Friday, January 21, 2022

The Jewelry Genius



Richard Alan

It’s the beginning of the end of the 2016 seasonal madness. It’s nice to look around and take a breather, maybe sort the things out in your life that went on the back burner – or maybe you completely forgot about them all together, like the fact you can no longer fit an automobile in your garage or your yard looks like a category three hurricane passed through it. It’s time to get the simple things done that were impossible to do the past few months.

It’s also that time of the year for inspection and cleaning of your fine jewelry. Inspection of prongs that hold your diamond(s) and whatever else you hold dearly should be checked, and better yet, cleaned and polished. Diamonds and gemstones get loose, chip, break or just plain fall out. Prongs, bezels and channels that hold valuable gems wear out or break off. For all you Marco and Neapolitan mermaids out there that wear their precious gold jewelry in the chlorinated pools day in and day out…You are most prone to prong and clasp disintegration.

The chlorine attacks gold jewelry and literally causes corrosion, then the prongs become porous and brittle and fall off, resulting in catastrophic stone loss. It also dissolves the steel springs that are inside most chain clasps, such as spring rings and lobster claw styles, resulting in the clasp not functioning properly, and subsequently, the loss of your chain and whatever valuable is hanging on it.

I’m originally from Beantown, where most New Englanders have about a two month, one day and four hour window for swimming in an average unheated swimming pool, so jewelry eaten by chlorine is near non-existent up in the great white north. But here in paradise I never performed so many repairs that resulted from wearing gold in the swimming pool. It’s a fact that even the water coming out of our faucets contributes to discoloring, tarnishing and damage to most fine jewelry. (Leave a piece of silver jewelry in a glass of Marco water overnight and what you see the next morning is not pretty.)

I hate to preach, (No actually, I quite enjoy it) but in general, people don’t listen or take good advice from an overly experienced jewelry genius such as myself. (And humble too!) If you don’t want to heed good advice, fine…I can’t wait to see you in my shop, and your husband’s face when I present him with a hefty bill to repair the ring and replace that cherished diamond that just happened to “fall out.” (You haven’t lived until you’ve witnessed twenty half submerged derrieres searching for a lost white diamond at the bottom of a shimmering swimming pool.)

Just simply removing all your jewelry before a dip in the pool or the Gulf of Mexico will extend its life expectancy and keep it out of the repair shop. Besides, wearing all that glitter in the water makes you a possible snack because it attracts barracuda and most species of shark, even worse…it may also attract the dreaded poolside Homo sapiens gold digger.

The jewelry inspection and cleaning experience I perform is nothing like going to the dentist, it’s really quite painless. You can actually leave your jewelry, where it will be cleaned and examined for no charge.

For a nominal fee you can get The Full Monte where your pieces are boiled out, all your dings, dents and scratches get polished out to look like a brand new piece again, and you can pick it up later in the day or next morning.

My inspections include pointing out areas of wear and tear, non-workable or faulty clasps, worn links or jump rings, worn out or missing prongs, show you insecure diamonds or gemstones, and point out chipped, cracked or missing gemstones. Check for worn or split ring shanks, and it’s also a good time to get rings that don’t fit made the proper size.

The loops or bails on pendants and religious medals wear out and need to be replaced to prevent loss.

And don’t forget your watch(es) may need a new battery or strap and a good exterior cleaning. Now is as good a time as any to get it done, and take advantage of the repair coupon on this page.

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, or visit his informative website at

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