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Commentary: The Business

Jeweler Recycles Clients’ Gold and Forges Relationships

It’s a service that keeps them coming back.




WELL, I HAVE a bee in my bonnet, and I must let it out!

Redesign is my favorite part of my job, and using clients’ gemstones and precious metals to create a whole new 21st-century look lights up my Nordic DNA that says recycle/reuse. For years, industry pundits have testified that you cannot reuse gold. Why? “It has already been cast, can’t reuse it,” or “Old gold will cause porosity in the cast piece,” or just plain “It is too old.”

I heartily disagree.

In 2019, I designed a ring for a client. All her gold. All her diamonds and her mom’s diamonds. My cost to do the job was about $1,800. The appraised value was $41,000! How do we convince clients that the jewelry we sell them is truly rare and precious, then turn around and say it is useless? Gold has been dazzling us for thousands of years. Gold is bought from clients and sold as used jewelry or refined, but according to those “who know” in our industry, it can never be reused for a client.

Recently, I designed an engagement ring with a young man and his mom. His grandparents and his parents had been our customers. I gave him diamond prices and asked if he had any old gold. He looked at his mom, who pulled a gold and diamond ring from her purse. It had been her mother-in-law’s. I had designed the ring with his grandmother in about 2007 from old family wedding rings. She later told me that when he asked for the gold, she was thrilled to give it to him for a fourth generation to value.

If a client comes in to sell their gold, I explain it has much more value to them than to me. It goes in my recycle jar and will never be used to create or repair someone else’s jewelry. Casting grain costs 10 times what I will buy scrap 14K gold for. If the client has gold, we will re-shank the ring for $250; if they don’t have the gold, $550, making their scrap worth $300. I understand that by doing business this way, I lose a bit of money, but I do create a rock-solid relationship with my clients. If you buy gold from me, you can use it forever.


I want my clients to know their precious really is precious. With gold going off the charts again, more jewelers should consider this approach.



She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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