There’s more to choose from in the diamond department today than simply shopping for a ½ carat or ¾ carat stone. As concepts like clarity enhanced, laser drilled, lab-created and synthetics pepper the diamond landscape, consumers have more options to consider when shopping for that all important engagement ring or milestone marker diamond.
Dazed & Confused
These variations and the diamonds they represent penetrate the retail world in one complex lump, according to shoppers. The idea of greater purchasing options seems like it should empower consumers to make buying more streamlined. Yet the opposite is often the case.
According to gemologist and diamond authority Antoinette Matlins, the ever widening diamond options offered today creates a speed bump for consumers on the way to the jewelry counter. Improvements to diamonds are intended to increase their attractiveness and thus their salability. Sounds good, right? But disclosure plain and simple is crucial to the diamond treatments and synthetics being sold in a fair marketplace.
The biggest changes Matlins observes in the diamond trade have to do with treatment and disclosure. And this is for the benefit of both jeweler and consumer. “The number of mined diamonds, either heavily included or off-color, being improved upon by an ever-increasing number of treatments for colorless and fancy-color diamonds alike, are often sold to consumers and retailers without disclosure.” There needs to be a clear declaration of what the treatment is; and whether or not it’s permanent, she underscores. And this is key, she adds, “The customer needs to be apprised when the stone requires special care to retain its beauty.”
High pressure, high temperature (HPHT) is one such treatment that is pervasive through the diamond trade today. “HPHT treatment, which is permanent” Matlins says, “needs very little special care versus surface coating, which is NOT permanent. It can be removed if the stone ever becomes chipped and re-polished.” Selling goods with this procedure requires special care instructions so your customer will remain your satisfied loyal client.
Give Them a Grown Stone
Some contemporary stone options for bridal jewelry and other jewelry types was never earth mined. They appeal to Millennials whose sensibilities lean toward saving the earth from desecration and abhor unscrupulous labor and mining practices. Enter lab-created (or lab grown) diamonds.
Matlins has witnessed their proliferation, yet often without disclosure as well. “The number of lab-created diamonds, or synthetics, or grown diamonds, whichever you prefer to call them are now widely available in colorless and fancy color varieties. Yet they are frequently sold without disclosure as actually being lab-created (or whatever other descriptor is used), especially in melee sizes. For fancy color single stones of 1/4 carat and above, depending on color, there is usually a lab report because of rarity and value, but not on smaller sizes and rarely for colorless diamonds under 1/2 carat.”
It’s incumbent upon jewelers to clearly express what they are selling. But first they have to deal with suppliers that they trust to disclose everything. Consumers relish personal tutorials from a jeweler who takes the time to educate them. It nurtures a sense of loyalty between retailer and consumer; that in turn establishes a bond which draws that shopper back again and again because of the trust established.
Here’s a valuable asset for both retailer and consumer on this subject. Antoinette Matlins latest 4th edition of the Diamonds Buying Guide helps sort all that out for both jeweler and shopper. As a vital sales tool, it can be displayed on the counter as a conversation starter for shoppers who are unsure of what they really want. Some retailers have a few of these copies to give to VIP customers at the time of purchase. Knowledge is power and no matter what option your customer eventually chooses, he or she will continue to rely on you in the future for having taken the time to share what they need to know about shopping for diamonds today. ♦