Wednesday, June 22, 2011

New York man makes $500 a week from gold in pavement cracks

An unemployed jewellery setter has taken to combing the streets of New York with a pair of tweezers to cash in on dropped gems and gold. Raffi Stepanian, 43, has begun crawling around the New York 'Diamond District' on his hands and knees, plucking jewels and fragments of precious metals from between the slabs.

Armed with a pair of tweezers, Mr Stepanian, an unemployed diamond setter from Queens, claims to have collected $1,010 (£623) worth in the past fortnight. "I'm surviving on it," he said. "I may be about to trigger a new gold rush on the streets of New York," Mr Stepanian said. "The soil in the sidewalks of 47th street are saturated with the stuff".

YouTube link.

Mr Stepanian's haul so far has included chips of diamonds and rubies, bits of platinum, and gold fragments from watches, earrings and necklaces. He has sold most of his discoveries to metal refiners or diamond sellers, while keeping some gold with a view to melting it down for future use.

Mr Stepanian said that his surgical inspection of pavement cracks had been so fruitful that he had taken 25lb of soil from the area home with him to sift later on. "Being in the jewellery industry for 26 years, it was second nature to spot glistening fragments on the floors and in elevators," he said.


Ratz said...

In India you have dhul dhoya (dust washers) who brush the streets in the gold districts and picks up the flakes which have got into people's hair and clothing. There's a whole article about three generations of them working the same street here:

arbroath said...

Cheers for that.

In Varanasi there are a lot of men who earn a living by 'riddling' the cremated remains of people on the banks of the Ganges for bits of gold teeth etc.

Ratz said...

arbroath: I had wondered what happened to all those bits. Especially in western countries, gold teeth, brass coffin handles, titanium knee joints etc. Where do they all end up? Does the crematorium keep it and sell it for scrap?

arbroath said...

I believe crematoriums similary 'riddle' remains.

Brass handles etc. are removed from coffins before cremation.

Anonymous said...

I think he will have company after everyone sees this video