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You, the Jeweler

You’re getting older, richer, more diverse (at least by gender), and happier than ever to have your own unique jewelry store. Here we look at the jewelers behind the numbers.




39-40: What is your gender and how old are you?

The Big Survey 2023: You, the Jeweler

41. What’s the hardest thing to balance in 2023?

The Big Survey 2023: You, the Jeweler

42. What is something you believe about running a jewelry business that nearly no one else in the industry agrees with you on?

  • We pay salespeople fully on commission against a draw, it helps them to work together to make a sale, work harder at developing long term customers, make good business decisions, and be kinder to customers and each other.
  • CAD provides production advantages, but also provides design disadvantages.
  • Wishing our competitors success.
  • Pay your employees well so they’re not stolen.
  • Never photograph a pear shape point down.
  • You don’t have to sell online.
  • Large sign in front of store with a picture of Donald Trump.
  • Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t like white diamonds. I find them boring and overpriced. Only color stones excite me.
  • Four-day work week.
  • No one wants to see your old ugly bald owner on a billboard!
  • Bezel settings are the way to go. I hate claws.
  • The magic blessed pebble in our foundation protects our business.
  • We do not let customers design jewelry. We do not let customers provide jewelry designs. Our reputation is about providing excellence. Won’t do it wrong even if you pay me.
  • No sales rep in the store; only buy at shows. Buying in the store disrupts the day for everyone. That’s the point of buying shows.
  • Construction workers should wear pearls.
  • Turning inventory: The conventional wisdom seems to be if you don’t turn it in a year, get rid of it. As someone who designs and creates more unique pieces, the question shouldn’t be how long one has had an item but is it still relevant in the market!
  • It’s OK to use tarot cards to answer the big questions.
  • I do not know anyone who disagrees with me.

43. What’s your favorite color?

The Big Survey 2023: You, the Jeweler

The scientific validity of color personality tests is widely disputed. But they are also fun. Blue was the overwhelming favorite color of our jewelers, which according to our survey of various color-based psychology tests indicates a trustworthy and persistent personality, so maybe there is something to this! Then again, as one jeweler noted pragmatically: “Blue sells!” The “color of money” was also mentioned by several respondents.

44. How many hours do you currently work remotely per week?

More than 25

45. Would you rather have …

The Big Survey 2023: You, the Jeweler

NOTE: We excluded the 12% of the respondents who chose “Other” to allow us to compare this year’s results with the last time we asked this question in 2014. Clearly, a lot of jewelers have found small is beautiful. Among the “Others” from this year were “by appointment office”, an “online business”, and second or third location. A few said they just wanted “a successful store” while half a dozen echoed the jeweler who said “I’m done. I want to retire.” Most of the Other responses though were jewelers who wanted to stress they were perfectly happy with their current situation. “I have the store I have always wanted,” explained one.

46. Please check the types of crime you’ve experienced at your store:

The Big Survey 2023: You, the Jeweler

NOTE: Only 8% of the respondents said they’d never experienced a crime in their store and nearly all commented how lucky ­— or prepared — they were. One commented: “None, everyone owns/carries a gun.” The Others (6%) included people using bad checks (3%), sale of stolen goods, various forms of extortion, vandalism and more.

47. What’s the most hardcore jewelry thing you’ve done?

Many respondents acknowledged their dog has a jewelry name. Topaz, Ruby, Bijoux, Carat, Pearl, Jewel, Gemma, Onyx, Opal, Nugget. “Named my dog Rolex. He’s my `watch’ dog.”

Several carried the theme over to naming other entities:

  • “Named my daughter GIA.”
  • “All three children in my family were given names that start with J since our family store is named Jae’s.”
  • “Named my boat D Flawless.”
  • “Named my fantasy football team The Family Jewels.”

Hardcore wedding planning:

  • “Had my wedding on a day the shop is always closed so that my wedding didn’t conflict with my store.”
  • “Held my wedding in my own store.”
  • “Honeymoon in South Africa to go to the Kimberley mines.”
  • “Took wife to JA show in New York on our wedding weekend (she got to choose her diamond wedding present!).”

In the tattoo category:

  • “I’ve got a tattoo of a diamond on the inside of my bicep and plans to have all the different shapes on my forearm.”
  • “Shamrock tattoo with an octahedron in the center.”
  • “I have a diamond tattoo the size of my palm on my rib cage.”

In the travel category:

  • “I drove 12 hours with a 2-month-old baby to attend a jewelry show.”
  • “Took my 1- and 3-year-old sons to a jewelry show; not a great idea!”
  • “Took my grandma to a trade show.”
  • “Fixed a lady’s bracelet in the airport layover on vacation.”
  • “I’ve had the opportunity to go down to the lowest levels of the Cullinan diamond mine, nearly 1 kilometer deep. I saw diamonds being liberated from the rock!”

Other responses that defy categorization:

  • “I had two flawless diamonds set under crowns on two teeth (in case of emergency).”
  • “Appraised a decorated monkey skull (a real one) for a customer.”
  • “I am always looking at ladies’ rings to see if they need work while we are out and about.”

48. “The Grrrr Index”

Please rank these pet peeves of jewelers.

1. Vendors selling online in your market (3.78*)
2. Customer bringing in a piece bought online for servicing 3.55
3. Sales reps dropping by unannounced 3.52
4. Customer asking for free finger sizing 2.66
5. Referring to jewelry as an “industry” 1.57
* Figure refers to the weighted average out of 5

49. Is there a particular prominent businessperson or entrepreneur you admire?

The Big Survey 2023: You, the Jeweler

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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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