THE NEWSPAPERS and airwaves are filled with commericials urging people to bring in their gold and silver jewelry to stores and dealers. Jewelers are not selling but buying these days, and the public is showing up in droves with everything from diamond pendants to silver salt and pepper shakers.

While it is true the buy-back value of these items has never been higher, there is a danger involved which I believe everyone should be warned about.

McCloskey's wife decided to cash in on some valuable pieces of jewelry that her husband had given her through the years. She was under the impression -- and McCloskey had never denied it -- that everything he bought her was worth a fortune. Accompanied by her friend, Melba, "for protection" she took it all down to a jeweler who was guaranteeing the highest prices in Washington.

The man behind the counter picked up one piece at a time, said, "junk" and threw it down.

Mrs. McCloskey was not only shattered by the man's contempt for her earthly possessions, but mortified that Melba was a witness to the embarrassing scene.

Melba promised she wouldn't say a word to anyone. What she really meant was that she wouldn't say a word to anyone until she could get to the nearest telephone.

When McCloskey got home that evening, his martini was warm and his wife was cold.

"Do you remember that beautiful gold necklace you bought me in Mexico City 10 years ago?" his wife asked.

"The one we had insured for $5,000? I hope you didn't lose it."

"I wish I had," she replied. "I took it to the jeweler today and he said it was worth $20."

"That ridiculous. The man who sold it to me in a dark alley off the Avenida de Montezuma said it was a priceless Inca treasure."

"You never told me you bought it from a man in a dark alley!"

"You never asked."

"Did you know that the pearl earrings you brought back from Beverly Hills were made by the Monsanto Chemical Company?"

"I don't believe it. I paid $150 for them."

"And the silver family heirloom brooch you gave me for our wedding?"


"Painted. I've never had such a miserable day in my whole life."

"Well, who told you to go to the jewelers? You were very happy wearing all that stuff before you found out what it was worth."

McCloskey's wife said. "But if my jewelry is a lie, maybe everything about this marriage is a lie."

"That's the stupidest thing I ever heard. We've been married for 15 years, and just because some greedy jewel broker tells you your baubles aren't worth what you thought they were, there is not sense in thinking our marriage is one the rocks. The thing I have always loved you for is that you are not one of those hard, grasping women who counts her blessings in baubles." a

"Well," McCloskey's wife said, "if something did happen with his marriage, I could always sell my diamond engagement ring."

McCloskey said nervously, "I wouldn't if I were you."