Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Watch Spring Cleaning



By Richard Alan

It’s April already, things are nearing the crescendo in my shop, lots of last minute “I’ll take that” and “Can you repair this today, I’m leaving early tomorrow morning?”

These throngs of folks have been on the island since January and wait ‘til the last moment to get complicated repairs or restoration performed which I regretfully have to refuse.

Most people understand that nothing is done well quickly, and a least I give them the choice to leave the work to have it done correctly, and in a timely fashion, and when completed we will safely ship the finished repair back to them.

It was nice to see that you folks heeded my warning about prong wear on your precious diamond ring. The amount of rings needing prong attention was mind boggling and more than once I caught myself talking to rings, saying I would lose it if I had to re-prong one more prong!

CBN_B21-6Spring is a sign for me that the madness will soon be over, but for you it is a good time to evaluate what jewelry needs attention, call it… spring cleaning.

When was the last time your favorite pieces had a nice thorough inspection and professional cleaning and polished to look like new? Also throw out any old jewelry cleaner you may have at home. It does more damage than good when it goes stale. Replace it with a new jar. I carry both silver and gold cleaner or you may even want to splurge on a new ultra-sonic cleaner to keep your diamonds sparkling.

Another spring cleaning suggestion is to clean out the drawers and jewelry boxes and separate your precious jewels into two piles, what you actually wear and what you could do without. In one pile put your old out of style pieces, broken chains, single earrings, old school rings, even wedding bands from previous marriages. (Don’t laugh, I have many customers on their fourth or fifth spouses.) Bring it in, I can weigh it and pay you the high current market price for its gold value. Liquidate this unwearable stuff and put a wad of cash in your pocket.

I know, I know, certain pieces you may want to leave for the kids or grandkids but I have news for you, nine times out of ten they don’t want it either. And let’s be truthful, when is the last time you wore this or that piece? And believe me, they could end up selling it for scrap gold themselves. The broken and outdated gold belongs to you. Take the money, have fun with it.

Now the other pile is what you love and enjoy wearing. As I mentioned above it might be a good idea to have them inspected and cleaned professionally. During inspection my staff or I ascertain if all is well, and make sure catches catch and also check for missing or loose gemstones and that all prongs are present and accounted for. In addition, we monitor wear and tear on chains and pendants and such and you know what makes this really special… the inspection, ultra-sonic and steam cleaning is free! But please only a few of pieces at a time. I have to say this, the last time I mentioned this service a person came in with more than a hundred pieces for me to do while she waited. It’s not possible.

(Please note there is a minimal charge for making your pieces look like new, it involves a deep cleaning and professional polishing that removes scratches and nicks from silver, gold or platinum pieces.)

Let’s not neglect your favorite watch or watches. Now’s the time to replace batteries, straps or if you have lost or gained weight, get the watch bracelets shortened or extended to fit properly. Those of you with high grade automatic watches such as Rolex, Omega, etc. may need attention especially when they have been running fast or slow or not at all. It may be time to get them cleaned and overhauled internally and crystals and bracelets can be buffed to remove scratches. I replace batteries and straps but I don’t personally repair watches. However, I can recommend several places in Naples that do internal cleanings and basic repairs.

Now is also the time to pull out your old appraisals and make sure they are up to date with current market prices. If the appraisal is more than ten years old, I assure you, you are under insured especially on heavy gold jewelry. The loss of underinsured jewelry will result in a significant gap between the real time cost and the amount of money the insurance company will pay you for the loss. Avoid disappointment by re-appraising your valuable pieces.

Many insurance companies send out re-appraisal update notifications to their insured clients in late December. There could not be a worse time for me to do numerous re-evaluations during the holiday rush, but now’s the time.

I wish to thank my loyal friends, customers and readers for a great season… Happy Spring Season to all, and safe travel home to the migrating folks going back up north. See you next season.

Richard Alan Is a Designer/Goldsmith and owner of The Harbor Goldsmith of Marco island with more than 40 years of experience “at the bench” and welcomes your questions about “All that Glitters” 239-394-9275 or


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