Let’s make a deal

Haute jewels and low prices from the down and out in Beverly Hills

Beverly Loan Co., the oldest pawn shop in Beverly Hills, boasts a broad range of clients.

“Wives who want to get plastic surgery without telling their husbands, gamblers, businessmen,” says co-owner Jordan Tabach-Bank. “We see it all.”

BLC has been handing out cash for valuables since 1938. Tabach-Bank prides himself on the shop’s discretion, but the Lakers championship rings, Super Bowl rings and fallen-star memorabilia speak for themselves.

In addition to a piece of infamy, bargain hunters can find items like sterling silver Cartier salt and pepper shakers for $220 — less than half of what they sell for on Rodeo Drive a half-mile away.

Those who need a quick loan don’t have to worry about their grandmother’s pearls disappearing before they can get them out of hock. BLC keeps all items upstairs in a Bank of America vault for four months before offering them for sale. Some customers have “pawned” valuables when going on vacation to keep them safe.

Two items are not for sale: a limited edition De Beers 2000 hourglass with 2,000 uncut diamonds (35 carats’ worth) and a 1905 Picasso sketch, “Tete de Femme.” And there’s at least one item BLC can’t buy. A few years ago, a client tried to pawn his Oscar.

Here’s a look at the items V Life Weekend discovered on a recent visit to Beverly Loan and some tips on buying good pawn.

The story: This circa-1800, 45-carat necklace lacks the bright blue usually associated with aquamarine, but that only makes it more rare.
How much?: Retail, there’s no guessing. BLC is asking $28,000.
Tip: Too steep? Don’t be afraid to haggle. According to the staff, prices are always negotiable.

The story: While no one is ever going to see the tiny designer’s stamp on these flower Van Cleef and Arpels studs, you’ll still pay for it. Signed pieces cost more at retail and resale.
How much?: Retail, $13,000. At BLC, $7,500.
Tip: Save the packaging when you buy any piece of jewelry. An empty Rolex box sells for $50 to $200; the more back-up material (box, receipt, appraisal certificate) you have, the more money you’ll get.

The story: Gerald Genta’s cartoon character timepieces have been described as the most expensive Mickey Mouse watches in the world.
How much?: Retail, think $8,400. At BLC, $7,000.
Tip: Even if you’re not shopping pawn, retailers are. “Dealers who work at shops on Beverly and Rodeo buy our products, then turn around and sell them for double,” says Tabach-Bank. If you’re looking for a particular big-ticket item, ask to be put on BLC’s wish list.

The story: Paging Elizabeth Taylor. This 15.81 carat yellow diamond has two diamond side stones and a platinum setting.
How much?: Retail is hard to estimate, but BLC is asking $250,000.
Tip: Many people can get over the stigma of a secondhand engagement ring to save a few grand. Tabach-Bank says the store gets “lots and lots” of diamonds from divorcees. Want to save, but superstitious? Beverly Loan will help you find a new setting for the stone.