For Your Staff: Selling Pearls
Pearls for Every Occasion
The new Chinese cultured freshwaters don't have to compete
with traditional round pearls. There's room for both
To sell the new types of cultured pearls coming onto the market,
sales associates must better educate their clients, according
to Eve Alfillé of Eve J. Alfillé Ltd., Evanston,
IL. She spoke at a seminar on marketing pearl jewelry in the
new millennium during the Gemological Institute of America's
recent International Gemological Symposium in San Diego, CA.
Everything about the new non-round pearls is different and
presents enormous opportunities for new designs, she said. As
a culture, Americans like symmetry, which explains the long love
affair with perfectly round pearls in classic styles. However,
women can be taught to like asymmetry, a feature in so many freshwater
pearls and pearls from American sources, she said. Women over
40 are especially open to considering asymmetry, she said.
Long an advocate of creating pearl collectors, Alfillé,
a retailer and designer, spoke of introducing classic rounder
pearls to young women and then helping them move up to more complex
styles as they get older. Strong ties to fashion also help sell
While Alfillé initially saw affordable, high-quality
Chinese pearls as a threat to more expensive pearls, she said
women will still choose higher-priced pearls for symbolic reasons.
A woman just starting her first job, for example, may want a
fine strand of akoya pearls with exceptional luster because it
symbolizes she is grownup and more discriminating in her tastes.
This doesn't mean she won't also want fashionable, lower-priced
pearls, but she'll choose them for different reasons. Sales associates
should make it a goal to link various pearl styles to different
moments in a woman's life.
by Peggy Jo Donahue
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.