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Cybersecurity, Alternative Engagement Rings, Trend Questions and More of Your Letters

Our readers share their thoughts and questions ahead of the holidays.

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  • I’m really excited about the outlook of alternative engagement rings. Lab-grown, salt-and-pepper, moissanite, colored gemstones … bring it on!!! I’m here for all of it. — Becky Bettencourt, Blue River Diamonds, Peabody, MA
  • I’m so excited about the widespread acceptance or re-acceptance of yellow gold. I’m also excited about my upcoming trunk show of Eden Presley jewelry. Such a cool brand. — Andrea Riso, Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA
  • Well, I just found out my wife of nearly 20 years still finds me sexy. Every time I walk by, she says, “What an ass!” — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • INSTORE magazine is like continuing education credits for the jewelry biz. — John Thomas Mead, John Thomas Jewelers, Albuquerque, NM
  • I’d like to share more about how it’s going as we ease out of the pandemic. For instance, after having our winter Open House via Zoom twice, this year we are still not ready to host a crowd of hundreds in our space. So, we decided to feature a whole week of festivities and Champagne, etc., but we are taking half-hour appointments, first-come first-serve, to view our new collection instead of a real party. — Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL
  • I wish I could tell the future so I would know how much to buy, what will trend, which types of media are the best to put your money in, etc. Staying knowledgeable and reading everything I can about what is going on is the best way to do it! Thanks for what you do. — Susan Eisen, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches, El Paso, TX
  • I have always stocked my store with mostly under $500 price points for the holiday season, but after seeing what folks in our town own and are wearing, I upped my game. The studio is stocked with our creations, made with 14K, 18K and platinum, and killer color gems we have collected the last quarter century. I would much rather be surrounded by gorgeous than “affordable.” Plenty of stores selling diamonds that look like driveway salt; we will stand apart with rare and beautiful. — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Oconomowoc, WI
  • I wear a diamond pave octopus at this time of the year because that’s what I feel like to get through the season. I need eight arms to change the eight hats I have to wear to get it all done even with a really good team! This coming trend to replace the stacking ring trend — the “race to the knuckle” — will soon become the “race to the wrist” … STACKING BRACELETS will take the holidays by storm! Watch out for lab-grown diamond tennis bracelets — they will lead the pack after the first turn! — Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL
  • The civility of our country is what worries me. People have no respect or pride anymore, and everyone wants to bitch about something. If we make it through, this time period will be read by my grandchildren in history books, and they’ll wonder how we all got through. There’s a lot of shameful and unnatural behavior going on around our country today, and I hope this ship rights its course before it’s too late. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX
  • Recently (within the last two months), I have had clients and other business owners ask about the state of my business and the jewelry industry in general. It is almost as if they are a bit more concerned than usual about the state of our nation’s economy. However, while our phones are not ringing as much during this time, we are always busy with our custom work. Custom is our bread and butter. The majority of our clientele are more affluent. Affluent people have more discretionary income and do not tend to tighten up their pocketbooks like average consumers might do. Also, for those jewelers that do well with bridal sales, we find that consumers who are looking to get married already know that they are going to have to spend some bucks to get engaged. Therefore, they have saved and planned accordingly. So, if they are in your store shopping for bridal, then you are almost guaranteed that they are ready to spend accordingly to get what they want. The question is, how prepared are you to accommodate them with what they want to make the sale? They will spend their money one way or another. — Joseph Villarreal, Villarreal Fine Jewelers, Austin, TX
  • I’m super excited about this holiday season and again can’t thank vendors enough for their trust and support. I wonder how many people like me are verified identity theft victims from pandemic fraud and lost out on various relief funds as a result? I’m still sore and very disappointed I wasn’t invited by the U.S. SBA Administrator to offer support on her fraud commission, nor were any visible efforts taken to solve my case or rectify the damage to me or my business. I know I have to move on and focus on my business recovery, but it’s still raw. Thank you for asking and listening! — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
  • We are very excited for this season. This year has been a time of change. We are a family-owned-and-operated business for over 44 years. The second generation has been taking more and more responsibility this year. We’ve seen major growth in areas like larger diamond sales, custom, etc. Now, the third generation is starting to work the sales floor and is doing a great job! Customers love our products, our prices and our family and have supported us tremendously. We are excited to carry on a tradition of trust and value. We’ve experienced major growth over the last 4-5 years, and with smart planning, we will continue. — Chera and Josh Stevenson, James’ Jewel Box, Mt. Washington, KY
  • Cybersecurity is a big concern of mine. There are so many ways we can be hit through attacks or negligence, and educating my staff on some of these issues is a big need. They need a layman’s view of how to be safe on company computers and using company data, because so much that is out there requires some tech jargon. We need cybersecurity 101 for dummies! — Kyle Bullock, Bullock’s Jewelry, Roswell, NM
  • There are two types of jewelers: The majority are the merchants: the buyers and sellers you talk a lot about. And then there are what I call the real jewelers: the makers, designers, goldsmiths, the bench people, the heart and soul of the profession. You don’t talk too much about them. I think that could spice up your publication in a very good way. One of the major complaints I hear is that the merchants can’t find competent help in the back in the shop. Why is that? What we are selling and making is so broad and interesting. From old techniques, fabrication to top modern applications like CAD and 3D printing, you could fill many pages in a very good way, I would think. — Klaus Kutter, A Jour Inc., Bristol, RI

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Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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