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Commentary: The Business

One Jeweler Tells the Truth About Jewelry’s Investment Value

Michigan retailer Cliff Yankovich says it’s a myth.




I WOULD LIKE TO poke a bear: The alleged “investment value” of jewelry and/or diamonds. Over 27 years in this business, I have always told customers that with the exception of Rolex watches, vintage designer pieces or something with provenance linked to someone famous, the jewelry regular people purchase is just like anything else that is used: The value decreases. I am convinced that we as an industry have done a disservice to people if we even imply that some piece of jewelry we sell will hold or increase in value.

To all of the jewelers out there planting the idea that mined diamonds “hold their value” compared to lab-grown: Suppose someone buys a $7,000 engagement ring from you today with a mined diamond. After the divorce 11 months later, how much are you going to give them for their mined diamond investment? And I do not mean allowing them full value on a trade-in if they are doubling their investment; I mean how much are you willing to pay them for their $7,000 ring?

What is the amount of return they can expect?

I sell both lab-grown and mined. I do not get anywhere near even hinting that either “holds value,” and I firmly believe that anyone who does that is misleading the customer and contributing to the overall perception that jewelry salespeople are less than truthful. I tell people jewelry is something to express love and/or celebrate some kind of milestone; it is not an investment.

We need to tell people the truth as an industry. With few exceptions, used jewelry is like any product that is used: You might re-sell it for half price or slightly more. Further proof of my point is shown in our cases of estate jewelry. Are you selling pieces there for more than their purchase price new? If so, please tell me how you do it. For anyone expounding on the investment value of jewelry, may I ask how the customer might track the value of their birthstone ring, diamond earrings or pendant? What index do you recommend the customer follow to track the value of their investment jewelry?

As far as being afraid that the price might go down on lab-grown diamonds, have any of you people really gotten mad that your favorite electronic device is actually cheaper than it used to be? Do you hold the salesperson responsible because you can now get a bigger TV with better definition or a more powerful computer for less money?


My customers thank me for being honest with them and yours will do the same.

Now, can I interest any of you in some crypto currency or NFTs?

Cliff Yankovich has owned Chimera Design in Lowell, MI, with his wife, Julie Claire DeVoe, for 20 years. Prior to that, he was in the wholesale/trade shop end of the business based in Lansing, MI and earned a GIA Diamonds Graduate diploma in 1998.



Time to Do What You've Always Wanted? Time to Call Wilkerson.

It was time. Teri Allen and her brother, Nick Pavlich, Jr., had been at the helm of Dearborn Jewelers of Plymouth in Plymouth, Mich., for decades. Their father, Nick Pavlich, Sr., had founded the store in 1950, but after so many wonderful years helping families around Michigan celebrate their most important moments, it was time to get some “moments” of their own. Teri says Wilkerson was the logical choice to run their retirement sale. “They’re the only company that specializes in closing jewelry stores,” she says. During the sale, Teri says a highlight was seeing so many generations of customers who wanted to buy “that one last piece of jewelry from us.” Would she recommend Wilkerson? Absolutely. “There is no way that I would have been able to do this by myself.”

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