Wednesday, December 1, 2021

ALL THAT GLITTERS: Shock and Awe-mour 



Richard Alan

So what is it? All can tell you is I am not the sole perpetrator of this emotional phenomenon. I have a great deal to do with the final result, which by the way is a joyful, positive, and most often, a romantic experience. The catalyst of creating this phenomenon is fine jewelry.

Who knows? A pre-historic smelly cave dwelling Cro-Magnon named Gronk could have decided to tie a bears tooth to a strip of leather and present it to the apple of his eye…the first shock and Awe-mour! I’m sure she was surprised and impressed, and maybe they shared a cozy fire and a bearskin blanket that evening.

I have a meandering imagination, but it’s a fact that things progressed very quickly from that bear’s tooth to shiny rocks and newly discovered metals.

As time marched on, kings bestowed unimaginable jewels and gold jewelry to their queens and princesses. You would think it would eventually get boring to the ladies, but I doubt it.

I see the look of joy on people’s faces almost every day. Whether it was a repair of someone’s favorite piece of jewelry, as simple as a broken neck chain that is now good-as-new, or presenting an expensive hand-crafted diamond necklace or ring, it creates a special feeling, kind of like buying your first new car, only better. Your car will eventually have to be replaced. But a person that presents a memorable piece of fine gold jewelry to his loved one(s) will experience that magical feeling every time that person wears that gift of love and affection. I have perpetrated that joy and have been complimented for decades and even beyond. Let’s just say my fine jewelry has achieved its desired results.

Hand crafting fine one-of-a kind jewelry is a time consuming labor of love. It begins with a concept. It can be some pencil sketches, or something someone saw on the internet. The designs are only limited by one’s imagination. Jewelry made to order is not inexpensive, so don’t expect to present some old rings and loose gemstones thinking: Oh! This can’t cost much to do!

You would be wrong. The process is complicated and time-consuming, and is also labor intensive, and that = $$$$. Buying a fine piece of jewelry out of a showcase is usually more monetarily

Submitted Photo

Submitted Photo


Nevertheless, there are many out there that do not want to wear jewelry that everyone else in the world can buy at any mall cookie-cutter jewelry store.

That’s where someone like me comes into the picture. Not every custom piece of jewelry has to be a long, drawn out expensive process. A goldsmith can combine several pre-made components to create very unusual pieces of jewelry. This can be achieved by mixing different colors of gold such as yellow, white, and even rose, then mixing colored gemstones or diamonds. The combinations can be endless.

I have always lived by the K.I.S.S. system (Keep It Simple Stupid). A single, high quality diamond set into a simple four-prong setting on a diamond cut chain is spectacular! Notice I said “high quality.” Mediocre won’t cut it guys. Even a smaller high quality diamond blows away a larger, poorer quality diamond because of its superior color, luster and scintillation.

Let’s get back to the shock and awe thing. Presenting the love of your life with a truly radiant piece of diamond jewelry for the holidays (or maybe just because she has been putting up with you for a quarter of a century or more!) can achieve that moment for her. It can be that simple above-mentioned diamond pendant she will cherish every time she wears it, diamond stud earrings are a sure thing every time, and if you wish to accomplish the cave fire and under the bearskin blanket thing…I suggest a magnificent multiple diamond bracelets or the latest Halo diamond “just because” ring to set the mood. Remember, there’s a difference between living and living well.

A question by email last week asked about cleaning jewelry with diluted household bleach.

One should NEVER, NEVER, NEVER clean any kind of jewelry with bleach. Not ever! It will destroy your valuables in a short matter of time. Even chlorine (bleach) in your swimming pool will take its toll eventually. There are plenty of safe jewelry cleaners out there. If you are uncertain, bring it in. I will be happy to clean it for you.

Hoping you all had a happy Thanksgiving!

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith Marco’s Island jeweler for nearly 25 years, and he welcomes your questions about all that glitters. Call 239-394-9275 or visit the website at

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