Technology has forever changed the jewellery business. There are new gemstone treatments entering the market every day, many of them virtually impossible to detect without expensive laboratory tools. Some of the treatments are stable and will last forever, others require special care. Our customers deserve to know exactly what they are purchasing with their hard-earned money and they need to know how to properly care for their new gemstones. Selling treated gemstones requires full disclosure.
The good thing about the new technologies is that consumers now have access to many beautiful looking gemstones at affordable prices that were previously unobtainable. As providers of gemstones and jewellery, we must adapt and learn new ways of selling these products with proper disclosures for the protection of our customers and ourselves. We want our customers to enjoy their purchase and feel confident in shopping with us in the future. If a consumer discovers we are hiding important facts, we will lose them forever.
Unfortunately many of the newer treated gemstones are being sold without any disclosure of treatments, especially in the retail market. There are three reasons for this:
- Lack of knowledge
- Outright fraud.
(I will assume that those of you who are reading this are honest dealers with strong ethics and integrity so I will not address the issue of fraud, other than to mention that many countries have laws to deal with that problem.)
So how do we explain to our customers that the gemstone they are considering has been altered by the hand of man without scaring them away? It’s not as difficult as you may think as long as we can overcome our own fears. If the customer senses fear from us, they will become fearful as well.
First and foremost, we must educate ourselves about these new treatments. We need to know that glass-filled Rubies can be damaged by exposure to common acids like lemon juice or vinegar. We have to be able to explain that the heat of a jeweller’s torch can burn the fracture-filling in a diamond. Or that a gemstone’s colour has been altered to be more desirable. These can be frightening topics to bring up in a sales situation unless we are confident in our approach to the issues.
Our biggest fear is if the customer learns of the treatments or the special care required, they will not make the purchase. In reality, most consumers don’t mind treatments if they are explained with confidence and enthusiasm. In fact many are actually fascinated by these technologies and are happy they can obtain a beautiful piece of jewellery at a reasonable price. If they don’t want a treated stone they will tell you and you’ll have the opportunity to provide them with a natural stone at a higher price.
Knowledge equals confidence so get to know your gemstone treatments well enough to be comfortable discussing their advantages and limitations. If you are comfortable and confident with the facts; there is no need for fear.
Get the knowledge, lose the fear, state the facts and make the sale!