This Month's Usable Gems includes some advice... and opinion on
Crime Prevention At Home
Crime, like many other social ills, is a disease looking for a victim. And, like physical illnesses, a few precautions can help us
avoid some serious unpleasantness. You can choose to be an owner... and not a victim!
There are two Very Important Actions that you can take to discourage criminals from making your family a victim of crime.
The first Very Important Action is to install a monitored burglar/fire alarm system in your home. A good system provides a host of benefits:
It's a deterrent to the criminal looking for an opportunity...
The alarm company's sign in your yard or window tells the casual criminal… and the professional looking for easy pickin's… to go on down the road to find an easy target. It informs all that you are crime-aware, and that you have taken steps to protect your family and property. Most criminals are looking for an easy opportunity, and will avoid the target that has been "hardened" by crime prevention measures.
It provides early warning of an intruder...
A good system will include perimeter detection and interior motion detection. In the event of an intruder who is not deterred by the knowledge that you have an alarm, your system can be even more valuable. It can wake you, or warn you, giving you the opportunity to protect your family and yourself from injury or death until police can be notified and reach your home and assist you.
It can help you save your life and your family in a fire...
This one is a no-brainer. An early warning may be the difference. Flames, intense heat, or poisonous smoke and gases… any or
all can kill.
It can do the same in case of illness or injury...
Look for the system with a "panic button." This little device, similar to a remote entry for your vehicle, can be used in emergency
situations to summons police, fire, or medical help.
Use deadbolt locks with a 1-inch bolt on your doors. You can even get these with a hardened roller in the center of the bolt to
resist sawing. If an intruder can break a glass in (or near) the door and reach the inside of the deadbolt, use a double keyway style of
lock. Your lock shop or hardware store can help you with this.
The family dog can be a big help in discouraging criminals. When your dog raises an alarm by barking at visitors, he's doing his job.
Criminals like darkness and obscurity while they are working. Landscape lighting is inexpensive, attractive, and deters crime and
accidents. Bushes and vines obscuring doors and windows allow criminals to work on gaining entry without being seen by neighbors.
Keeping your jewelry in a jewelry chest or small cabinet makes it handy for a burglar to scoop up and leave with the whole thing.
It is also better for the jewelry to keep it in cloth-lined drawers of a large dresser or chest. The jewelry will be less subject to scratches
and nicks as you select and return pieces to storage.
If you want to sell some of your jewelry, how do you do it safely?
If you advertise, don't give your home address in the ad. A business phone number, or cell phone number, is safer. Meet
prospective buyers in a public place. A coffee shop can be a reasonable solution. For important pieces of jewelry, meeting a prospective
purchaser at your bank is a good idea. You will also want to deal in cash or use escrow arrangements, so the bank is perfect.
If you don't want to go through the hassle and uncertainty of selling it yourself, consignment with a bonded professional jeweler
can have advantages both in safety and higher sale price. Reach an agreement with the jeweler on the fee or commission to be paid to
the jeweler upon sale of the piece. ALWAYS get the agreement in writing! Get a receipt for the piece when you leave it with the jeweler.
By the way, do you wonder why we use a P.O. Box address rather than our street address? Yes, it's just another small practice
in crime prevention… and it's practiced by many gemstone dealers. It makes it harder for the thieves to find us.
The other Very Important Action that you can easily take to prevent crime is to communicate with elected officials at all
levels, let them know that you are aware and interested. If you are reading this, I must assume that you have access to the
internet. The internet is a wonderful tool for immediate communications. Once I collect an official's e-mail address, I can store it and
use it as the need arises.
When I see a news story about an outrageous crime, I don't have to sit on the sidelines and lament "what a sorry state things have
come to." No, I can jump on my computer right then and let the appropriate mayor, legislators, or others know that I have
performance expectations regarding how they protect my community, and urging them to act. I want to see the mayor on TV declaring
that our community will NOT tolerate this kind of lawlessness!
They also welcome messages of support. A quick note telling an
offical that you endorse a position or action taken by the offical helps them "do what's right."
Immediate and forceful action to imprison the criminal goes a long way toward preventing crime. Strong laws, fine-tuned to the
advances in technology and judicial precedents also help. If the average property criminal commits only one crime per day, imagine
how many crimes are prevented while that criminal is behind bars.
I can also use the internet to encourage others to demand action. It is harder for the official to ignore multiple voices. We can
all use the internet to… be an owner, not a victim.
I know this is wandering afield from the subject of jewelry and gems, but we must be responsible citizens for all the rest of it to
have meaning, and we just can't let the clowns run the circus!
As we touched on last month, the General Electric Company has developed a process to enhance the color of some diamonds.
This should be a step forward in enhancing the appearance of some diamonds with less desirable color.
Ethical marketing of these diamonds should benefit consumers by enlarging the supply of diamonds with good color… and at a fair
price. A fair price meaning that these treated stones must sell for less than an untreated stone of comparable quality. At the same
time the price must be more than for an untreated diamond of inferior color. In this way both the dealer and the consumer win.
From all reports the treatment is permanent and does drive off objectionable color, but it may only work with diamonds that fit very
narrow criteria. The treatment is reported to have little or no effect on inclusions.
The enhanced stones are laser inscribed on the girdle with the legend "GE POL." GE stands for General Electric, and POL
stands for Pegasus Overseas Limited, the marketer of these stones. In this way the treated diamonds are readily identified under
The leading gem identification laboratories are pursuing laboratory means of independently testing and identifying these diamonds.
Just in case an unethical person attempts to polish the inscription away and sell the diamond as untreated.
Looking into the future… more companies may develop competing color enhancement processes. We may eventually get to the
point where one out of a thousand gem grade diamonds is color enhanced. But even then, I believe most consumers will never see one.
What's In A Name?
Next month we will take a look at some beautiful gems with not so beautiful names. Would any of these gems be more popular if
they had more attractive names? How much would you pay for a Liddicoatite?