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Big question

i did a craft show last weekend, did great, no one would believe you
can crochet wire silver…should have seen the sheetmetal
workers…they almost turned one piece inside out!

fri was good, sat was great, i met a woman who purchased bunches, i
discounted a few of the items…she came back sunday and presented
me with a sack, about 2lbs of vintage costume jewelry… some really
nice stuff that had belonged to her grandmother and mother. she
asked if i would trade reworking some of her old mexican silver
filagree work…which i did. i told her it was too much to just
take the jewelry…some is just old stuff,but there are some
beautiful pieces. she insisted, told me she had my card, and would
get back with me on a couple of other new things. as i dug through,
i found a religious metal of the Holy Mother, a beautiful piece,
heave gold color, a red stone in one hand, on a septor…measures 1
1/2’’ long, 1’’ wide, and about 2.5-3mm thick… and is marked on
the back, 18K it is in the shape of a square bottom, and the top
is an oval…looks like hand cut detail…

someone, please tell me that long ago or far away this marked was put
on anything, like brass…it is a really heavy piece. it has a
bale that measures 1/2’’ x 1/4’’ wide.

now what do i do if this thing turns out to be real 18K gold… the
lady was on meds for depression…she did like the work i did on
the old silver… pat

If it is gold, then she most likely did not know it. Call her up and
get it back to her. This is not a big question.

If you do not have her number, let her know that a mitake has been
made when and if she calls you. Hold on to the piece until then. It sounds lucky

If it turns out to be 18kt gold, the ethical thing to do is inform
the lady. She gave you the stuff under the assumption it was all
that valuable.


Is the question heRe: Should I return the 18k gold piece? or is it
What do I do with the 18k gold piece? In answer to the first question,
since you completed work for the customer and the offer was that you
get paid with her bag of jewelry then the cross is yours, as it was a
part of her offer. Daniel R. Spirer, GG

Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

now what do i do if this thing turns out to be real 18K gold.... 
the lady was on meds for depression.......she did like the work i
did on the old silver..... 

Hi Pat,

Since this is an ethics question rather than a jewelry one I feel
qualified to respond. Were I in your place I would consider these
issues. 1. You identified some valuable pieces and offered to
return the jewelry to the customer and she refused. 2. She may be
coping with either a temporary, crisis caused depression or a long
term clinical depression, but either way she is being treated. The
new psychotropic drugs are incredible and allow most patients to
function normally. Therefore, I don’t believe you are dealing with a
person who is unable to make rational decisions. 3. She wants your
products and does not want the material she gave you.

Therefore I would suggest either of two courses of action if the
piece turns out to be 18k and worth significant money: Credit the
customer with the amount the sale of the piece generated less your
brokerage commission (which you have earned and then some) and apply
it to future pieces you make for her or sell the piece, take your
commission and offer her the remainder of the money. If you give her
a choice of the two options, I’ll bet the customer would want to take
the credit toward your future work for her.

My hat is off to you for you highly ethical behavior.

John McLaughlin Glendale, Arizona @John_McLaughlin

If it is gold, then by all means contact the person who gave it to
you, and let her know its true value. Let HER decide whether she
wants it back or not. chances are she had no idea of its value. You
will sleep a lot better if you level with her, and you will make a friend for life. Alma

Dear John, I have to revise my earlier thought on the cross in
question. It is easy for me to say: just give to cross back to the
old lady suffering from mental illness. In truth, if my rent was not
paid or the food was running low or my kid’s school bill wasn’t paid,
I would scrap that cross in a second. No kidding. We on this forum
have lots of big and expensive ideas but in fact what we do is tinker
around with bits of metal and stone to create personal adornments. I
was not aware that this forum addressed the subject of
psychopharmacology and I think it never should again. Your ignorance
on the subject of psychotropic drugs is a staggering embarrassment
and prime example of why this country treats its mentally ill people
in such a shabby fashion . Rebeca Lettieri

    since you completed work for the customer and the offer was
that you get paid with her bag of jewelry then the cross is yours,
as it was a part of her offer.

I agree with Daniel that it’s yours if you want to keep it, as that
was the agreement. However, if you are asking the question, you are
feeling uncomfortable with taking this from this particular person,
who is a nice person and probably didn’t know its true value. Check
and make sure your conjecture about the 18 K is right and then follow
your heart. You won’t regret it.

I once bought a ring in a pawn shop that was from Saudi Arabia,
brought home by a soldier in the Gulf War. As the clerk was ringing
up the sale, the owner came over and changed the price! The clerk
had represented the item as 14 kt, but I could tell from the heft of
it it was more than that, if really gold, and I made a remark on that
which tipped the owner. The price went from something like $30 to
$45, but I bought it anyway. A Pakistani dealer helped me decipher
the quality mark which indicated “22” and I later did an SG
determination which confirmed that it was close to pure gold. The
value was about $96 as scrap. Needless to say, I did not return the
ring to that SOB, who would have represented the ring as 14 kt and
not taken it back if it turned out to be brass. It is a treasured
possession because, for once, the good guy won.

So, to me, it depends some on who you are dealing with. This lady
sounds like a very nice person with an interest in your jewelry and
not the greatest resources or luck. Decide accordingly.