Tuesday, December 7, 2021

That’s The Way It Is




Richard Alan

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. For me personally it was the best jewelry gift-giving Christmas season in ten years. The demand for really nice jewelry started on Black Friday and continued until I closed my doors to the shop at 4 PM Christmas Eve, which by the way was the exact moment I emptied a gifted bottle of fine Spanish brandy. Coincidence? I think not. Customers and friends had a lot to do with it.

Personally speaking, it is time for me to say good riddance to 2016 and welcome 2017 for what I hope will be a new Renaissance for those of us in the jewelry business. Once again there was more demand for finer jewelry, meaning jewelry made in 18 karat and 14 karat gold, diamond and precious gemstone pieces, instead of stainless steel, leather and rubber!

The demand for fine Brazilian aquamarine has prompted me to acquire more of the vibrant Caribbean blue gems that I incorporated into truly unique diamond pieces that my customers loved. Surprisingly, some very nice emerald and sapphire jewelry accented with diamonds also moved out the door. I don’t know what’s going on, but I love it!

Two Christmas seasons ago I rid my showcases of the jewelry I reluctantly had to carry because years ago fine gold and diamond jewelry was simply not selling. From what I have seen and created with these two eyes and hands, things have finally changed for the better.

I will admit 2016 provided a great source of material for my slightly (?) sarcastic articles, that to my amazement, people seem to enjoy.

One of my favorites last summer was being asked by a casual browser, how my jewelry prices “compared to Wal-Mart?” First I bit my tongue. I nicely told him there was no comparison, and while he obviously enjoyed the “special quality” of the
Walter Marte’ jewelry, I suggested he should continue shopping there. Try asking that question in a Cartier or Tiffany store.

A week before Christmas a woman refused to repair her $30,000 diamond bracelet that required two strategic solders that would prevent her from losing it. She said my $20 fee was outrageous, caused a scene placed it back on her wrist and whooshed out of the store with her flying monkeys. I’ll bet she’s lost that $30,000 bracelet by now.

I could fill every page of this newspaper or film a reality show with just last year’s challenging experiences dealing with the many fruitcakes, grumps, prima donnas, brideszillas and skinflints that somehow found their way to my goldsmith shop.

I praise the heavens above for the many wonderful friends and customers who truly appreciate me and my many years of experience as a master goldsmith, a craft I love and devoted my life to, and even make living with.

This new year I will strive to educate those of you who are interested in the design and process of creating a fine piece of jewelry from a lump of gold and a pile of diamonds and gems. I will also continue to supply useful information about diamonds, gemstones, what to avoid when buying jewelry, and the care of your fine jewelry. (Or maybe educating the ignorant so they learn there is a big difference between buying jewelry from Wal-Mart and Cartier!)

And now, as I get another year closer to retirement (don’t panic…not just yet!), my New Year’s resolution will be “Never let a person waste your time more than once.” I will also smile and nicely dismiss the folks that do me that injustice or are just impossible to please, because their departure will make room for the next customer that walks in, who will be eager to see a jeweler/goldsmith with forty years of experience who runs a successful business…The Harbor Goldsmith on Marco Island, for over twenty-four years.

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of The Harbor Goldsmith at Island Plaza and welcomes your questions about all that glitters. Contact him at 239-394-9275 or harborgoldsmith@comcast.net, or visit his informative website at www.harborgoldsmith.com.

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