Raffi Stepanian, an unemployed diamond setter from New York, has begun to comb the cities pavements and sidewalks for hidden gems and fragments of precious metals which have fallen between the slabs - a new ‘job’ which has proved to be surprisingly lucrative!
Armed only with a pair of tweezers, he managed to collect $819 (£512) worth of gold scraps in just six days. Making up to $200 (£125) a day, Stepanian has been able to live off his urban mining. He is not worried that he might have started a New York gold rush, saying ‘I would like other people to enjoy doing this as well’.
Potential prospectors will be looking for chips of diamonds and rubies, bits of platinum and gold fragments from watches, earrings and necklaces. The findings can be sold to metal refiners or diamond sellers, while gold can be melted down and sold for further use.
Fragments could be worth $30 a piece, so it all adds up. The key to Stepanian’s productive week is that he searches in New York’s ‘Diamond District’, the centre of the global diamond industry, where rich people simply drop things or their jewellery falls and sticks in the mud.
Stepanian says that his many years in the jewellery industry has made it second nature to spot hidden treasures on the street and floors. All of which nicely illustrates the old economic theory of wealth trickling down from the rich!