I got a phone call at the shop the other day from a gentleman inquiring about the price of a piece of jewelry he and his wife had seen in my window display. When I asked if he could describe the item, he was pretty vague. I have a lot of sea life pieces on display out there! Then he mentioned it was about three years ago… WHAT? Three years ago? Sir, I beg your pardon, this is a retail jewelry store not the Smithsonian Institute Museum! Whatever was out there in the window in 2017, I’m sure I have sold it by now. He sounded a bit disgruntled. I told him to come in, I have tons of dolphin jewelry to look at. He said that’s not gonna happen because he lives out of state and the last time he was on Marco was…well, 2017.
This lapse of decision making is alive and well here in paradise. There is a woman who is infatuated with my personally designed gold and silver Marco bracelet. She has wanted one since its inception, and back in 2001 the bracelet was around $275. Gold was a lot more inexpensive back then than it is now, but she said that it was too much money and she would wait until gold prices go down. Well that theory didn’t hold water too well because the price of gold has increased six–fold since then, and so has the cost of my bracelet. Yet, she religiously comes in every year expecting it to cost less than $275!
It can be a reality check for a lot of folks looking for heavy chains and bracelets. Those of you that had the hindsight and capital enough to purchase the heavy stuff years ago, good for you and congratulations; your investment in gold has probably more than doubled in value, because you are astute and have incredibly good taste in fine jewelry. For the rest of you folks, prepare yourselves for sticker shock if you are in the market for a heavy chain or bracelet that now costs thousands instead of hundreds.
Gold is expensive all over the world, not just Marco Island. It’s no different if you are in Kalamazoo, Michigan or Bangladesh, India, the set price of gold is worldwide; if you find someone selling for less than market price call me, we can make a killing together. I have a friend, who has a friend, who has a friend that owns a gold mine in South America who claims he can get the gold cheaper than the world market price; I said if that is the case… Why would this moron tell anybody? If this were true, in time he could make Warren Buffet his personal butler! I have yet to see a single gram of this bargain basement gold. If my friend is dumb enough to “invest” in this sham, I’ll tell him I still have stock for sale for my diamond mine in the Everglades, next to the fountain of youth.
Many of us have missed the boat, so to say, in all kinds of things: That perfect guy or girl (“the one that got away!”); Saying no to investing in Apple Inc. (“Home computers, what are you kidding?”). My latest folly was investing in a little unknown metal called palladium (Don’t confuse this with platinum, another precious metal that ain’t so precious anymore). Palladium was $193.00 an ounce in 2008, a week or so ago it surpassed the gold price at $1,600.00 and at this moment in time it is $2,219.00 an ounce! I have been in the jewelry business over fifty years and never saw this coming. Palladium was a metal rarely used in the jewelry business, it’s white in color and hard wearing like platinum, and now used in catalytic convertors instead of platinum, I’m told. Now the cost of platinum is way down, the cost of palladium is through the roof! This boggles my mind, a $10,000 (or 50 ounces) investment in palladium in 2008 would reap you $110,950.00 today! Talk about snoozing and losing!
The cost of gold rose considerably in recent months and has been hovering in the high $1,500’s. It is a double edge sword kind of thing for jewelers, too. In one way it’s a good thing, for what inventory they had in stock is now more valuable, and on two bad notes any reordering will cost significantly more than what was previously sold, making it a tough sell. Will it continue to rise? I hope not, because it won’t benefit me none if it does. I’ll be happy as a clam if it goes back down to $1,100.00! In this present crazy world we live in, guess we will have to wait and see.
Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith on Marco Island and welcomes your questions and comments about all that glitters. Visit www.harborgoldsmith.com or call 239-394-9275.