Rarely a day goes by that I don’t get astonished and or flabbergasted by comments made by misinformed or superstitious folks who enter my establishment.
I’d like to quote Rick who runs the Las Vegas pawn shop on the T.V. show Pawn Stars. “Even after 30 years in the business you never know what will walk in that door.”
Call them wives’ tales or folklore, you name it, most of the time it is just wrong information. Here are some of my favorite ones. You may even believe they are true. Never give opal jewelry to someone if it isn’t her birthstone, it will give her a life of bad luck.(Guys, I guess you could give your ex’s opals to get the desired effect.) Giving pearls as a gift to a bride to be will only bring her misery and tears. (Wow! Don’t invite any ex’s bearing gifts to that wedding.)
Some other good ones are home remedies for cleaning your jewelry, for instance… toothpaste? Where this one comes from beats me. Toothpaste contains abrasives and can do more damage than good and is just plain messy.
Only yesterday some British tourists told me they clean their jewelry in gin or vodka? I can think of a better use for that cleaning agent, only that would include tonic water, a bit o’ lime and ice. One of the worst jewelry cleaning “tips” is cleaning with bleach. After a few Clorox cleanings your jewelry will promptly begin to corrode and fall apart and be rendered unfixable. Nice tip! Don’t do it! Glass cleaner is ok for the most part, provided you rinse all of it off with warm water and dry.
Then there are misconstrued ideas that people have about jewelers. Like how we work on a three times mark up on all the trinkets in the show case, especially diamonds. That’s a good one, with gold at nearly $1,800.00 an ounce. I add a dollar to the wholesale price and they still won’t buy it. I did better than that last week with a client who was “shopping” for prices on a heavy gold chain. The client was in half a dozen times, and quite frankly making me crazy. The price was always out of the question (fine, more gold for me.)
Next day the client is in again this time looking at a heavy bracelet and asking “How much?” I did something I never do, I purposely quoted a price $1,000.00 below cost (client succeeded in making me crazy, I did this for a reason.) The client answers… “Price is too high, can you do better?” You can come to you own conclusion, I know I did…I put the bracelet back in the case. Next customer, please.
Another touchy subject is the public’s suspicion about leaving a valuable diamond with a jeweler and the anguish it causes some people. How do they know they will get the same diamond back? Is it safe there? I had one lady tell me that she better get back the same cubic zirconia in her pendant when she returned to pick up the repair. I assured her she would. (What did she think I would do replace it with a real two carat diamond?)
I once had a couple who wanted to inspect my store’s security system. I asked them if they would also like a copy of my alarm codes and safe combination? I don’t make this stuff up! I also cringe when I hear how many baby boomers will claim their engagement ring contains a “perfectly flawless blue white diamond” and on my close examination, the diamond quality couldn’t be further from the truth. Then I have to point out the ugly fact they got duped. I’d love to meet the N.Y. diamond dealer who sold thousands of single one carat “blue white flawless diamonds” for $500.00 back in the 60’s. He probably owns a Caribbean island enjoying a luxuriously peaceful retirement.
So every Monday, I open my doors to the public and rake in the wealth of useless information and slowly save my hard earned shekels to someday retire and purchase my own Mediterranean island, where I can lounge on the beach, where I can request my butler to bring more ice to refresh my glass of lime flavored jewelry cleaner.
Richard Alan is a designer /goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith now located at Beall’s Plaza, 680 Bald Eagle Dr., Marco Island and welcomes your questions and comments about “All That Glitters.” 239.394.9275.