Thursday, October 13, 2011

Buyer Beware

I have wanted to write this educational post for a few weeks. Lately, friends have been offering me jewelry pieces that are thought to be sterling.  Even the piece below, which was identified as a knock-off, was still thought to be sterling. It is not. But, you say, it is stamped .925--it must be sterling! The truth is, .925 can be stamped on anything and some countries exert no control or penalties for misuse of quality standards.  One writer stated that their experience in buying beads from one of these countries included being told that beads stamped with .925 were cheaper than those without the stamp proving the demand for fakes is large.

Tiffany Knock Off Sold On Internet

"Silver" Chain Before and After Use of Torch
A link from the fake chain in the top picture was melted with an acetylene torch and it immediately turned a bright brassy color as it melted quickly. The problem with imports is explained in detail in the article linked here:

It seems important to understand the misuse of the quality mark since precious metals now sell at record highs. It gives you one more bit of information with which you can educate your friends and customers. I hope this is helpful to you.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Becoming An American

September 27, 2011 was a special day and I want to tell you about it.  It probably isn't connected to metalsmithing but it did affect me and in that way, it was connected.

Today my Swedish son-in-law became an American citizen. He did not just arrive in this country but has been here for 34 years, raised a family, and worked in international sales.  Until just a few years ago, Sweden would not allow dual citizenship and Anders traveled extensively in Europe on his Swedish passport. He began the journey to US citizenship as soon as possible when dual citizenship was an option. Each exit from the US and entry into the US that he had made in the past 34 years required accurate documentation. This documentation process was a daunting undertaking but he kept at it and finally, this year everything was in order.

A Fraction of the 1,232 Candidates For US Citizenship
We arrived at the Paramount Theater where 1,232 about-to-be new United States citizens waited in line to be seated. This was an intricately organized gathering and was critical to the efficiency of everything that followed. The candidates for citizenship were guided into predetermined sections and seated together by country of origin to facilitate the certificate distribution. In the picture above, Anders is in the upper left hand corner, three in from the door, standing between a red jacket and a blue shirt. His big smile makes him easy to identify.
The Wall of the Paramount Theater
Some of you know by now that I like to take pictures of beautiful designs.  So, it makes sense that I would take a picture of this gorgeous ceiling at the Paramount and the wall in the picture above. The colors are true and the designs are mesmerizing. We were not bored while waiting for the ceremony to begin.

The Wall and Ceiling of the Paramount Theater
The interior of the Paramount Theater creates a grand atmosphere for this ceremony and communicates the importance of this moment. The government officials spoke warmly and respectfully to the new citizens. The man who introduced the procedures spoke fluently in the languages of seven countries as he welcomed the candidates. (Swedish was not one of them.) He also had a dry sense of humor with which he peppered his comments. At the end, 1,232 candidates from 104 countries received their certificates of citizenship in a timely, orderly fashion. Over half of them ordered passports in the lobby. All of this finished in a little over an hour renewing my faith, ever so slightly, in government efficiency.

I almost stayed home and worked on some bracelets today but I'm so glad I didn't! I was reminded of my days managing Vocational English As A Second Language Programs in business. The people I interacted with in those classes believed in the promise of America. Many had left everything to come to a better place and participate in the American Dream. Their love for the United States should remind us to stand up for the country we believe in and to vote, vote, vote. These new citizens bring fresh enthusiasm and dedication with them. Let's welcome them.

Thank you, Anders and 1,231 others. We need you here.

New American--One of the Best