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All That Glitters

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Living & Learning

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan Strong words, “I can do most anything,” not exactly like Nike’s catch phrase, which is “Just do it!” Problem with “Just do it,” is that you do it and fail or fall on your face, that can be a problem. Failure can cause you embarrassment, or worse, your money. But it is said: It’s better to try and fail than never try at all. (Or was that about the subject of love?) In my case, as a young learning goldsmith, I was instructed to “just do it,” the problem could be a tough repair or a ... Read More »

High Heat Hot Colors

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan Whew! It’s hot and so is the demand for sea life jewelry with diamonds and colored gemstones. After a quiet May and June things heated up in July, and with it a renewed interest in frolicking creatures of the land, air and sea that are unique to Southwest Florida and especially the Ten Thousand Islands. Diamond jewelry has seemed to have regained popularity and its overwhelming appeal was heartfelt this past season. I recently started creating solid gold and diamond palm trees again because the inexpensive silver and cubic zirconia designs were not as popular as ... Read More »

Richard Alan…Jeweler to the Stars!

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net That might be one way to get your attention, or not? In June I thought I nearly died of boredom, and thankfully it got busy after the Fourth of July, despite the heat and days of torrential downpours. There were some mornings I swore there were tumbleweeds blowing through the parking lot; maybe it was only a heat mirage? It is a fact in my illustrious past I have created jewelry for rock stars from the Boston band Aerosmith, numerous Boston Celtic team members, a Red Sox player or two, heck I even designed pieces ... Read More »

That’s Very Nice

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan It’s nice to be recognized when I’m out hob knobbing in different establishments around the island with my wife or friends, more often or not it’s “hello how are you, how you doing?” and the occasional… “I have to come see you!” Only thing is my appearance almost always also invites the inevitable dreaded question(s). “We just came back from a cruise and bought this diamond ring can you tell us what it’s worth?” (In other words, the way I see it without even looking at the piece in question, is while this couple, who happen ... Read More »

An Investment in Love and Joy

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan  harborgoldsmith@comcast.net The other day a woman entered my establishment and asked me if I replace batteries in watches, which I do. While installing her new battery, she complimented me on the many wonderful things in my showcases. She said how she loved jewelry but her money conscious husband refused to buy her any nice quality jewelry (they were married over forty years!). He was always claiming diamonds and jewelry were a bad investment. A sense of sadness came over me for this nice woman. I noticed all she was wearing was a simple gold wedding band ... Read More »

The Jewelry Genius

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net It’s the beginning of the end of the 2016 seasonal madness. It’s nice to look around and take a breather, maybe sort the things out in your life that went on the back burner – or maybe you completely forgot about them all together, like the fact you can no longer fit an automobile in your garage or your yard looks like a category three hurricane passed through it. It’s time to get the simple things done that were impossible to do the past few months. It’s also that time of the year for inspection ... Read More »

You Can’t Please Them All

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net You know I’m not one to vent. (Yah right!) With the 2016 season slowly coming to a climax, I’m still trying to find the time to reflect on the past months…Mamma Mia! Words can’t describe what just happened, what just happened? I feel like I just did 10 rounds with Mike Tyson! For me the madness started in the first week of December and from there grew to epic proportions like a snowball rolling down a ski slope (for those of you not familiar with snow, it’s kind of like the crushed ice in that ... Read More »

Diamonds…what’s the hype all about?

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net I remember the time I overheard a soon-to-be-engaged gentleman mumbling under his breath while one of my sales staff was gift wrapping his diamond engagement ring purchase. “Why can’t my lady be satisfied with a small chip of granite?” I laughed, and said try presenting his love with a granite and gold engagement ring and see how he makes out. But honestly, diamonds are one of the few small things that can cost as little as $20 to an outrageous $12 million or more, and still be worn on a lady’s finger. I have been ... Read More »

Mad Memoirs of an Old School/Modern Goldsmith – Part II

Uncle Ernest Gravallese taught Richard Alan the trade. Submitted Photos

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Meanwhile back at old 333 Washington Street, which was then called the Province Building, namely because the building was built directly on top of the exact location of the former British colonial governor’s mansion. It was there since the late 1600s, and demolished in 1922 for the current jewelers building. (My uncle Ernest was one of the building’s first tenants.) Today it is better known as the Boston Jewelers Exchange Building. By age twenty-two I actually started my own trade business. How hard could it be? I still helped my uncle, who was now ... Read More »

Mad Memoirs of an Old School/ Modern Goldsmith

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Part I My destiny of becoming a goldsmith was totally accidental. It was the mid 1960s. I was no more than eight or nine years old when my mother would leave me with her older brother Richard, who happened to be a goldsmith/jeweler, so she could go shopping in downtown Boston. (I was a bit of a nuisance to go dress shopping with.) My Uncle Richard had apprenticed with his step dad’s brother Ernest Gravallese, an accomplished and well-respected master goldsmith who plied his trade from his shop in the early 1920s in the original ... Read More »

A Genuine Imitation

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Like a preacher from the pulpit, I have tried to inform, warn and hopefully educate the naïve to the pitfalls of buying fine jewelry; I think it is safe to say if the price is really cheap, so is the “fine” jewelry you just purchased. It can begin with poorly informed salespeople, for instance the woman you meet while on vacation in Mexico, selling her wares from a horse blanket on the ground; it will probably result in the gold ring not exactly being solid gold. And then you can get the exact result from ... Read More »

How Do You Know That?

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Questions, questions, always with the questions! And in case some of you out there don’t know it, I happen to be a goldsmith and jeweler to the stars. (This includes the sun, moon and deep blue seas.) So naturally I‘m asked a lot of questions on the subject of gold, jewelry, diamonds and precious gemstones, even subjects that I haven’t the slightest clue to the answer. For instance, “When do you think the price of gold will go up again?” If I knew the answer to that question I would be ruler of the ... Read More »

Taking “No” for an Answer

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net I recently had a not-so-unusual discussion with a potential customer, regarding the time process for her ring to be totally restored. Now to most of us business folks this is considered high season, and in our goldsmith shop my son and I are straight out with the influx of custom and repair work, resulting in the burning of lots of midnight oil. The volume is kind of like drinking from a fire hose. We take in, on an average day, anywhere from fifty to seventy watches for various reasons, such as battery replacement, straps, adjustments, ... Read More »

How Much???

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net I’m pretty sure the question is asked in every jewelry store on the entire planet on a daily basis. I’m talking about folks who wish to purchase fine jewelry, diamonds, precious gemstones platinum, gold and high-end wrist watches to be exact. For many of the uninformed masses it’s darn near impossible for them to get their head wrapped around the fact that yes, this stuff is expensive, has been and always will be. If gold were cheap we would make cell phones and automobiles out of it. The ones in the know, well they know ... Read More »

Better to Own a Safe Than Sorry

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net It’s a fact: there have been a rash of burglaries on our safe and secure island paradise. Barely a couple of weeks go by where I face a sobbing and distraught customer describing to me what was lost due to a break-in or a “misplacement” of valuable jewelry. Try and guess how many of these unfortunate souls are looking for appraisals on the lost articles? “It was a diamond ring that kind of look like this (crude drawing) and I think it was yellow gold, I’m not quite sure of the diamond size or what ... Read More »

Ghosts from Christmas Past

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net It’s astounding; I have actually broken my record number of diamond sales in just the first week of December. Could it have been my last column, where I may have either woken up or possibly humiliated some of the island menfolk, embarrassing them by mentioning the dismal offerings to their loved ones from recent Christmases past? My apologies for the wakeup call, it was time to stop the holiday trend of giving a stuffed envelope or a worthless electronic gift that would break or be obsolete in three months. It’s time to revive giving quality ... Read More »

How to Impress a Woman (Do It Right This Time!)

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Wine her, Dine her, Call her, Hug her, Support her, Hold her, Surprise her, Compliment her, Smile at her, Listen to her, Laugh with her, Cry with her, Romance her, Believe in her, Cuddle her, Shop with her, Lavish her with diamonds.   For His Eyes Only!   Heavens, yes! Gentleman, it’s that time of the year again! I know, I know you don’t want to hear it, but here’s my friendly and early heads-up warning. Just because you think you got away with giving her that sorry excuse-for-a-gift you presented her last Christmas. Did ... Read More »

Perfect Imperfections

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Might sound like an oxymoron to you, but when it comes to buying diamonds or precious gemstones a perfectly located imperfection can save you a great deal of money. When purchasing a fine diamond or any expensive gem, the clarity is graded by the amount of inclusions, imperfections, blemishes or flaws. Call them what you like, they can be white or black marks, striations, even surface cracks or chips. Sometimes flaws appear to be minute bubbles or similar to the scrape that an ice skate leaves on ice, inside or near the surface of the ... Read More »

Jewelry Common Sense…Watches

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net With any profession there are words or jargon (call it what you like) that pertain to only that particular business. The word “shop talk” comes to mind. Sometimes I catch myself using jewelry terminology in front of a customer, and at once realize he or she has no clue what I am taking about. Sort of like me understanding the daily goings on the subject of physics or nuclear fusion. Over the years I have tried to educate or give advice on certain aspects of the business, whether it is on the subject of jewelry ... Read More »

Jewelry Common Sense… Jewelry Repair

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net I’m a goldsmith and own a jewelry store, and that means we make our own jewelry and also repair jewelry that people break. Yes, sad but true, jewelry breaks, wears out, gets mistreated and then needs repair. I’m also proud to say we rarely repair jewelry that has been purchased in our shop. I can’t count how many times when inspecting people’s jewelry with my trained eye and see problems that are present or about to occur and get lambasted because of it. Remember now, they asked me to “look at their jewelry” to make ... Read More »