13 July 2021

All That Glitters...is Expensive

 I wear a gold cross on a fine, gold chain.  It was the second gift Kevin ever gave me and that was clearly before I lost my faith.  Now I wear it more out of sentimentality than any intention.  

Funny Story, to me:  When I was an administrator at the school, I would often spend time in classrooms.  One day one of my favorite three-year-olds noticed my cross.  She was slow to learn to talk but she got this out clearly: "Why do you have  a airplane?"  

Wooboy, it took me a minute to respond.  It made me laugh so hard and now almost twenty years later, it still makes me laugh.  I much prefer her take on it.

Now skip ahead to when I had to take Lucy to the new vet.  He's an older gentleman, probably in his seventies.  It took us a few minutes to get each other but by the end of the appointment, we were good.  One of the last things he mentioned was "That's a beautiful necklace."  I said thanks and indicated it was an old gift.  He subtly mentioned something about the importance of it and I squelched saying "I lost my faith a long time ago" just in time.  Instead I said something non-committal.  He wasn't being precious about it at all, just acknowledged it's existence.  Then he returned to talking about Lucy.

Then a few days later, the chain came apart in my hands while I was working at my desk.  I'm thankful that it happened here at home and that I noticed.  While the assumed symbolism isn't a thing for me, the nostalgia of it would have devastated me.

So, I had a backup chain because this isn't the first time the chain has broken.  Usually it's me trying to disentangle my hair from the clasp.  And...it's broken too.  Because of course. #2021

To sound pretentious, my jeweler had been closed due to Covid.  Actually, they retired and the new owner was closed due to Covid.  They were also located in my old work city and I hadn't found a "local" jeweler yet.  How old am I, anyway?

Funny story #2, to me:  One of the most popular jewelers in my home town is owned by four girls that I went to high school with.  Four of the Popular Girls.   While two of the four have always been nice to me, the other two Not So Much.  Not bullies but just mean girls who felt they didn't belong in a small town and made themselves bigger than they were. (jokes on them)  Yeah.  They're not getting my business. It's not a grudge, it's a consequence. 

I went to the jeweler that fixed my long-lost watch two years ago. I went more based on I knew where it was and it was convenient than based on any planning.  It's run by an elderly couple and the actual jeweler is my age so this is not going to be a long-term relationship, I'm afraid.

And with that thought, while talking to the jeweler, I discovered that being a jewel-smith (is that a thing?) is becoming a lost art.  Most jewelry stores are franchises now; there are few privately owned shops anymore.  Later I did a online search and he was right: ignoring franchises, there are only ten jewelers in a three-county radius.  

Funny Story #3:  One of the other jewelers in my hometown was the "family" jeweler when I married satan.  We bought not only my wedding ring there, but our china AND crystal there also.  (yes, very old fashioned, Christian family traditions. See: lost faith)

Whew, this is the scenic route to the point of this bloggity.

I didn't research the replacement cost of the necklace because I assumed it could be repaired.  Yeah, it was so old and worn that repair wasn't an option.  One of the ways we learned this is that the chain was nineteen inches long. Necklace sizes only come in even numbers.  Let's hear it for me being diligent about care and repair of this chain.

Okay, so disappointing and but let's look at a replacement.


The first one I chose was $649.  It was nothing special, not particularly heavy or flashy.  Just a gold chain, similar to the original.  It would be $700 by the time I walked out of the door.

Now I have to graciously tell them that I'm not paying that much for a chain.  They were great about it, actually.  I expressed visible and audible surprise and told them that I had zero idea how expensive it was to replace. They absolutely understood.  I suspect they've heard that before.

Then they wondered if I had any old jewelry at home.  I could trade it in to put it toward the cost.  You see those advertisements all the time but I didn't ever give it any thought.  I knew that I did so I told them I would return.  You could almost see the skepticism so that made me say that I would return on a particular day.  (I'm a child, don't doubt that I'll do something because then I have to)

In my jewelry box is mostly childhood costume jewelry and some jewelry from my grandmas.  I knew I had at least one gold chain, a cheap gold bracelet that the links kept breaking, a pair of earrings that I never wore, a pendant that I never wore, and a ring that was a gift.  Oh and another ring that I had forgotten about from when I was married to satan.  It has zero sentiment to it so I threw it in the box too.

On the self-announced day, I returned with my little box of goodies.  I had no expectation for any of it, I was just happy to be recycling this stuff.  After about ten minutes, the jeweler returned and it was worth $170.  To be honest, I wasn't sure if I should have been disappointed or happy.  In the end, it really didn't matter to me.

But that was still not half of what I would need for a replacement.  This is where the jeweler - not the owners - took interest/pity and offered to research reasonable replacements.  I felt obligated now so he went to look at what was possible.

And....it was still $400.  Sheesh.  That's just a lot for jewelry.  Especially when I had just spent $cough on Lucy's vet bills.  Luckily, the $170 "trade-in" took it to nearly half the cost.  Then because Covid, they didn't have one in stock.  It was the display and another had to be made.  Of course.  

Then there was a deposit required and it wouldn't be ready for almost three weeks so then the overall cost didn't hurt that badly.  So...it feels like a win?

Now enter Kevin.  He's not a sentimental guy at all.  At All.  So he was a little Meh about this whole adventure.  When I told him what the final cost was, he actually sputtered a little.  Coughed.  "I can guarantee that I didn't spend that much on the original!"   I had to laugh because, dude seriously.  Like I didn't already know that.  And, settle down with the love talk, you're overwhelming me.

So, what I learned was that gold is Capital E Expensive. That's why all the rings are platinum now.  I learned that I need to go back and have my rings appraised.  Not that I'm dripping in rings but I have my wedding ring with the diamond, a small, plain band and Kevin's band on my left hand.  (it's a marquis cut so Kevin's ring stays on my finger) Plus three gold and sapphire rings on my right hand that I have had FOREVER, one of which is pre-Kevin.  And a Black Hills Gold ring from my mother-in-law.

Wait, there's story about that. Funny Story #4:  Firstly, I don't know why she gave me a ring. She just did. It's an odd thing to give to a daughter-in-law and a little extra odd that it had no sentimental value. It was a Christmas gift.  Nonetheless, it was too big but I wore it anyway and you can see where this is going.  I lost it.   I didn't say anything and just hoped that she didn't notice and/or it would reappear.  

Fast forward about nine months and it's the day before our old house is going to be torn down.  I was packing the kitchen, turned around, and in the middle of the floor was the ring.  I have zero idea where it came from.  It just reappeared. I had it resized and now I wear it.

Kevin thought it was a good idea to tell his mom the story because it is kind of wild that it just appeared the day before a house was being torn down.  I expressed displeasure because I didn't want her to know I lost it.  Jokes on me, she noticed a while ago.

And...I swear I'll be finished talking about this eventually. Back to the original thought:

I definitely could have gone to a franchise and bought something less expensive but I am a Shop Local human whenever I can.  Also, I could have shopped online or ordered something bespoke online for definitely less.  The issue with that is I can't SEE or FEEL it.   I can only guess. It's also on faith (unintentional pun) that what I receive is actually gold and not plated gold; which I would only know if I had it appraised.

Jewelry seems to be a case of you get what you pay for.  It's just not worth the risk of losing the pendant, or having to return the chain until I get what I want, or have it repaired and have to explain "I bought it online." I'd rather spend a little lot more and not have to worry about it.

It was difficult to take this photo without being all bewbies
Rare photo without glasses, because impatient.
And, I don't have purple hair.  I love snapchat filters.


Swistle said...

Favorite parts:

"It's not a grudge, it's a consequence."

"...so this is not going to be a long-term relationship, I'm afraid."

"...settle down with the love talk..."

DECADES ago, I bought a pair of hollow (but not plated) gold hoop earrings for what seemed like the astronomical price of $30 (about $55 in 2021 dollars, and I was a poor student): I had Christmas money and wanted to buy something Special. I don't even KNOW what those same earrings would cost now to replace!!! (NOT $55, THAT'S FOR SURE.)

Gigi said...

Gold prices go up and down - and, I guess they are up now based on this story. Good for you for finding a local jeweler. I'm not surprised that the independents are a rare breed these days. Most everything is corporate now, even doctors - it's actually kind of sad.