Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Good, Bad, and the Downright Ugly

Good, bad or ugly, you decide. Submitted Photo

Good, bad or ugly, you decide. Submitted Photo

Richard Alan

Life can be a comedy and even more hilarious if you work with the public. Oh! Yes, I was found in the dark then cut, faceted and polished by the public and the final product took over fifty years to complete, and here I sit. (Sitting I find is now more comfortable than standing.)

Jewelry is my thing. I eat, sleep and live in its world, and there is very little I don’t know about most of its goings on. My shop is a combination of old school hand tools and 125-year-old cast iron machinery, mixed with state of the art laser welders and high tech vacuum casting equipment. My workbench was built in the 1890s, not me.

My taste is a little Romanesque, medieval, Victorian and a bit of modern contemporary. Let’s just say it’s a broad stroke. I especially love the unusual and the tastefully unique. I enjoy designing and creating jewelry that can sometimes incorporate more than several centuries of technology.

But taste is in the eye of the beholder. My wife and I go on several jewelry buying trips annually. I especially enjoy the one we take each year in Europe. This is where we disagree on what is good, bad or ugly. My wife Andrea was born in Europe (and has been an American citizen for many years) and her taste in jewelry, is to say the least, very conservative for a European. Her taste is more in line with the average masses. I, on the other hand, like shock and awe, and constantly strive to find or create the “wow factor.” Sometimes that can be a near impossible feat to accomplish here on the rock.

In season we have people from all walks of life, from the conservative tastes of the New Englanders, to the trendy folks from New York and New Jersey. Then there are the unpredictable folks from the Midwest and southwest, to the State of California. Their tastes are all over the board. Some want to see six-inch diameter gold and silver belt buckles, or heavy and chunky nugget jewelry. Go west young man! And back out that T-Bird you Elvis impersonators. Geeze! A demand for cowboy hats, boots and buckles on Marco Island? Any investors looking for a sure thing out there?

I’m not perfect and not everybody likes the all the jewelry I stock in my shop, but most do. I’m still in business now for over 47 years (23 years on Marco), so I’m doing something right.

We carry sea life from several designers and my son and I personally create many of the unique pieces. We pride ourselves on our huge selection of gold and silver, or combinations of both, that include sea turtles, dolphins, manatees, sea rays, pelicans…land, air and sea, you name it!

This is all good!

The way I look at it, if I can’t attract a crowd with cool and enjoyable sea life jewelry on Marco Island it’s time to pack it in and sell mango smoothies at the farmers market.

Some jewelry trends come and go quickly. For example, the three stone diamond or journey pendant, and the promotion for the two stone diamond rings last year, which went over like a $10 dollar snow cone in Alaska (I sold only one in a year).

My near half century of years connected to the diamond industry have paid off with the increased demand of my high quality diamonds, a standard I always maintained during the worst of times. I never lowered my selection of diamond quality to make a buck, and now my new clientele realize that many of their hometown jewelry stores did. Good for me, bad for them.

This is where the bad and ugly comes in. A cheap quality diamond won’t shine or sparkle and is a total waste of hard earned money, for they retain no value. Who wants lifeless, highly flawed gray diamonds in a cut-rate 10kt. tennis bracelet? That is bad and ugly. On the other hand, fine jewelry is just that…Fine.

If a piece of my diamond or gold jewelry does not bring joy or a repeated sense of happiness to a lady, gentleman or family member every time they wear it, I see no reason to possess it.

Do well in your future jewelry purchases. Avoid the bad and ugly. I am always available for advice and personal consultations.

Richard and son Andrew Alan are The Harbor Goldsmiths. Located at Island Plaza, 680 Bald Eagle Dr., Marco Island. And we welcome your questions about “All That Glitters.” Contact us at 239-394-9275, or visit our website at

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