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Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery trade?

diamondhoarder

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As this is a forum for jewellery lovers I was wondering whether any PS members (non-trade members) had entertained the idea of changing careers to do something within the jewellery industry?

I suspect that some of the prosumers on this board know as much (if not more) than many established jewellers (particularly some of the B&M jewellers) about diamonds and settings etc.

Its often said that if you can convert a hobby into a job then doing that job doesnt really seem like "work". So I have been wondering whether any PS members have considered trying to do just that, or have successfully done it? Or if you are reading this and thinking "no way would I want to do that" then why not?

I sometimes think I would love nothing better than working with beautiful sparkly things all day long, but I'm not sure if it would spoil the fun of jewellery for me if it became "work".
 

chrono

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

Several have done some, some thought about it and some decided it's not for them. The hours are long and you need good contacts in the business. I know of several members who took that leap and several others who know this isn't for them.
 

Arcadian

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

Thankfully no. On the other hand, I did leave a career path that I hated to do what I loved instead. That I don't regret.
 

boerumbiddy

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

I went so far as to get prices on the GIA courses, especially the one on colored gemstones, more for my own pleasure than with the hope of working in the industry.
 

Rockdiamond

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

We have a couple of members who have done nicely converting from PS "prosumers" into trade members.
John Pollard, and Karl K come to mind.

I will say that taking the GIA courses, while a nice idea, won't give you the skills you will need to thrive in this crazy biz.
As weird as this sounds, I'd say that very active PS members have a better grasp on the ins and outs of diamonds than someone graduating as a GG from GIA who has NOT spent time here.
 

diamondhoarder

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

boerumbiddy|1449683128|3959409 said:
I went so far as to get prices on the GIA courses, especially the one on colored gemstones, more for my own pleasure than with the hope of working in the industry.

I did a diamond grading course with the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (GemA) and it was brilliant. I was the only person there who was not being sponsored by their employer, I just did it for fun. But sometimes I think it would be nice to use that knowledge and other know-how I have picked up to make some kind of living.

I'm in the UK and expenditure on diamonds and fine jewellery is not at the same level as in the US unfortunately so that makes the fine jewellery market even more of a niche.
 

diamondhoarder

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

Rockdiamond|1449684085|3959415 said:
We have a couple of members who have done nicely converting from PS "prosumers" into trade members.
John Pollard, and Karl K come to mind.

That's interesting. What do those guys do now exactly?
 

VRBeauty

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

A few long-time PS members have started their own on-line businesses selling colored gemstones or vintage jewelry on Etsy. I could be wrong, but I think those might be sideline businesses rather than the equivalent of their full-time employment.
 

dk168

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

After I have retired from my day job, yes.

DK :))
 

Michael_E

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

diamondhoarder|1449681125|3959390 said:
Its often said that if you can convert a hobby into a job then doing that job doesn't really seem like "work". So I have been wondering whether any PS members have considered trying to do just that, or have successfully done it? Or if you are reading this and thinking "no way would I want to do that" then why not?

I didn't jump from PS to this, but did jump from a job doing design engineering into jewelry making 20+ years ago. I was working as a design engineer at an aluminum smelter, (making aluminum from "sapphire" sand), when they decided to downsize my department and stuck me out in the plant supervising a bunch of guy's who really didn't need any supervision. That was really boring and so I bought my father in law's jewelry shop and gave it a go. I'd been cutting stones and making settings for about ten years as a hobby and thought, O.K., this'll be fun. Well part of it was fun, (making stuff), and part of it was really tough, (the business part, advertising, dealing with customers who were a little nutty, and the worst part....doing watch batteries, yuck!). If I was going to recommend anything it would be to work in a jewelry shop, (one which actually makes things), for a while. If you like it all, then go for it, if you only like parts of it, then make a point of hiring or partnering with someone who likes the parts that you don't.

I sometimes think I would love nothing better than working with beautiful sparkly things all day long, but I'm not sure if it would spoil the fun of jewellery for me if it became "work".

Doing the parts that you like, (for me cutting gems, designing cad models, making the finished pieces), is great and it never really seems like work. Since I no longer have a location that's open to the public, the little devils can no longer find me to make me do watch batteries, so all is good!

My advice, if you can find the time and a place to do it, by all means play with sparklies all day. Just make sure to allow yourself some room between how you think it will be and how it actually is, 'cause sometimes it does turn to work, (like studying to get your GG or having a fabricated piece that just won't do what you want it to). Remember that the harder something is, the more you are learning and the better it feels when you master something and it becomes easy. Oh, and make some friends who are REALLY good at different parts of this, nothing gets you out of a jam faster than having someone who can show you how to get from point A to point B without melting everything into a pile.


Michael
 

denverappraiser

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

Certain trades in the industry, like jewelry designers, almost always start out as amateurs with a passion. They get the bug, they get some training, practice a lot, get more schooling, and before they know it they're a designer. I'll warn you, the link from that to actually making a living at it is usually difficult, just like it is for nearly all artists. It IS possible, and I would never discourage an artist from following their heart, but I have to say, it's a tough gig.

Gemology is both easier and more difficult. The job of selling pretty rocks has a lot more to do with skills at selling than anything else. That's why you see so many seemingly unqualified people working the sales floor in jewelry stores. What's being asked of them is not a good understanding of jewelry, it's the ability to close a sale. These overlap but they're definitely not the same thing. In many cases the stores don't even really want people who know how to do things like grade stones. The store will tell them the grade. The sales person's job is to move it out the door. Is that for you? Maybe. And if you're good at it there's a pretty good living there, but it's not actually a great fit for a lot of people who are passionate and picky about gems. Good gemology skills help, just don't forget that good sales skills is the task at hand.

Re: Karl and John. Search for posts by Karl_K and John Pollard using the search bar at the top of the page. Both are fascinating people who have contributed an enormous amount of content to this site. Karl works designing cuts and John is the US representative for one of the manufacturers that is often recommended here.
 

Rockdiamond

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

Here's a unique and newer aspect: Regular prosumers may actually have a leg up on something- forget the "diamond business". It's not going to look like the diamond business of five years ago, much less last years business.
I think it may be possible for well versed PS users to find jobs as "internet diamond specialists"- which is different than a traditional jewelry store salesperson.


A few years back I realized how bad my office chair was.....so I started doing some online research which led me to a very specialized orthopedic chair company- selling online.
The customer service rep was so very knowledgeable and patient. If I needed to answer a call, he'd call me back. The specifics needed to purchase the chair were very detailed.
I must have been on the phone with the the guy for a total of 2 hours when I asked him about the office he worked in.
"I'm at home in m bathrobe"- and it hit me.
The advantages of having salespeople who did not need to be in an office.......

Anyway, maybe that might be the type of opportunity that some of our well versed PS consumers may find in the near future....
 

Dancing Fire

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

diamondhoarder|1449695568|3959488 said:
Rockdiamond|1449684085|3959415 said:
We have a couple of members who have done nicely converting from PS "prosumers" into trade members.
John Pollard, and Karl K come to mind.

That's interesting. What do those guys do now exactly?
Taking our money... :lol:
 

jordyonbass

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

It's a thought that is occasionally going through my head as I am currently learning how to cut cabochons and will soon be learning how to facet at my local lapidary club. Whether or not I actually end up doing it is a completely different story; the financial investment required to start any kind of business in Australia is enormous and I am also not confident that my quality would be up to standard and be profitable.

It's definitely something I want to do, it's more whether my ability is going to make it worthwhile that has me apprehensive.
 

partgypsy

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

I like my day job and its benefits, and I have 2 kids at home so have little spare time. I have daydreamed it would be nice to work as a sales associate at a couple of my favorite local stores where I really like the pieces, both to be around the pieces and possibly for a store discount :shifty: . My impression that it is probably a pretty tough business with small margins, so I respect those who have been able to do this as both a job and an avocation for many years.
 

Rockdiamond

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

part gypsy said:
I like my day job and its benefits, and I have 2 kids at home so have little spare time. I have daydreamed it would be nice to work as a sales associate at a couple of my favorite local stores where I really like the pieces, both to be around the pieces and possibly for a store discount :shifty: . My impression that it is probably a pretty tough business with small margins, so I respect those who have been able to do this as both a job and an avocation for many years.
Wait, WHAT??
Day job and two kids at home??
Sounds like three full time jobs to me:)

Seriously, a stay at home mom is an ideal scenario for sales associate
 

Michael_E

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

part gypsy|1449839261|3960140 said:
My impression that it is probably a pretty tough business with small margins, so I respect those who have been able to do this as both a job and an avocation for many years.

It is a tough business. One of the challenges in a B&M shop is to get high enough margins to just stay in business, mostly because sales volumes are much lower than many other retail businesses. I worked for a guy once who spent 80% of his time coming up with promotions in order to just get people in the door, (kind of funny in that he'd try to sell diamonds to people coming in for 1/2 price watch batteries). Once in the door he spent all his time trying to get them to buy. I doubt if he ever had any fun, at least not with the sparkly stuff.

Then you have the immensely increased competition from new venues like Etsy and Amazon Handmade and just the internet in general offering so much stuff that a small retailer can find it impossible to compete without some sort of niche. Can you think of a good niche and can you work that idea into a marketable business? If you can, you'll probably do well, (at least until the copycats catch on...about 6 months or so).

I know of a local woman who started a shop on Etsy making very inexpensive stuff from thin, gold fill plates that are "custom" stamped with a person's name, initials, whatever. These are all hung on ultralight gold fill chains that have no chance of lasting over about 6 months or so and yet after couple of years of doing this she's got 25 women working for her and has sold close to 100,000 of these trinkets. She had a niche in doing this for about 6months and that was enough to get things rolling. The tough part now is going to be continuing to keep things rolling by constantly coming up with new stuff and selling it before the copycats start doing it and undercutting her price. You ever look at Etsy? Kind of like feeding time in a shark tank, scary tough competition.
 

yssie

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

Michael_E|1449857046|3960256 said:
The tough part now is going to be continuing to keep things rolling by constantly coming up with new stuff and selling it before the copycats start doing it and undercutting her price. You ever look at Etsy? Kind of like feeding time in a shark tank, scary tough competition.

If only the copycats restricted themselves to Etsy! One vendor in particular has gained quite a following here on PS - one of his specialties appears to be copying other vendors' custom creations. And, of course, charging much less, as the expense of design has been conveniently taken care of by the original designer :nono:
 

cflutist

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

From 1986 to 1989 prior to general access to the Internet (and PS), I took all 5 classes: Diamonds, Diamond Grading, Colored Stones, Colored Stone Grading, Gem ID (passed the 20 stone challenge on the first attempt) and earned my Gemologist Diploma (GIA) via their Distance Education, think Scantron forms etc. Had lots of fun grading diamonds and almost lost one in the process, missed a pinpoint in a VVS1 too ... LOL

Always had a love for gems and figured if I could read Consumer Reports before buying a washer and dryer, I could learn more before I spent money on jewelry.

Subscribed to JCK and saw that in the annual salary issue that I could make much more money as a Software Engineer (at first a developer and then moved into project management, managing million-dollar projects which allowed me to retire early at age 54 as a VP ) than working in retail. Off course business owners and designers had better prospects, but front line sales didn't offer much compensation.

So no, never thought of working in the jewelry trade but still love diamonds and colored stones.
 

HopeDream

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

Of course!
I would love to!

I think it would be so interesting to be a be a buyer and source unique pieces for a curated collection. I've sold a few pieces locally through a consignment shop and they've always gone in less than a month.

I also think it would be fun to help a customer find the best way to get everything they want and stay in their budget. It's really interesting to try and guess someone's style and then find something perfect for them. I love helping others learn more about cool stuff like diamonds, and helping them to better understand the industry.

Sometimes I daydream about offering a weekend course about "How to buy a diamond on the internet" through a local community center. Or being some sort of local concierge to help local folks buying jewellery in person (but not at just one store). Maybe one day....

Actually, years ago I did work in the Jewellery department at Zellers. Such a boring and depressing inventory! Low quality and outdated designs. Helping customers to find just the right watch was quite interesting though.

I'm not really an entrepreneurial person though, and grad school currently takes up most of my time, so it's unlikely that I'll run off to join the jewel trade any time soon.
 

ihy138

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

I'm a therapist by trade, so when I get burnt out by people I daydream about what it would be like playing with pretty rocks all day. I don't think I could ever make it in this business, although I think Grace from JbG has the coolest job ever. I do sometimes sell old pieces that I tire of and that's enough for me to know I would never make a profit at this.
 

madelise

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

Yup! I'd never make any money and go into debt by buying things and never letting them go. I get too attached haha. Now to work for someone else, using their money, being forced to sell.. My dream job. I'd love to do that part time some day, especially either in the designing process or something to do with antiques. I love helping guys plan proposals, and ring shop so getting paid for it sounds perfect!
 

Mainer

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

Selling jewelry in a store doesn't appeal very much but going to courses and learning more about gems would be exciting. From reading the comments there are apparently gemological courses available to the general public. Where does one find out about such courses?
 

Circe

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

http://www.gia.edu/

I'm one of the PS'rs who transitioned. My father was a colored gem dealer on 47th before he retired, so I grew up fairly immersed in the wonderful world'o'bling. He felt that it was still a fairly sexist professional environment, and an unreliable form of income in a changing world, and desperately wanted me to do something else, so I went with my other great love and became a professor.

Of course, in keeping with the saying that man plans, G-d laughs, I then found out I was pregnant the same week my husband got transferred from one coast to the other. D'oh! I spent a few years feeling fairly conflicted about what to do - keep my job and go long-distance? quit a TT spot and ... go into publishing? - and spent a looooot of time on PS, enjoying both the distraction, and the support (it's one heck of a community). I gradually realized that given the *ways* in which the world had changed, I actually stood a greater chance of success than my father had feared, as though the Internet did a lot of damage to his generation's business model, it could work quite nicely for mine, and it does: I have a website instead of a B&M and I can make my schedule work around my family, which is a wonderful luxury.

So I basically swapped my profession and my passion: same set of interests, now I just earn my money from the one instead of the other!
 

Paul-Antwerp

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Re: Any PSers ever thought about working in the jewellery tr

My story does not really address your question, but I felt it important to share.

Back in the year 2000, I was at first a lurker then an active poster on DiamondTalk. As Pricescope did not exist yet, that was the forum where consumers and professionals discussed diamonds, and very often cut-quality.

Because of that forum, I identified an emerging niche-market in the US, looking for the best in cut-quality. At the same time, it allowed me to connect to some of the main retailers in that niche-market. That combined with my knowledge that I could produce something better than just hearts-and-arrows to that market led to the emergence of our company.

Very soon after that, all main contributors to that forum left and joined the new forum Pricescope. I must add that both forums have not only led to our business being created, it also left me with a lot of friends worldwide.

Sorry, not the story of a consumer/poster becoming a diamond professional, but I did want to give testament to the direct interaction with consumers on these forums, as they have stood at the cradle of our business and have helped me create what we are now.

Thank you and live long,
 
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