Professional Jeweler Archive: Top Five Things Every Jeweler Should Know

January 2003

Managing/Your Business

Top Five Things Every Jeweler Should Know

Appraisals, Web sites, trade organizations, press kits, industry involvement

While there are many more than five things every jeweler should know, these are my top five, garnered from my retail jewelry background and from working with the industry’s top trade organizations. Read on and see if you agree!

You Are Legally Responsible For What You Sell and Appraise

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, yet it often is. When you sell an item, you become responsible for what you say it is. It’s not enough to use someone else’s opinion as fact. The Jewelers Vigilance Committee (see contact information below) can help you if you have additional questions.

You should know the actual content of your showcases and jewelry. And hopefully you’re doing some quality control to ensure you’re ordering and actually receiving items of the same quality. You don’t have to test every item, just make random checks of merchandise from each vendor to ensure the correct quality.

Laws applying to the jewelry industry are from the Federal Trade Commission “Guides for the Jewelry Industry,” as well as additional state and local laws.

The JVC advises that this responsibility applies to appraisals too! Here’s what you should know:

  • If you make a representation regarding anything that is an expression of opinion or a statement of fact, you can be held legally responsible.
  • If your customer relies on that assertion and is harmed, you can be held liable.

Hopefully, as an appraiser, you’ve had advanced training from an appraisal organization. Or if you’re new to appraising, check out J-BAR, a division of the JVC (

  • Know what you are doing. If you’re not qualified or comfortable doing an appraisal, just say no!

Everyone Should Have A Basic Web Site

Having an expensive site with lots of bells and whistles isn’t the answer for everyone. A basic site is. Even if it’s just one page – inviting potential customers to come by in a warm, friendly manner and including your most important information – that’s enough. If someone wants to know a bit about you, they are likely to look on the Internet. Make it easy for them.

Have a picture or two of your store. List your store hours and basic directional information. Give an easy-to-find phone number. Consider listing the brands you carry, talk about your services and detail anything that makes your store different from everyone else’s.

Most importantly, devote one (or more) well-written paragraph(s) to why someone should shop with you. And as you get comfortable with the site, you might consider adding email newsletters, e-commerce and/or a more comprehensive site to fit your changing needs.

Where To Go for Help

Do you know where to go for assistance when you need it? The chart below shows many of the helpful organizations in our industry, their area of smarts and a contact phone number. These are the ones you’d probably use most. For others, keep your eye on trade magazines for an organization that meets your specific needs (such as the Women’s Jewelry Association,, a personal favorite).

Almost all of those listed have low-cost or no-cost items that can help you in your everyday business. It’s worth the time to make a phone call or visit their Web site to get better acquainted.

Each organization’s purpose is to help you better connect with their specialty. Use these great resources.

Organization Specialty Phone Web
American Gem Trade Association Gemstones (800) 972-1162
Cultured Pearl Information Center Diamonds (212) 688-5580*
Diamond Promotion Service Diamonds (800) 370-6789
Gemological Institute of America Education (800) 421-7250
Jewelers of America Retail Jewelers (800) 223-0673*
Jewelers Security Alliance Security Issues (800) 537-0067
Jewelers Vigilance Committee Legal Matters (212) 997-2002
Jewelry Information Center Public Relations (646) 658-0240
Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America Manufacturers and suppliers (800) 444-MJSA
Platinum Guild International Platinum (949) 760-8279
World Gold Council Gold (212) 317-3800

* Need Tradelock password to enter trade portion of site. Visit (a division of Polygon).

What A Press Kit Is and What It Does

A press kit tells the world who you are in an official way. It’s usually an imprinted folder (or a nice folder with one of your gift-wrap stickers on the front) with two pockets inside and a place for a business card. Why is one important? There will be times when you need to introduce yourself or your store to someone, and there’s no better way than a press kit to do it. It serves as an ambassador for your store. And, no, you don’t have to have one just for the press, though that’s certainly a great use.

It’s best to have a few made up and on hand – it’s better to be proactive than reactive in this case. You could mail one to a prospective customer (along with a well-written cover letter) or give one to the reporter who comes to you with a question. It’s also a great way to introduce yourself to a new designer or manufacturer whose line you’d like to carry.

Below is a short list of what could go in your own press kit. Add or subtract items so you end up with an impressive selling and public relations tool.

  • History sheet. This can be a few paragraphs or a few pages on the history of your store. You should include why you’re in business, your store’s personality and your selling philosophy. Explain your tag line if you use one.
  • Products and Services Brochure. You may already have something to hand to customers who want to learn more about you. Include it in your press kit. Don’t have one? Make one.
  • Biography of Owner(s). A photo (optional) and a few short paragraphs per person are great. You also may consider adding any other important staff members to this page(s), such as your experienced bench jeweler or top salesperson.
  • Press Clippings. These are items written about your store (or you) in the past. They usually are from local newspapers or magazines. If you’re lucky, you have some national mentions in trade or consumer publications as well.
  • Product sheet or brochures. These will help familiarize the press kit reader with your store. You might include pre-printed brochures from manufacturers (make sure they have your contact info on them or your store’s sticker), any fliers you’ve used in recent promotions and educational material such a brochure on diamonds.
  • Any print ads. If you have any great ads that show off your store, be sure to include them.

One overall note: Keep everything neat and pretty. If your print ads are small and may get lost among larger sheets of paper, use a glue stick or double sticky tape to put them neatly on a piece of your stationery. While you build the kit, keep putting yourself in your reader’s shoes – is it easy to follow, does it appropriately convey your store’s image, is it neat? If so, you’re ready to go.

Get Involved in the Industry

We have wonderful trade professionals working very hard in many organizations. But it’s your input and support that truly accomplishes meaningful change and helps the industry grow and prosper.

There’s one attitude out there that says if you don’t vote, you can’t complain later about what happens. We don’t really vote as an industry, but through our local and national involvement with organizations and issues, we can “vote” by our involvement. As someone who has seen behind many industry scenes, it’s those who are involved who make a difference. Our industry wouldn’t be as strong without the jeweler who gives time back to the industry. It’s in your own best interests to be involved.

Stay informed. It’s your industry. Participate.

– by Caroline Stanley

A third-generation jeweler, Caroline Stanley is the president/CEO of Red Jewel Inc., Manhattan Beach, CA, an industry-savvy marketing, communications and consulting firm. Reach her at (310) 937-8997,

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications