Thursday, October 28, 2021

Disappointing Expectations


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Submitted Photo

Disappointment is something every single one of us has experienced one time or another, sadly some more than others. It’s a fact of life, and the less disappointments one has, the richer one’s life is.

There was a gentleman in the shop last season asking about what it would cost for a particular heavy gold neck chain, he told me he used to own a nice one but he sold it during the gold buying craze several years ago. The chain in question was a curb link, heavy and indestructible, and it weighed about thirty-five grams (slightly over an ounce of 14 kt. gold).

For those of you who have recently surfaced from their 1960s A-bomb underground shelters… Elvis is dead, and gold is not $300 an ounce anymore. In fact, it’s relatively expensive.

(The way things are jelling lately, getting fresh supplies, including a lifelong supply of Twizzlers, then going back underground might be a good idea!)

At this moment in time, the price of gold bullion is $1,226 per ounce, a wee bit more than 300 bucks. Personally, I would be comfortably happy if gold was around $900 an ounce. Then again, I would love to be comfortably numb and retired, lounging somewhere in some foreign country overlooking a topless beach by the Mediterranean Sea; just one of my many private disappointing expectations.

Heavy gold jewelry, no matter the karat or weight, is priced at market value. If the market’s up, so is the cost of the chain, so this neck chain in question can cost in and around

1,900 smackers or more.

“Nineteen hundred dollars! Are you crazy? I saw them online for half that price!” My question to him, in response to that emotional remark, “Was the chain hollow or solid?” He did not know exactly. Well it kinda matters. What appears to look like a heavy chain online can in fact be lighter than puff of smoke and mirrors in reality. He doesn’t like my price, so be it, go buy it online. Just don’t bring it back to me when you are disappointed by the result.

Guess who’s back in a week later, showing off his purchase? The $900 chain weighed the same as three

100 bills, which by the way was what the chain was worth. told him that is not a solid chain and it only weighs 9.50 grams, less than a third of the weight of the chain I showed him a week before…apples and oranges, folks. He had his mind made up,



the purchase exceeded his expectations, and I was overpriced. End of story.

A month later, Mr. Expectations is back and concerned his chain is full of dents, mangled and broken in two places. “Sorry can’t help you, it’s too light to repair the breaks and there is no way to remove the crushed and dented areas. I suggest you return it where you bought it,” I said with reserved glee. He said that he tried to, but to no avail, then sputtered an obscenity under his breath, grabbed the chain off the counter and hightailed out the door. Another perfect case of disappointing expectations.

It doesn’t have to be that way. No one likes to be disappointed, but I learned one thing in this business…the ignorant get disappointed a lot!

Being educated in high-end purchases, especially jewelry orientated, is a must nowadays. There is no harm in asking what may seem like a silly question, such as, “Can I melt all my small diamonds to make a larger one?” Ah! No, that is not possible, but I wish it were.

My newest favorite question, which I was asked last week: “If you add extra links to my watch, will it make it smaller or larger?” I was speechless. So obviously, removing links will make the watchstrap longer?

Another question from cyberspace…

John J. asks: I have several Krugerrand coins from the 1980s. Are they rare, and what are they worth?

John, I don’t consider myself an expert in coins, but I have dealt in Krugerrands on more than one occasion. They are considered more as bullion than as coins, and were available in several weights, 1 oz., 1/2 oz., 1/4 oz., and 1/10 oz. They are only 22kt. gold (91.67% pure) and confidently traded on a daily basis all over the world. I figure there were more than 6½ million of them minted and their value can be monitored on several websites.

They sell for a few dollars above or below market price depending on the guidelines on individual sites’ handling fees.

If they were purchased 30 years ago or so cheaply, congratulations on your windfall! A Krugerrand purchased in the 1980s for $250 trades today for around $1,250 each. Not a bad investment, if you hung on to them for 30 years.

Richard Alan is a master goldsmith plying his trade for over 45 years, 25 of those on Marco Island. He welcomes your questions and comments about all that glitters. For more information call 239-394-9275 or visit

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