Professional Jeweler Archive: Fancy This

February 2000


Fancy This

Different shapes are in the news. Here’s how retailers close the sales

In spring a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. This year those thoughts may include fancy-shaped diamonds, thanks to a rash of photos in consumer magazines and a De Beers’ ad campaign touting non-round diamonds as gifts for that special woman. Are you primed to take advantage of the consumer awareness that will result?

Professional Jeweler contacted retailers with a track record in selling fancy shapes and found a few common threads in their responses:

  • They carry sufficient inventory of different shapes and sizes.
  • They display them prominently.
  • They really like fancy-shaped diamonds.

To interest customers in fancy shapes, Colleen Rafferty of Christensen & Rafferty Fine Jewelry, San Mateo, CA, asks whether they’re attracted more to curves or to straight lines. “If the person says straight lines, I show a radiant cut,” she says. “If they say curves, I show an oval or pear.

If a man comes in alone, get an idea of what his wife or girlfriend likes by asking about the shape of gems in jewelry she already owns, advises Susan Mooney of Mann’s Jewelers, Rochester, NY.

And you should emphasize rarity. “Here’s something you won’t see everywhere,” Jim Engelhorn of Jack Lewis Fine Jewelry, Bloomington, IL, tells his customers.

Opportunity to Educate

It’s true most customers will ask to see round diamonds. But that doesn’t mean you can’t show them shapes. “During the educational process, I bring out a few different shapes of diamonds and test the water,” says Hank Siegel of Hamilton Jewelers in Lawrenceville, NJ. “I ask about their taste and style, find out whether they like something more traditional or free-flowing.”

Don’t be afraid to ask the customer whether he or she is open to a fancy shape. “That’s when I bring out a round and a similar-priced oval that looks much bigger and has more sparkle, says Richard Kessler of Kessler’s Diamond Center, Menomenee Falls, WI. His success rate: he has sold 161 oval diamonds worth more than $450,000 in two years.

Make It Personal

Capture a consumer’s interest by wearing a fancy shape yourself, says Dorothy Vodicka of The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL. Then use it to start a conversation and slip a fancy-shaped diamond on the customer’s finger.

And don’t hesitate to match the shape to the wearer, says Ray Greenberg of Greenberg’s Jewelers, a nine-store chain in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. “A marquise lends itself to someone with a long tapered finger.” (Calla Gold of Calla Gold Jewelry, Santa Barbara, CA, wrote extensively on matching ring styles to fingers in Professional Jeweler in October 1999, pp. 212-216.)

To catch the attention of customers who may not stop to talk right away, develop an interesting display of diamond shapes in a showcase, says Vince Peraino of Peraino’s Jewelers, Merced, CA. “I have 1-, 2- and 3.5-ct. emerald-cut diamonds and 0.33-ct. and larger princess cuts made up in rings to keep on display,” he says. “The display sells them.”

To keep your display interesting, keep a variety of shapes in stock at all times. “You have to have a lot in stock and show a lot of them,” says Vodicka. Kessler, for example, carries 200 diamonds 1 carat or larger at all times, many of them fancy shapes.

As Nader Malakan of Malakan Diamond Co., Fresno, CA, advises, “If you like it and have it in stock, you will sell it.”

– by Jack Heeger

The keys to success with fancy-shaped diamonds: stock, show, suggest and sell

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications