Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Getting Robbed: Safety for Jewelers at Art Fairs


A
s part of my Trade Practices class at Revere Academy, we discussed getting robbed, mugged, held up--you name it. My teacher assured us that it was very common among jewelers. It's such a shame because most art jewelers live hand-to-mouth. Getting mugged means no rent money for the month. Not only that, but it's almost impossible to resell stolen jewelry.

The value of jewelry is in the craftsmanship. The value of a ring is in the skill needed to make it.

That said, how do you protect yourself if you're a little art jeweler selling your jewelry at a street fair?

1. Always go to fairs with another person who will help you set up your booth, tear it down, and watch your jewelry while you're talking to customers.

2. Ask art fair security to accompany you to your vehicle with your jewelry after tear-down.

3. Don't carry your jewelry or cash in an obvious place, like a brief case. Most jewelers get cased out during the fair, and then robbed after the art fair ends, when they're tearing down in the dark, or are carrying a brief case with cash and jewelry to their vehicle.

4. That said, leave a little bit of money and jewelry in the obvious place. You want them to leave with something if they should happen to open your briefcase or purse at the scene. One of my friends used to call this his "life insurance policy."

5. The other common way art jewelers get robbed is when someone asks you to take a ring out of the case and then runs off with it, disappearing into the crowd. How can you discourage this? Ask prospective buyers to leave their ID with you before you take the ring out.

6. If you do get robbed, you can check out the area pawnshops during the next few days. Chances are good your jewelry will show up there. If you see your jewelry in the pawnshop, quietly leave and then call the police.

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