Wednesday, January 19, 2022

No One Goes There Anymore, It’s Too Crowded




Richard Alan

B20-CBN-4-3-15-9I think it was Yogi Berra who coined the phrase above. I had to chuckle a few days ago, while my staff and I were handling a crowd that seemed to appear in the shop all at once. (A lost tour bus?) My sales ladies and I were dashing about like whirling dervishes when I overheard someone complain to her friend while waiting to be served that she dislikes coming to this store because every season when she comes in we are always busy and she has to wait… Twenty-one plus years in business on Marco Island in the middle of season; I better be busy! So being true to form as the reputed island wise guy, when I finally got to wait on her I offered my apologies for the inconvenience of her short wait, and apologized because my store was so busy. Then I thought I would have some fun…I offered her an exclusive and private one on one V.I.P service where I would lock the door and then she would be waited on by every member of my staff including yours truly for as long as she wished and the service also included cleaning and polishing every piece of jewelry she owned, a complimentary bottle of Dom Perignon served with Russian Beluga caviar, complete with a serenading concert violinist while she shopped at her leisure.

And please, you may take as much time as you need. We will not admit a single other person in the store all day if required. Immediate service, no interruptions just you and my entire staff…All this if she promised to spend a minimum of $50,000. The offer is open to anyone reading this.

She laughed and regretfully declined the offer; I mentioned that coming in early on Saturday mornings is the best time to beat the crowd. Why? I figured everyone must be watching the morning cartoons or the jewelry shopping channel!

The incident got my twisted mind thinking, should there be a *common courtesy or a kind of simple etiquette observed before entering a fine jewelry store?

*Common courtesy is something I noticed died years ago with the advent of the cell phone.

1.) Upon entering a jewelry store, or any store for that matter, and you are engaged in a loud conversation on your cell phone, first and foremost, don’t expect anyone to wait on you. It’s my place of business not a phone booth, take the call outside, the weather is nice and there is a comfortable bench out there where you can sit and talk all day. Besides nobody wants to hear you discussing Aunt Muriel’s gall bladder operation, or how outrageous the cost of a pound of swordfish is at the local market.

2.) Jewelers really don’t care where or when, and how much you paid for a piece of jewelry you bought somewhere else, unless you want to pay them for an appraisal to establish the real actual value.

3.) Don’t expect us to drop everything we are doing when you bring in a watch in more pieces than Humpty Dumpty after a nose dive off a retaining wall, all because you thought you might save a few bucks attempting to change your own battery. There are many different batteries, gaskets, special tools and expensive equipment that jewelers have to purchase to change most watch batteries not to mention our experience and expertise. Let us do it, so it gets done correctly.

This can also



include “Gee, I changed my battery myself and can’t seem to get the watch back on again?” And no… you can’t borrow my tools.

4.) “How long is your watch battery guaranteed to last?”

My answer: How long does love last? (No one I know guarantees a watch battery for more than a year, about the same length of time as the national average marriage term expectancy.

5.) We don’t care how much they charge up north, really we don’t.

6.) No matter how many times you ask the jeweler to steam clean your rock salt like diamond ring or earrings, all the steam on planet earth won’t clean out the flaws.

7.) Ladies, when a strand of pearls or beads breaks at the end, or the middle for that matter, you have to restring them entirely from end to end, and no you can’t just glue them together or tie a knot with nothing.

8.) And please don’t abuse my sales staff, especially when they explain rule #7 and you won’t take no for an answer. One of them may bite you and could be rabid.

9.) No, my prices aren’t lower than Walmart’s. Besides I don’t carry the same quality jewelry they carry. Nor do I want to.

10.) Please don’t bring back the piece of jewelry that got destroyed because you had it repaired by “some guy in Naples” after I advised it couldn’t be done.

And now, back to the subject of purchasing fine jewelry for normal thinking people:

Sea life and maritime jewelry has been in huge demand this season. I can’t put together diamond & gold palm trees, sand dollars and starfish fast enough and keeping the ever popular Marco bracelet in stock is more than a challenge. It’s all good!

Gold and silver prices are the lowest in years and I’m sure that has made the difference to the public, and as I have always said, “Nothing feels like real gold” and my all-time favorite saying “Real friends don’t let friends buy cheap jewelry.”

Also popular besides the halo style mounting that surrounds a simple solitaire with a circle of diamonds are the classic three stone gemstone rings flanked by white diamonds. I have put several together these past weeks, sapphire and diamond, ruby and diamond including tanzanite.

Big bold and shiny gold and silver ensembles from Florence, Italy that look incredibly expensive but are in fact bronze with a heavy overlay of 18kt. gold and rhodium, have been wowing many ladies by the actual cost of such a fantastic look. The company will actually make the exact ensembles in solid 18kt. gold, but expect to pay tens of thousands for them, you honestly can’t tell the difference between the beautifully plated pieces and the real McCoy!

I have always been partial to Italian made jewelry, it is some of the best made jewelry in the world and has been for hundreds of years.

The demand for the new exciting “Endless Jewelry” line has been wonderful, especially the Jennifer Lopez collection which has been selling well since her recent plug on Facebook and Twitter.

What to many may seem like relentless preaching about the pitfalls of buying inferior quality jewelry, I hope for some the preaching will be absorbed and eventually sink in. I firmly believe an educated consumer makes wiser choices when purchasing jewelry that will last generations instead of a few weeks.


Richard Alan has been a designer/goldsmith on Marco Island for over 21 years and is the owner of The Harbor Goldsmith @Island Plaza and welcomes your questions about “All That Glitters” 239-394-9275,

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