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The right choice of words is the mark of a pro.

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The right choice of words is the mark of a pro


Published in the February 2013 issue.

Fairly recently, a highly reputable jewelry store owner advertised on the radio he had traveled to the Far East to personally select the finest “stones” available within the precious gem market. Does this catch your attention? It grabs mine but not in the way the owner intended. I could go out in my backyard and find stones. But could I find gems? Not likely.

Gems are not “stones.” They are wonders of nature. Do you really believe your customer wants to propose and celebrate with the gift of a “stone?” No! If you are a rockhound, it’s a stone.


You are a jewelry professional, and you need to romance the gem and not the stone. You need to create images and desire in your customer’s mind by using carefully chosen adjectives and adverbs to sketch a lucid picture of the gem.

Everyone uses the word “pretty.” When you use it, it diminishes the ruby you are showing to the level of your competitor on the other side of the mall. So don’t use the word, “pretty.” Rather, the ruby is “the king of gems.”

If your ruby is origin certified, you can sketch a picture of the gem being mined in the age-old, inhospitable Mogok region in Burma where the world’s richest, finest, ravishing pigeon-blood rubies have been unearthed. This conjures up images of Indiana Jones battling curses and booby traps to save the day and bring the ruby out to adorn a woman’s hand or neck.

If your customer says “stone,” don’t tell him it’s a gem and not a stone. Continue on with your gem presentation building features and benefits.

Here are some words you can use to become a gem artist: captivating, dancing, luscious, warm, striking, powerful, eye-catching, fabulously vivid, twinkling and rich. Practice using these words until you become so comfortable using them that they flow out of your mouth in a silky, natural and highly convincing manner.

It’s also critical to have at least some gem history and trivia at your fingertips. To know and share unique information builds customer confidence in you. Would it be powerful to tell your opalshopping customer that many opal miners in Coober Pedy, Australia, live underground in the summer to escape the desert heat? In fact, “Coober Pedy” comes from the local aboriginal language for “white man underground.”


If you can elevate your presentation to a new level and permanently discard the use of “stone,” you will create a fun yet professionally memorable experience for your customer. And, they will buy from you.

You need to romance the gem, not the stone, by using carefully chosen adjectives and adverbs.

Peter Cannella is a 27-year industry veteran having held positions in sales, store and district management. He is currently the fine jewelry manager at Belk’s in Atlanta, GA.



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