Claddagh rings: the backstory.

Posted by Peggy Seitzinger on March 15th, 2013
14 Karat Yellow Gold Claddagh Ring

14 Karat Yellow Gold Claddagh Ring

Have you ever seen a Claddagh ring and wondered what it means?  Here’s the story.  The history and traditions associated with modern Claddagh rings originated in the Irish fishing village of the same name, around 1700.  The components of the ring are each representative of important components of a relationship: the heart represents love, the hands represent friendship and the crown represents loyalty.  Specific designs have changed over the years, but the basic heart, crown and hands are mainstays.

Tradition also dictates how the ring is worn.  In older times the ring would be handed down from a mother to daughter or grandmother to granddaughter. The young woman would then wear the ring on her right hand with the tip of the heart pointing toward her fingernail.  This indicated that she was not in a relationship and that she was open to love.  If the ring was worn on the right hand with the tip of the heart pointing in to the hand, then it represented that her heart had been captured and she was in a relationship.  When she became engaged the ring would move to the left hand ring finger, tip pf heart pointed down.  Once she married then the ring would point in toward her heart.

There are other more localized traditions associated with Claddagh rings as well, but the basics tend to remain the same.  Modern day Claddagh rings are made of all different metals, including gold, silver, and platinum.  They may also be set with diamonds or other gemstones.  Today, both men and women wear the rings, and as with any piece of jewelry, it’s up to the wearer to determine how to make the tradition of the Claddagh ring, his or her own.

The History of Roper’s Jewelers

Posted by Peggy Seitzinger on January 25th, 2013

As we celebrate 57 years in business this week, it seemed appropriate to share some history about Roper’s Jewelers.

Ralph & Helen Roper moved to Auburn in 1952.   Roper’s Jewelers opened in January 1956, the same week that his son, Harvey, was born.  When asked why he opened the store he replied, “I wanted to work for myself”.

When Ropers Jewelers opened, there were three other jewelers in town.  It opened at  814 Lincoln Way, a few doors down from its current location.  In 1972, Ralph moved the store to its current location, 818 Lincoln Way.  A second store was opened in 1990, at 2288 Grass Valley Highway.  Both locations are in Auburn, the town that Ralph loves.

Ralph says that he and his business were well received due to his participation in the community.  Then, as now, Ralph participated in many community events and improvement projects.  He worked in the store 12 to 14 hours every day, and he had only one saleslady.  As Christmas approached he added another saleslady, and he would add another one at a time as he became busier and needed more help.  In the beginning Ralph did all of the jewelry, watch, and clock repair himself.  His wife, Helen, did all of the bookkeeping.  The statements were written by hand each month.

Over the years Ralph slowly made some changes.  He brought in a watchmaker first, then he brought in jewelers.  As his sons, Steven and Harvey grew, they learned the business.  Steven became a jeweler and Harvey became a watchmaker.  Harvey, was vice president of the company,and his wife, Brenda, does all of the accounting.  Although the Roper’s Jewelers family of salespeople,  jewelers, watch and clock makers has grown, to include more than 20 employees, Roper’s still retains the same values, professionalism, and vision that Ralph had 57 years ago.

Layaway: The Real Story

Posted by Peggy Seitzinger on July 25th, 2012

Yes, we still have Layaway. Before you decide that it is an antiquated form of finance, hear me out.  Most of us have used Layaway at some time in our lives to make a purchase with the benefits of paying over time, but without the gouge of paying interest.  The concept is still viable.  Particularly in this era of over-extended credit, doesn’t it make sense to start your holiday shopping now, and pay for it over the next several months…WITHOUT paying interest on it?  It makes good sense.

Layaway became an important part of the American lifestyle during the Depression of the 1930’s.  In the absence of credit cards, and with a society that was financially challenged, Layaway provided a way for Americans to make purchases over time.  The practice continued fairly steadily until the 1980’s when the availability of credit cards made Layaway seem obsolete.  Of course during this time there continued to be stores that offered a Layaway program, and Roper’s was one of them.  In response to the current economic atmosphere, many retailers have reinstated their Layaway programs as the public is once again realizing its benefits.

Besides the obvious benefit of paying over time without interest, another attribute to Layaway is to be able to purchase something for the person you share the checkbook and the credit cards with, while keeping it a surprise.  It also enables shoppers to secure the perfect gift (for themselves or some else) without having to hide it, and potentially forget where they hid it, as they wait for the gift giving event to arrive.

Whatever your reasons, remember that we still offer Layaway (year-round), and it’s as simple as making a down payment, followed by six monthly payments (or fewer to suit your needs).

The Gift of Graduation

Posted by Peggy Seitzinger on June 11th, 2012

I was fortunate to be among the guests at Placer High School’s 113th commencement on Saturday June 9, 2012.  I say fortunate not because I had to get up early for a Saturday and get myself to the stadium,  secure a parking place and negotiate the bleachers for a place to sit, in the sun for the next hour and forty-five minutes.  The reason I say fortunate is because I was given the opportunity to see history repeat itself.  As a parent myself, I watched the graduation ceremony through different eyes than I did when I was one of the graduates sitting on the grass.  I marveled at the ceremony, that the students would suggest was different and original, but was truly just the 2012 version of what I experienced twenty years ago.  Does that make it any less memorable or any less important? No.  It was all those things that a graduation should be.  I really believe that the beauty existed in its sameness, because in this case, it is the traditions that live on.  The sameness connects the ceremonies through the years.  One hundred thirteen graduating classes have sat in front of their families and friends, have made speeches and clowned for the cameras, have worn cowboy boots or ties, dresses or military garb, whatever it was that they felt would distinguish them as individuals.  Parents have cried, cheered, hugged, smiled.  They have presented gifts: small tokens and grand gestures, all in an attempt to mark the moment, the experience of graduation.

I often get to experience these moments many years after the fact.  People share their graduation stories with me when they bring in the watch that was given by parents, the ring that was presented from Grandma, the pocket watch that was passed on from Grandpa.  These are their treasures, not because of their monetary value, but because of the moments in time that they mark, the traditions that they represent, the history that they repeat.

What does it mean to be part of a family owned business?

Posted by Peggy Seitzinger on May 30th, 2012

It means so many things: more than I could possibly fit into one blog post.

It means that everyday that I walk in the door there are people depending on me.  It means that when I call other businesses in town and say, “Hi, this is Peggy at Roper’s” I’m greeted with a cheerful, welcoming voice.  Likewise, when I call clients I know they are happy to hear that their wedding ring is sized, or that their grandma’s pearls have been restrung.  It means being asked, “Are you a Roper?”…a lot.  It means answering that, “although I’m not a Roper, they’ve sort of taken over payments on me because I’ve worked here so long”.  It means that people are willing to come in and hand over their most precious family heirlooms, and walk back out again knowing that we will take good care of them.   It means being approached by almost every fundraiser in a twenty mile radius, and doing my best to support each and every one.  It means supporting events and initiatives that may never affect us directly, but that will have an affect for the good for the community.  It means behaving myself anytime that I’m anywhere that people know where I work.  It means going to various meetings and having people hand me their watches because “they need a new battery, and do you mind taking it with you?”  And I take the watch, and I don’t mind, because I know that means that they trust me.  It means having Brenda bake each and every one of us our favorite dessert on our birthday.  It means sharing our clients’ best days: engagements, and weddings and babies, as well as their worst days: the passing of a spouse, or a child, or a friend.

It means being a working part of a larger community: a community where we choose to raise our children, a community we choose to call home.

Appraisals, Fair Market Value,Evaluations, Is It Real?

Posted by Peggy Seitzinger on February 9th, 2012

On a daily basis we have people come into our stores asking for appraisals, fair market values, evaluations or if an item is “real”.  Each of these terms has different connotations for us, so I thought sharing those details might be helpful.

Appraisals.  In our world when we talk about appraisals, we refer to Insurance Appraisals.  This is a researched document written by a certified appraiser.  It includes specific weights and measurements on the piece of jewelry in question and the amount of money it would cost to replace it if it was lost or stolen. It also includes a color photograph of the item.

Fair Market Value refers to the amount of money that an item could reasonably be sold for as a used piece of jewelry.  This term generally applies to estate jewelry that needs to be divided between parties.

Evaluations, in our stores, refer to the amount of money we would be willing to offer on a cash out basis.  We use this term when clients are interested in selling their items outright, and it is usually based on the melt value of the metal.  Melt value means the amount that we will receive from the refiner when we send the metal in (much like recycling aluminum cans).

Is it real?  This question usually follows a statement such as, “I found this at the lake…is it real?”  In most cases we can determine right at the counter, whether an item is made of a precious metal or not.  Determining whether or not it’s a precious gem may require some further testing.

We can help with all of the above questions, and we are happy to assist you determine “if it’s real” and if you need an appraisal, an evaluation, or if you should just wear it and enjoy it!

What to do when you lose your diamond

Posted by Peggy Seitzinger on February 6th, 2012

First of all, don’t panic.   There are a few tactics you can use to look for your missing stone.

First, retrace your steps.  While you’re looking, turn off the lights and get down to floor level with a flashlight.  By getting down to ground level, with the light, you increase the odds of catching that little wink of reflection that will lead you to your stone.

Second, if you’ve vacuumed recently, remove the vacuum bag and sift it out, over a towel covered surface so nothing bounces out again.

Third, check the dryer.  I’ve heard that the dryer is the number one place that people lose their stones.

Finally, take a deep breath and sit down.  As with any task that we undertake, when we approach it in a frenzied manner we don’t tend to get very far.  By the same token, when we calm down and develop a plan we can be much more effective.

Ideally, we’d love you all to avoid losing your stones in the first place.  Bring your jewelry in for cleaning and inspection any time.  With good maintenance we can usually avoid the loss in the first place.

To wrap up on a happy note, I’ll  share the following story.   I once had a customer come in the store to have her scheduled inspection performed.  She told me that she now has it checked at least every six months, since her horrible ordeal.  She told me how she lost her diamond and using the above ideas she searched everywhere in her home.  She couldn’t find it.  Finally, having all but given up, she decided to make herself a sandwich.  She opened the bag of lunch meat, and lo and behold, there was her diamond, just waiting for her, nestled amongst the salami.

Technology & Tradition

Posted by Peggy Seitzinger on September 22nd, 2011

How many of you have been on a business trip that ended up being a waste of time, despite promises to the contrary?  Well, our trip to Stuller, Inc. in Lafayette, LA was NOT THAT TRIP!!!!  We were greeted with Southern hospitality at its finest, combined with presentations and instruction on ways to bring technology into our business.  Stuller has developed a CAD program that will enable us to design custom work with our customers, right at the counter!  The hardware and software will be arriving shortly, so be on the lookout for its debut!  They also showed us some tools on their website that will allow us to quote accurate pricing in real time, even with the volatile metals market.  In addition to the computer work we were introduced to, we also did a little studying on the topic of change in general.  The jewelry industry has long been viewed as an industry steeped in tradition and slow to change.  We’ll keep the tradition, but after that few days in Louisiana we are ready to change and improve our service and offerings to best serve our clients.  We returned home and to our store energized and ready to tackle change , though we gained a few pounds due to the shrimp, crab and crawfish, all the knowledge we gained was well worth it!

Not Your Grandma’s Pearls

Posted by Peggy Seitzinger on June 22nd, 2011

Just the mention of pearls makes many people instantly conjure images of little, old grandmothers with ropes of pearls on to compliment lace collars.  I’m here to tell you that there is much more to the world of pearls than that!  Although the traditional round, white, saltwater cultured pearl is still as timely and appropriate as ever, it’s not the only pearl on the beach.

South Sea pearls and freshwater pearls come in all  shapes, sizes and colors. With some widely accepted treatments pearls even come in red, blue, purple, green, and chocolate. With all of these choices there is bound to be a pearl that’s just right, even for the pearl skeptic.

If you’re one of the lucky who claim June as their birth month, then you get to claim pearl a your birthstone.   Whether pearl is your

birthstone or not, if you enjoy them you are in good company.  The ancient Greeks believed that Aphrodite, the goddess of sensuality and beauty loved pearls.  With an endorsement like that, who could help but be enamored with pearls in all of their varied and lovely forms.

To keep your pearls in great shape they should be cleaned and inspected by your jeweler at least twice a year.  Strands of pearls should be restrung when their silk starts to fray or when the pearls move freely between the knots.

Dogs are Roper’s Jewelers Best Friends

Posted by Peggy Seitzinger on May 25th, 2011

There is an old saying that dog is man’s best friend.  Around here, we couldn’t agree more!  We have lots of dog-friends who regularly come in to the store to say hello and of course, to have their cookie!  Brenda keeps a drawer full of dog treats so we are prepared for any and all doggie visits.  We consider ourselves a dog friendly business, not because it’s trendy or because we think it will encourage purchases, rather because we really believe that our dog companions make our lives better.  We have rejoiced with our clients when new dogs join their families and we have cried with them when their dogs have moved out of their lives.  In all cases we feel fortunate to share these doggie experiences with our clients and friends.  We’d love to meet your dog too!

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