Maureen Lippe has some advice for pre-Valentine's Day shoppers: Buy gold jewelry.
First, because the price has been relatively moderate (in the $350-an-ounce range this week). And second, because the color is in fashion.
"Lipsticks, gloves, mascara, high-top sneakers and almost everything else seem to be colored gold these days," Lippe reports. "There's a gold fever."
But more than anything, she says, "Gold has an emotional allure.
"Who remembers where she got this sweater or that pair of boots? But who doesn't remember every piece of gold jewelry she ever received?"
Lippe has been touring the country, showing off a $300,000 stash of gold jewelry and answering questions for the Gold Information Center in New York.
She has seen some gold fashion trends in her travels. Her personal favorite is gold jewelry crafted to resemble lace. The look is inspired by the movie "Amadeus," set in the 18th Century and a smash hit in 1984.
Gold hoop earrings and hoop belts, last seen in the 1960s, are popular too. So are gold bangles, worn by the dozens, and layers of heavy gold chains--a look that Lippe describes as "the continuation of Chanel."
Most people she talks to ask Lippe how to go about buying gold. She suggests you shop at a reputable dealer, and be sure the number of karats, which can range from 12 to 20, is marked on the jewelry.
She says gold with gemstones is less in fashion than gold only. She likes it worn "New York style"--plain gold jewelry with solid black clothes. And for spring, plain gold with solid-color clothes in fruit-juice shades.
Lippe says the best way to clean gold jewelry is with a homemade solution. She adds two drops of ammonia to a cup of soapy water and scrubs her jewelry with a toothbrush. Then she rinses it in a tin cup of cool water mixed with half a cap of rubbing alcohol and buffs it with a chamois cloth.
For other information about buying and caring for gold, Lippe suggests, contact the Gold Information Center in New York City.