Tuesday , September 16 2014
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IS SILVER THE NEW GOLD?

ALL THAT GLITTERS 

Richard Alan 

[email protected]

I received an e-mail from a long lost cousin whom I haven’t seen hide nor hair of in over twenty years. He was interested in investing some of his nest egg in gold bullion and asked my advice on where and how much gold he should buy? My advice? Where the heck has he been for twenty years? I asked him if he had been stored in deep freeze or some such thing. Talk about waiting at the airport, waiting for your “airship” to come in.

I explained that gold is at the highest price per ounce ever in the history of mankind. It was a great investing idea as recently as ten years ago but in my opinion, a little gold in one’s portfolio is smart, but buying large amounts could be risky. I suggested he buy silver.

I could give you my opinions until I’m blue in the face. I’ve only been buying and selling gold since the 70’s. What do I know? Heck, I’m more than experienced and so clueless! And I just hope I keep my sanity, because I spend a good part of my day apologizing to customers for why everything that contains that bright yellow metal is so goldarn expensive.

So…let’s consult “the experts”?? (I have always wondered what exactly qualifies them as experts?) They all seem to be so wrong about everything lately, nevertheless, many experts claim that gold will reach heights of over $2,000 per ounce in the near future. At this writing, gold is in the mid $1,600s, actually lower than it has been for the past 14 months when it was at or above $1,800.

Nevertheless, woe to us jewelry lovers. It will require either your first-born as a deposit before you apply for a second mortgage to pay the total cost of a simple pair of my gold hoop earrings! I know, I know, an exaggeration, but you get the message.

As for me, I keep fighting the urge to pile the gold inventory from my three stores, which could include my wife’s personal jewelry collection, melt it all into a large brick and sell it, buy my dream hacienda by the sea in Mallorca and say toot-a-loo to this mad, mad world!

It’s crazy! I have to watch every grain of gold I use for a simple jewelry repair, for even the most minuscule amount of gold not accounted for, can cost me thirty or forty dollars. Only last year, I used to charge twenty bucks! I’m quite the businessman and I’m looking to buy a dream hacienda? At that rate I would be on skid row.

I utilize special catch rugs and drain filters to catch the tiniest specks of gold in my workshop. The filings, used sandpaper and dust created in my shop contribute to the amazing amount of gold I “mine” on Marco.

Silver is enjoying a re-emergence in fashion jewelry. Let’s face facts. Although the cost of silver is up considerably, it’s still a lot more affordable than gold is right now. You will see a significant increase and popularity of silver designs ornamented with slight accents of gold this year. I bought 80% more silver jewelry than gold last year for this season, and it sold out several times. It’s no secret that gold jewelry sales nationwide were not exactly spectacular this past Christmas. So why should I buy more gold? If not only to add to the size of my gold retirement brick, of course!

My selection of domestic and European silver jewelry was a life saver in the month of December. Sales were far above last year and are still strong. Many of my usual gold customers “condescended” to buy silver or different gifts because they were all shocked by the current gold prices.

As I have mentioned in past articles, there are other alternative metals on the horizon besides silver, such as palladium, stainless steel and titanium, all basically white metals. The difference is a wheelbarrow full of stainless steel or titanium jewelry has absolutely no re-sale value whereas gold, palladium or silver can always be sold for a premium scrap price.

If the economy improves in the future, gold could slide down to some semblance of affordability and who knows? Jewelry fashions may sway to gold again. But until then I will ignore the experts and religiously consult my jewelry oracles every morning to stay informed and supply my customers with what’s new here and abroad. My wife and I will still attend jewelry shows and conventions that tell us what‘s hot and what’s not in the current trends. We all have to see what the future brings!

Could someone please give me a hand lifting this golden two hundred pound doorstop?

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of The Harbor Goldsmith’s of Marco Island and welcomes your questions about “All that Glitters” 239-394- 9275 – [email protected] 


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