#26 - Sobel Opals

Posted on Sunday, November 11th, 2018 at 7:35 pm by LaLonde

There was a time that I traveled extensively from store to store, city to city and state to state appraising jewelry. So one particular occasion I was in a store in Kahului, Maui. I had teamed up with a Gem merchant and his salesperson, a guy named Sobel, on this venture. Sobel himself didn’t know a lot about gems but he was learning. I knew I had much more knowledge than he, so I started messing with him. He would bring me one of his stones and ask me what it was. So I would look at it, smell it and then bounce it off the glass counter and say, that’s an amethyst. He would later bring me another and I would do the same and say, it’s a ruby. Finally he asked me what I could tell by smelling it. I told him there is nothing I can look at or smell and tell what it is or where it has been.

I think he started to figure I was messing with him because later in the day he brought over a stone and showed me, he said don’t go bouncing it because it belongs to that guy over there with the Panama hat. Good thing because it turned out it was a very expensive alexandrite.
But more exciting than that was the gentleman that came in for me to look at some stones for him. I started looking and talking with him when he told me his name Max Fisher, yes thee Max Fisher, the guy that President Nixon would call to get advise on Economic matters.

I can’t remember what kind of stones he had, but I do remember some advice he gave me. He said if I were a young man I would put every cent I had into an area called Kihei, Maui. Well he was right and a modest investment would have made you wealthy. Unfortunately at the time I had very modest funds.

Back to Sobel, this guy was a character. He told me he was moving to Oahu and could he stay at my place till he got situated. Well he stayed a couple of weeks. He had a box of opals, maybe about 30 stones, which he had gotten on his travels to Australia. There were some nice stones, maybe about 100,000 dollars in 1982 money. He was a free sprit. I remember one morning I heard the doorbell and didn’t think much about it, but after awhile I walked upstairs and there was Sobel at the front door with his back to me, with no cloths on, talking to two Mormon Latter-Day Saint Missionaries. Think he talked to them for a good half hour, and I never knew what they talked about.

Well he found a girl to live with and he moved on. But every now and again he would call me and ask if he had given his opals to me. I would always say no I haven’t seen them. Then he would call and tell me that a girl he had met had found them under her bed and he had left them there. I would tell him to sell them for whatever he could get before he really looses them. Never found out what happened to those opals.

 Written by Daniel J. LaLonde

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