Golden Years

Gold prices hit an all-time high last Friday, breaking the $1250 US/a troy ounce barrier. Which is making it harder to find fancy jewels at places like the Value Village or Goodwill. Unless a piece falls through the cracks, they are asking outrageous, above-scrap prices for anything they suspect might be gold. I saw a gold-filled, non-working ladies watch priced at $65 last time I was at the VV. It’s just crazy pants.

Which is why I was so excited to find the 14K Chrysoprase ring for $5 (pictured above) last Sunday. It’s attractive in its homely simplicity. The stone is a nice colour as well. How did it slip through the cracks? Maybe because the hallmarks are on the outside of the shank. Maybe because the assay marks are Dutch, which, at the time it was made consisted of an oak leaf and a city symbol. No numbers or “K”s. The stamp also helps date the piece because the style of oak leaf symbol was used between 1906 and 1958.

I’m getting so much better at recognizing gold jewellery. Still most of it is not worth more than its melt price. Which brings me to a dilemma: I was saving scrap gold because I was considering taking another silversmithing course in the fall and I could use the metal to make something pretty. I’ve also bartered broken modern pieces in the past to have antique jewellery repaired. The question is, at what price does it become worth it to scrap perfectly serviceable, albeit run-of-the-mill, gold pieces like this ring? It has travelled so far to come to me. It would seem mean just to turn around and kill it. But then again, I’ve got dental bills to pay.