Professional Jeweler Archive: Jewelry 101

July 2000

For Your Staff/Education


Jewelry 101

"Jewelry Essentials," a new course from the Gemological Institute of America, offers instruction on the best way to explain and sell jewelry to consumers


The third and final portion of the Gemological Institute of America’s new Accredited Jewelry Professional program focuses on how to sell finished jewelry. Called “Jewelry Essentials,” the course joins the “Diamond Essentials” and “Colored Stone Essentials” courses in the A.J.P. program.

All three courses are part of GIA’s Distance Education program, meaning you can skip the classroom and snuggle up on your couch at home to learn about the fascinating world of diamonds, colored gems and finished jewelry. (See Professional Jeweler, January 1999, p. 109, for a review of “Diamond Essentials” and July 1999, p. 118, for a review of “Colored Stone Essentials.”)

What to Expect

“Jewelry Essentials” consists of five reading assignments.

A videotape introduces the course and presents a visual reinforcement of each printed assignment. Assignments 1, 3 and 5 have questionnaires to answer and send to GIA via fax, e-mail or snail mail.

Here’s a quick look at each lesson:

1. The desirable characteristics of precious metals are detailed, including allure, durability, workability and rarity. Fineness, karatage and alloys are covered also.

2. You’ll be able to help your customer even more once you learn the different setting styles for rings, earrings, chains, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, pins and cuff links. Explore designer, branded, custom, estate and period jewelry.

3. This lesson teaches how to translate features (characteristics of jewelry) and benefits (the value each feature holds for a customer) into sales. You’ll review manufacturing and assembly techniques to learn signs of quality, such as invisible solder joints, porosity-free metal and flawless finishes. In addition, hand-fabrication, lost-wax casting, die striking and electroforming are covered in detail.

4. Learn about the regulation and testing of precious metals under the Federal Trade Commission’s Guides for the Jewelry Industry and how these rules differ from those in other countries. Electronic gold testers, the touchstone test, fire assay and the X-ray metal analyzer are covered also.

5. The sales process comprises seven steps: approach the customer, exchange information, build value, create desire, attempt a trial close, close the sale and follow up. The lesson features two-way dialogue for each of these seven steps. It continues with ideas on how to keep customers coming back after they make a purchase. These ideas include routine cleaning, repair services, remounting and trunk shows so customers can meet their favorite jewelry designers.

Exams & Title

When you’ve completed all five of the lessons and achieve 75% or better on the questionnaires, you’re eligible to take the “Jewelry Essentials” examination. The exam is offered at GIA offices in Carlsbad, Los Angeles and New York City and by proctor at other locations.

After passing the test, you may use the A.J.P. (accredited jewelry professional) designation after your name on business cards and elsewhere. The designation shows customers and employers you are a dedicated, competent and trustworthy jewelry professional.

  • GIA, Carlsbad, CA; (800) 421-7250, ext. 4001, or (760) 603-4000; fax (760) 603-415; admissions@gia.edu.

– by Lorraine M. Suermann, A.J.P.

GIA’s new “Jewelry Essentials” course completes a three-part course of study leading to the A.J.P. (accredited jewelry professional) designation.


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