3 years since I got the 5 ounce 24k gold necklace
Posted to the US coin forum, but figured some might find it interesting in here, too:
This is the 3rd installment of an annual series. I made a similar post about a year ago.
Way back in 2005, I came across a jeweler in Canada with a workforce of Vietnamese jewelers who specialized in making .999 pure gold jewelry. It sounds pretty crazy to most Americans: We've been told forever that "pure gold is too soft for jewelry", so we've been sold 18k (75% pure), 14k (58.3% pure), and even 10k (only 41.7% pure). But as a metals hound, I learned many years ago that lots of cultures wear jewelry much more pure than ours. The standard in Europe is mostly 18k. In the middle-east, the standard is typically 22k. And in much of Asia, the standard is at least 22k and often 24k pure gold. And as a coin collector, we all know that gold coins have traditionally been at least 90% pure gold, and coins are some of the hardest-working machines in human history.
Curious and disappointed with the purity and cost of mid-karat gold, I commissioned a 2 ounce "baht" necklace. Baht is a traditional unit of weight in Asia, where one baht = 15.244 grams. It's also a generic name for jewelry that is made, bought, and sold by weight. It's so ubiquitous, it's even the name of the currency in Thailand (formerly "Siam" or land of gold).
That necklace was a traditional baht style, complete with the traditional "M" shaped clasp. There are no moving parts to that style of clasp--pure gold is so malleable you literally twist the clasp to open it, twist and pinch it back shut to close it!
That first 2-ounce baht necklace cost me a whopping $1120 including manufacture, shipping, and insurance And that's the other great thing about this style of jewelry. The jewelers don't charge anywhere near what American retailers charge. It's a commodity to them. Their skill is incredible, but their overhead is very low. So the cost over the cost of the metal is in percentages instead of multiples like it is for retail jewelry.
I wore that first necklace often, but eventually I started paring down what I wore and put it in the jewelry box.
Then metals started really getting interesting to me again maybe 4 years ago. And gold prices seemed relatively low. So I searched for another jeweler who worked in 24k gold and found one in St. Paul. This Hmong jeweler does dazzling stuff and their prices were super low. I did some due diligence, then pulled the trigger. I consulted with the jeweler to come up with a weight, a length, and ultimately a style that was the least gaudy that a necklace weighing 150+ grams (5 troy ounces) can be.
It only took about a week to get my prize, and I've worn it pretty much every day since then (08-02-18). So that's been just about 3 years now. How has she held up?
2018, just after she arrived:
And here's how she looks as of 11:00 am 09-20-2021:
So she's lost maybe 1/5th of a gram--though that could be atmosphere, battery power, etc. She's "softened" just a bit. The edges of the anchor chain style are not quite as crisp. But that's fine with me. No signs of cracks, splits, breaks. I never use the clasp, simply slip the whole thing over my head.
As Covid started to lift, I began wearing both chains. I do that on and off. But I always wear at least the big one.
--Severian the Lame