Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Keeping It Real

All That Glitters

And the beat goes on… As I write this, Hurricane Isaias is heading in our direction. So, let me get this all straight. First, we have a COVID -19 Pandemic. Secondly, the results of that caused an economy on the skids. Thirdly and fourthly, don’t forget to add record unemployment and civil unrest! Now the cost of precious metals has also reached record highs! It doesn’t get more real than that! 

Okay, I give up. What’s next a sinkhole to swallow up my small business or maybe my house at the same time? Geez Louise, it’s bad enough enduring the month of August on Marco Island; never a fun time for most businesses here and don’t get me going about September. I swear some days you could skateboard down Collier Blvd in your BVD’s and no one would notice. September is the month I usually head for the hills, normally the hills I’m talking about are either in Tuscany, Italy or Cala Fornells, Spain. There’s no chance of that this year because I’m not wanted, or should I say, not allowed to travel there, which means I’ll head to the hills of North Florida, a stay in state holiday… no hills here in South West Florida.

This world has sure gone crazy! I have been deluged by folks cleaning out their draws looking for wealth untold in silver and gold jewelry, coins and yes even gold teeth! Now that precious metals have peaked beyond the stars, part of the problem is most of the scrap gold was bought up in our 2008 recession and now folks are bringing incomplete pieces of outdated or even new jewelry for sale, and most folks are expecting what they paid or even more than that. It does not work that way in most places buying precious metals from the public. Unless it is a truly magnificent antique piece or valuable large diamond or gem.

For example, a gentleman comes in with several one-ounce Swiss bars of pure 24 karat gold he purchased umpteen years ago for next to nothing. Judging by the packaging, I’m guessing he bought the ingots about 25 years ago when gold was roughly $380 per ounce, and he was demanding I pay him the exact price of today’s gold market price per ingot. That day and time gold was $1973 per bar, times five bars, which equals $9,865. That is five times more than what he paid in 1995, and that is what he was expecting. That’s all fine and dandy in his world… I told him I wasn’t interested.

“Not interested? Your sign says you buy gold!”

My sign doesn’t say I’ll buy your gold, you want too much, you leave me not one red cent of profit and you will be the one walking out with my $9,865 like you won the lottery… I’ll be holding five bars worth exactly $9,865! I’m not interested! Good luck getting that price elsewhere, nobody in business will accept two $10’s for a $20 and call that doing business. If he was willing to leave me a little meat on the bone, I would have considered paying close to what he wanted and filling out the oodles of paperwork involved in the transaction, but he was just being plain greedy about his gold.

Anyone who invested in precious metal commodities knows there are fees when you originally buy the gold, and more fees when you sell it; that’s a fact of life. Nothing is for nothing, just like death and taxes… and that’s keeping it real.

He hung around in my shop stewing in his juices and mumbling that he was going to report me… To who? The Gold Police? What a nincompoop!

The week continued to resemble “The Antique Road Show” with folks hauling in their treasures they assumed were gold or silver; most were not. Just because it is the same color of gold or silver does not mean it is. Hence the title of my column, “All That Glitters… Is Not Gold!” As I once tried to explain to a guy who hauled in his 1960’s era brass floor lamp was not solid gold, he was convinced it was. 

Of course people are curious as to the new value of their heavy gold objects and sparkling baubles, one thing they don’t understand is that yours truly going through their entire valuable and invaluable collections is not a free service. It’s called an appraisal written or verbal requiring the use of my knowledge and lifetime experience to evaluate what is valuable and what is not and then put an approximate price on the item. My time just like yours is valuable. It would be nice if the treasure seekers were actually interested in selling some of it to me, but they are not. 

“I just want to know what all this is worth!” as they slap numerous overflowing zip lock bags or an entire bedroom jewelry box down on my counter, expecting me to drop everything I happen to be doing at the moment, and spend an hour or so rutting through a pile of who knows what and expecting me not to collect compensation for my time. Ah, sorry but no. First of all, an appointment is required, and an hourly fee is established depending on a written or verbal appraisal. 

“But I just want you to look at it!”

Good heavens… It’s so hard keeping it real!

On a heads-up note, those of you who own expensive gold or diamond earring stud, please be careful and aware when applying or removing your masks. During removal, the mask strings can catch the safety backs of the earrings pulling them off without you being aware, this will certainly lead to a lost earring. Been noticing a lot of mishaps and unhappy campers!

Be safe and stay Marco Strong!

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and the owner of The Harbor Goldsmith Marco’s island jeweler and a family business since 1994 he welcomes your questions and comments about all that glitters at www.harborgoldsmith.com.

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