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Some DTLA jewelers stick to reliable suppliers for safe jewelry

By Kylie Reynolds
Published: Friday, July 20, 2012, at 09:05AM

Sam Kratian, owner of Lulu's Treasure, Inc. on Seventh Street, said he depends on reliable suppliers to ensure the fashion jewelry he sells, including the rings pictured above, do not contain contaminants.



With a recent lawsuit filed against 16 DTLA businesses for reportedly selling jewelry containing high levels of lead, Blogdowntown talked to some downtown jewelers about how they prevent buying and selling contaminated items.

Sam Kratian said he can remember not being aware of regulations when he started out in the fashion jewelry business. In fact, he said it is possible he even sold a few items containing lead in the beginning.

As Kratian got more experienced in the business, he said he learned to reduce his chances of selling toxic jewelry by buying from reputable suppliers. Standing in his 7th Street store, Lulu's Treasure, Inc., he said fashion jewelers just have to be smart about their purchases.

"Most fashion jewelers are working to prevent lead ... from being in their jewelry," Kratian said. "But some suppliers are cheap, and buyers fall for the (inexpensive) price."

It comes down to the suppliers.

It's nearly impossible to tell if a piece contains lead, unless a buyer has a good sense of weight - it's not something that the eye can judge, said Vic Baronian of Sarkis Baronian Jewelry in the Jewely District. Lead is often used in jewelry manufacturing to make pieces feel heavier and more substantial.

And it's not cost-effective for sellers, who are trying to keep their prices low, to analyze jewelry for contamination, Kratian said.

So it falls on finding reliable suppliers who are known for selling quality items. Twice a year Kratian travels to China, which sells the majority of fashion jewelry, to meet with suppliers he can trust, he said.

While fine jewelry is rarely contaminated, Daryousha Kohanteb of Magnolia Jewelry on Olive Street said it is still concerning that lead-tainted items are being sold in DTLA. Kohanteb gets most of his jewelery from South Asia, but said he always trusts that the pieces are safe because of the value of the items.

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