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"Fake" Rhodium Plating

I was at the JIS show in Miami this past weekend and overheard a
disturbing conversation between two silver jewelry wholesalers; one
was telling the other that some manufacturers were plating their
silver jewelry with a metal other than rhodium (he said tin) to
achieve an identical look at a fraction of the price.

Are any of you aware of this deceptive practice or have any of you
heard that this is being done? Is there any easy & affordable way to
tell whether an item is in fact plated with Rhodium versus a
different substance?

Any replies would be appreciated!


Dear David: Sincerely, no offense was taken, and it’s OK if you are a
bit of a jewelry snob–it probably means you’re a talented jeweler
and have good taste!

Regarding the astronomical rent I pay–I agree it’s too high!
However, kiosks owners are kind of the mall’s bastard step-sons–we
have no rights and no one respects or recognizes us! Seriously, I pay
the rent I do due to one thing: not having any negotiating leverage
due to the facts that A) I’ve only got one location (compannies with
dozens of locations can negotiate and play hardball) and B) supply
and demand. The mall I’m in has a long waiting list of people who
want to lease space there; if I’m not willing to pay their asking
price–Joe will! And if Joe won’t Sally will, etc. Perhaps it’s “the
greater fool theory” at work, but I am making money, so whatta I’m
gonna do?!

I have thought about moving someplace where the rent is lower.
However, admittedly I’m not the smartest guy on the block, so maybe
you (or others reading this) may be able to help me:

Say for instance there’s a an 800 square foot store for rent in some
strip mall or pedestrian-friendly neighborhood for $1800 a month.
Besides personally spending some time in the area, checking out
traffic flow, counting bodies on the weekends, perhaps talking to
some other retailers in the area (who very likely aren’t going to be
too forthcoming with gross sales info.), what criteria or data would
one use or compile to determine if it would actually be more
profitable to operate a store in this area instead of where I’m
currently located? Doesn’t it eventually always come down to gut

By the way, personally I’m intriqued and attracted by high rent
rather than being scared away. After all, there must be a reason why
the landlord is able to demand such high rent, right? I remember back
in the early 90’s when I payed $10,000 to rent a pushcart for the
Christmas season (November and December only) in a brand new mall in
Atlanta Georgia. A guy I new thought I was crazy to saddle myself
with such high rent, and instead he rented a pushcart in an older,
somewhat beaten down neighborhood mall for something around $3,000
for the season. I sold slightly over $70,000 with of T-shirts and
jewelry that Xmas, while he sold somewhere around $40,000. That
said, it’s not what you gross but what you net that matters!

Best wishes,