Thursday, October 21, 2021

First Things First

All That Glitters

Photo by Richard Alan | Horse leaving.

Fine jewelry can be described in many ways. It can be beautiful, exquisite and most importantly, stunning. Being up close and personal with an important or large diamond or precious gemstone, such as a four or fivecarat highquality diamond, is a sight to behold. It’s large size, pure white color, and precision cutting results in a brilliant and scintillating experience beyond description. My fifty some odd years in the jewelry I have seen, handled, sold, repaired and performed appraisals on thousands of diamonds in my lifetime. Some took my breath away—and still doand some made me bite my tongue at how pitifully ugly they were and trying to explain to the naive souls who purchased these inferior diamonds that they have been duped out of thousands of dollars. 

I have held in my hand a diamond weighing over 20 carats costing millions of dollars and I have handled impressive diamonds a fraction of its size. 

One thing that I have learned is the emotional or monetary attachment both men and women will have for this small faceted star-like object that fell to earth on their finger is in fact… simply ordinary carbon the same material found in a #2 pencil. All from a little help from Mother Nature, namely untold pounds of pressure and intense heat, simmer, wait a few million years, and then you’ll have a beautiful, one of a kind, diamond!  

A similar process occurs for rubies, emeralds and my wife’s favoritesapphire. 

The value of many of these finer gems have increased significantly these past years and especially the gold or platinum settings they sit in, it could be a simple fourprong pendant showing off a nice happy and bright one carat round diamond, or a stunning necklace fit for a queen with multiple carats of diamonds and gemstones. 

One thing that should be first and foremost to those who are fortunate to possess such wonderful things is SECURITY. 

I mean security in more ways than one. Is the ring setting, pendant, earring or bracelet adequate to hold that very important bauble? A shabby quality mounting is a sure way to lose it. Many trips to the jeweler for a variety of reasons is sign of a poorly made mounting or improper and possibly inadequate prongs. My rule of thumb: if it is easy to put on or offit’s easy to lose it! This is your first line of defense, and only you are responsible to have your valuable jewelry cleaned and inspected on a regular basis to avoid stone loss. Not a week goes by that I don’t see the negligence firsthand in the shop, missing diamonds or gems resulting in heartache and high cost all because of that person avoiding or never getting around to a thirtysecond visual inspection. 

SECURITY is also where you keep your valuable jewelry when you are not wearing it. Most long-time islanders and newcomers would be surprised by the reports of missing jewelry just on the island alone. It could be the result of loss, misplacement or worse… theft. Having a home safe or safety deposit box is a good idea, and it’s better than having everything you own in a jewelry box on your bedroom dresser making it so convenient for both you and the home intruder. 

Is your jewelry insured and appraised for its actual value? I’m amazed at how many islanders aren’t. You can’t get an appraisal or insurance after the horse or diamond ring leaves the barn… period! You would be surprised how many folks try to pull that one off with me every year. 

“What do you mean you can’t give me an appraisal! You saw it two years ago when I had you re-prong it! I can tell you exactly what it looked like!” 

We protect all our valuable possessions cars, boats and especially our homes, your fine jewelry should not be disregarded. 

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of The Harbor Goldsmith Marco’s Island jeweler since 1994 he welcomes your questions and comments about all the glitters. Contact him at 

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