Ever heard the expression, “what goes around comes around”? For 69 year-old jeweler Robert Borrego, the expression took on literal meaning when a piece of gold jewelry he created in his distant past showed up on his work bench last week.
Borrego, the supervisor of gold control and stone removal for Weston-based GoldFellow®, a nationwide buyer and refiner of gold, silver and platinum, was removing gemstones from jewelry to be melted. He noticed a charm looked particularly familiar from a long time ago.
This is a particularly unusual occurrence, as thousands of pieces of jewelry pass through Borrego’s hands on the way to the melt. This trend has accelerated with the cash for gold industry in overdrive since gold prices began climbing. Many have been selling their unwanted gold jewelry to buyers like GoldFellow® since the trend began.
When Borrego turned this particular charm over to inspect it further, he recognized the jeweler’s mark – and his own handiwork from 45 years ago! The 14K gold charm was engraved with a dedication and date as well as the unique Jeweler’s Trademark required by law. The jeweler’s mark confirmed the charm was manufactured by Rondette, his first employer, and the engraving date confirmed it was engraved during Borrego’s tenure there.
“I’ve seen many pieces of jewelry from previous jobs come back through here to be melted,” said Borrego, “but none of them from my first job.”
In 1964, Borrego was a 19-year-old Cuban immigrant living in New York City. His first “real” job was as an apprentice diamond and stone setter at Rondette, Ltd, a small jewelry manufacturing company on 47th street in Manhattan’s jewelry district. He worked there for 11 years setting stones and engraving many of the custom charms, rings, pendants and brooches the company manufactured. Borrego later moved his family to Miami, where he continued to work in jewelry manufacturing.
“We were a small operation that made custom jewelry for mom and pop jewelry stores,” explained Borrego. “To come across one piece after all these years is incredible. I feel like I found a lost relative. I immediately called my wife to tell her I found a piece from Rondette.”
With gold prices in the $1,500’s per troy ounce, Borrego’s “lost relative” is on its way to be melted and refined back to pure gold. Nevertheless, the appearance of the 14K gold, disk-shaped charm brought the veteran jeweler’s career full circle –with an added dose of nostalgia.