I wasn’t very lucky finding precious metals this summer, but since August (or so) I’ve been finding bits (and chunks, more on that later) of gold & silver pretty regularly. I doubt it has anything to do with the pandemic, it’s just another example of how random and unpredictable garbage can be.
Rich kids seem to be a good source of garbage gold. I imagine they often get jewelry as gifts, and since jewelry is a personal taste thing a lot of these gifts probably aren’t appreciated. Or, they just grow out of that style over time. Either way, these kids might not understand the value of the gifts they receive, and being rich they have no particular motivation to figure it out (unless it’s something really spectacular where the value is emphasized). So, when the kid, or the grown-up adult has to clean out their bedroom because their parents are moving, or turning it into a pool room, some of these gifts – which may also have achieved “old junk” status over time – end up on the curb. That’s my theory, but I think it’s a good one.
Anyways, I stopped at this spot because it was across the street from another house I was keeping an eye on. There were several bags on the curb – definitely some kid’s old stuff, most of which was actual junk. But at the bottom of one bag was a golden surprise.
I picked out a 14k bracelet feat. dog charms and a 10k locket feat. a small diamond. The bracelet had a bit of weight to it, I forget how much exactly but I remember the total scrap value being in the 350-400$ range. That kind of haul definitely makes my day, and helps offset any less lucky days I might have.
Rarely do I find my jewelry out in the open, but this small collection was in a box for anyone to find (though you’d have had to move some junk around to see it). If this was in the Plateau, someone else probably would have found it before me, but because it was a Westmount apartment I was probably the only one to take a peek.
Here’s the best of the bunch. The ring in the middle seems to be unmarked 14k gold based on my tests. The bar brooch is also 14k, if I remember right. I found one old silver napkin ring by Asprey, a luxury goods company based in London (England, not Ontario) whose Art Deco era catalogue I found and sold for 400$ back in 2015. Another notable silver piece was that bracelet on the left, which was French silver and maybe real tortoiseshell. Otherwise, the big dangle earrings are signed Chantal Thomass, and people seem to like her stuff – I listed them at 150$ on eBay (now reduced to 125$). The other bracelet at top left has a brutalist look to it, there’s a couple little makers marks on there but I can’t make them out.
Sometimes people pillage their old jewelry boxes and toss out the “dregs.” Fortunately, those dregs are sometimes pretty good.
In this box, I found a gold & pearl necklace, a gold Star of David, a silver Greek key bracelet, a Mickey Mouse watch, and an interesting (and probably antique) silver & Wedgwood jasperware brooch. There were a few other “junky” pieces, but most of these dregs were decent.
I passed by this house again last week, a few months after this little haul. There was a dumpster out front and it looked pretty empty, so I guess they moved (though I never saw a “for sale” sign).
Here’s a few things from a one-off in Cote St-Luc. There’s one 14k gold chain in there, and the rest is silver. If I remember right the little rock in the silver necklace on the bottom is a diamond.
More recently I scrounged together a whole bunch of jewelry – again, kid stuff – from some bags on the curb not too far from Vendome metro. All in all I saved nearly five pounds of jewelry. Probably 95% of this collection was unspectacular costume stuff or broken (which ends up going to crafty folks), but as is most often the case I was able to pick out a few treasures.
(Also, I rescued the electronic scale elsewhere around a month back. I found a bunch of old, never used makeup in the bags, as well as a laser printer, so I’m guessing someone just gave up on their side hustle makeup business. Either way, it’s pretty useful to have at my garage!).
Anyways, for gold we have a ring marked 750 (18k, though according to my acid test it’s probably closer to 14k), as well as some earrings with real dark stones. Otherwise, I saved a Birks pendant (the heart-shaped one), a set of silver & green enamel leaf earrings/pendant (hallmarked 950, which probably means they’re fairly vintage as 925 / sterling is now the ubiquitous silver standard), a silver cat brooch from Ecuador, a silver & amber pendant, a couple silver bracelets, and a sterling 1938 Stratford Music Festival pendant.
I found this collection after deciding to try one of my less regular routes. I haven’t seen anything else in front of this house in the weeks since, so I guess my timing was pretty good here! Also, the week after, when I did this route again to see if these guys would toss out more stuff, I ended up finding a bit of gold & silver in front of a different house. I think that adds to the theory that I’m just a bit lucky right now.
And this is just the beginning really. Lots more to come, hopefully soon. I’ve haven’t been able to get my head into blogging lately, though the words are coming out pretty quickly tonight.
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