Find Gold On The Street, Pay For Your New York Vacation

Travel News — By Carlo Alcos on July 5, 2011 at 11:42 am

Everyone complains about how expensive New York is. It’s not necessarily true. Sure, rent and hotels can be excessive, but food costs the same as anywhere else, and there are always free or cheap things to do to keep you entertained. But if you’re still hell-bent on spending money, but need some to spend, here’s an idea.

According to The Daily Mail, New Yorker Raffi Stepanian is a literal gold-digger. He makes a living by combing the streets in Manhattan’s Diamond District (W. 47th between Fifth and Sixth streets).The Diamond District is so named because, unsurprisingly, there are lots of diamond businesses located there.

The Diamond District in Manhattan [Image: Edgar Zuniga Jr. /Flickr]

Mr. Stepanian gets down on his hands and knees on W. 47th and searches the cracks of the pavements for tiny fragments of jewels. His tools include a Styrofoam cup, a butter knife, and a pair of tweezers. With the butter knife he loosens mud in the cracks and brings the dirt to a polishing studio where he uses a bowl and a sieve to recover any precious metal.

He was a stone setter when he discovered scraps of gold on the floor of the diamond exchange. He figured if the stuff was inside, it would be outside too. He says that the fragments are carried out by gold and gem merchants on their clothes where it falls onto the pavement. But he also finds other bits of jewelry — pieces of earrings, necklaces, watches, and chains — that fall off of pedestrians. He says,

The stones are already cut and manufactured – it’s a step above a mine. I’m finding them already cut and polished.

Mr. Stepanian then sells what he finds to the jewelers in the area, some of which is where the loot originally came from. He earned $819 for six days of work recently.

Tags: diamonds, gold, gold panning, jewelry, New York

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