July 27th, 2010

Jewelery appraisal swindling

Setting: Modern day USA (probably the South, if that matters)

I honestly have no idea what to google for this...

My character sells a necklace-and-earrings set to a jewelery store. It's a set her mother left her; the catch is that she has no idea if it's expensive, not-so-much, or nothing but a well-made insurance copy. (It is real, artistic jewelery with genuine stones, but she has no way of knowing it.)

She goes to three different jewelery stores trying to get an appraisal (with the hopes of selling it to them). Since she doesn't look like someone who'd know about selling expensive jewelery, and is having a run of bad luck, the first two places try to swindle her - either tell her it's a fake, or that it's real but not worth much. She knows enough to realize they're lying. The third place still cheats her, but this time she falls for it.

What I need are three different ways for the people doing the appraisal to try and cheat her, and several 'counter measures' she'll be thinking of - but which still won't cover the last one. I've heard a real story about a jewelery store taking expensive jewelery for appraisal and returning fake copies, but since my character is only passing through town, so this would need to be a simpler/shorter process of swindling her.

Description of the necklace and earrings: diamonds (different sizes - probably ranging from about 1/8th to 3/4 carats) and sapphires, individually set in gold. It would probably be helpful if I could find the picture I took the image from, but I'm failing at that...

Thank you all for any ideas!
Icon of Rassilon

Women as Song-Pluggers

Setting: Sometime between 1915 and 1935, in an urban setting that is heavily implied to be New York, but never stated as such.

Searched: Combinations of "song-plugger," "history," and "women."  Haven't found much besides a basic description of what a song-plugger is, and a few articles on modern-day song-pluggers.

Question:
Could a woman in her twenties get a job as a song-plugger (playing a piano in a music store in order to demonstrate sheet music) during the early twentieth century?  It's all right if it would have been unusual; I just need to know if it conceivably could happen.

If it could happen, how much would it pay?  Enough for her to live on?