This new series highlights on-line jewelry communities
A number of on-line networks formally organize the jewelry and gemstone
industry on the Internet, giving jewelers several gateways to buy, market,
communicate and learn. But for jewelers new to on-line services, the wide
range of options can be staggering. Which one is best for your purposes?
Should you become part of a community at all? To help you sort it out, Professional
Jewelerhas created a series of articles examining a different network
each month: the veterans and the newbies, the comprehensive and the niche-based
groups. Let's begin with GemKey.
What It Is
GemKey is a comprehensive Internet "gateway" serving the jewelry
industry internationally. Introduced two years ago by Fred Mouawad, a member
of the well-known Mouawad jewelry family, GemKey is based in Bangkok, Thailand,
and has offices in 12 countries. It seeks to distinguish itself by bridging
the geographical gap and simplifying doing business overseas. Known for
its design services, industry directory and trading channel, it recently
added a print magazine and a service that sends customized e-mail updates
from its Trading Center.
What It Does
- News and Information: GemKey is
a content-heavy site, churning out its own news, features and columns,
including daily headlines, with an emphasis on mining and manufacturing,
technology news, interviews, gemstone profiles, metals prices and design
spotlights. Interactive opportunities include a discussion bulletin board,
user polls and expert columns.
- Directory: A password-protected
directory of GemKey members is searchable by specifics such as company
name or general criteria such as country, product type and materials.
- Trading Networks: A searchable
trading network allows members to advertise and buy loose stones. Users
can see all stones available listed by weight or search by the 4Cs, measurements,
accompanying certificates and names of diamond firms.
- Design: GemKey Studio has designed
more than 300 Web sites and created CD-ROMs. Sites are hosted on the GemKey
Retailers are represented, though visible members are mostly dealers and
trade associations worldwide.
If You're a Retail Jeweler Using GemKey is a good way to establish overseas
contacts to buy at the source. Look for "Gemporium," an on-line
shopping mall to promote retail members.
Costs and Packages
$2,500 a year for Three-Star Members (a 25-page Web site "profile"
and first-priority listings in the Trading Center and Directory); $1,500
a year for Two-Star members (15 pages and second- priority listings); $500
for One-Star Members (five pages and third-priority listings); free registration
to use the site and free e-mail accounts.
If you have an older computer or don't plan to upgrade to a newer Web browser
soon, GemKey may not be for you. Most of the site is programmed in Java,
which is tricky and memory-consuming for slow modems and processors. Much
of GemKey is password protected, so you'll need to register for a free password
to use it.
by Stacey King
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.