CIBJO releases Gemmological Special Report: considers process of separating measurable facts from opinion; See Gemological Articles below.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:32 pm 
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As a sidebar to the QVC issue - I had a client come in the other day with a ring that looked like a QVC ring (mass produced and poorly made), and they wanted it sized down 2 whole sizes.

I took it to my bench jeweler, as I do every piece that I am unsure about, as they are the ones that have to actually do the work. Due to the way the ring was manufactured - it was hollow where the stones were set, the metal in the shank was thin, the melee was only graver set, and the emeralds were only double prong set - my bench jeweler wouldn't touch it. The $25 that we would have charged for the downsizing would have gotten eaten up in the time that the jeweler would have spent resetting the stones that would most surely fall out in the ultrasonic during the cleaning process.

We see this all of the time. There are many pieces that we won't touch due to the construction of the piece, the age of the piece, the condition of the piece, etc. If the customer insists, and it's a piece that we can repair - they have to agree that it will be done at their own risk and not ours, and if there are additional problems when the work is done on the ring (stones falling out, chlorine damage etc.) that there will be extra charges.

I certainly wasn't rude to our customer, in fact they had me do another repair for them, and they fully understood that the ring had sizing issues, as apparently we weren't the first jeweler they came to for sizing. I asked them if the jeweler where they purchased the ring could size it for them, and they said that the jeweler wasn't local and the ring wasn't available in the size that they had originally wanted.

I've seen rings "explode" and dissolve during the repair process, so even though your jeweler could have used more tact - what he was saying (especially about mass produced jewelery like QVC) is absolutely true.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 10:11 pm 
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I think we all agree. Obviously this is a topic that is fairly near and dear to my heart. I’ve owned a jewelry store, I’ve owned one of those contract repair shops, and I’ve even made decent money at both. I’ve done more of those repair jobs than I can count and I’ve trained many bench jewelers to do the same and I’ve watched the entire life cycle of dozens of stores and shops. I like to see successful jewelers and it makes me mad when I hear stories like yours where they are just pissing away the business. I assure you, successful businesses don’t behave that way. By the way, I’m reasonably sure QVC will be happy to size your ring for you, or more specifically they will probably just take a return and send you a new one that’s the correct size. They want your business, apparently unlike the jewelers in your town.

The #1 mistake I see jewelers making is that they undersell their own merits. Frankly, I’m not sure why this is. Other businesses don’t seem to do this, or at least not nearly as much. They seem to feel that customers are far more price sensitive than they really are. That’s why I asked you if you would have been happy to pay $25 if the salesperson had just behaved better. You didn’t have the $10 price in you head until he gave it to you and then doubled it. That’s when it felt like he was cheating you. Everybody wants to get a good deal and to be treated fairly but most people don’t have a problem to pay a reasonable price for services. The problem wasn’t the price, it was the attitude.

I make a living selling relatively expensive appraisals, something that most jewelers STILL think should be done as a free service. Clients ask me regularly where they can get things set, sized, repaired, restored, etc. because it’s hard to decide who to trust and in my town there are about two hundred jewelers in the phone book. There are 14 in my building! Customers are always interested in knowing what prices to expect but it’s almost never the deciding issue. Perhaps I have a higher budget sort of customer than most but they want the job to be done properly and in a reasonable time frame, they want to be treated like a valuable customer, and they want to have a source for this kind of services in the future. Above all, they want someone they can trust. It’s handy if they can find someone in their neighborhood but it’s not necessary and they’ll drive all the way across town if they think it would have better results. Within reason, higher prices is no problem at all.

(by the way, I know you're talking in pounds, not dollars. I just don't know how to make the little pound sign on my keyboard and it seems unnecessary to convert)

Neil

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 10:35 pm 
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I have always worked with shops who send out repairs. We work with a network of excellent technicians and specialists with access to the latest technical tools for bench work, laser soldering, cadcam capabilities. We only take in jobs we know we can do perfectly, and the shop I currently work with specializes in repair and restoration of period jewels.

Our repairs and restorations promote trust and general goodwill, while cultivating future business. Our prices are not too cheap, nor too expensive. They are precisely what they should be, fair for us and fair for our clients.


Last edited by Barbra Voltaire, FGG on Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:23 am 
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Barbra Voltaire wrote:
Our prices are not too cheap, nor too expensive. They are precisely what they should be, fair for us and fair for our clients.


That is, of course, exactly where it should be. Your market probably has a different scale of prices from what I see here but where would your store fall pricewise when compared to other stores around you? Do you face competition from shops that offer considerably less expensive repairs?

Neil

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:57 am 
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Hi Neil.
There are some shops that can certainly do things for less money. For a simple solder or ring sizing or watch battery replacement we will send the clients there directly.
Conversely, if certain vintage repairs and restorations are brought to other shops, they will refer them to us. We stock rose cuts, early cushions and Old-European-cuts for replacements and have a good understanding of what can realistically be done and will honestly report when a piece is just too fatigued to be worthy of restoration.

In a competitive market, it has been my experience that carving out a specialized niche is often the best way to go. Work WITH other dealers, not against them. When everyone is selling the same service, price is the only leverage.

Snizzy wrote:
I took it to my bench jeweler, as I do every piece that I am unsure about, as they are the ones that have to actually do the work. Due to the way the ring was manufactured - it was hollow where the stones were set, the metal in the shank was thin, the melee was only graver set, and the emeralds were only double prong set - my bench jeweler wouldn't touch it. The $25 that we would have charged for the downsizing would have gotten eaten up in the time that the jeweler would have spent resetting the stones that would most surely fall out in the ultrasonic during the cleaning process.


Snizzy raises an excellent issue. When a job is a potential liability and I don't think anyone should attempt the task, I would suggest that the client return the piece tout de suite, explaining that it is a potential nightmare for anyone attempting the repair. The client should consult directly with the vendor who sold the item; perhaps they can do the job......


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 Post subject: The Cost of Free
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 8:15 pm 
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I wish to add a very important lesson in human relationships. I once did bench repairs as a hobby then as a supplement to further my education. I learned a very important point to ponder. When you give someone something for free or at below market price, they never feel they got their monies worth. They usually are the ones that want more for nothing or are never truly happy with the job done. When I charged a fair and market going price for my services, I never had an issue with the customer. I still do cleaning and polishing for some of my older clients for free, especially the ones in retirement homes. Sometimes their jewelry has so much history and meaning to them that it would be a shame not to help. But as a rule, Never expect people who can afford the cost to be happy if it is free. They have trouble with a simple thank you. If they paid, they feel they have a right to be unhappy.

Carl :P


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:26 am 
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You're right, Carl. To many, something that they get for free equates to it having no value in their minds, so for them, the more they pay, the more confident they feel about it, whether it's actually better, or not. Duh! ](*,)

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