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A Typical Day

Posted by Yvonne Raley on

I wake up at around 7:30, to Toby’s loud and demanding purr hovering above my head.  My long haired 13 pounder cat wants breakfast.  Or attention.   Both.  I pull myself out of bed and make a pot of tea.  Still in my pajama’s, I head over to the computer to check my email and my Etsy.   There’s a transaction, that’s nice, but just a tie bar.  And 7 convos.  About half of them are about custom orders I’m working on, where we’re still sorting out the details.  Others are requests: more photos for a ring, questions about a gemstone, or the availability of something similar to a listing.  A request for reserve that I turn down (many “reservists” don’t buy, but each “reservist” creates another request for a reserve).

More than half an hour has gone by and I’m still answering convos and relisting items.  I better hop into the shower or I won’t make the 10:30 subway to NY.  Then more listings, a quick photo session.  I check my To Do list and the Marilyn cosmetic bag where I keep what I have to take with me: a tie bar to engrave, some borrowed stones, earrings for setting, gems to be fitted for settings, and pre-assembled jewelry.  There’s a ring I soldered together, and a few things I started but then ran out of time.  I’ll let someone else finish the assembly.

After a quick breakfast, and one last convo, I head out.  I check my bag again.  If I forget anything - like my checkbook, or my list, or, God forbid, Marilyn - I have to run back.  I move the car to the other side for alternate parking, and dash to the subway.  I text the setter (“coming in today”), and the gemstone dealer, D.  

After a trip to the bank (mostly taking out money), and standing in line at the gold dealers, where they don’t have what I want in white gold, I go to the setter to pick up and drop off.  Something is soldered together wrong, I’m not happy but I swallow my anger.  I had added extra jump rings to the baggie (because sometimes they vanish) and now my dangly earrings have an extra hoop.  Ok, “let’s leave it,” I decide.  Not worth redoing because the item is stock and anyway, it would now have to be lazered because the stone is already set.  We discuss the new orders, I listen to a few jokes, pay for the orders received and head down the hall to the polisher with my pickups.

The setter could have just had it all polished of course, but him and the polisher hate each other.  Both are excellent, so I don’t want to switch.  Oil and vinegar, that’s what they’re like.  They try to mix, but each time they end up separating again.  I get free coffee at the polishers and drop off the jewelry that has to be rubber wheeled, sandblasted, rhodium plated. 

My next stop is the engraver, I give him the tie bar and instructions, then drop a ring with the guy who resizes for me.  He’s the best I know, never breaks a stone.  He’s bored though, so we chit chat, and I dash off to the casting service.  That place is slow, and there’s always a line, so I call ahead as I’m walking over and ask for my invoice to be prepared.  They put me on hold, and I stay on hold until I reach the building.  Oncein the elevator, I hang up.  Then I wait in line.  One order is missing (rose gold is cast only every two weeks), something else didn’t come out right.  It happens.  I inspect what I get, and realize that some items have to be prefinished (twig rings).  I head back to the polisher.

It’s 1:30 already and I don’t even know how thathappened.  I need a break, I get more coffee and some hummus, and sit down at the gem dealer’s booth.  That’s my favorite place of course.  Someone comes by with a parcel of something, wants to sell.  “Nobody’s buying,” D. says.  Or: “Too much,” after having heard the price.  A jeweler pops by who broke a stone.  A really expensive tanzanite.  “Don’t have,” D. says, but feels bad.  He’ll call around.  I give back some stones I don’t need and pick up others for orders, for new listings, or just for fun.  Time really flies now, I look up and it’s 3:05.  I had better check on my orders. 

I pick up the tie bar, the ring, but the polisher’s not done though so I head back to D.’s booth.  Another gem dealer comes by with interesting emeralds.  But they should be double checked in the lab for treatment.  D. takes a sample out on memo, and I will take it with me the next time.  Another dealer shows up at D.’s booth, someone whom I owe money.  Oops.  I’m out of cash.  I need more anyway, so I run back to the bank.  I pick up with the setter, take stuff to the polisher.  Again.  And pay a bill.  Again.

It’s 4:30.  D. packs up.  “Done for the day.”  I’m pooped.  I inspect my orders, D. loupes the more difficult setting jobs to make sure nothing’s broken or cracked.  Then we head upstairs to the diamond cutter’s, where D.’s cousin is still busily shaving down a 25 pointer and J. is cursing out someone to blow off steam – he does that a lot but he doesn’t mean most of it.  D. has a beer, joins in the cursing.  I have some chocolate and a little Pinot Grigio out of a plastic cup, looking out of place but actually feeling at home.  J. shows me some diamonds he wants to sell to make money for the weekend.  Someone else with old jewelry shows up that will either be resold or melted.  I peruse but don’t find anything.  I’m out of cash anyway.

I catch the 6:00 subway back home.  I have to bend and polish the tie bar still, answer a convo and let someone know their order is finished.  Send out a paypal bill, print labels.  Eat dinner.  Pet Toby, who’s been waiting, and who keeps jumping up on my desk, blocking my view.  I think I need to go to bed.

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