamonds.” He started to talk about colored stones and things. He said “It’s cool, because I really don’t know anything about this stuff. I’m like a jewelry virgin, but I have a new girlfriend and she loves jewelry. Can you help out and tell me what I should be buying her?”

I said look. You could find out what month she was born in. This is like an old standby for jewelers and it’s an old standby for guys. You know, find out what month she was born in and each month has a certain gemstone designated for it. Now, does that really mean you have to buy that gemstone? No, but if they’re jewelry people then they probably know what their birthstone is. So if you do happen to know what their birth month is, come in, say “Look. I’ve got to do this Christmas thing. I’m new to this shopping thing. Can somebody help me?”

We’re going to say well, what are you looking for? He’ll go “I don’t know, but Steve said look. She was born in this particular month and maybe I could get a gemstone that represents that particular month.” We have a chart. We’ll go down the chart. We can look at it for you and tell you what color the gemstone is.

Unless she was born in April, which we designate as a diamond month, most of the other gemstones aren’t real expensive. We have garnet. We have peridot. We have opal. We have topaz. We have ruby. We have sapphire. We have pearl, which is another one for July. Sometimes we have alternate stones if you don’t happen to like one. As jewelers we got together and said you know pearls aren’t that popular. Maybe we can put Alexandrite in there and use that for the same month.

It’s a big marketing ploy. I have to tell you the truth. It really is, but you know what? It helps you every year. What you do is you come in one year and you buy a necklace that happens to have her gemstone in it. Then you have a birthday coming up. You’d buy her a ring with a gemstone in it, the same kind of gemstone. You have an anniversary because you’ve been doing good. You get her the earrings with the gemstone in it. You have something else that comes up. She has a baby. You get her the bracelet with the gemstone. I mean you can add on to this thing and it’s never ending. As long as we’re in business we’ll come up with an idea for you.

So birthstones and colored gemstones are a real safe bet most of the time. Although, if you decide that you’re going to go with that gemstone thing, make sure they like their gemstone. There are certain months that sometimes people just don’t like the color of that particular gemstone. You think you did good because you went out there and you actually put a little thought into it. You say “I found what month she was born. I’m going to get her a birthstone.” Then you buy it and you give it to them and they go “What did you get this ugly thing for? I hate this color. That’s my birthstone.” Then you have to come up with a diamondologist story or something. “Well, you know this guy told me you’d probably love this.”

Kenny:
Diamondologist?

Steve:
You can blame us for it, but the birthstones are always a good thing. I’ll tell you some of the items that we’re really selling the heck out of this year. I try to have a little bit of everything for people who are looking, from $89 rings up to whatever you want to spend, from $200-$300 diamond bracelets to $100,000 diamond bracelets.

We try to have a little bit of everything for everybody, but some of the things that have really been selling well for me this year are necklaces and pendants. When I say necklace and pendant, what’s the difference? A necklace is generally like a gold chain and it can either have a gemstone that’s affixed to it, it’s soldered to it in some sort of a holder or it has a pendant which is just something you can take on and off. You could wear the necklace by itself or if they’re wearing a particular color or they’re getting dressed up, the little pendant can slide on the chain.

Now, over the years every Christmas I go out there and I buy jewelry in all the new fashions and new styles that come out and I try to have a big selection. Well, this year the girls have gone through the safe and found that “Steve, you probably have 300 necklaces and pendants in the safe.” So what I’ve done is we’ve just turned around and thrown those in our 50% off case.

So right now there’s stuff when you come in our store and a lot of it has the old prices on it. We just have not had time to re-mark it according to the new gold prices. So a lot of it you could turn around and buy it and… This actually happened. We had a big gold necklace in there that we turned around and sold. The girl walked out with it, came back and said “How much gold is in this thing?”

One of my girls had sold it to her with our 50% discount. I put it on the scale and told her how much we’d pay for it and she said “Well, you know, I just bought that from you like five minutes ago, but my boyfriend said you know that’s got to be marked wrong.” Well, basically, it was marked wrong for the market.

Kenny:
You’re the lucky winner!

Steve:
You’re the lucky winner. She wound up with $100 bucks more than what she even paid for it and then she turned around and bought another piece. Then I could see she was like “I wonder what that piece weights.” You know? “Maybe I’ll buy that, sell it and just have a real good day just selling Steve all his stuff back.”

Not only are there a lot of gold necklaces and stuff in there that are priced really, really right right now, but like I say the necklaces and pendants. If you’re on a limited budget this Christmas, it has a thin gold chain and it may have sapphires and a couple little diamond accents that are soldered into it that make up a whole piece of jewelry or it could have some emeralds and diamond stuff mixed in, ruby, sapphire, the emeralds. I know there was an opal one in there.

You’re talking about stuff that was $500 bucks; it’s in there for $250. When I tell you that there’s probably $200-$225 in gold alone I’m not kidding you. It’s just that I have so much stuff that we’re trying to sell it. We realize it’s a tough year out there. It’s tough for you. It’s tough for us. This stuff is already paid for, but I can’t take it to Winn-Dixie and buy groceries with it. So I’m sitting there trying to decide how we can turn it into cash and still give people great deals and let them have a piece of jewelry that they normally could not have afforded, especially in these times.

If you’ll stop in and tell your friends, “I listen to Steve on Tradio and we shop there. We’ve found that there are great deals and he’s talking about a lot of deals that he has in his 50% off cases.” Stop by and see, because I’m telling you the truth, we’ve been selling the heck out of that kind of stuff out of the 50%.

There are diamond pieces in there that are crazy priced. There are diamond bracelets. Again, a lot of the heavier gold diamond bracelet pieces, by the time we’ve taken 50% off you’re getting the diamonds for free. Basically, you’re paying for the gold and the diamonds are coming along for the ride.

Kenny:
As they always do.

Steve:
Yeah. We have a whole selection of stuff in diamond bracelets that, basically, we’re selling by the gold weight. Forget about the diamonds. The girls will throw these things on the scale, we figure it up on the calculator and here’s the price the price. The diamonds are absolutely free. So those have been selling really, really well for us.

The earrings have been doing good this year, unusually good, the diamond earrings. I have a ton of that stuff, so again I’ve dropped our prices. A lot of these were closeouts that I would buy from manufacturers. They’d be what we call an overrun. They would have a customer who would say make me 1,000 pairs of these earrings, some of the chain stores. A lot of the chain stores have gone out of business before Christmas.

A lot of these manufacturers are friends of mine and they’ll say “Steve, look. I’ve got 400 pairs of these diamond studs. Normally they’re $300 bucks. They’ll cost you $200. Will you take them?” I’ll say yeah, I’ll take them all and we’ll put them out there for $225-$250, which is less than the wholesale price was. So you can get some great buys.

A lot of people have realized…you know they’ve been out there shopping and they come in and look. “Well, how much is this pair of earrings?” And they go “What’s the diamond weight?” You tell them and they go “Well, what’s wrong with them?” I say nothing. I can charge you more if you’d like me to, if that will convince you that it’s a good buy. They’ll say “We’ve been out shopping and we’ve found that these are like $200-$300 cheaper than anybody else had them.”

We’re not a museum. I don’t buy this jewelry to just caress it and look at it and hold it and three years later I still have the same thing.

Kenny:
My precious…

Steve:
We buy it to sell it and pass on the deals because the more deals I can give folks out there the happier they’re going to be, just like the other gentleman that just called. We’ve been doing it for 37 years, we’re not going anywhere. I like to have them say to their friends “I found a place you need to go shop because you’ll save a ton of money.” And they tell everybody about us.

Kenny:
I have been a happy past customer.

Steve:
Yeah, you’ve been a customer yourself.
Stop by and see us. We are in the Baer Plaza behind ABC Liquors. Westchester Gold and Diamonds is located at 4200F Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33952.
Call (941) 625-0666.

Westchester Gold and Diamonds provides services including custom jewelry design, repairs, appraisals and other jewelry and antiques related services. Westchester Gold and Diamonds is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday and by appointment at your home or bank.

Listen to Tradio right here at http://www.westchestergold.com and read excerpts and highlights from past Tradio programs.

Have Questions about your antiques, estate jewelry, collectibles or old treasures?

If you have questions for Steve Duke to answer about your jewelry, antiques or collectibles, just send a photo of the item and your question directly to Steve Duke at WGDiamonds@HotMail.com and Steve will research it for you and you may be contacted to participate in an upcoming Tradio episode. Be sure to include your name, email and phone number along with your question and email it to: WGDiamonds@HotMail.com