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Reader Letters on Lab-Grown Diamonds, the Upcoming Holiday Season and More

One reader bemoans the lack of national advertising in the industry.




On America’s Coolest Stores

  • There are so many Cool Stores nationwide and in Canada, I don’t know how you can choose! One of these years, we’ll enter! — Holly McHone, Holly McHone Jewelers, Astoria, OR
  • There are so many ways to touch the lives of our customers and so many unique ways to approach the jewelry industry. I love seeing how different leaders create special, one-of-a-kind environments that speak to different kinds of clients all over the world. There is no one-size-fits-all approach! I’m inspired by those in our industry making their own mark on the world with their special, one-of-a-kind voice. — Kyle Bullock, Bullock’s Jewelry, Roswell, NM

Lab-Grown Dialogue

  • The reality is setting in that lab-grown diamonds are still dropping in price and it takes a lot more sales to make your “nut.” Don’t start out by asking an engagement ring client, “Were you looking for lab-grown or natural diamonds?” Start with natural and show the better value. Otherwise, you are legitimizing the LGD as something special. And we all know it is not special. Just another anomaly that turned into an ugly must-have. Remember the bracelet bead craze? — David Blitt, Troy Shoppe Jewellers, Calgary, AB
  • What happens when the lab-grown diamond market becomes another commodity at a flat price per carat for all lab-grown diamonds? Prices are still dropping, and I can’t believe that we’re not too far from seeing the value of these manmade stones becoming virtually valueless. — Garry Zimmerman, Windy City Diamonds, Chicago, IL
  • Paradigm shift: Not too long ago, a customer would come in with a budget and leave with a mined diamond or a somewhat larger lab diamond, staying within their budget. But now, with the dramatic drop in lab diamond prices, that same customer is spending less when they select the lab diamond alternative. Nobody in our area is comfortable wearing a five- or six-carat diamond. Pretty soon, we may have to offer a free sling for every lab diamond ring purchased. — Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN

Unfulfilled Promise

  • We are faced with tough economic trends, and De Beers and associated manufacturers are not putting out a message for consumers to get excited about. No “gotta have it” moment. — Jim Carroll, Rogers Jewelry, Modesto, CA
  • 20 years ago, the industry needed 25,000 watchmakers to replace those dying/retiring. Never happened. — Eileen Eichhorn, Eichhorn Jewelry, Decatur, IN

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When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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