Gemstones & Pearls:Gemology
Gemology on the Sales Floor
GIA's new Colored Stone Essentials course provides sound gemology
basics for sales associates
By unveiling its Colored Stone Essential course in February, the Gemological
Institute of America tacitly agreed with the jewelers who have long suggested
you don't need to be a gemologist to sell gemstones. But it doesn't pay
to be a slouch either. The Colored Stone Essentials course takes a step
back from GIA's full gemology program by offering a solid instructional
package designed just for sales associates. (As with all Essential courses,
GIA stresses Colored Stone Essentials is not a substitute for a complete
In developing the course, GIA used sales associates' needs as its guiding
principle. The course provides interesting and vital colored stone information
conducive to selling and eliminates arcane gemological detail. However,
gemology has not been removed completely; sales associates are taught to
sell gemstone jewelry knowledgeably and to excite consumers about color.
Rather than alienate consumers with refractive index and birefringence
data about sapphires, for example, associates graduate from the course with
a firm understanding of gemstone information pertaining to lore, value,
color, enhancements, disclosure, care and cleaning.
Helping the Sale
GIA also pays attention to helping sales associates with practical examples
of how to approach consumers. The course points out that though the associates
have learned how experts describe gemstone color by hue, tone and saturation,
these terms are not likely to stir much excitement in consumers shopping
for jewelry. The course material suggests another option: "Instead,
use language creatively to make gemstone colors come alive for people who
enter your store. For example, when you are selling a blue topaz pendant,
you might say its ice-blue color reminds you of a crystal clear mountain
The course is laid out invitingly with riveting color photographs and up-to-date
graphics. (Graduate gemologists who possess some of GIA's older courses
should be a tad jealous!)
To combat technical instruction that could become overwhelming, each
section includes reminders about the chapter's objective: "Key Concept:
Use a conversational style, word pictures and accurate trade terms to sell
gemstone color" or "Demonstrating the drama of a phenomenal stone's
special effects is a key part of selling it."
New terms are discussed at length, and quick reminders are found throughout
the chapters for easy reference.
Special attention is paid to the best-sellers ruby, sapphire and
emerald because a concentration of knowledge of these gems is crucial
to successful sales.
The Essential Colored Stone Reference Guide(not to be confused
with GIA's Colored Stone Reference Guide) is supplied. Provided in
place of the video offered in other Essentials courses, the guide contains
brief paragraphs on 47 gemstones, with history, lore, select properties
and source and market information. Separate tables contain treatment and
Course developers suggest the guide be kept in the store for easy reference.
The course is being offered at an introductory price of $345.
GIA, Carlsbad, CA; (800) 421-7250 or (760) 603-4000, ext. 4001.
by Robert Weldon, G.G.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.