Site Review | Professional Jeweler

May 1, 2000
Nafco Gems Nafco Gems

How much sizzle does a business-to-business Web site require? Once upon a time, site designers saved the bells-and-whistles for consumer-oriented sites, while those intended for the trade had all the pizzazz of an IRS form.

Well, no more. Nafco Gems, a supplier of colored gemstone and diamond jewelry based in Scottsdale, AZ, has launched a new b-to-b site with slide shows, music, sales-y ad copy and big, bright graphics.

The site opens with a rather mundane "welcome" page with an "enter" button. Click that and – after a brief wait for the graphics to load – a slide show begins featuring what seems to be a moving Calder sculpture that transforms itself into a neck form. Presto! A pearl necklace emerges and, from stage right, a brightly colored gold-and-gemstone pendant slides on the string of beads. This fades and is replaced by three choices: Jewelry, Gemstones and About Us – each represented by a large (two inches in diameter) graphic showing a piece from Nafco's jewelry line. More, these graphics change as the visitor mouses over them.

Click on Jewelry and you'll be led to page where representative pieces from the different lines – rings, earrings, pendants, bracelets, brooches – fade in and out. Butterfly brooches seem to flutter across the screen. Pick any one to see the whole line, with each piece described in ad copy hyping its color and "brilliant" settings. Want a better look? Just click on an item for a blow-up view.

Got a customer in love with, say, blue sapphires? The jewelry page offers a pull-down menu. Click on the gemstone of your choice and the system presents an array of rings, earrings, pendants and other items made from the desired gemstone.

It's all very attractive, but one might wonder about the patience of a busy jeweler who just wants to cut to the chase and order some merchandise.

Contact information, company background and a biography of the president, Roland Naftule, are available on the "About the Company" page. There's also a place to fill out a form to receive a quarterly newsletter. Some areas of the Nafco site – the gemstones page, for example – are still unfinished.

- by Mark E. Dixon