In the last two and a half years one out of every seven jewelers has gone out of business! Generations of jewelers have been wiped off the face of the map because they were ill-prepared for the next tidal wave of consumerism—Twitter, text message, Facebook, etc. connected consumers that don’t care what the old way to do business is because they want to buy their way on their schedule! Jewelers who had legions of fans have been left in the Sahara Desert as their fast track-spending baby boomers are off searching for the meaning of life and have put away their pocket books and wallets! Of the remaining jewelers, half are on life support betting on Christmas! If Santa appears, they may squeak by with their lives. If not? It’s Sayonara! Arrivederci! After the next 3 months, we will have a pretty good idea of which jewelers are going to survive and which ones will join the Tyrannosaurus Rex!
As a consumer here is what you have to be on the look out for:
1) Promises that seem too good to be true! If the jeweler keeps lowering the price until you buy he’s not going to be around tomorrow!
2) The lack of non-bonded diamonds; the bonding of commercial diamonds. If the jeweler is offering a lifetime buyback guarantee on crummy diamonds, it’s because they are just dynamiting the pond to get the most money in their pocket before they go out of business. Of course, they don’t have to worry about keeping a promise if they close up and leave town after the sale.
3) Over-stocked Cases! Desperate jewelers bring in a lot of jewelry on consignment that they haven’t paid for yet hoping to make a quick sale! If they sell it to you and they go out of business with out paying their bills you are in possession of stolen merchandise!
4) How long the jeweler has been in business now is irrelevant! Legacy jewelers are dropping like flies. Look for the little things like small repairs that haven’t been made, lights out in cases or outdoor signs that haven’t been replaced. Out of date décor. Does the place have a current minimalism look or old fashion iron stands behind the cases approach?
5) Look at the age of the jewelers. If everyone serving you is older than dirt there is a good chance there is a hole in the desert six feet deep that the company is going to be dropped into.
Are the sales people a little eager like their life depends on it or do they give you room to breathe? If they crowd you it’s because they are missing the crowds!
6) Flat out ask them if their diamonds come with “certificates” guaranteeing the diamond? If they say yes run for the hills! The FTC has deregulated lab reports to not be responsible for the exact accuracy of their grades as long as disclaimers are present! If the jeweler is telling you a piece of paper stands behind their diamonds and not the jeweler himself, you are talking to a dinosaur.
7) Does the jeweler have a social media director? If they don’t they are in the dark ages and will soon be left in the dark.
8) Do they try to make the sale today vs. giving you time to make your decision? If they’re rushing you they are hunting for cash.
9) And finally, who do you know of your friends that have recently bought from the jeweler? If you can’t quickly Facebook your friends and find at least a half a dozen happy customers it’s because they don’t have any!
The health of the “business as usual” jeweler is critical. They are on life support and if they are on life support, how are they going to be around to support you?
by Fred Cuellar, author of the best-selling book “How to Buy a Diamond.” More questions? Ask the Diamond Guy®