Saturday, November 27, 2021




Richard Alan 

Buyer beware is a term used probably before ancient Roman times, to warn even savvy consumers that if the price of merchandise they are purchasing is too good to be true it usually is. I grew up with a saying my mentor, and at the time my master, often quoted (I was an apprentice goldsmith then though I felt like an indentured servant.) “The bitterness of a low price lingers long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten” Ben Franklin. 

That saying influenced my whole life, not just what I bought for my household, but even the merchandise I carried in my retail shops. Best quality is always more expensive, better, a little less expensive, but inferior quality is simply inferior. It’s all justified by the price you pay. The trick is not paying a lot for mediocre merchandise.

Ever try to dry off with cheap $5.00 beach towels? All they do is spread the water around. They absorb nothing. Jewelry is no exception, there is so much being done to attract the public to buy jewelry that may not necessarily be solid 18 karat gold, 14 karat gold or platinum. You may notice I listed gold prior to platinum. Gold has actually surpassed the cost of platinum recently.

The holidays are around the corner and regardless of economic conditions, women in general, love jewelry as a holiday gift. I heard the guys just groan painfully as a group after reading my last statement. It’s not as agonizing as you think.

It’s reality, guys, let’s face it, nothing gets us out of the doghouse like jewelry does. Except maybe getting her a new 2012 Mercedes turbo coup, what did you do? Now that’s an expensive peace offering! For a lot of jewelry lovers heavy gold pieces may be out of the question budget wise, so many manufacturers, including yours truly, saw the writing on the wall and now we are producing a lot of sterling silver jewelry with gold accents that seriously keep the cost down. Men’s jewelry created with alternative metals such as stainless steel and titanium are popular as ever, but I’ve noticed the ladies on Marco haven’t warmed up to wearing it just yet.

Back to the point of this article… stay away from the horrible super light weight gold chains and rings, etc. being offered today on TV or elsewhere. You’d be better off giving your significant other a new vacuum cleaner and enduring the glare of her initial reaction on Christmas morning. At least your thoughtless gift will last longer than the worthless alternative.

Diamonds are forever and so are credit card payments. Once again lots of my newest pieces incorporate small diamonds set in silver and gold. Also, the latest styles from Europe are following the same trend. This is all good. It was hard to find fabulous styling with a rainbow of colored gemstones, that include diamonds in silver, at reasonable prices that make you look like you gave this gift giving thing some thought.

Don’t misunderstand me, certain famous designers still fetch spectacular prices for sterling jewelry and the cost of silver has more than quadrupled in these past years but thankfully it is no where near the price of gold. The high end jewelry store with the pretty blue box has been charging for silver as though it were gold for decades, and does now, only more so. Jewelry should be substantial enough to withstand daily wear, be attractive and have a practical design.

Its design should not cause pain to the wearer or damage one’s clothing or maim other people within a 3 foot radius of the wearer. (Those of you out there who enjoy pain can ignore this last paragraph.)

Now become that sophisticated and savvy consumer, shop well and shop smart and don’t become the prey of misleading pre-holiday sales that offer ridiculous percentages off for gold. In this current metal market it’s impossible to offer savings unless it’s hollow and shoddily made.

Always be that buyer who bewares! 

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and the owner of the Harbor Goldsmith and Richard’s Reefs on Marco Island and welcomes your questions about “All That Glitters” 239-394-9275. 

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