It can be a daily occurrence for me to fulfill someone’s dreams. I own a jewelry store and me being a goldsmith means I also dream, design, then create something in precious metal that a day or so was just an idea that was swirling around inside my noggin.
Crafts-persons all know the special joy of accomplishing something that did not exist days, weeks or even months before. It’s indescribable satisfaction of seeing that dream come true and that makes the long hours of creating it all worthwhile. For a dream is exactly how it started in the first place, at least in my case! I do some of my best design work while I’m snoozing, sometimes I’m even surprised when the finished piece of jewelry isn’t sitting on my bench in a state of completion, because I usually dreamed it finished as well!
A good craftsman or craftswoman has to have a photographic mind or even better “a mind’s eye” inside their brain or soul to envision what the completed project will actually look like. Many times, I will start with a basic concept and play it by ear as I go along during the creation process, I know this may sound weird, I will coax the main or center gemstone of the piece to speak to me. Yeah, it usually answers me in some fashion somehow, usually in my dreams and I remember the next morning or week later just where to start.
Most women have that one dream piece they would love to possess, men not so much, although guys sometimes get involved in the process especially when it comes to writing the check for the completed “Dream piece” for her.
I have several works in progress going on at the moment commissioned by clients and some for my own personal shop stock, and even speculation pieces they sell immediately out of the window case. I even have a list of customers I send high–resolution photos to their phones who want first crack at my very special custom creations before they even make it to the showcase for public viewing. Being too busy is a pretty good problem to have, but recently, I had to do something I have never done during the month of February in order to fulfill the pile of future dreams I have before me. I had to stop accepting repairs until after Valentine’s Day; there are only so many hours in the day and this old gray mare ain’t what he used to be! Sorry, no more 70-hour workweeks for this cowboy! Things should be under control by mid-month.
One problem is it’s not always possible to make all dreams come true, most people have no concept of the cost of important sized diamonds or precious gemstones, a three or four–carat emerald, for example, can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars; same goes for rubies or sapphires. One way to solve that problem is by utilizing “lab–created” gems that appear to be “genuine” without the exorbitant cost. I have in the past substituted pure white Moissanite for large diamonds the look is incredible for a fraction of the cost of a real diamond.
I never work in low carat gold such as 10KT. It’s just something I refuse to do, and rarely do I work in sterling silver except, of course, my famous sterling silver Marco Bracelets and Calusa Cats.
For now, I’m making other folks dreams come true and when I catch up after the February rush I’ll keep dreaming. Lots of greats ideas swimming around in my head and I am now concentrating on creating my one of a kind pieces of jewelry, find them good homes and make dreams come true!
Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of The Harbor Goldsmith Marco’s Island jeweler since 1994 and welcomes your questions and comments about “All That Glitters.” Contact him at 239–394–9275 or www.harborgoldsmith.com.