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Reader Letters on Gold Prices, Lab-Grown Diamonds and More

Plus readers weigh in on our March story about hiring.




  • I feel that I have an amazing staff and I am very lucky. With that being said, right now it seems impossible to hire additional staff that you actually like! The world has changed, and people no longer want to work a five-day work week or hustle. So far, I am not impressed with the “new” workforce. — Stephenie B., Fountain Hills, AZ
  • Our industry runs on tight profit margins. Yet I appreciated Peter Smith’s straightforward comment that we still need to have competitive pay and benefits. We’ve upped ours and it’s made a significant difference in recruiting and retention. — Debbie F., Ventura, CA
  • I interview for personality. I can teach people sales but personality is impossible. You are either a people person or you are not. — Naomi V., Haines City, FL
  • We are desperately looking forward to reading that story [on hiring]. We are all family and have had a few outside helpers. We are finding out the younger generation doesn’t want to work, at least in our area. — Sherrie S., Tigard, OR
  • Wish I could clone current employees. — Eileen E., Decatur, IN
  • The whole team is signed up for The INSTORE Show and looking forward to it! — Jo G., Oconomowoc, WI
  • Looking forward to August and The INSTORE Show. Happy to participate anytime! — Eve A., Evanston, IL
  • We’re wondering if the unprecedented rise in gold prices and the precipitous decline in lab diamond prices and the sinking doldrums in natural diamond prices is going to have a depressing effect on JCK. With regard to selling, we’re getting frustrated with our outside trades (casters, setters, etc.) raising their prices and using the price of gold as an excuse. It seems like everyone has collectively decided, “HEY! Let’s try increasing our prices and see if anyone notices!” With regard to retaining good people, our policy is to marry them. — Gretchen S., Sherman Oaks, CA
  • Two issues have to be on most jewelers’ minds. One, the emergence of lab-grown diamonds into its own niche. Two, the continuing rise of the gold market. I wonder how individuals are dealing with these two major disrupters in the marketplace. My curiosity is especially strong on how small to medium independents are responding. I see about half as many customers today as I saw in the early 2000s when gold was 300 per ounce. Will the trend continue, or will the consumer become accustomed to the higher cost and “value” of gold? — Ed M., Brainerd, MN
  • Hoping for a big spring/summer wedding season. As the prices of lab-grown diamonds come down, we are hoping to see a shift back to natural diamonds. Gold prices are shocking!!! We have had to readjust pricing on jewelry and custom engagement rings, even diamond stud earring findings. Out of control! — Jeremy A., Los Angeles, CA
  • I don’t know when retail jewelry stores got put in the same category as pawn shops, but I find it astonishing how many calls I’ve been getting lately asking if I buy jewelry, watches and gold. Is this a trend retail jewelers have created? I always thought we were in business to sell jewelry to people instead of buying it off of them. What have I missed? — Marc M., Midland, TX
  • With gold surging higher than ever, I’m worried about buying for stock this year. Jewelry will cost more than ever, and the general public is mostly unaware of gold prices and/or doesn’t know there’s a correlation. So either we raise prices or lower our margins, and it’s a challenge to find the right mix in a very competitive market like ours. — Lucy C., Overland Park, KS

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She Wanted to Spend More Time with Her Kids. She Called Wilkerson.

Your children are precious. More precious than gold? Absolutely! Just ask Lesley Ann Davis, owner of Lesley Ann Jewels, an independent jewelry store that — until the end of 2023 — had quite a following in Houston, Texas. To spend more time with her four sons, all in high school, she decided to close her store. Luckily, she was familiar with Wilkerson and called them as soon as she knew she wanted to move on to bigger, better and more family-focused things. Was she happy with her decision? Yes, she was. Says Davis, “Any owner looking to make that life change, looking to retire, looking to close, looking for a pause in their career, I would recommend Wilkerson. Hands down!”

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