Monday , March 30 2015
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All That Glitters


June Birthstone… Alexmoonpearl


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan No, I haven’t lost my mind just yet, and there is no such gemstone as an Alexmoonpearl. But in fact, June is one of the few months that actually has more than one designated gemstone to signify the “birthstone” for that month. The origins for birthstones go back thousands of years. Bible scriptures describe twelve gemstones set into the breastplate of the high priest, Aaron, signifying the twelve tribes of Israel. Due to translation problems with the ancient text it is difficult to identify what exactly the twelve original precious stones were. For my ... Read More »

What kind of gemstone is this?


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan Another steamy off season day on the rock, and while I’m still trying to recover from six months of a busy season, I’m counting the days until I have returned to the Balearic Island in Mallorca, Spain, a small coastal village called Cala Fornells. My idea of paradise is being perched on a Mediterranean seaside cliff overlooking the beach with my derrière parked in a lounge chair complete with a good book, a (legal) Cuban cigar and an ice cold pitcher of freshly made sangria…. Excuse me, now where were we? Back to reality… ... Read More »

Hello… Ma!


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan It’s just around the corner again, Mother’s Day. Of course you remember her? Without Mom, you would not exist in this world. This person loved, nurtured and raised you to be the person you are today; a joy for most – and for some – she could be the reason you have been going to therapy since you were in your teens. I am one of the fortunate ones. I have the coolest Mom in the world. For without her, I would be lacking front teeth due to numerous ice hockey and tree climbing ... Read More »

White Hot Season


As I predicted, sterling silver and other white metals such as palladium and stainless steel were on fire this season. Don’t think the demand for gold was nil; it wasn’t. But when the cost for the regal yellow metal was quoted to most, it was out of the question due to the expense. Gold is down but still not cheap, nor will it ever be again. Sea life jewelry was as usual, the predominant must have item. If you can’t sell nature jewelry here on Marco Island, I suggest you hang it up because year after year in my shop ... Read More »

Watch Spring Cleaning


By Richard Alan - It’s April already, things are nearing the crescendo in my shop, lots of last minute “I’ll take that” and “Can you repair this today, I’m leaving early tomorrow morning?” These throngs of folks have been on the island since January and wait ‘til the last moment to get complicated repairs or restoration performed which I regretfully have to refuse. Most people understand that nothing is done well quickly, and a least I give them the choice to leave the work to have it done correctly, and in a timely fashion, and when completed we will ... Read More »

Too good to be true


It’s another day in paradise, and season is in full bloom and it is already Monday and I feel like I just passed myself leaving when I walked in the shop this morning! Ah, yes season on Marco Island. Everything is moving at breakneck speed, the volume of work coming in is beyond overwhelming. It involves the simplest repair to the most complicated special orders to basic requests, the phone never stops ringing, and the best way to describe it is drinking from a fire hose. That’s the way it is here in paradise, suck it up and deal with ... Read More »

We look but we do not see


Ever look for an article and even though it is in plain sight, the signal to your brain still renders the darn thing invisible, but come back minutes later and there it is? Most guys can relate to this searching experience if you have ever misplaced your wedding band. I guess the word is panic because no explanation to your bride, no matter if it’s really true, will convince her you misplaced it in the garage while working with power tools. People who wear jewelry look but do not see everyday; it could be a cherished heirloom diamond ring from ... Read More »

So Many Questions


By Richard Alan In many professions there are certain tricks of the trade of which the public may be unaware. What moving company would leave the garage without a pocket full of black or brown crayons to touch up dings and scratches that can appear during the moving process? Or grocers who wax or spray water on fruits and vegetables to give them appeal. Same holds true for the jewelry business. Fancy, expensive lighting can make the worst quality diamonds or gemstones look more attractive when you view them in the store, Then, when you leave the store with your ... Read More »

Yet, More Questions…


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan The most common question I am asked as a jeweler is “how much is it worth?” Sometimes, the answer is cut and dry. For instance, a mass produced, Italian-made 14-karat gold rope neck chain can be weighed and calculated at the current gold market price. Let’s say it weighs 20 grams; the retail price could be between $1,500 and $2,000. That’s kind of a ball park figure because it all depends on when and where you purchased the item. If the chain was purchased ten or so years ago, the purchased price would have been ... Read More »

Questions and Answers


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan I hope to debunk wives tales and inform the misinformed in the next couple of issues about “all that glitters.” Also, always feel free to email any questions you may have about jewelry, diamonds or precious gems to Falsehood #1… You can take a bunch of little diamonds and melt them together to make one large one. Diamonds are individual carbon crystals that take millions of years of pressure and high temperatures to form, one can burn a diamond and ruin its appearance but never melt one. It would be like melting two jet ... Read More »

Inquiring Minds


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan Over the course of a single day, I can be asked lots and lots of questions pertaining to my profession. The questions can begin with: Why? How come? Or my favorite… How do you know? For those of you reading my column for the first time, let me catch you up to speed. I make my living as a goldsmith. In a nut shell, the following is what many goldsmiths do… He or she is a technical professional who works with gold and other precious metals and gemstones. A goldsmith can design, create and fabricate original ... Read More »

Where’s the love?


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan I had an eye opening experience the other day, while serving a friend in my shop who was picking out a “no apparent reason gift” for the lady he was head over heels in love with. This was one of many baubles he had presented her in the past couple of months. While my Mom was gift wrapping the piece of jewelry he told me how much joy he experienced just seeing the look on her face when she opened the box and put the new piece of jewelry on. There was a mention of ... Read More »

Hot and not so hot


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan The 2012 holiday shopping season is off and running, and I can safely say giving a piece of jewelry as that special gift will become as popular as it once was. Notice I said jewelry – not fine jewelry. Since early October, certain items have been selling well, and there is a reason for this. The past couple of gift giving seasons for the jewelry business can be summed up in one word… Dismal. Even De Beers, the largest diamond conglomerate in the world that refused to spend millions of dollars on blanketing TV ads, ... Read More »

JEWELRY REPAIR: 103 rings and things


ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan  Ring sizing is one of the most common repairs or alterations when a customer’s ring is either too large or too small. To reduce a gold ring, let’s say from a size 7 to a size 4, requires cutting out a small piece of the bottom of the ring shank, carefully closing the gap and welding the seam with the same color and karat of gold. The welded seam is then filed, sanded, polished and returned to the customer like new. And yes, if requested, I will return the removed piece of precious metal. This ... Read More »

Jewelry repair 102: Watch batteries

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan The reason I’m explaining the process of simple repairs is to educate and eliminate the mystery of what actually happens to your ring or chain or any piece of your beloved jewelry when you need it fixed or restored. The most common event in my shop is simple watch battery replacement. Simple right? I usually charge $10.00 for the average watch; most Timex watches require a lithium battery that cost $15.00… go figure: an inexpensive watch with the most expensive battery. I offer coupons on the island that can lower the cost by $ 5.00. ... Read More »

Jewelry repair 101

ALL THAT GLITTERS  Richard Alan  You notice your diamond ring is snagging on clothing and towels and such. You’re thinking, it’s been a while since you last had the ring professionally inspected, cleaned and polished. You have a busy schedule as it is, who has the time? Great, now the ring has snagged your blouse! Good news is, it only takes seconds to inspect a diamond ring and minutes to clean and polish it. Bad news is the snagging ring could be the result of a missing or bent prong. I would suggest you no longer wear the ring in ... Read More »

Appreciation = multi-faceted perks

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan My Mom, who happens to work part time for me, watched me wait on three customers in a row the other day. After the last person left the store she remarked, “Did I drop you on your head one too many times when you were a baby or what?” You just waited on three customers that entailed fixing this, adjusting that, a solder here, then you checked and polished the last customer’s wedding set and bangle bracelets, and after all that you did not ring up a single nickel in the register. Are you telling ... Read More »

Mallorca….where the angels go for holiday

ALL THAT GLITTERS Richard Alan It’s another beautiful day in southwest Mallorca! I write this from the balcony of our hotel room on the cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean in tranquil Cala Fornells, which is a small inlet near Peguera. It’s hard to believe I am less than 20 minutes from the capital city of Palma and the busy airport! I have just come to realize this vacation has involved a lot of cliff driving with hairpin turns and dizzying heights, a complete opposite of the flatlands back home! Anyone who has experienced the sheer terror of driving in a car ... Read More »

Same as it ever was?

ALL THAT GLITTERS  Richard Alan The jewelry business will never be the same; it’s a simple fact. I guess I will always remember the good old days. Funny thing is it was not that long ago. In the good old days, like only four years PAST, I rarely missed a trade or buying show both here and abroad. My wife and I loved traveling through Europe hunting for the unusual and what would be the rage in the months to come. Year after year, we were successful in our search for innovative styles of jewelry and gifts that would be ... Read More »

Nothing’s like it used to be

ALL THAT GLITTERS by Richard Alan My grandfather would often lament that they just don’t make things like they used to. I would hear him say it from the 1960’s when I was knee high to a grasshopper and continually until the day he sadly passed away. And you know something? Today, he would have been so right. My house is only five years old. I have replaced my living room television and kitchen microwave three times, a security and garage door opening system that has been replaced or repaired innumerable times, at least three new pool pumps and let’s not ... Read More »