Friday, January 28, 2022

Wearable Rock Salt



Richard Alan

Yeah, the diamonds were that bad! A few months ago while my wife and I were enjoying a quiet moment together at a local restaurant, a couple I knew approached us and asked me to describe the color and clarity plus a value on a diamond tennis bracelet they had purchased “on the islands”. They had been kicking the tires so to say with me for what seemed like months, but no matter what I showed them, it was either too expensive or the diamonds were too small or not big enough. Needless to say no matter what I presented to them was a “We will think about it” experience.

We were miles apart when it came to them actually buying a bracelet from me. Frankly what they actually wanted and what they intended to spend was non-sensible. (Kind of like entering a Porsche dealership with $2,000 in cash and expecting them to let you drive away with a brand new convertible…basic nonsense!)

So now I’m faced with a common dilemma many of us jewelers face when presented with a piece of jewelry in a dimly lit bar or restaurant and being basically asked, “what do you think of what we bought somewhere other than from you? And what’s it worth?” Why do people do this to me all the time, I just can’t fathom it? Is it the joy of rubbing my face in it? Or what? Frankly it’s insulting to me.

Maybe you realtors on Marco can relate to this, I guess these inquisitive souls are the same naive and insecure breed that would purchase a house from another realtor then ask you, the one who has spent endless hours, even months showing every house and condo for sale on the rock, only to have them call you and ask if you wouldn’t mind looking at the house they are thinking of buying from some other realtor and beg you to“ please look at the house and tell us if you think we are getting a good deal???” (As if you are going to waste more of your valuable time to smooth out any doubts and indecision by giving them assurance and peace of mind.

Meanwhile any chance of a commission or making even a red cent has gone by the wayside. I’m kind of curious about what your reactions might be? I doubt you will be sending them a fruit basket and a complimentary bottle of Dom for their wise purchase, just saying.

But I take my Mom’s nurturing advice and try to be nice in every business situation and the cordial answer would be “It’s very nice, I’m sure it’s worth a lot more than you paid, especially not having to pay the duty tax and such!” But they will always, always push the question… But can you tell us what it’s worth?

I tried to be nice and act like any politician would, skirt around the inevitable and blame the dark and poor eyesight and never really answer the question to avoid the unpleasant aftermath. Then an old proverb comes to mind, “don’t ask the question if you don’t want the truthful answer.” I’m sure I have mentioned this in the past, now I am being pressured to give my professional observation, not my friendly opinion.

I have been appraising jewelry for over forty-two years, this includes designing and hand creating gold jewelry at my one hundred and twenty year old work bench. I sold my first diamond at the tender age of fourteen. Now understand this, I eat, live and breathe diamonds and fine jewelry. I can detect a cubic zirconia in a ring from across the room; I know the trading price of gold before I am even awake in the morning.

Putting being humble aside, I know my craft as a goldsmith and diamond purveying better than most in this trade.

So here I am looking at this pitiful excuse for a diamond tennis bracelet. Even in this dim light I see it is a piece of junk purchased by two naive souls who were taken over the coals, hoodwinked and gift wrapped with a bow that says “sucker”. Now what do I say? Of course they never say what they paid the really nice sales people in the Caribbean who did a happy dance then high fived each other in celebration after they left the store!

No, now I have been put in the uncomfortable position expecting to be the “Incredible Kreskin” or some such psychic nitwit and come up with a number that will give them the expected euphoria of the fabulous score they made on the pitifully cheap diamond bracelet.

Even a blind person’s Seeing Eye dog would say the bracelet is a “dog”!

The poorly made light weight bracelet won’t last a fortnight without falling apart and the diamonds have the brilliance and quality of rock salt (petrified spit is a better analogy but saying that is beyond crass and Mom would not approve of me making that comment.) I tell them I would only appraise that bracelet on a good day for … $500, Tops!!!

Here it comes… wait for it… the combined body language, that vein nearly bursting in his forehead, and the disbelief in her eyes. “But we paid over $6,000!”

Now you might think the biggest clown in the world is whoever forked over the $6,000 while in the fog of several rum runners while vacationing in the Caribbean, right! Wrong! No I’m the idiot, who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, they huff and puff then say: “It’s not possible, I don’t know why we even asked you.” They grab the bracelet from my hand and storm out of the picture… all for what? The moral of this truthful story is, if you even suspect you got taken, make sure you get that sugar coated, highly fabricated appraisal at the source, and then you can live in Naïve La La land and live happily ever after with your 6K rock salt tennis bracelet appraised for twice or even three times what you paid for it and save yourself the pain and anguish of hearing the truth from an experienced jeweler like myself, Quite honestly, I’m really getting too old for the “we just bought this” drama. So now “The Taken” will have to fork over $150 for a professional written appraisal before I even look at the thing.

The way I look at it, after all they just got stung for $6,000 what’s another $150 to learn the truth? Heck I’ll even throw in two Rumrunners with little umbrellas.

If you want a shiny happy positive experience and are actually serious about purchasing an incredibly stunning diamond tennis bracelet or any piece of diamond jewelry at a fair price, come to my shop and ask for Richard, I will show you the difference between a quality purchase and a dismal one.


Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith on Marco Island and welcomes your comments and questions about “all that glitters” 239-394-9275.



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