April 12, 1999
Bijoux Extraordinaire Inc. in Manchester, NH, isn't your typical jewelry store. A member of American Gem Society and several appraiser' organizations, the company sells estate and antique jewelry and custom designed pieces, but it specializes in jewelry expertise rather than sales. Owners Judith and Arthur Anderson provide advisor and brokering services to people in the market for gemstones, do appraisals from their in-house gemological laboratory and run weekly workshops and seminars. They don't maintain a traditional storefront, but instead rely on private customers and their Web site to do business.
The Web site is remarkable for its fun, fresh writing and clean, organized layout. The site profiles the company and outlines its services with friendly, personal introductions that convey the Anderson's professionalism and enthusiasm for their work. The home page highlights a "Jewel of the Month," describing a piece alongside high-quality photos; beautiful, quickly-loading images of other jewelry are found in the various on-line "galleries" with enticing, amusing descriptions ("Ear-eee-sistible Earrings!").
Also included is a "Reading Room," a library of articles written by Judith, a graduate gemologist and certified appraiser. The articles explaining gemstone origins, margins, treatments and markets demystify jewelry and gemstones with fun descriptions and brilliant language. There are also links to other jewelry sites, including antique magazines and museums.
If you're a retail jeweler looking for examples of good Web sites, Bijoux Extraordinaire is worth a peek. The company has done a fantastic job drawing in potential customers and keeping them at the site with layout and content that is friendly and not intimidating.
- by Stacey King