Gemology on the Sales Floor

April 1999

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 gemology program.)

Meeting Needs
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 lake."

Course Essentials
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 durability information.

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.


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