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 for some movie producing moguls from Columbia Pictures, and my proudest moment was restoring priceless ancient Roman jewelry that was damaged while on exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, also in Boston. Whoopee ding dong! So besides being a jeweler to the stars, I’d like to include the moon, sun and all the planets or possibly a satellite or two.
You know it really makes me laugh when I read in magazines or see on the boob tube or internet that this or that celebrity paid millions of dollars for a four or five carat diamond purchased from some exclusive “jeweler to the stars establishment” in New York city or Beverly Hills. And how it goes on that it was an exotic cut or an extremely rare colored diamond or the ring’s design was influenced by an eccentric designer who came up with the ring’s design during the experience of living with a tribe of dung flinging orangutans in East Africa.
So just for kicks and giggles I’ll do some research on the near priceless rock that a certain movie star or celebrity presented to his or her flavor of the year. Nine times out of ten it’s a matter of having more money than sense, the celebrities write a check for millions for this ring, but what in the real world does it actually cost!
No, let me clarify that statement, what is the diamond ring really worth? Let’s just say it will boggle one’s mind on the profit made on just one “celebrity sale.” I am immersed in the diamond trade on a daily basis and have been for most of my life and I have yet to see a three or four carat diamond, regardless of its quality, cost even near a million dollars. I knew a friend in Boston who years ago sold a ten-carat monster pear shape diamond, and I admit it wasn’t the best quality, and that was only $125K.
So it’s no wonder that jeweler to the stars, Sir Manfred La Fleece’s clients just call him “Manny.” Meanwhile, in his past life Manny sold knock-off fake Rolex watches on the strip in Las Vegas, along with fake Louis Vuitton handbags, that’s where his street name was “Jimmy Short Arms” (as in short arms and deep pockets).
The only difference is today he is leaving his Malibu beachfront home in one of his many exotic sports cars to catch a flight on his private jet to finalize the sale on another one of his latest eight million dollar one-of-a-kind four carat diamond rings in the Big Apple for some overpaid and overmedicated sport celebrity. Is Sir Manfred laughing while driving his new Bentley? You bet he is…all the way to the bank! Am I jealous, you bet I am; only I have a conscious! And besides, I’m afraid of driving fast and I hate flying in small planes.
What! Give up all this? I have a business here on the rock, in paradise where everyone who lives here is a millionaire, wishes they were or at least acts like one, the sidewalks are paved in gold, that must be why they roll up after 9 PM and the sand on the beach is uncut diamonds.
So while “Manny” is reeling in the naïve drug addled celebrity’s millions for diamonds that cost him a fraction of his asking price, (I heard he’s saving to buy an island in the Caribbean), here I am dealing with people in the off-season who are accusing me of being a thief because I charged $10 to change a battery in their $10,000 watch; one guy asked me where I keep my mask and gun. And then the next minute I’m explaining to some mental giant that I don’t fix Jaguar keyless entry fobs, hearing aids or re-gold plate handles on a knock-off Gucci hand bag. Just last week I was asked if I would fine-tune some electrical parts on a fricking elevator to make them fit, which I did, and saved some non-appreciating condo commandos thousands on new parts. It’s a thankless job being a goldsmith.
All I want to do is what I do best, and that is to design and create beautiful jewelry that people love to wear, that can be worn for generations. I love to educate and supply beautiful diamonds and precious gemstones to my loyal customers who appreciate my talents and expertise, and this past season I had the pleasure satisfying those with the most sophisticated of tastes.
I hear it over and over and have tried to ignore the writing on the wall that the fine jewelry business will never be the same as it was in the good old days before the crash.
Every day is challenge for my son and I when we try to repair the most horrendous quality jewelry that we are told was hardly ever worn.
The main source of this “trash” is from the billions of dollars people spend on T.V. jewelry shopping networks and online website purchasing, and don’t forget the big box discount outlets, where you can buy a diamond ring right next to the chain saws and leaf blowers! I hope it’s not a sign of the demise of the vocation I love so much.
I wonder if Manny “Jimmy Short Arms” needs a goldsmith in his exclusive Beverly Hills jewelry studio?
Richard Alan (Street name: “Richie Rich”) is a designer/goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith on Marco Island for over 23 years and welcomes your questions and comments on “All That Glitters.” The Harbor Goldsmith is located at 680 Bald Eagle Drive on Marco Island. Call 239-394-9275 or visit the website at: www.harborgoldsmith.com.