Technically Speaking

March 1999

For Your Staff:Selling Romance

Technically Speaking

Jewelry requires a different kind of selling than does a set of tires, a sweater or a dishwasher – a more emotional approach. But you must balance emotion with product knowledge


Let's talk about a fictional jewelry store – Jubilee Jewels – and its equally fictional staff: Technical Terry, Romantic Ronnie and Balanced Bobby. Our customer belongs to an increasingly prevalent demographic: Nineties Nancy, an upper-middle-class career woman. Today, she's shopping for a 1-ct. bezel-set diamond pendant as a birthday present to herself.

"Welcome to Jubilee Jewels! I'm Terry. How may I help you today?"

"Where are your diamond pendants," asks Nancy.

"Right in this showcase, ma'am. All of our diamonds are certified by the Gemological Institute of America," rattles off Technical Terry. "This means they're graded by graduate gemologists for clarity and color under 10-power magnification. What size diamond did you have in mind?"

Nancy pauses. "I'm not sure. I think something around 1 carat would be nice." "I think I have just what you're looking for. This is a 1.07 E-F, VVS2 set in an 18k bezel and it includes a 17-in. snake with a lobster claw," Terry describes breathlessly.

"Excuse me?"

Terry raises her voice, "THIS. IS. A. ONE-O-SEVEN ..."

"I heard you; I just didn't understand you," says Nancy. "I don't know enough about the technicalities to understand that gibberish. I just want something that's elegant enough to wear for dress-up but still looks good for work. I've been dreaming and saving for it for a long time. I want something I can enjoy now and eventually pass on to my daughter."

"I understand," Terry says. "This one should serve you well. It's a 1.07 E-F, VVS2 set in an 18k bezel with a 17-in. snake with a lobster claw." She's lost Nancy again.

"Terry, why don't you put all that in layman's terms?"

"I'm sorry; sometimes I forget everyone isn't as familiar with the terminology as I am. Let's see, 1.07 means it weighs seven points more than a carat. E-F refers to the color. D is the best because it has the least color so E-F, being close to D, means it's virtually colorless.

"VVS means very, very slightly included and has to do with the quantity, size and location of inclusions and blemishes and the make of the diamond. The make is really the cut; if it's cut too deep or shallow, light will pass through it rather than reflect and refract correctly, negatively affecting the fluorescence and making for a less attractive diamond. This one has a fine make and is probably rated VVS2 because there is a natural on the girdle and the girdle is slightly thin.

"18k refers to the amount of gold in the setting – it's not 14k or 10k; bezel refers to the type of setting as opposed to prong-set or channel-set.

"The lobster claw is the clasp, so named because it resembles the claw of a lobster. It's one of the more secure types of clasps, which is important in protecting your pendant.

"Oh, the snake? See, the chain looks like a snake," Terry finishes, flushed with triumph.

"Terry, may I ask you a question," Nancy ventures. "Is there anyone else who can help me? I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I'm more concerned how this will enhance my wardrobe than the thickness of its girdle. No offense."

Though she's a bit deflated, Terry knows she must please the customer. "None taken. Let's see if Ronnie can help."

To be continued ...

Christine Anzell and Jack Levenson have spent a combined half-century in fine jewelry retail. For information about their copyright jewelry-specificClient Record Keeping Book orSales Training Manual, call them at (800) 887-8902 or (773) 244-3266.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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