A little story

Hello everyone,

I have been absent for awhile due to some uncontrollable computer
problems and my star e-mail account, and one controllable error on
my part. Some of you may remember me from a few months back. I
seem to have irritated several of you with a post I put up dealing
with handmade jewelry, and it’s definition in the eyes of the law.
Well, my computer is back up to snuff (I had way too many crashes
with Win 95 so I switched to NT) and my e-mail account is back on
line as well. I can once again receive all the posts. Now to my

I am, what I like to refer to as, a jewelry artist. I make
one-of-a-kind and limited edition fine art jewelry pieces. I make
them in gold mainly, sometimes with platinum accents. I was doing
several art and craft shows this past fall and at one of them, in
Woodland Hills, Calif. I committed the one cardinal sin that we, as
professionals, have been taught never to do. I took my eye off my

It was on Sunday evening, November 2, and I was breaking down
after the show was over. It was 6 PM and it was dark. There were
no lights in the park, and I had never done an outdoor show this
late in the year, so I didn’t have either a lantern or a
flashlight. By the time I had removed all my jewelry from my
showcases and packed them up and placed them in my bag, it was
pitch black. The only light came from other artists near me who
had done outdoor shows and were prepared with lanterns. Kind of
gave an eerie feel to the park. I set the bag down behind me, not
more than 5 feet away, and turned around to start breaking down my
showcases. It only took that long. Within minutes someone had
come up behind me and snatched my bag, and I didn’t even hear
them. It was gone. 93 pieces with a retail value of over $85,000
had been lifted out of my life. It was my entire inventory that I
had built up for the holiday season. And like most of us artists,
it wasn’t insured. The loss was so devastating to me that I had to
pull out of my remaining 3 shows and write off the whole season.
Hansen Designs was literally out of business. I had committed
myself to doing the Contemporary Craft Market show in Santa Monica,
Calif. the following wekend. I went there with 6 pieces of
jewelry, my stock of loose and my photo album showing
pictures of the pieces I lost. I put up a big banner at my booth
and asked people that if they saw any of these pieces to please
call me. Mr. Helms, the promoter of CCM, held an artist meeting on
Sunday morning and announced that he was going to make a donation
to CERF (Craft Emergency Relief Fund) in my name and that any
artistis who wished to help could also make a donation in my name
and drop the checks off to him and he would mail them in. When my
wife and I heard that it brought tears to our eyes. We had just
been through one of the most devastating financial losses any one
of us could ever imagine, and then to have something like this come
our way was, well, overwhelming. Later that day several artists
stopped by with condolences, and stories of their own. But two
artists stopped by and offered, free of charge, their labor if it
would help me to salvage some of the holiday season. If I needed
castings cleaned and polished they offered to do it, even though
this was the busy season for all of us. I was truely appreciative
of their offer and took them up on it. They helped me to complete
a 9 ring order for one customer. I would not have been able to do
it on my own. In our trade, the commercial aspects of it anyway,
can be very cold and uncaring towards their fellow jewelers,
because our business, like so many others, is very cutthroat.
What misfortune befalls one of us is readily grabbed up by another.
Afterall, sale is a sale, no matter how you come by it. But with
artists it’s a whole different feeling. We are like a big
extended family that we don’t see very often. When something
happens to one of us, we all feel it, and we come to our aid if we
can. Our heart goes out to that individual, because we know how
much of our life, our heart and soul goes into what we do, and how
much is lost when something like this happens.

I learned a very valuable, and costly lesson, that day. I had felt
that just by keeping a low profile, and not advertising that I was
a jeweler carrying untold thousands of dollars in jewelry, that I
would not have anything bad happen to me. But life doesn’t always
work out the way we want it to. And so I am starting over. It
will take me a couple of years to get back up to where I was (at
least I hope it’s only a couple of years) but I will go on. My
first show this year is the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show at the
Tucson Convention Center Feb 12-15. I won’t have much inventory,
but the promotors have helped me out by not asking for my booth
fees until the day of checkin, so I was able to make a few more
pieces. If any of you will be in Tucson for the show I would love
to meet you. It’s always nice to see a face behind the name of
someone you communicate with over the net. Sometimes the net can
be a bit impersonal. I will be in aisle G4.

One last wish. If you learn anything from my story, please let it


Barry & Diana Hansen
Hansen Designs

That was a heartwarming story. I have also learned that jewelers
you meet at fine art and craft shows are wonderfully helpful. As
you said, they may or may not like your work, but they know how
much of you went into it and are appreciative. Thanks for the
lesson. I usually put my case in the truck and lock it up before
taking down, but on occasion I have been careless. I will
never do it again! I work mostly with silver and am just
beginning to work with gold, but if I can help in any way, let me
know. Good luck.

Bacliff, Texas Gulf Coast USA

I am very sorry to hear about your loss…While it is horrible I
am glad to hear that it was a sneak thief vs. the way I have had
some friends robbed, in an agressive and confrontational manner. I
have met people robbed at gun & knife point and at the very least
you were not threatened with physical harm. There are some high
end jewelers in the midwest that come to shows with bodygyards.

One woman I went to school with was robbed twice, once in a
violent manner…law enforcement official that was put in charge of
her case told her that looking for her work was probably futile as
the professional thieves don’t sell it as it…they melt it down for
the metal value ASAP. He told her a story of some fellows that had
some sort of furnace in the back of their van, within minutes there
was no evidence to prove that lump of metal was ever your stuff.
Glad to hear that you came out of it Okay,



Barry and Diana, My heart goes out to both of you! I am in
Virginia and I do pretty much the same thing you do, and I know it
could happen to me. Would donations to CERF in your name get to
you? Can you put some of your lost pieces in the orchid gallery?
That way we could be on the lookout for them whever in the world we
are. Maybe something will show up in Tuscon. Wendy Newman

Dear Folks

I wish to add my heartfelt feelings of loss to you. I am a retail
jeweler in the Bronx, N.Y. and have undergone another type of loss.
I know several salesman who have gone through the same type of
loss as yours, taking years to recover.

I certainly hope that you know that it was not your ‘fault’; just
because we live in such a world where you need twelve sets of eyes
to watch all of your things. And, as you probably realize, if in
fact you confronted the would be robbers, weapons could have been
drawn, and irreparable damage to yourselves as a possible result.
In n.y. area, slow leak tire slashings, followed by a highway
confrontation, are frequently heard about.

Once again, deepest sympathies

Allan Freilich

Yes Allan: I am in CT. and the same thing happened to 2 people I
know, one is my Jeweler who they did the slit the tires thing and
then followed him to the gas station and took everything while he
went into the gas station, then a lady who buys and sells high end
estate and antique jewelry they put a gun to her head and took
everything, she had to sell the contents of her house to start over
as she is all alone and no other means of support, but she did not
let it get her down and she is doing the same thing, I give them
all credit. My heart goes out to anyone this happens to, and now
sadly about 4 months ago, my jewelr came down with Hotchins
Lymphomic cancer and I have not used him as he really went out of
his way to get my work and I never had that much like his big
accounts , but I have been trying to come up with a way to hold a
raffle for him and his family as they have no health insurance.


  It was my entire inventory that I had built up for the holiday
season.  And like most of us artists, it wasn't insured. 

I recently found that my regular insurance company (State Farm)
will insure my business through a new policy designed for home
based businesses. You need to have your home insured there as
well. They cover my tools and inventory and provide liability
insurance both at home and at shows. The cost was truly minimal.

Hi: maybe i’ve been misled…but when i recently obtained renters
insurance through state farm they told me my tools and inventory
was inclusive. Just have a list. I guess a call is due on my

The bank that provides my credit line required that I get
inventory insurance. I got it through the American Crafts Council-
it is called The Craftsman Protection Plan. They provide up to
$50,000 in coverage- at the studio- including tools and
furnishings, at shows and galleries that do not have their own
coverage for work, and while the work is in transit. Rates vary
based on the type of craft.

Rick Hamilton
Richard D. Hamilton
Martha’s Vineyard
Fabricated 14k, 18k, and platinum Jewelry
wax carving, modelmaking, jewelry photography


Hi- I’m also an insurance professional. Most renters and
homeowners have an exclusion relative to anything that has to do
with your business or occupation. UNLESS you have the newer
package that specifically includes a home-based business. Be
careful, because as a renter, I am not sure if you would qualify,
but its worth a call. Kathy SwingRing

Usually, in my experience anyway, if off premises, your
merchandise is only covered by insurance if it is taken out of
your hands or out of you vehicle while you are in it. If you turn
your back and leave it alone, its not covered. Also you move into a
whole different type of insurance once you exceed $50,000.00 in
merchandise, you go from a craftsmen policy to a much more costly
jewelers block policy. Some companies are much more strict about
what they will pay. Jewelers Mutual if famous for requiring
documentation like invoices for everything lost. Other companies
will accept inventory sheets alone. All of them have no problem
taking your faithfully paid premium and then refusing to pay your
loss, they are like the feakin mafia.

I am afraid that even if Mr. Hansen had insurance those weasels
would not have paid because he left it alone, if only for an
instant. He has lived everyones nightmare.

Mark P.

I am afraid that even if Mr. Hansen had insurance those weasels
would not have paid because he left it alone, if only for an
instant. He has lived everyones nightmare.

Yes Mark, I am living that nightmare, and probably for years to

For those of you that have sent me notes I thank you from the
bottom of my heart. Many of you have asked what pieces were stolen
so that you could keep an eye or two out for them. Most of them
can be found on my site. I didn’t have pictures of them all, but
most of the important pieces are listed there. You can see what
was taken and if you see any of it I would love to hear from you.
Here’s the address: http://www.hansendesigns.com Scroll down the
home page and at the bottom are some icons. One is for the jewelry
pages. Thank you for all your best wishes and help. It is REALLY
appreciated at this time.

Hansen Designs
Corona, California

My little story is that I fight health insurance companies for a
living, and make jewelry as a sideline. I can tell you that if my
experience in health insurance extrapolates, and I am fairly sure
it does, your insurance company will likely not pay to the full
extent which your policy allows. My advice to anyone who has had
the misfortune to suffer a loss which may be covered by insurance
is to (1) scrutinize your policy carefully-- and determine whether
your loss is explicitly excluded under the contract (2) push your
insurer to cover as much as may be covered under your contract,
(3) contact your state Department of Insurance or Insurance
Commission if you believe you are being shorted and (4) find a
reputable attorney if you still believe that you have not been
treated right. Remember that any ambiguity in the contract goes
against it’s author (the insurer). Also remember that few people
are ready and willing to take their case all the way with an
insurer, and that insurers bank on your willingness to accept "no"
for an answer.


Hi: maybe i’ve been misled…but when i recently obtained renters
insurance through state farm they told me my tools and inventory
was inclusive. Just have a list. I guess a call is due on my

I have a separate rider for all my equipment and inventory, our
household policy only covers the first $500. I had to list all
equipment with serial numbers, make and model. etc. Also, a good
idea to photo all equipment and put in safe deposit box in case of
fire or theft. If push came to shove I’d want to be able to prove
ownership of all my stuff, I am thinking about engraving some of
the more expensive equipment.