Keith's Korner

Friendly suggestions and advice on caring for your precious jewelry.

June 9, 2011

Trust, family and a sense of belonging.

A recent experience reminded me of how very much the jewelry industry is based on trust. Lilo and I went to Louisiana to meet with the people at our largest supplier. After 24 years we wanted faces to those that we had built relationships with over the years.

We have about a dozen venders that we buy our materials from. Overtime we have become very close to all of them. Those that we didn't find this rapport with, we no longer continued doing business. To give examples of the family connections, one company is a second generation family owned company. They purchase some of their items in Thailand from a family run business that their father frequented. They accompanied their parents on many occasions and while their parents conducted business they played with the children of the company's owner. Today both sets of children own the family's businesses and they now carry on a tradition of doing business with each other.

One diamond dealer we purchase from, sends photos of his baby daughter, joins us for a glass of wine on occasion, and includes us in his family's life. Another colored stone dealer from Sri Lanka brings us curry and keeps us up on the latest news in the world of cricket. It took him and his wife 5-7 years before we knew them well enough to do business. Our refiner we've done business with for 35 or more years – I can call the owner personally if there is a problem. These are just some of the examples, each business that supplies us has a similar story I could relate. These people have become part of our family. It is upon this trust that I can order a $30,000 diamond tomorrow and it will be sent overnight with no questions asked.

We believe that our customers should expert the same from us. This trust and sense of family should go from the origin of the material to the final recipient of the finished piece. Many times a new customer will come in with a repair of an item that is dear to them. Often they are reluctant to leave it with someone they do not know. This is very understandable as all jewelers are not created equal. There is no governing body that tests abilities or the education of anyone prior to one setting up a new store or buying an old one. We always suggest that people ask their neighbors, go online to the website, do some research, and then choose the store they are most comfortable with. Not every jeweler has formal training – some learn as they go. You wouldn't choose a doctor without first checking to see who may be right for you. Ask questions, is there is a bench jeweler on the property? Does the person you're dealing with have formal training? If so, how many years and where? What was the training in? Are they a graduate Gemologist? Do you feel good dealing with them?

After all this, build a rapport, you're dealing with items that have intrinsic value and sometimes great sentimental ties. So stop by, if only to visit, ask questions, we'll try to put your fears at ease and make you comfortable enough to join our family. Then perhaps you'll trust us with your family's treasured items.