Professional Jeweler Archive: Gems, Pronto!

January 2003

Gemstones & Pearls/News


Gems, Pronto!

Stuller introduces a new color communication system as the capstone of its growing gemstone business


‘Significant” is how Matt Stuller describes his company’s interest in colored gems and diamonds. It’s the CEO and chairman’s coy way of saying Stuller Inc., Lafayette, LA, has focused like a laser on loose gems and diamonds. They form an integral part of the company’s arsenal of jewelry, mountings, findings, tools, equipment and related products. “We feel we have become the largest loose gemstone provider in the United States,” he says.

For jewelers queasy about entering the sometimes complicated gemstone arena, the Stuller name could provide hefty reassurance they can buy with confidence. What’s more, items are generally shipped to retailers the same day they are ordered. Staples such as emerald, tanzanite, blue sapphire or ruby are available in assorted cuts. So are esoteric items such as color-change garnet, assorted chalcedonies, fancy-colored sapphire, coral, alexandrite, iolite and moonstone.

Growth Ahead

Joseph Buttross, head of the diamond and gemstone division, says Stuller has set high goals. “We expect the division to grow 10% to 20% a year,” he says. In 2001, Stuller supplied nearly 5 million diamond and gem orders.

The company has been making inroads in the loose gems market for nearly a decade. The division now employs 131 in Lafayette; Ramat-Gan, Israel; and Bangkok, Thailand (the gem cutting takes place overseas). Because the subject of diamonds and gems is complex and requires specialized knowledge, a dedicated Gemological Institute of American trainer is on staff to train sales consultants. In fact, Stuller says it now counts seven GIA graduate gemologists and 50 GIA-educated associates on staff.

Programs dedicated to helping retailers sell gems successfully are being rolled out regularly. Stuller’s “Red Box” program for larger diamonds (0.38 carat to 5.0 carats), for example, provides retailers with rebates depending on quantities bought, trade-up opportunities (for diamonds in original condition), one-year free insurance and certificates. A four-prong ring holder is included in the box (it can temporarily clamp a stone so customers can see how a loose gem will look mounted).

In addition, a diamond repair facility is staffed to help independent jewelers with recutting needs. Consultants are available for special-need requests or gem-matching programs (even if you need to replace just one stone). Because Stuller has its own jewelry-making division, gems retailers have chosen can be mounted onsite. This program is called “Have It Your Way From Stuller.”

Color Communication

Stuller also is ready to unveil what it calls “a revolutionary computerized program for communicating gemstone color.” Joe Orlando, director of the gemstone department, will introduce the program at the International Colored Gemstone Association Congress this month in India. Wholesalers, designers, manufacturers and retailers will get their first look at the Tucson gem and mineral shows in February.

The goal is to simplify communication about a gem’s hue, tone and saturation, as well as its size, shape and price. In a joint venture with Stuller, Menachem Sevdermish of Menavi, Ramat Gan, developed the interactive computer program.

The program exhibits gemstone grids, showing choices in hue, tone and saturation. Click on a choice and the user sees a larger picture of the gemstone and availability information. The program will launch with Stuller inventory and eventually other vendors or retailers will be able to add their inventories, says Ramona Marshall, in charge of sales and marketing in the diamond and gemstone division.

“It will be a gigantic online colored gem marketplace,” she says. “Those who join the program will be able to find out if a vendor has the goods and see what the gem looks like. Vendors sometimes spend hours on the phone trying to explain a gemstone. The new program will save time and money.” Stuller expects the program will lead to more stable gem pricing and greater gem sales.

The company’s inventory should keep program users busy. “Stuller has inventories in nearly 50 varieties of gemstones,” says Marshall. “The color communication program will simply add a new level of confidence and efficiency.”

• Stuller, Lafayette, LA; (800) 877-7777, www.stuller.com.

– by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Stuller, a major force in the loose gems, is unveiling a new color communication program it hopes will lead to greater gem sales for retailers and make the gemstone business more efficient and stable. Here’s a small sample of the company’s loose gem inventory, including ametrine, tanzanite, sapphire, garnet, peridot, emerald, topaz and ruby. Photo by Robert Weldon.
Stuller headquarters is home to gemologists, trainers, sorters and educated sales personnel to answer customer questions. Photo by Robert Weldon.
Special gems, such as this tanzanite, come with a four-prong ring holder so your customers can get a better idea how a gem will look mounted. Photo by Robert Weldon.

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications