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Smash-and-Grab Thieves Take Jewelry Worth $1M+

Two of the three suspects have been caught.

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Police say three men took more than $1 million in jewelry from a Jared the Galleria of Jewelry store in Crown Point, IN.

They tossed the merchandise into bags after smashing cases at the store, Nwi.com reports.

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Two of the men ran away, dropping much of the jewelry in the process. Forty-year-old Altonio Benson and 19-year-old Darren S. Bell were soon captured by police.

The robbery occurred at about 7 p.m. Friday.

A third man has not yet been caught. He is believed to have fled in a stolen vehicle.

The men were reportedly wearing ski masks and used hammers to smash the cases.

Read more at the Nwi.com

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A Packed Store Like the Day Before Christmas? Wilkerson Makes It Happen

Deb Schulman says once she and her husband, Ron, decided to retire, she could feel “the stress start to leave.” The owners of B. Alsohns Jewelers in Palm Desert, California, the Schulmans had heard about Wilkerson over the years and contacted them when the time was right. Wilkerson provided the personalized service, experience and manpower it took to organize their GOB sale. “We are so impressed with the way Wilkerson performed for us,” says Ron Schulman, “I’d send high accolades to anyone who was interested.”

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This 18K Gold Is Made With 25% Plastic

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Swiss researchers just unveiled a new type of 18-karat gold that’s made from 75% gold and 25% plastic, yielding super-lightweight, malleable material that weighs just 1/10th to 1/5th as much as the traditional alloy.

The team at ETH Zurich claims that the new lightweight alloy has the exact same lustrous qualities of traditional 18-karat gold, making it an attractive alternative for jewelry manufacturers and designers.

“Lovers of gold watches and heavy jewelry will be thrilled,” wrote Peter Rüegg on ETH Zurich’s official website. “The objects of their desire may someday become much lighter, but without losing any of their glitter. Especially with watches, a small amount of weight can make all the difference.”

The researchers believe that the new material will also be attractive to manufacturers because it is easier to work than traditional precious metals. The melting point of the new material is just 105° C (221° F), versus 1,064° C (1,943° F) for traditional 18-karat gold.

Gold purity is measured by its karatage, with 24-karat gold being 100% pure. Conventional 18-karat yellow gold is made from 75% gold and 25% other materials, such as copper and silver. Popular 14-karat gold is 14/24ths (58.3%) pure gold, and 10-karat gold is 10/24ths (41.6%) gold. Both 14-karat and 10-karat gold are commonly mixed with silver and copper.

With the new material, ETH Zurich scientists used a matrix of plastic in place of metallic alloy elements. Instead of weighing 15 grams per cubic centimeter, the new 18-karat material weighs 1.7 grams per cubic centimeter.

Raffaele Mezzenga, Professor of Food and Soft Materials at ETH Zurich, explained how she and her colleagues used protein fibers and a polymer latex to form a matrix in which they embedded thin discs of gold nanocrystals. In addition, the lightweight gold contains countless tiny air pockets invisible to the eye.

Highlights of the process were recently published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

“This gold has the material properties of a plastic,” Mezzenga said. “If a piece of it falls onto a hard surface, it sounds like plastic. But it glimmers like metallic gold, and can be polished and worked into the desired form.”

The researchers also claimed that the hardness of the material may be adjusted by slightly altering the composition. The latex, for example, could be replaced by other plastics, such as polypropylene. Also, altering the shape of the gold nanoparticles will change the color from gold to violet.

While Mezzenga and her team see obvious applications for jewelry and watch manufacturers, the material also may be suitable for chemical catalysis, electronics applications or radiation shielding.

Credit: Image by ETH Zurich / Peter Rüegg.

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717 US Jewelry Retailers Closed Their Doors in 2019

The number of closures is down significantly from 2018’s figure.

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The Jewelers Board of Trade reports that 717 U.S. jewelry retailers stopped doing business in 2019.

That’s down from 852 businesses that closed in 2018.

Of those, 589 fell into the category of “ceased operations,” while 110 were listed as “consolidations (sale/merger)” and 18 were classified as “bankruptcies.”

Meanwhile, 193 jewelry retail businesses opened their doors in the U.S. in 2019. That was up from 183 in 2018.

Counting wholesalers and manufacturers along with retailers, 900 U.S. jewelry businesses closed their doors in 2019. That’s compared with 1,013 in 2017.

The total number of jewelry retailers listed in the U.S. is now 18,613, compared with 19,198 at the end of 2018, according to the Jewelers Board of Trade.

The total number of jewelry businesses, including wholesalers and retailers, is 25,565, compared with 25,400 at the end of 2018.

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Tiffany Safely Moves 114,000 Gems for a Store Renovation

It’s refurbishing its 10-story space in Manhattan.

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Sunday was moving day for Tiffany & Co.’s flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. And given the potential for theft, that meant a quick and highly secure operation.

The store temporarily moved a few dozen yards away as it renovates its 10-story space, The New York Times reports. For now, it’s occupying a former Nike store.

The company transferred 114,000 pieces of jewelry, according to The Times. Needless to say, that was millions of dollars of merchandise.

Tiffany had 30 security officers overseeing the move. New York City police officers were also on site.

The Times explains:

There were 300 cameras monitoring the Tiffany store and about as many in the temporary store, as well as a few more trained on the route along the sidewalk, that were live feeding monitors surveilled by other security officials in the two stores and at Tiffany’s distribution center in Parsippany, N.J.

Employees had been asked to keep plans for the move a secret. Tiffany took numerous other security precautions, according to the newspaper, such as monitoring social media for any hints of planned criminal activity.

Fortunately, everything went off without a hitch. When the store opened in its new location on Monday morning, not a single piece was missing.

Read more at the The New York Times

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