Wednesday, December 1, 2021

What’s love got to do with it?



Richard Alan

Another Valentines Day has come and gone, and most thoughtful gentlemen avoided the consequences of ignoring a romantic holiday that for most men is fatally easy to ignore.

Yes, I said fatally. Ignore Valentines Day and endure the pain and silent misery that comes from that decision.

It’s true that the week before the lover’s day is a very busy one for those of us in the jewelry business and it has to be even crazier for the florist next door. Years ago, flowers, a box of chocolates, and a fancy romantic dinner more than did the trick to make anyone’s hunny bunny ecstatic.

But that was then, when did jewelry come into the picture? I think we can blame the diamond conglomerate De Beers’ launching of an incredibly effective ad campaign about twenty years ago. The huge results caused every jewelry manufacturer, chain store and even Mom & Pop shop to jump on the band wagon.

A box of chocolates, no matter how expensive, nowadays can be taken the wrong way. You know the saying, a moment on the lips, a month on the hips.

Flowers are a sure thing, but with my luck my wife will be allergic to my choice of a bouquet. Bar none, presenting a small gift box during an elegant and romantic dinner knocks it out of the park.

Twenty years ago I never got too excited that my shop would be busy with Valentine shoppers. Now it’s almost comparable to the week before Christmas, a complete, mad frenzy of activity.

The price ranges for guys’ gift selections to the love of their life are all over the map. It could be an exquisite diamond tennis bracelet or a pair of stunning earring studs for several thousands of dollars to a simple sterling silver dolphin pendant and chain for under a hundred bucks.

The custom orders for the holiday can be quite peculiar. One year I created a paint bucket and brush in gold, encrusted with rubies for a special someone. It seems his wife could never settle for a specific color for their house interior and changed the color every couple of months or so. To him it seemed she always had a paintbrush in her hands and a living room full of furniture covered with drop cloths. The specially created piece of novelty jewelry seemed to him appropriate.

I can be placed under the gun more effectively for Valentine orders than other times of the year, especially if the piece of jewelry I am creating is the best piece of jewelry she will ever receive.

It’s funny, the younger generation of males don’t get it. But baby boomers like myself, know it is imperative not to forget Valentines Day.

The next business day after Valentines Day, I have a store full of “Gee, honey, I’m sorry I forgot” patrons for the purchase of some kind of make up gift.

Only last week one gentleman lamented to me that “only jewelry will do, first Christmas, and then it’s her birthday, next is our anniversary and today Valentines Day!” Too bad for him, good for me!

Picking out jewelry for the ones you love is an age old tradition for various occasions, it’s just not for birthdays or anniversaries anymore.

While in my Boston store decades ago, it was not unusual for the father-to-be to present diamond jewelry to the mother of their newest and most vocal tax deduction. Now and again, I experience the custom here in Paradise.

Both my daughters received diamond stud earrings for graduating from high school. My older daughter couldn’t help but notice her sister’s earrings were slightly larger than hers, what gives? My answer was: “Tani got the scholarship, that’s what!” Her new husband has since evened up the sibling rivalry.

Speaking of diamond studs, a humorous story I have to share, I dare not name names but a day after last Valentines Day, a woman entered my shop with my bag in hand. I anticipated it would be a gift return. She then pulled out a lovely pair of diamond earrings her husband had purchased the day before. While explaining she loved the gift, she was unhappy with one little detail. “They’re just too small!” I politely explained, for the amount of money he spent, that’s the largest carat size available for that fine quality.

She demanded to see something twice the size, just as nice. “These are perfect!” She traded in the smaller pair and upgraded to one carat per ear, thousands more than her husband spent and threw down her credit card and had me swear this transaction never happened.

When I questioned her about her husband noticing the size difference, she answered. “Are you kidding, he never even noticed my cosmetic surgery!”

Richard Alan is a designer/master goldsmith with over forty years of experience creating fine jewelry and is the owner of The Harbor Goldsmith at his new location in Island Plaza on Marco Island. He welcomes your questions about “All That Glitters” at 239-394-9275. 

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