Friday, December 4, 2020

A SCARY RIDE

 

 

By Richard Alan

Up and up we go! Clickity, clack, clickity, clack, over the crest and down, then up, then down, then way, way up!

Where’s my stomach? I’m getting dizzy. Will some one please get me off this endless roller coaster ride? No, I’m not talking about being trapped on a crazy ride at some amusement park. My metaphor is about the precious metals market that includes platinum, silver and most important GOLD!

I’m a goldsmith, remember? I need to buy this stuff to ply my trade and make a living. It’s not just me but all my colleagues in the jewelry biz are very concerned about what the future will bring in this very volatile metals market.

It’s amusing that many of my customers congratulate me on my “good fortune” for being in the jewelry business. Good fortune? The jewelry biz? Good fortune, are you kidding me? Sure it’s true I have three stores on the island stocked with this desirable metal, only it’s in the wrong configuration. It should be in handy one pound bars, then maybe it would be more popular. The only good fortune I will admit is much of the jewelry I own was purchased before gold hit $1600+ an ounce.

But a jeweler has to sell jewelry, not hoard it, to pay the bills and make a living. Once again I’m fortunate at being able to repair and restore jewelry, alter and appraise, which helps pay my bills.

How new jewelry stores without a goldsmith survive that only sell gold at current prices is a mystery to me? Nothing lasts forever and seasons come and go. Sooner or later I will have to purchase new gold merchandise to restock my inventory, but the thought of it grates against every fiber in my body. Buying gold now even at wholesale is as sensible as checking how full your gas tank is with a lighted match!

I have tons of beautiful earrings with base prices at $1000 an ounce but I can’t move them because they appear expensive. If I buy them new today they will cost me 60% more. That’s scary. How do I expect to sell that pair, if the least expensive pair looks pricey? Don’t even ask the retail prices of men’s heavy gold chains or bracelets. I’m thinking of installing oxygen masks and smelling salts by my showcases for the faint hearted.

Where’s it gonna end? Do I think gold will hit $2000 an ounce? Who knows? I was convinced the bottom would drop out three years ago at $900. It never did. It did it in the 1980’s, why not again? Beats me?

My theory is, I have never seen in my life time an economy so resistant to improving. The media (don’t get me started with them) bombards us with so much doom and gloom it’s a wonder most of us aren’t under our beds crouched into the fetal position.

Next add a large dollop of lack of faith in our government, rising unemployment, a sluggish real estate market and you have every business involved in luxury items hunkering down and preparing for the worst.

I take it day by day. Americans are selling their gold as fast as investors ( mostly foreign ) are buying it. This also drives gold prices up. Why lower the price of bullion when you have morons lining up with more money than sense who will pay top dollar for it!

The costs get passed on to jewelers who pass it on to you. If you want new gold jewelry, it has a universally set price. There is little room for haggling (2nd hand jewelry is another matter.)

As for me, I’m back to the basics. I’m going to do my own manufacturing, where I have control of almost everything, back to my roots creating jewelry with my own two hands where all I have to lose is my time and labor.

If gold shoots up to $5000 an ounce, I’m not worried. I’ll melt my gold into the most impressive door stops you’ve ever seen, move on down to Mexico, open up a small beach side jewelry shop and be known by the locals as “that crazy gringo.” Heck, you may even run into me, because when the U.S. becomes a third world nation after China evicts the whole darned population, you’ll all be caravaning to the Mexican and Canadian borders to join me!

“When a ship sinks gold weighs down its possessor.” Properties (1st Century A.D.) 

Richard Alan is a designer /goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith and Richard’s Reefs on Marco Island. And has no intention of entering politics, but will gladly answer any questions you may have about “All That Glitters.” 239-394-9275 or harborgoldsmith@comcast.net


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