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Resistance to informed customers?

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JayTee

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 6, 2002
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62
just going to share a little of my current buying experience, and wondering if anyone has run into the same issues. . .

I've done my internet research, tried to resolve any conflicting information I've seen, and I've headed to some of the B&Ms in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I've gotten quite the range of reactions to the types of questions I've asked. I figure that if people are here, they are trying to do the same research that I am, so I'm wondering if other people have gone through this.

Examples:
1. (mentioned in a previous thread) A store owner was showing a GIA Ex-Ex 1.33 F VS2 RB and was pushing it as an Ideal Cut. When I asked for crown and pavilion angles, she said that they didn't have them, couldn't measure it in house and asked why I needed it -- Ex-Ex was all I needed to know.

2. Different store owner, after not wanting to make a copy of the AGS cert for an AGS0 1.26 F VS1 RB, asked why I was writing all the measurements down. I explained that I would be putting them into the HCA (although I didn't mention it by name, I tried explaining what it was to her),and her reaction was, "Why bother? These people don't know as much as AGS does about stones."

3. At yet another store, the owner was explaining the problems that occur with too shallow depth/small crown angle (and conversely, too large depth or large crown angle). When I asked whether adjusting them in complementary fashion would offset each other (larger depth and smaller crown angle or vice versa, which I think the HCA does take into account) she said that was incorrect.

It seems that people at these B&Ms are not familiar with the HCA or the type of research that Mr. Holloway and others have done into angle and depth/table variance and how it affects brilliance.

I guess that in my feeling, there have been a number of vendors that I've spoken to that, when confronted with a more informed customer, act in a somewhat arrogant fashion (not necessarily the above examples, just a general attitude). Throw in the amount of inaccurate or just weird statements that people have made (and made sound like absolute facts). I don't know if this is because they feel that their 10-20 years of experience trumps anything I can read up on in a month's time. Or maybe, they're used to having their word simply accepted, not questioned.

Anyone else deal with this?
 

DiamondOptics

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2002
Messages
380
Hi Jaytee,


Selling diamonds, and knowing diamonds,
are two completely different animals.

Some sellers don't know diamonds, and some of
the people who know diamonds, don't sell them.

And then you have many consumers, whom don't know
or sell.

Much of what you read or hear about diamonds,
are only theories and conjectures. There are some facts
too.

Although, these things can be very helpful to your search, it only gives partial answers to your question.

I have always been an advocate of full disclosure,
and providing as much info as possible is my personal
preference to aid consumers.

You must ultimately be the judge. All the resources
of the diamond market are there to help you. But you
must slowly learn to seperate the wheat from the chaff.


Kirk
www.diamondoptics.com
 

hugodrax

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 2, 2002
Messages
10
heheh read my post on diamondoptics and my footwalk experiences with local B&M's yeah its downright insulting the misinformation and the fraudulent misrepresintation and overpricing of product in the diamond market out there, customer service does not exist.


hey so Your Battle Axe hehe I never knew you were in the forums Kirk. BTW my wife loves the diamond, now she is hooked I see diamond earrings,tennis bracelet in the future :)
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
4,924
Hi JayTee. There's a difference between a professional jeweler and someone who is working it as a "job".

The diamond industry is a constantly evolving information intensive entity. If someone does not make a concentrated effort to stay on top of it, they fall behind real quick.

Many of the people behind the sales counters of B&M stores are low paid short time employees who are here today, gone tomorrow. Give them a suit & tie, put them behind a counter and they look remarkably like a professional jeweler who has dedicated his life to mastering his profession.

The difference is when they speak. As you have noted, they give themselves away every time to a consumer who has taken the trouble to educate themself.

There's also the case of the jeweler who has one year of experience, repeated twenty times. They may have been in the business twenty years, but are woefully uneducated about the product they sell. These people give themselves away quickly also.

Don't be too hard on professionals who have not heard of Garry Holloway and the HCA though. Before I started visiting these forums six months ago, I had never heard of him either, and I'm considered to be halfway educated in the gemological world. (love ya Garry). A lot of the cut technology you're seeing discussed here on these forums is state-of-the-art cutting-edge technology. A jeweler one year behind the times might be oblivious to several aspects of it.

Rich, GG
Sarasota Gemological Laboratory
 

student

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 2, 2002
Messages
167
It's really pretty extraordinary how the internet changes diamond-buying. Even supposing you end up buying at a B&M, learning from the internet can quickly make you a better diamond buyer than would have been feasible, say, ten years ago. Obviously you won't learn everything experts know about diamonds, but it seems like you can get to a point where you are almost as good as an expert would be at getting good quality for the money when buying a diamond. Is this a fair assessment?
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
4,924
Close maybe, close. If you use the tools, knowledge & information supplied by experts to help you make your decision.

A GIA certificate let's say (created by experts), augmented by a Sarin report (created by experts), run thru the HCA (created by a renegade Australian), and visually inspected with an IdealScope (okay, okay, maybe he is an expert), after months of studying on the Internet to begin to have quality parameters crystallize in your mind, and yes, I'd say you could make an informed and almost expert-like decision at getting good quality for the money.

Go for beauty. It will never fail you.

Rich, GG
Sarasota Gemological Laboratory
 

student

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 2, 2002
Messages
167
Thanks for the comments, Rich. Yes, that's what I meant. I'm not about to say that a consumer can be his own appraiser, or could come up with his own new cut grading system! But if all you need to do is get the right diamond at the right price, what you need to learn is how to use the advice and services that experts offer to your own advantage, and the internet makes this much easier to do.
 

pyramid

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 10, 2002
Messages
4,607
"I don't know if this is because they feel that their 10-20 years of experience trumps anything I can read up on in a month's time. Or maybe, they're used to having their word simply accepted, not questioned."

QUOTED from above: I would agree wholeheartedly with this.
 

niceice

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 29, 2003
Messages
1,792
Awhile back a diamond dealer was in our office and he was curious as to why anybody would buy a diamond sight unseen over the internet... His curiosity stemmed from the fact that he was a representative for a diamond supplier AND operated a retail store not far from the San Francisco Bay Area... We told him that we thought the reason people bought diamonds off of the internet was due to a failure on the part of the retail establishments to do their jobs effectively... That the stores either came off as arrogant and rude or that something the sales person said led the customer to think that something was amiss with their explanation of the 4C's so to speak... We feel that most people don't set out to buy a diamond off of the internet, rather they go to the internet to gather information and then they return to the stores in their area to test out the information... Then when they watch the eyes roll back in the head of the retailer standing before them they begin to realize that there is more "amiss" than they originally suspected... A few retailers are bright enough to realize when they have a savvy diamond buying customer standing before them and they adapt to the situation... Sure, they might have to work a little harder to find a diamond that is going to please this specific customer and they might make a little less than they would like to, but you think that they would try to adapt to the situation... Most don't or won't in our experience and this is why internet diamond dealers like ourselves do so well... It adds further to the confusion of the customer that we are both a traditional retail store and an internet company and that we maintain the same pricing structure both in the store and on the net... Why then can't other retail jewelers like the ones in their neighborhoods do the same?

It wasn't but a month or two later that the sales rep from the diamond company called us from his store... "Guess what I have in my store today Todd" he began... "I don't have a clue" I said... "A 1.21 carat, E, VS-2, GIA Excellent / Excellent ideal cut" said he... "Oh... Kevin " said I... "Sorry about that, I didn't realize that he was one of your customers..."

And truly I didn't... He had closed his store to hold an emergency sales meeting and he asked me to repeat "the reasons why somebody would buy a diamond over the internet" for his staff... And specifically for the manager of his store who had been the person to work with Kevin... As it so happens, Kevin's fiance's family had been buying their jewelry from his families jewelry store for the past three generations, had her engagement ring been purchased from his store it would have been the fourth generation of engagement rings that they had provided for that family... Impressive, or at least it would have been...

"Are you sure you want me to do this?" I asked...

"Absolutely" he responded "because I've just returned from a three hour lunch with Kevin and he told me that the reasons he bought the ring from you was exactly for the same reasons you stated the last time I was in your office..."

OUCH! And to add insult to injury, we had sourced the diamond from the company that he worked for... Kevin had told us a story regarding his experience with the retail jewelers in his area and it was very much like the one you told Jay Tee... Someday the traditional retail jewelers might wake up and realize that they need to do something better to maintain their market share, but in the mean time we're more than happy to pick up their slack...

Here's a kicker! When we opened our store in Roseburg one of the local jewelers walked in and announced "I know who you are" and seemed taken aback a bit by "That's great! So do we..."

He wanted to know if we were going to increase our prices now that we had opened a store... We asked him why we would want to do that and his response was "because I triple everything!" Well, we supose that is one reason, but it's not good enough for us
We had a customer walk-in the other day and ask us how much a 3/4 carat, F, VS-2 would cost... All he knew about the stone is that it was graded by the EGL and had good polish and symmetry... We sold him an AGS graded ideal cut, 3/4 carat, F, VS-2 for $4K less than our "new friend" down the street... Supposedly this store owner "goes to Antwerp" twice a year to buy diamonds so that he can provide his clients with the best pricing... Our overhead is the same, we both advertise... Go figure. Maybe he is just buying his diamonds from the wrong source...
 

fire&ice

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
7,828
Playing the devil's advocate..........

I defer to people who have seen hundreds of stones. I know in my business sometimes I can't quite pin down what "wrong" with something BUT - I know it's not right. An experienced "eye" is an important tool.

I recently had a self proclaimed expert tell me something was added to a piece of "art" furntiture. I was feeling bored & devilish - gave the guy enough rope & then produced the orgininal shop drawings from the artist. If the "expert" had taken the time to read the description - he would have known the piece was custom - and I had the shop drawings.

While I so enjoy a knowledgable client (and consequently learn from them), I am turned off by someone who boasts of their knowledge. Especially one's without hands on experience.

Just a spin on this topic. Just as there are jewelers from heck - there are customers from the same place.
 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,357
Many old-time jewelers just haven't kept up with the evolution in the industry. So much of what we talk about here is technical, while so many of these jewelers think of their profession as an art--thus something that improves through internal experience not through external advances. A jeweler isn't like a doctor, who, if he falls behind risks lives, so many of them have underestimated how important it is to follow changes in how diamonds are cut, how light performance can be improved, and how all that can be measured.
 
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