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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

Natural or imitation gems?

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

Don’t swim with your necklace  on - it will get damaged by chlorine
and salt water! SUBMITTED PHOTOS

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 »

There Must be Something in the Water?

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Upon entering certain establishments, such as dentists or doctors offices, I can understand why some folks may be irked, irritated, or just P’d Off. It probably has to do with the uncertainty of one’s health (they always find something wrong), and the biggest factor is the unpredictable amount of money you will have to shell out-of-pocket, whether you have healthcare or not. I can relate firsthand with my $2,500.00 toothache ordeal I had to deal with this past summer. I went through a blizzard of expensive x-rays, got not-diagnosed, which resulted in going to ... Read More »

Knuckle Island

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net I sort-of kind-of touched on this subject a while back, and it’s a real complicated problem – practically epidemic – and it’s something I deal with every single day in the shop. The process of making a nice diamond ring sale can be a challenge, as you may have gathered if you read my last column. It’s what happens after the sale that the fun begins, and that magical feat can range from impossible to miraculous. Now the diamond ring has to fit the finger. That may seem to many of you a simple cut-and-dried ... Read More »

Such a Deal?

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Honestly, I enjoy a good deal as much as anyone when it is offered to me, but on the other hand, when did buying almost everything on the island suddenly becomes a game show episode of “Let’s Make a Deal”? There are coupons and newspaper ads from every facet of island retail establishments hawking enormous discounts, lots of buy-one get-one free promotions (bogo’s), and many restaurants are offering two-for-one, complimentary bottles of wine, desserts and whatever it takes to get customers in the door. It can be agonizingly slow here in the summer for many. ... Read More »

Who Will Miss Me When I’m Gone?

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net On an early Monday morning (was it last week?) I was verbally accosted by an obviously upset senior citizen. (You’ll notice I refrained from saying an “irritable old coot” which I found out a couple of years ago is politically incorrect and lit up my e-mails for weeks on end, even though the person was a blatant card carrying I.O.C. and not to be confused with a kind, understanding sixty-one year old kid and loyal AARP member such as yours truly!) When I finally calmed him down, I asked what exactly his problem was. “That ... Read More »

Cheap Home Jewelry Repair

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net I may not speak for everyone out there, but the subject of home remedy jewelry repair reminds me of a famous quote from actor Clint Eastwood…“A man’s got to know his limitations!” In time I learned what my limitations were; plumbing, auto repair and electrical work. What brought me to my senses was standing in water up to my ankles, a car that wouldn’t start and blown house fuses! I pay someone who knows what they are doing, like for example, a professional plumber, auto mechanic or an electrician. Then I get it done right ... Read More »

Buying Diamonds That Dazzle

Halo setting. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net I recently sold a nice diamond engagement ring to a young couple I had never met before that day. They had told me I was highly recommended, a welcome compliment. The “perfect” diamond was set into one of my classic diamond halo mountings, and was presented to his lady during a complimentary romantic dinner that very evening. What made this young couple stand out from most was that they did not have sheaves of printed information they had downloaded from doing “research” on the internet. Honestly, when someone requests that they would like to show ... Read More »

Sir Richard…The Bridezilla Slayer II

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ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan harborgoldsmith@comcast.net Folks have been walking in the shop and stopping me on the island laughing about my last article where I mentioned public enemy #1…The Bridezilla. They can sometimes be easily slayed with the reality of the actual price tag, yet woe and behold when that merely bounces off her armored scales, and then I am told money is no object; much to the surprise to the groom to be and future in-laws. There is no amount of money in the world they could pay me to subject myself to the insanity. As I mentioned in ... Read More »