Professional Jeweler Archive: How to Get Guys to Buy Color

June 2000

Gemstones & Pearls/News

How to Get Guys to Buy Color

Give them a clue. In fact, give them eight

Few jewelers would argue that men are more comfortable buying diamonds than colored gemstones for the women in their lives. Men seek solace in the basic diamond knowledge of the 4C’s, which provide them with an easy value guide. When it comes to colored gems, however, men generally are clueless about how to determine value, let alone what’s available on the market.

A few savvy jewelers and wholesalers in the industry suggest the following eight sure-fire ways to make your male clients feel more at ease selecting color for their significant others.

1. Men Are from Mars and Must Be Communicated to Differently than Women from Venus
“Women are feeling-based and men are fact-based,” says gem dealer Cynthia Marcusson of Cynthia Renee Co., Fallbrook, CA. “Help them rationalize their decision by discussing value, rarity and specific characteristics. Use masculine adjectives such as ‘powerful’ and ‘intense.’” Retailer Linda McGill of Jewelsmith, Durham, NC, agrees: “Take the guesswork out of it. Is it worth what I’m paying and why – that’s what men want to know.”

2. Provide Men with Resources
Men relate well to props such as charts, graphs and counter cards. “It qualifies and quantifies the product for them,” says Marcusson. She advocates using the American Gem Trade Association’s gem cards and Color Everlasting book (AGTA, Dallas, TX; 800-972-1162), pearl charts and her own “Wise Guide to Color” chart (760-728-5150). Michael Babinski of Foxfire Jewelers, Woodinville, WA, published his own book, Gemstones: Beauty, Lore & Fascination (Intarsia Press, Woodinville, WA; 425-485-0625). “I was frustrated the trade lacked a simple, yet comprehensive book for consumers describing the physical and mythical properties of gems.”

3. Relate to Sense of Economics
Discuss supply and demand, says gem dealer Judy Mayfield of Mayfield’s Inc., Scottsdale, AZ. “Many of my retailer clients say their male customers are fascinated to learn diamonds aren’t as rare and valuable as many colored stones because their market is controlled.” Men are pleased also to discover some gems offer a big bang of color at a very affordable price, such as rubellite, notes McGill.

4. Draw on Men’s Love of Science
Men respond well to gemology and geology, says jeweler Eve Alfillé of Eve Alfillé Gallery & Studio, Evanston, IL. “I display minerals, fossils and meteorites, even antique artifacts. I often have exhibits showing treated and untreated stones and ask the question which is which. It’s a great way to introduce the concept of enhancement; men really love the science.”

5. Appeal to Their Love of History
Babinski says discussions of folklore, legend and historical facts often draw customers to one gemstone or another. It also gives men a tidbit of information they can use when presenting their mate with the gem, says Marcusson. Retailer Jack Seibert of Jack Seibert Goldsmith & Jeweler in Columbus, OH, says his male clients respond well to birth and anniversary stones because of the meaning behind them.

6. Play to the Collector Within
Men are avid collectors of everything from watches to art to cars and more, says Marcusson. “Gems present a wonderful opportunity for collectors,” she says. “If you buy sapphire earrings now, on the next occasion you can get the matching pendant, then the ring and then the bracelet.”

7. Entice Their Visual Perception by Teaching Color Use
“If a man doesn’t know where to start, I ask what color is predominant in her closet,” says retailer/designer Becky Thatcher of Becky Thatcher Designs, Glen Arbor, MI. Or I ask him to describe her eyes, hair, skin tone, neck or hands so he can choose a piece that will compliment her features. I may even ask to see a photograph.”

8. Help Them Be Heroes
“Men are by nature hunters and seek recognition from others that they’re bringing home the right thing,” says Marcusson. “Help them to say the right thing by offering them gemstone romance: ‘I selected this sapphire for you because it symbolizes the color of heaven, and you are heaven to me.’” Also help them with their presentation – perhaps slide a silk scarf through a ring. Some jewelers establish wish lists for women whose mates then choose a gift from the list, ensuring they’re buying something that will be appreciated. Alfillé goes a step further, encouraging men who buy a loose stone from her to present also a sketch of a possible design so the woman is involved in designing her jewelry.

But remember, you can’t sell what you don’t have or what you don’t know about. Gem-intense retailers agree a fascination with color – for men or women – begins with the jeweler!

– by Deborah Yonick

Many men enjoy learning about the technical aspects of gemstones. For example, they might be intrigued by the concave facets cutter Richard Homer places on the pavilion of these gems to accentuate the color and light return. Gems courtesy of Schorr Marketing & Sales, Santa Barbara, CA.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications