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Thursday, October 8, 2009


I don't care what others say but there's something perverse about those gold parties where you bring your beautiful real gold pieces, your mom's diamond's rings, your grandmother's unique pendant, or that gorgeous gold bracelet your hubby purchased for your anniversary and offer it up to a 'gold buyer" for the "best dollar".

For me, it's gross and it's been spawned by the greed generated by the surge in gold prices over the past 2-3 years. When you couple that greed with the dreadful downturn in the economy over 2008, with all the job losses, the defaulting on mortgages, and families desperate to make ends meet, you create a money-making situation for those fast enough to capitalize on your distress: the gold jewelry buyers. They promise you top dollar for your family heirlooms ... except ... are you really getting what that piece is worth?

Most of these buyers are not buying these beautiful pieces, like the one shown at the top of this post and available from OUR SHOP AT RUBY LANE even as an investment. Truth is, if you know anything about buying gold as an investment, you know it's gold bars, ingots and coins that are the investment, not gold jewelry! So what's the deal with these gold-buying parties? What do these buyers want? They want your gold to sell to a gold refiner, that's what! They'd sell a gorgeous old bracelet like the one above (which happens to weigh 87 grams of 18k gold) to refiners for the best dollar they can get from them.

Now think about it: on the current market, with gold at 1,053.70 USD / Troy Oz, that bracelet is worth $2211 USD today (October 8, 2009) just to melt down! Wow, that's a lot of money. But wait a minute: the gold-buyer won't offer you that because after all, he/she wants to make money on your bracelet. They can't pay YOU what the gold-refiner will pay them. So they'll offer you less, sometimes much much less. After all, they want to make as much as they can on the bracelet or ring they buy from you. So they'll give you as little as they can.

So if you're hell-bent on getting some money for your wonderful heirloom gold jewelry, you might try to locate a gold-refiner directly yourself. At least you'll get more for your pieces than if you attend a gold buying party.

But that said, now let me say what I really feel: how could you sell a bracelet like the one up top to a refiner so he can just melt it down? That gorgeous bracelet was given to the mother of one of my friends by her husband over 50 years ago during a trip to Spain. When mom passed on, she left the bracelet to her daughter. I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw this piece: I'd never seen any gold bracelet that even comes close for quality, design and overall beauty. And just look at that construction:

How could you let something like this be destroyed?

Well, if you feel as I do, that gold vintage jewelry is very special and worth keeping in your family, take a closer look at this bracelet in OUR SHOP AT RUBY LANE. Granted, this one is expensive but well worth it if you can afford it. And if not, while you're over at our shop, do look at some of our other gorgeous gold necklaces, some with rubies, some with sapphires, and some with diamonds. Jewelry like this will be around longer than any costume pieces, is less subject to damage over time, and will always gain in value that no refiner or gold buyer will pay you.

From Waxahachie, Texas, to France for $5.00 Round Trip!!!!

I'm doing something I rarely do in my blogs i.e. sharing with you a great story sent to me by one of my customers. This was so good I really thought it deserved to be read by anyone who hunts down and collects jewelry. Thanks Cynthia for sharing this gem with me and my followers. Enjoy!

Sounds like one of those old fashioned "come-ons" doesn't it? Well, read on!

Anyone who knows me, knows I love "antiquing," especially for vintage
jewelry treasures. But for me, purchasing the item, is only the start of
the adventure. In this case, my purchase of $5.00 was for a completely
blackened bracelet. It was so blackened,it was impossible to see what
designs were on the tiny disks comprising the bracelet.

Why on earth buy something covered in the blacks, browns and/or greens,
encrusted by time and neglect? I hope that can I try to restore as many
pieces as possible to a condition where they can carry their beauty down
through further generations. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes not.

Cleaning a piece takes patience, but I feel such a thrill at what might be
under all the gunk.

Three cleanings latter, my little bracelet, had turned into a tiny
treasure. Each of its 10 disks were stamped on one side with a flower,
and the other side with a cathedral, or an image of the Virgin Mary. There
was no writing on any of the disks, but luckily, a small charm matching
the others, but hanging from the bracelet was marked ""Cathedrale de

Thank heavens for the Internet! It makes research sooo much easier. Reims,
is another spelling for Rheims, France. It was on the sight of the
cathedral that Clovis, the French king, was converted to Christianity by
St. Reim. The church built to commemorate that event was built in 496
A.D. When this church burned, a cathedral was built on the site. It is
one of only a triad of churches built in the "High Gothic" or "Classical
French" styles of the 13th Century. Latter, it became the traditional
place where the Kings of France were crowned. The center portion is
dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and dominated by a a stained glass window of
a rose.

My little bracelet was yielding up its secrets! Each of the pictures of
the cathedrals on the bracelet exactly matched the photos on the Internet.
And I felt the presence of the images of the rose and the Virgin Mary
were explained by the center portion of the cathedral itself.

But what of the other flowers? The little bracelet can be worn so either
only the flowers show, or only the cathedral and the images of the Virgin
Mary show. In addition to the rose, I identified a pansy, a sunflower, and
a daffodil. In the "language of flowers" a rose symbolizes love and
purity; a pansy, loving thoughts; a sunflower, pure and lofty thoughts;
and a daffodil, chivalry.

My guess is these flowers were a prayer, the wearer asking through the
symbolism flowers to embody the virtues they represent. I could of course
be totally off the mark, but this somehow feels right.

My little bracelet lies on my desk beside me as I write this. It will
never make anyone gasp! on Antique Road Show. It won't make my fortune.
But it did take me to France and back for $5.00!

Sunday, October 4, 2009


For our SHOP AT RUBY LANE, we go out of the way and spend many hours, days, weeks, searching for fine vintage jewelry that is out of the ordinary, because that's what we find our customers want. They aren't drawn to the contemporary, mass-produced, run-of-the-mill pieces you can find in the real world shopping centers or online. They want the unique, the one-offs, the pieces they won't see others wearing. And they know that most of the time, buying vintage, antique, or if you dare to call it what it really is i.e. "pre-worn", "pre-owned" and "pre-loved" is the only way to acquire jewelry that is really special and different. And if what has happened in our shop at Ruby Lane in the past 2 weeks is any indication, when they find that special piece, be it a ring, bracelet, necklace or set, they act fast. And so they should, because there's never more than one of any particular item.

Take that gorgeous multi-gem set shown at the top of this post. It's made from 18k yellow gold, and features a lovely blend of pearls, rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds in 3 pieces: a necklace, earrings and ring. Do you know how hard it is to find a full parure like that in gold these days? No wonder this unique set had only been up on the site 3 hours when a lady came in to buy it. She was worried sick that someone else would beat her to it and that does happen a lot in our shop. More than once 2 people have been eyeing one of our new listings at the same time, and it becomes a case of "act fast or be last". I feel so bad when that happens, especially to some of our regular, repeat buyers who stop into our shop daily to make sure they don't miss something new. Sometimes, just taking a few hours to think it over is too long!

It was much the same with this magnificent aquamarine/diamond necklace shown below:

Even though I'd mentioned this piece in this blog a few weeks back, and some of my regulars had seen it, when it finally got listed, it sold too fast for some. But we did expect that to happen with this one because the necklace has such a gorgeous design and after all, contains the incredibly popular gemstone, aquamarine, accompanied by lots of glittering diamonds. We knew we had a very special necklace in this one so we had it appraised. It came in at over $2800 USD. I've seen similar, but never the same, being offered for twice that appraisal price, but our lucky, quick-acting buyer put it on layaway for just over half that appraised value. And sometimes, that's what you have to do if you really want something: ask if you can put it on layaway. If it means you can lock up a piece of jewelry for yourself before someone else buys it, then just ask. We are receptive to layaway on very easy terms in OUR SHOP AT RUBY LANE.

We have other fabulous & valuable necklaces in our shop in both 14k and 18k with diamonds, sapphires and rubies. Many come with appraisals, as do our more valuable rings. With Christmas coming, now is the time to secure those pieces that will make the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one, like this incredible tension-set bangle and ring duo with 1.6 carats of super high quality diamonds and an appraisal of over $8000 shown below. Our jeweler wants to buy this one to sell in his shop but we want our customers to buy it. Layaway available. Check it out by clicking on the photo below. It's being offered at less than 1/3 its appraised price!