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Readers Sound Off about Gold Prices, Lab-Grown Diamonds, Politics, and More

These were our “letters to the editor” for July.

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  • Great to see colleagues making a difference [in the “Movers and Shakers” story from the May issue]. Bravo! — Theresa P., Edgewater, CO
  • I feel compelled to comment on a column in the May issue of instore, AIM HIGH on page 94. The contributor says, “Diamonds and jewelry are for rich people.” The article below it referred to “Jewelers share the cringiest things they’ve ever said.” Interesting juxtaposition. I would certainly award the “cringiest thing” prize to the first comment. It is perhaps the most unapologetically elitist sentence I have ever heard. It is certainly fine to have a store that has a high-end clientele. But to say that “poor people” don’t deserve to have nice things is just not an acceptable world view. We are aware that people, regardless of their wealth, can feel insecurity walking into a jewelry store. The attitude of the “Aim High” contributor would not help make anyone feel welcomed or respected. By the way — we do an excellent business selling $1,000-$1,500 engagement rings to young clients who go on to buy $50,000 pieces later on in their marriage. We simply believe that all people who enter our store deserve the same respect. — Richard G., Birmingham, MI
  • I have stopped analyzing every aspect of my business. I don’t know how lab vs. natural is going to shake out, I don’t know what the next big thing is, I am not stocking heavy gold pieces. Right now, it’s one day at a time. Been doing this for 50 years and I have no idea what’s going on with the economy, politics, or any other factor that previously affected business. We have to be okay with the unknowns. — Christine M., Boyertown, PA
  • I initially thought that with the introduction of Lightbox by De Beers was genius. Devalue lab-grown diamonds but sell them because there will always be a market for low cost while at the same time enhancing the value of natural diamonds. Boy, did we get it wrong! I didn’t know that the public would accept lab diamonds so readily or that other producers would quickly flood the market, dropping lab pricing below initial expectations. I, as a lowly store manager, got it wrong, but De Beers, with all of their market research, probably should have been better able to read the tea leaves. We now see what “racing to the bottom” will get you. — Jon W., Virginia Beach, VA
  • Summer is getting off to a busy start. People are tired of the news and the “winter” weather and want to be out. I’m seeing an uptick in people that are just out shopping. I’m a brick-and-mortar in a college town, and people are out spending money. — Susan K., Lewisburg, PA
  • Just came back from JCK. What a joke and waste. Breakfast costing $75. Rooms out of control. And vendors with insane attitudes. Brands that treat us like dogs. Can I go on? Many retailers were ticked at check-in and then it was the same old. I heard many say the show is for “losers.” I don’t know if I will go back. Instead, I will stick to smaller, more regional shows. — David B., Calgary, AB
  • Just got home from Vegas. Crowd seemed good and everyone seemed to be positive. Not a bad trip this year. — Marc M., Midland, TX
  • I feel that we need to unload fast all natural 1-carat or less natural diamonds because soon they will not be desirable. It’s hard right now to sell 1-carat natural when they can buy 2-carat lab-growns for a third of the price. — Niki N., Lyndhurst, OH
  • Gold is scary high, and educating our customers is not easy. Seeing the prices in Vegas was a real eye opener for what’s to come. I feel like we either need to continue to educate on the value of real gold jewelry or we need to start looking for affordable alternatives. — Laura K., Oak Park, IL
  • The magazine is OK. I think if you guys stick with it, you just might have a future. Just kidding. This is my go-to mag. — Rick N., Fernadina Beach, FL
  • We, like many, are facing the dilemma of what to do with our businesses. We’ve spent 35-plus years and/or took over family stores that the next generation wants no part of. — Stew B., Natick, MA
  • Like I have been saying for years and even now that I am retired and sending this from Austria, I love getting and reading your magazine. Thanks guys!! — Tommy T., Perry Hall, MD
  • I’m afraid politics this year is going to be the worst ever given the position of most journalists today and the way they state their opinions. — Bob R., Germantown, TN
  • What business books are you reading? I love RADICAL CANDOR and FYI: FOR YOUR IMPROVEMENT! I read daily to learn to refine my management and HR skills. Better people make better bosses. MY favorite new question for my staff: “How can I make your day better?” From lunch to coffees to new chairs to better iPads. What does your team need that you don’t know about? BE CURIOUS every day. Do you think it is only geopolitical issues that are driving up the price of gold? Or is there a more sinister issue of the wealthy fund managers hedging gains? Will we be a laughingstock as a first-world country who has a presidential candidate that is incarcerated? Can the common American not see narcissistic denial? Does anyone believe we are not a global economy? What happens to the least of us has a ripple effect on all. How do you structure your business (i.e., salaries, sales, benefits and bonuses)? Does anyone have a formula to plug and play? When your studio/workshop is one-fifth of your revenue, how do you compensate your jewelers compared to your sales staff who earn a commission? What is the best idea you’ve had for rewarding your top 50 customers? Private dinners? Outings? Gifts or gift cards? What piece of jewelry do you need to complete your wardrobe? What is your favorite piece? What is the most expensive item you’ve ever enjoyed, sold or appraised? This business is my passion because of the bling … that should be celebrated among the creators! — Denise O., La Grange, IL

Share your thoughts with INSTORE. Email us at editor@instoremag.com

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