Tuesday, December 7, 2021

The Pleasure of Sea Life Jewelry



Richard Alan

I love the quote “if you’ve got it flaunt it,” and that holds true for those of us who live here in paradise either full or part time. Besides being truly fortunate, I think we also are smarter than the average bear; I still have lots of friends who tell me over and over how miserable it is “up there.”

I cannot fathom how I spent a good part of my life in the great white north. It simply became old to me — the gray days, the long cold winters that lead into a nonexistent spring and then the summers became shorter and shorter and it was winter again.

One day during a typical insane daily Boston commute to work, I just snapped. I read the famous book Move Your Cheese in 1994 during yet another New England recession, and I actually moved my cheese: sold my house, quit my job, packed up the wife and kids in a U-haul and headed to Marco Island.

All that, and without a clue on how we would survive. It’s been an interesting 20 years; I have achieved much more here than I would ever had if I remained up north. ‘Nuff said.

I love it here! And I flaunt it! My relatives up north are burning cords of wood and wearing layers of clothing to stay warm. My brother-in-law uses his boat two months a year, if he is lucky. I can go boating 300 days a year. Not that I do, but I could.

Which brings me to my topic…Sea life jewelry.

The South Florida wildlife. It just seems endless. Just wearing the sea creatures of the Gulf of Mexico in gold or silver. I create snook, sea bass, redfish — to name a few — pendants for the angler crowd, and the turtle-loving community on Marco loves my pendants portraying both the mother turtles and the brave little hatchlings. Our birdlife here is outstanding. On any given day, you can see eagles, osprey and owls here on the island and in the mangroves. I have many pieces of island birds.

The most popular selling pieces in the shop by far are the jewelry portraying the exquisite and gentle dolphins. There is nothing more exciting than encountering them while boating. It never becomes boring.

It could be a solid gold diamond encrusted flip-flop or a palm tree pendant with diamond palm fronds that sends the signal to the beholder that there is some warm, sun-drenched place the wearer would rather be.

My life time friend, Jeannie, who is a nurse in Boston, bought a condo in Naples a few years ago, and visits it a few times a year. She is counting the days until her retirement, but for now she flaunts the fact it is only a matter of time until she will be here full time by wearing my sea life jewelry for all her patients to see. Jeannie is awash in gold tropical flip-flop jewelry while at work — earrings, pendant, bracelets and even a flip-flop anklet. It brings her joy to know that soon flip-flops will be the only footwear she will ever need.

Sea life jewelry is a large part of my business. For more than 15 years, my famous “Marco bracelet” with two kissing dolphins as the “M” in the word Marco has been my best selling bracelet. We hand craft each one in either gold or silver or combinations of both metals and now in durable silver and rubber which makes the bracelet more affordable.

Islanders and tourists alike love sea life jewelry. It is meaningful and more than a conversation starter. It proclaims I have been to or I own a piece of paradise.

A question from cyber space: Nancy from Marco asks, “What can I do to keep my aquamarine ring from looking dull and dingy?”

You are not alone. Both aquamarine and blue topaz share the same problem. A simple shower or even washing dishes while wearing the ring can cause residue to dry underneath the stone, leaving it dull and unattractive. That is because the bright blue color reflects what is on it. A good quality jewelry cleaner and an old soft toothbrush will remove the soapy film, and will render the gem bright and happy. Also removal of the ring is advised when doing household or garden chores. Because aquamarine also scratches easily, that will dull the stone considerably, and fixing that problem requires a costly polishing job by a professional lapidary shop.


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