#58 - Know What You're Worth

Posted on Thursday, January 30th, 2020 at 11:29 am by LaLonde Jewelers

I did a lot of appraisal work for the Trust Companies around the nation.
People with a lot of wealth typically entrust their fortunes with a Trust Department of large banks. Some of these Trust Officers handle everything for their clients.

From managing large buildings, handling repairs on buildings, issuing checks and payments, and dispersing monies for that person or family to live on. A lot of these trust are in charge of rare items, cars, art, coins and jewelry.

Jewelry and coins were where I came in.

For a Trust Company in Honolulu, I was called in to look at some items.
I never knew what I was going to see, from a small amount to large amounts, just never knew.

Well, one time I was a little surprised. I met at the Bank Building down in the vault area, there were at least 8 attorneys, four trust officers, bodyguards and down at the end, a woman with big sunglasses, her head wrapped in a white babushka and plainly dressed. Only small areas of her skin showed.

I gathered that she was Asian descent, because of the type of jewelry and I found out later to be correct. I never learned her name; it really didn’t matter. I did learn that this woman was going thru a divorce from a man who’s family lived in Hong Kong, and in the course of the divorce she had to give all the jewelry from that Hong Kong family back, everything she had acquired thru her marriage.

This was not unusual; I had been thru a number of these procedures. What was unusual was the amount of jewelry.

I was given a list, several pages and was supposed to match up the jewelry with each item on the list. Nobody was concerned with the value of the items they were more concerned that they were all present.


There was so much it took me about 10 hours of matching up these pieces, and it was a good thing that I didn’t have to value each item.

There rubies, sapphires, jade, diamonds made up into pieces you see maybe once or twice in a career. I know on that day I saw at least 400 million dollars in jewelry and that could very well be a low estimate. That was 1985 values.

Thank god I didn’t have to value those pieces I might still be sitting in that vault.

Never found out who those people were, but one thing I know today I should have charged a larger appraisal fee. They would have had no trouble paying it. I guess that I didn't know what I was worth.

Written by Dan LaLonde, G.G., G.I.A.
Lalonde Jewelers & Gemologists
The Gem Expert