Friday, January 21, 2022

Questions and Answers



Richard Alan

I hope to debunk wives tales and re-inform the misinformed in the next couple of issues, about all that glitters.

Falsehood #1: Can you melt all my small diamonds together and make a large one ?

No, you cannot take a bunch of little diamonds and melt them together to make one large one.

No. Why? Because you can’t.

Diamonds are formed by individual carbon crystals that take millions of years of pressure and high temperatures to form. One can burn a diamond and ruin it’s appearance, but never melt one.

It would be like melting two jet skis together and expect the result to be a boat. If it were possible, think of the possibilities.

Falsehood # 2: If the purchase of a pair of 14-karat gold earrings causes that person’s ears to burn or become itchy, the jeweler must have sold cheap gold.

Not necessarily! Women can acquire allergies to certain alloys that are mixed with the gold, such as brass, nickel, copper and also the nickel content in white gold.

Normal events such as childbirth or other hormonal changes in a woman’s life can cause reactions with some precious metal on the skin that never occurred before. Many times, I simply change the earring post to a higher karat gold and see if that solves the problem. If that doesn’t work, platinum posts will do the trick. Platinum is a super clean metal, and in my 40 years as a jeweler, no one has ever been allergic to it. My wife, Andrea, cannot wear cheap metal earrings or watches. Lucky me! She would break out with the above-mentioned skin irritations. Good quality jewelry is seldom the cause.

Dermatitis caused by wearing rings can also be an annoying problem! Sometimes the source of the problem can be really dirty rings, food, soap scum and who knows what! It all can clog up behind the gemstones, and bacteria grows with your finger becoming its main course. Many irritations are caused by not keeping ones jewelry clean. You clean your clothes; keep your jewelry clean.

Falsehood #3: How come the cost of two half-carat diamonds are not the same as a single one-carat diamond? Same holds true for the cost of a single two-carat, which is way more expensive than two one-carat stones.

Good question. For example, two very nice quality, SI1 clarity, H color, .50/100 carat round diamonds can cost $2,000 each. The same quality diamond weighing 1 carat should be $4,000 right?

Wrong! Today, a really nice one-carat stone could cost anywhere from $5,500 to $6,500. The reason is larger diamonds are more rare than smaller ones. The larger the diamond, the cost per carat is higher. The better the color and clarity grade can drive the cost higher still per carat. For example, a D color flawless one-carat diamond can cost $20,000 or more. Four- and five-carat diamonds can cost hundreds of thousands.

Falsehood #3: The only good diamond is a blue-white diamond.

Where this falsehood originated, I will never know. While it is true quality diamonds should give off colors of blue and white, they also give off most colors of the color spectrum.

In fact, some diamonds can appear to give off a majority of blue something we in the business call fluorescence. It is kind of like the color of the blue light we would use on our bedroom Led Zeppelin posters in the 60s and 70s. A truly beautiful diamond should not possess that feature for it inhibits the scintillating of the gem and affects its value considerably in a negative way, although some folks like the blue saturation effect and enjoy it anyway.

The whiter the diamond, the more expensive it can be. Just like picking out white paint, there are so many shades, so in that respect there are many degrees of white when grading a diamond.

Most professional jeweler’s, especially diamond dealers, use the Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A.) diamond grading scale. The whitest is a “D” to the least desirable which is an “M” and higher up the alphabet diamond becomes less desirable.

An “M” or “N” brown diamond is not very pretty when compared to a “G” color high quality diamond. Also diamonds with lots of inclusions or flaws can cause loss of color or brilliance due to lack of scintillation, and don’t forget the other “3 C’s” — carat, cut and clarity — can all affect the appearance.

Falsehood #4: Why is gold so darn expensive?

I can relate to this question for the cost of gold has severely affected my industry, and not in a good way. I could live with the gold price in the $500-$600 range; it was affordable to most people. I never expected it would top $1,000, but it did. Then, it rose to the tune of more than $1800 per ounce!

Now, they are talking soon it will top over $2,000! Who knows? I have been told that big-gun investors and even foreign countries simply lost faith in most modes of investing, namely stocks and paper money. The yellow shiny metal became the most logical and safest way to invest. So, there you have it — supply and demand. When everybody wants it and there is only so much in this world, demand drove the price to unheard of heights.

The price of gold currently is around $1,200, and while still pricy, it’s certainly better than the projected $2,000-plus.

Falsehood #5: It has come to my attention that a certain individual(s) on the island have been spreading false rumors and misinformation about myself and my jewelry store — The Harbor Goldsmith (located between CVS and Bealls).

My staff and I have, in fact, been serving our loyal customers both locally and from every state in the union and also abroad for more than 20 years, and I wish to set the record straight to the misled and misinformed.

The Harbor Goldsmith is neither out of business nor is it closing in the near future nor have we been closed for years. We simply closed our second store located at Marco Walk Plaza and moved from our 1 Front Street location to The Island Plaza at 680 Bald Eagle Drive. All that happened more than three years ago! Our phone number is 239-394-9275 and has been so for more than 20 years.

The truth is that my son, Andrew, (also an accomplished goldsmith) and my dedicated sales staff that includes immediate family members promise to continue providing to both our current clientele and future customers the outstanding quality, service and expertise you have enjoyed for many, many years to come.

Thank you for your understanding on this matter.

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith with more than 40 years of experience and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith of Marco Island. He welcomes your questions about “all that glitters” at 239-394-9275 or at




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *