Professional Jeweler Archive: The Art of Selling Design

May 2005

The Store | For Your Staff

The Art of Selling Design

Lucette Bloomgarden of Belenky Bros. shows how it's done

By Nancy Trent

Selling designer jewelry is akin to selling fine art, which is probably why Lucette Bloomgarden is so good at it. Bloomgarden is co-owner of Belenky Bros., a contemporary art and fine jewelry gallery in New York City’s chic Soho neighborhood. She says selling designer jewelry requires three things: romancing the jewels, interacting your customers and evaluating your customers.

Bloomgarden never leaves a new client wandering alone in her gallery. “We all know you can look at something and not really see what it has to offer,” says Bloomgarden. “I get the customer involved and invested in the creation and design of the jewelry.”

While walking with the customer, Bloomgarden romances the jewel and its designer, immersing the shopper in a true experience. While some salespeople might just show a Stephen Kretchmer design and describe it by its metals and gems, Bloomgarden shares information about the designer and his experiments with metal alloys and tension settings. “I tell people this man is a mad genius, which they find intriguing and even a bit irreverent. He offers innovation that’s classy and elegant, a combination hard to beat.” Bloomgarden also talks about the visual and design elements Kretchmer uses and discusses his entire oeuvre.

If you can’t engage a customer in talk about a specific piece of jewelry or a designer, don’t give up. “Talk about something else until the customer warms up,” advises Bloomgarden. You might discuss the different ways artistic jewelry can be worn – as the crowning touch to a ball gown or as an accent to jeans and other casual wear. You can point out that certail jewels are even OK to wear to the gym. Blunt a customer’s concerns about jewelry’s formality and you increase the likelihood she’ll buy. Make sure your customer comes away with the understanding that jewelry makes a statement.

“The first time I became aware of baroque pearls was on a young woman at a ball wearing a strapless dress. I thought they were fabulous ut that I could never wear them,” she says. “Then she showed up at my gallery in jeans, a white shirt, a blue blazer and the same baroque pearls. That’s all I needed to know about their functionality … I’ve been wearing them ever since.”

Bloomgarden stresses the importance of observation. “Size up your customers when they walk in the door,” she says. “Notice what they are wearing, and orient your sales to what you think they may like. It’s an acquired talent.” If he’s wearing work boots and a flannel shirt, he might be interested in more functional, less pretentious but quietly elegant jewelry. If she’s wearing a sumptuous fur with huge jewelry, she may not be interested in jewelry with tiny diamonds.

Designer Michael Good’s line gets a lot of attention at Bloomgarden’s gallery. Customers are consistently attracted to his anticlastic raising metalworking technique because it creates strong, lightweight and unique jewelry. His earrings are a particular hit, because they don’t weigh down women’s earlobes.

Bloomgarden also keeps an eye out for new designers. She hopes to garner attention at her gallery this year with the Tenthio Collection by Sofia. Her selection of Tenthio brings something new to Belenky Bros., because Sofia’s designs are often inspired by exotic locales.

Remember to always interact with your client and share as much of the romance of fine designer jewelry as you can on a first visit, says Bloomgarden. Even if you don’t make an immediate sale, you’ll establish a relationship and, usually, if you’ve given a customer an experience, she or he will come back.

  • Belenky Bros., New York City;

Source: The International Jewelry Design Guild, a group of 73 designer jewelers that promotes the value and artistry of fine designer jewelry. For more information, visit

Lucette Bloomgarden romances artistic jewelry when selling, telling customers about the designers and their methods.
Bloomgarden describes Steven Kretchmer’s techiques and experiments to engage customer interest while showing jewelry such as his Hidden Treasure band.
Michael Good is a favorite with Belenky Bros. customers, especially his earrings, such as these from his new brass collection. Customers like that they are lightweight but make a substantial style statement.
Lucette Bloomgarden of Belenky Bros. also keeps an eye out for new designers. She hopes to garner attention at her gallery this year with jewelry such as this cuff from the Tenthio Collection by Sofia.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications