Looking to network with other pawnbrokers and see the latest technology in identifying precious metals? Then Pawn Expo is the place to be July 7-9, 2015. This two-day national convention in Las Vegas is the largest and most comprehensive trade show in the pawn industry.
I am especially interested in the “Product Knowledge – Precious Metals – Marks or Melt?” show presentation series offered by the Hallmark Research Institute on both Wednesday and Thursday. The speakers will provide a look at hallmarking as a means to identify unusual items of jewelry and silver in order to separate the common from the rare and valuable. They will teach some methods of examination, resources on where to research, and an understanding of how to read foreign hallmarks.
Hallmarks, as they pertain to jewelry, are official marks or series of marks struck on items made of precious metals. The Hallmark Research Institute defines hallmarks as “a country sanctioned, guarantee of quality mark…. The term Hallmark came about from the English that would seek an assay mark for their items of precious metal from ‘The Goldsmiths Hall’ one of the first assay offices in England, thus the shortened term ‘hall-mark’ evolved.”
Hallmarks are a good start to identifying the origin of jewelry pieces. However, these days there are many ways counterfeiters are trying to fool buyers, so hallmarks should not be the only way one verifies the precious metal content of an item. Many jewelers and pawnbrokers use the acid test, a traditional but messy and outdated test consisting of placing a drop of several strong acids onto the metal’s surface and observing whether any reactions between the metal and the acid occurred. But I can give you eight reasons NOT to use the acid test: they are all right here in this infographic, and include facts like the solutions are corrosive and dangerous, the items need to be scratched or cut, and the results can be inaccurate. Even Seth Gold of American Jewelry and Loan (TV personality and 2013 NPA National Pawnbroker of the Year), advises fellow pawnbrokers, to “drop the acid” when it comes to dealing in precious metals.
If you want to explore the latest technology in accurate precious metal analysis, stop by Booth 221 and see XRF technology in action. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzers enable pawnbrokers to find out in just a few seconds the exact precious metal content in jewelry, coins, and other valuable products without destroying them. Some XRF analyzers even alert you to the probability that an item is vermeil (gold-plated silver) or gold-plated copper, or contains steel, tungsten or any other non-gold substrate. Bring a metal item to the booth and we will analyze it for you within seconds, at no charge.
After you are finished with all the glitz and glamour at the show, explore the area and spend some time outside Las Vegas. If you’re hungry and looking for a bit of classic Las Vegas where the locals go, you’ve got to eat at the Peppermill Restaurant and Lounge. My co-worker who once lived in Las Vegas says to not let the purple velour and fake blossoming trees and mirrors fool you; this is a diner with big portions and great service. The 24-hour fireside lounge features sunken seating next to oil-flamed fountains, an experience you won’t want to miss.
Want to explore further? Try renting a car and driving 17 miles west from the strip to Red Rock Canyon as a great way to shake off the neon lights for a few hours. Red Rock Canyon offers a scenic 13-mile drive and more than 30 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking and an incredible view of the valley from the visitor center. Take a picnic lunch or breakfast and enjoy. For a bit longer excursion, drive out to the Valley of Fire State Park, six miles from Lake Mead and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas via Interstate 15, exit 75. Stay in your car and enjoy the red sandstone formations or walk about to experience the ancient trees and signs of early man that are represented throughout the park by areas of petrified wood and 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs.
Hmmm, maybe petroglyphs — those rock carvings made by pecking directly on the rock surface using a stone chisel and a hammerstone — were ancient forms of hallmarks?
Stop by our booth (or comment below) and let us know your thoughts. If you can’t be at the show, you can follow the happenings on twitter using #PawnExpo.
July 7-9, 2015
Las Vegas, Nevada USA