Results of my gold and silver sale…

As I stood in the kitchen at our high granite counter top (to accommodate my tall stature), sorting the last minuscule piles of a lifetime of gold chains, earrings and bracelets (mostly from the 80’s) along with more recent sterling silver, I chuckled to myself.

Who was I kidding to think that all of this was “real” gold and not some cheap imitation I fell sucker to in my more naive days (when were those?).  They looked and felt like real gold.  Then again, when was I ever willing to spend $100’s if not $1000’s on myself?  Only a few times. There always were other priorities and I was never that interested in jewelry.

Somehow, over the years I managed to acquire a few chains, a few pairs of earrings or a bracelet that “looked” like gold.  As trends changed from gaudy layers of gold chains around one’s neck (as Tom calls them, Mr. T’s starter sets) and wrists, I fell prey to the appeal of more reasonably priced sterling silver.  As prices on sterling silver climbed over the past several years, stainless steel earrings started looking really good to me, categorically arranged on the wall at Target for $5.99 a pair!  

Alas, the gold and silver guy, Bill Boyd, referred by our estate sales guy Jim Andersonappeared at our door at 10 am this past Thursday, bringing along with him, estate jewelry store owner, Ann Eliason of Ann & Jack’s Vintage Jewelry, in Hopkins MN.  Oddly, neither of these lovely folks conduct business online. But, what they lack online they gained in person! 

The gold and silver business attracts many vultures as purported experts, are more than willing to give a motivated, customer supposed “top dollar” for their gold and silver.  Customers walk out of their stores, $80 in hand thrilled they finally unloaded this useless pile of tangled chains (by the way, it is not necessary to untangle the chains). 

Some crafty buyers conduct parties in homes, similar to the old Tupperware parties whereby the guests bring their old gold and silver to sell on the spot. With the host offering up appetizers and wine, a lively party ensues.  A few wine glasses later, negotiating is out the window along with $1000’s from  these unsuspecting party goers.  Not for me.

Over the past several years I procrastinated about selling it not only leery of going to one of those stores in a mall or parties, but not motivated enough to start picking through the over-stuffed jewelry boxes of which I had little interest. I guess I’ve been more lazy about it than anything.  

For two solid hours, while we clucked like hens thoroughly enjoying the time together, they meticulously picked through my “stuff” with the jeweler’s glass in their eye talking all the while.  Their efficiency was evident and I was at ease, expecting to end the day with little more than a few hundred dollars.

After the rude awakening of what was “real” and what wasn’t Bill asked me for a piece paper and a pen.  I scrambled around the house, looking for a piece of paper.  Ha!  I chuckled again.  

I had trouble finding paper.  I hardly use paper, computer geek that I am.  Ah ha!  I grabbed some paper out of the printer, rousting up a pen, handing it to Bill while he weighed the little piles of gold and silver on his special “pennyweight” scale.  The word “penny” scared me. Goodness.  Will I end up with $10.62?

Scribbling on the piece paper,  finally silent as a mouse, after having looked up the gold and silver rates (which I had done before they arrived!) and Bill writes this number on the piece of paper: $2,810!

I tried not to look shocked as he explained how he arrived at this number. Negotiate?  No, way!  Show me the money!!!  He did.  

Next week, Ann will get back to me with an offer on my wedding ring.  We’re not taking any risks and bringing along any fancy jewelry on our multi year journey that may attract thieves.  Sell my ring?  Yep! Remember, no attachment to “things.”

We will remain attached to people, to Mother Nature, to life changing experiences, a few creature comforts, food for survival, endless learning and of course, each other.  That, my friends, is priceless!

Selling most of my jewelry, precious or not!…

Jewelry displayed on our 60″ square table

A simple pair of sterling silver, minimal dangling earrings are my only accouterments these days.  For some odd reason, as I have aged, jewelry feels heavy and cumbersome.

I’m annoyed by the feeling of rings on my fingers difficult to get over my slightly swollen joints, then feeling too loose once in place, necklaces with the clasp invariably finding its way to the front of my neck and bracelets or watches flicking at my somewhat bony wrist.  

This disdain for jewelry started in my 50’s after an obsessive period of making jewelry, trendy at the time.  Working 12 hour work days, I somehow found the time to seemingly spend countless hours perusing beads in various bead stores, almost getting a high off the selection of beads from around the world.   

With Tom working weekends at the time, I busied myself with a professional sized lighted magnifying mirror content to sit for hours, eyes squinting to create an endless array of what I considered at the time, to be uniquely designed necklaces, bracelets and matching earrings.  Surely, there was a career as a jewelry designer looming there!  Ha!

Upon completion of a “set,” I’d leave them out for days on a meticulously folded piece of black velvet with the intent of frequently admiring my handiwork.  

As a result of my job at the time, we were often invited to fancy affairs, resulting in an opportunity to wear the fruits of my labor.  A piece of my jewelry served as the inspiration for my outfit fit for the night, sending me to shop online for a great deal on a dress.

It was 1998, eBay’s early years, and I relished in the opportunity to shop online to find the perfect designer dress at a fraction of the retail cost.  Always easy to fit, it wasn’t unusual for me to find a dress for under $25 to which I supplemented my selected jewelry pieces for a finished look.  

Tom, dressed to the 9’s as the proverbial penguin (albeit, with a degree of disdain), looked polished and handsome at my side.  We enjoyed the ambiance of elegant venues, the experience, the gourmet food and the idle conversation amongst ourselves and our table mates.

Five years and 100 or so necklaces later, I left the company for greener pastures along with the experience of the elegant occasions in tow.  I stopped making the jewelry, placing them in an oversized wooden jewelry box, where they remained for the past nine years, seldom to be used, never to be displayed, subsequently resulting in little, if any, emotional attachment.

Yesterday, I began the painstaking process of preparing the handcrafted jewelry and my many years-of-accumulation other jewelry including a little gold, a little silver and a few diamonds, to be perused by the jewelry guy Bill, recommended by our estate sales guy, Jim Anderson of Caring Estate Sales, coming to visit on Thursday. 

Of course, while polishing and preparing my handmade pieces, I discovered a few that called my name, to travel along with us, to occasionally adorn a colorful summery outfit. Not too many, just a few, none of which would be sufficient bounty for a thief, of which we’ve been warned over and over again.  

No rings, no gold, no big silver pieces will travel with us and draw attention to us as likely prey.  Over the past several months in an effort to get used to it,  I stopped wearing my wedding ring, placing it in a safe deposit box.  Tom, never wore a wedding ring, fearing injury at work nor anything other than a watch that he swears to “throw away” on his retirement date!

Eventually, when we are unable to continue to see the world, we will go the bank, retrieve the ring, perhaps to be worn again if I can get it past the burgeoning ring finger knuckle.

I will update you on the results of the upcoming visit by the jeweler, unlikely to purchase any of my “costume” jewelry which ultimately will be offered for sale at the upcoming estate sale at the end of October, three months away.

Months ago, I wrote about our purchase of four old fashioned ice cube trays. We love ice in our drinks, but in several locations the water won’t be fit for our consumption. Thus, each day we will freeze the four trays with bottled water  to maintain a steady stream of ice.

Iced cube trays packed with smaller jewelry items to be sealed with plastic lids for traveling

When discussing our desire for ice with Tom, I suggested an alternate use for the four trays and filled the little cups with my jewelry, covering each tray with the accompanying plastic lids.  

Today, while separating the jewelry I’d like to bring for our out-on-the-town nights, and dress up nights on the cruises, I went ahead and filled the ice cube trays.  With the trays, lids and jewelry, it was a total of two pounds including a few larger pieces that needed to go into a plastic bag.

Bye, bye jewelry.  Hello, world.