Monday, October 25, 2021

Battle of the bands




Richard Alan

I have just returned from my old New England stomping grounds to celebrate my niece’s graduation from nursing school. I got to mingle with folks I had not seen for many years and I couldn’t help but notice all the wedding bands I had created and sold years ago to my relatives and friends. (And they would bring it to my attention!) Many are still married to their high school sweethearts.

But here on the Rock, living the dream in the new Millennium, marriages come and go like hurricane season, which reminds me of a sign I had seen which read, “marriages are made in heaven… so is thunder and lightning.”

It’s very refreshing to see older couples who enter my shop, soon to be celebrating their 40th or 50th wedding anniversary. I remember asking one couple what their secret was for the longevity of their marital bliss. She simply said she lives in Marco for nine months out of the year and he lives in New York City. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I suppose.

Many other couples enjoy renewing their vows on a special anniversary, kind of like returning to the scene of the crime, and that can include new wedding rings for the ceremony.

The choices for wedding bands today are endless, both for the first time or the second time. There are platinum and 18kt. yellow gold combinations, some with diamonds, some without for those who want to go all out.

I’m very excited about the wedding band line I discovered while on a buying trip in Europe. The ring sets are superbly crafted in sterling with different colored gold accent combinations and many have a few small diamonds or a single stone in the designs. All designs are cutting edge and most importantly, reasonably priced.

Couples who planned on purchasing “plain and simple bands” change their minds when they see the endless options available. Happily, the cost is not much more than the plain and simple.

I tend to sell unusual bands to the gentlemen who normally don’t wear any jewelry. They actually agree that if the band is their only piece it might as well be different! On the other hand, with ladies it gets more complicated because it has to match or complement the engagement ring.

So many choices, so little time…. I have to admit the selection is well….truly endless. Just remember a wedding band reflects one’s personality, and to make them even more personal, they can be engraved on the inside with a vow of everlasting love. And for you guys out there, the wedding date can be inscribed on the inside as a reminder, so you don’t forget her most important date every year, which prolongs that everlasting love thing.

A customer asked me a question about jewelry appraisals and insurance the other day; what exactly should she insure or not insure. I thought it was a great question. Many of my customers have lots of jewelry and appraising and insuring every piece can get awfully expensive.

My rule of thumb is if the value is under $400 let it slide. If you own a safe deposit box all the better. If you rarely wear it and lock it up, why insure it? One should consider a simple closet safe, a small floor safe that is bolted to the floor, inconspicuously. Gulf Island Lock and Safe right here on the island can provide one for you.

Of course, insure large diamond rings, pendants, earrings, expensive tennis bracelets. Also, protect valuable gems such as emeralds, rubies and sapphires with adequate insurance.

My experience with jewelry insurance claims from the big conglomerates has been on the far side of negative lately (you know who they are; they probably insure your cars, boat, or home.) In the past few years the claim process has been a nightmare for all involved. Besides refusing to pay the full amount of the claim, the companies simply find ways to delay the whole process. The pain and anguish is worse than a root canal without anesthesia.

I don’t have the time or patience for the rhetoric. I only deal with one company…Jewelers Mutual. They insure jewelry, that’s it. You lose a piece of jewelry, there is no song and dance. You get a check ASAP. Save time, money and get great service. Check them out.

While on the subject of keeping one’s jewelry safe, there has been a rash of breaking and entering on the island, even during broad daylight. I know first hand because several victims have been in with lists of stolen jewelry and ask that I keep an eye open for suspicious gold sellers.

Folks, keep your back doors, lanai doors, and garage doors closed even when home, especially when working in the back yard or on the boat dock.

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith with over 40 years (and counting) experience and the owner of The Harbor Goldsmith of Marco Island @ Island Plaza. He welcomes any questions you may have about All That Glitters. 239-394-9275 or

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