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Do You Or Don't You?

We Asked Our Readers How Many Offer E-Commerce. Here’s What They Said

Only 39% are currently offering the service.

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: Do you have e-commerce capability?

Yes: 39%

  • Having the capability to sell from our website seems as basic a having a business phone number. We do not sell much online but would look small time if we did not have the ability to. — Steven B. Goldfarb, Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler, Bellevue, WA
  • We are an online-only retailer that specializes in made to order moissanite engagement rings. The bulk of our sales come from Etsy, and then a small percentage from our website. I’ve jokingly been called the queen of moissanite by a few of our customers. — Jen Hollywood, J Hollywood Designs, Chester Springs, PA
  • We have dedicated e-com sites on two platforms: a Shopify site and a power e-commerce site. We’ve been side-by-side testing the two for about a year. We are implementing Shopify’s “Buy It Now” option on our main site. We plan on rolling out more on our main site next spring. — Rex Solomon, Houston Jewelry, Houston TX
  • Most people use it as a gallery, about one-quarter of what we sell is online. Some items don’t photograph well. Site sells enough to pay for the cost of running it. — Jeff Weintrop, The Silver Lady, University City, MO
  • 20 percent of sales come direct from the website and Instagram, 90 percent of our traffic is created through the website and social platforms. — Shawn Higgins, D & H Sustainable Jewelers, San Francisco, CA
  • Still trying to get the website to pay for itself. Had a website for 22 years, have had a cart for about a year, have had about six website orders. Constantly working on SEO and now started working with Google Adwords. — Pamela Rossi, PJ Rossi Jewelers, Lauderdale by the Sea, FL
  • We often sell to previous customers who have moved away and also to men who are away from their wives or girlfriends for work or military, but the ladies have seen something in our store they like. Our normal online sale averages $750, so fairly important. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL
  • We primarily sell items that range from $300-350 on our website. We list a lot of inventory, but that’s what actually moves. On higher ticket items, we see people come in with a picture from our website to see it in person first. Even though we don’t get a huge percentage of our sales from our website (about 3 percent last year), we see it as a great investment, as we are known for being modern and see technology as a friend, not a foe. — Chris Wattsson, Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers, Marquette, MI
  • We sell very little directly from our website. I simply think it’s a capability we have to have, or it tells prospective customers we are behind the times. Our website acts more as a digital catalog for our one-of-a-kind estate jewelry. We receive regular inquiries about pieces listed online. — Georgie Gleim, Gleim the Jeweler, Palo Alto, CA
  • Not much; working on improving this percentage as we speak. Upgrading website, working with my vendors and how they tie in to the website in a far more exciting way. — Christopher Cervini, Christopher’s Fine Jewelry, Pawleys Island, SC
  • I’ve had a shop on Etsy for over 10 years. About 30 percent of my business comes from that platform. I also sell on Artfire.com (similar to Etsy), about 5 percent of my business. I’ve been on eBay for more than 20 years, but that’s a whole different clientele—they don’t want to pay retail prices, so I use it as a “loss leader,” selling small, sought-after things like ear cuffs and toe rings, and putting information about my business and my other online shops in the package when mailing. I am currently building an e-commerce site under my own domain on Shopify. — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • We have a website that customers cannot buy anything off of. We do sell on eBay, Tradesy, Poshmark, Etsy. They are all important for different items. We are a diversified seller of everything from jewelry to clothing and shoes. — Elizabeth Kittell, Pretty In Patina, Omaha, NE
  • We have an eBay presence and have some results, especially with brand name items. We will be adding sales capabilities on our website with some vendor add-ons. — Mark Clodius, Clodius & Co. Jewelers, Rockford, IL
  • We sell on eBay and are contemplating having e-commerce on our website as of next year. It is still a smaller part of our business overall, and what we sell the most are vintage pieces. — Alisha Moore, Toner Jewelers, Overland Park, KS
  • We sell on Etsy and on our e-commerce website. As we have a few niche products, it has been very important to us in our yearly end numbers and for repeat clients. — Julie Terwilliger, Wexford Jewelers, Cadillac, MI
  • I currently sell on Etsy and Chrono24. I find driving traffic to my store website is too difficult. — Christopher Sarraf, Nuha Jewelers, Plainview NY
  • Online sales continue to be slow but steady. I find that clients pre-shop on the website and come in with a list of styles they’d like to try on, so even when I’m not explicitly selling online, it helps me sell in-store. — Lauren Priori, L. Priori Jewelry, Philadelphia, PA
  • Have gone back to selling items on eBay that are estate in nature (art, jewelry, crystal). I use Etsy for custom design and more eclectic styles of jewelry. — Brenda Reichel, Carats & Karats Fine Jewelry, Honolulu, HI
  • We recently updated our website to be e-commerce friendly. We do not sell a lot, if anything, off of our website but we do get a lot of inquiries about items that customers see online. It is a very important presence to have for us because it allows us to reach customers that are not able to come into the store. I think we do not sell much off of our website because people want to be able to touch and feel a piece before buying it. They expect an experience when purchasing something unique and expensive. — Erica Lorenz, Michael & Sons, Reno, NV
  • Advertise custom pieces on Etsy. Sell on Facebook and Pinterest, estate items on eBay and our website. We sell a lower price point line on our website, too. — Scott Lefcourt, Scottsdale Fine Jewelers, Scottsdale, AZ
  • We have an Etsy store and we do very well. Since we specialize in antique and estate jewelry, Etsy is like the mother ship for us! The customers on Etsy are so kind, polite and classy!! I have even had customers on Etsy make a long distance trip to our store!! We reach a worldwide audience, so what may not be popular in one area is popular in another. What’s great about that is we get to buy a larger variety of antique and estate jewelry, instead of shopping for our geographic location only! — Patty Gallun Hansen, Dorothy Gallun Fine Jewelry, Cedarburg, WI
  • We have an e-commerce website. We make on average one sale a month to a new client in another state. It keeps our inventory moving and is additional cash flow, but isn’t a substantial part of our revenue. We find that it serves mostly as a preview for our clients to narrow down what they want before they come into the showroom to make a purchase. — Jill Hornik, Jae’s Jewelers, Coral Gables, FL
  • We have an e-commerce operation embedded on our website as well as use Etsy and occasionally eBay in selling merchandise. I cannot say that any of them perform as well as the online store I created on Facebook followed with regular live auctions of inventory that needs to be liquidated. This summer, I literally got rid of every single piece of dead stock that I had through a live Facebook auction that I held almost weekly. While I do not carry a ton of inventory because our store is almost 80 percent custom design with case models, there were several thousands of dollars liquidated including gemstones that were made into pieces of jewelry that were custom designed. — Rita Wade, Wade Designs Jewelry, Rocky Mount, NC
  • We have a click-to-buy feature on our website. Does not result in a lot of sales, but just enough to make it worthwhile to have. I also sell things on eBay that we buy off the street. Did real well with a vintage pot metal anthill garnet necklace: bought it for $15 hoping to get $45 on eBay, ended up selling for $335. — Cliff Yankovich, Chimera Design, Lowell, MI
  • We sell vintage costume jewelry on Etsy. It is a nice side business since 25 percent of what we sell in our retail store is fine vintage jewelry. We have individuals walking in almost every day with both fine and costume vintage jewelry to sell. We also have custom-made a series of Cincinnati-themed charms that we sell pretty well on our website. — Lee Krombholz, Krombholz Jewelers, Cincinnati , OH

NO: 61%

  • Online selling has not been successful, even when we have had a complete platform. I haven’t been able to turn this aspect of commerce over to anyone who can focus on it. I plan to. However, of every single one of my peers, NO ONE makes money with it. Their sites are used primarily for address, store hours and location. — J. Dennis Petimezas, Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry, Johnstown, PA
  • If I sell diamonds online, then it’s OK for our customers to shop us on Blue Nile, right? That is a road map on how to lower your gross profits! Diamonds are unique. Let’s keep it that way! — Chuck Kuba, Iowa Diamond, Des Moines, IA
  • We have had so many fraudulent credit cards that I do not want to go through the hassle. — John Hayes, Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, WI
  • We do not currently sell online, but our website has the capability, it just needs to be “turned on.” We are considering it, but want to make sure we have full understanding and enough time to devote to it. — Kim Hatchell, Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC
  • Health issues haven’t allowed me the time. However, after nine surgeries, I’m feeling well enough to pursue this now. — Tim Bodis, Diamond Designs by Bodis, Rice Lake, WI
  • I do NOT sell online but I am looking to add a selling feature for 2018. Additionally, we will begin experimenting with selling on Instagram and Facebook. — Maria Aguirre, Benold’s Jewelers, Austin, TX
  • We currently don’t have the personnel to oversee this. However, we are conducting many more sales remotely via email and such. Folks that choose not to come in to our store but are fine working through the selection process from a distance. — Mark Kasuba, M. Edward Jewelers, Pittsfield, MA
  • Not enough hours in the day to manage this in addition to running the store. — Connie Stagner, Acori Diamonds & Design, Friendswood, TX
  • We used to have an e-commerce friendly website. However, this was not beneficial to our business. Every customer who was looking online eventually ended up coming in to see the products in person. It helped as a way to prepare the customer for our selection and pricing. Ultimately, it wasn’t worth the time, energy, or cost. Since deleting that capability on our website, we haven’t seen any decline in sales caused by it. — Morgan Bartel, Susann’s Custom Jewelers, Corpus Christi, TX
  • It’s in the long-range plans. (Hopefully not too long-range.) — Marta Jones-Couch, Elements Ltd., Des Moines, IA
  • At this point, having an online shopping cart embedded in our website has created no sales. We have also tried selling items on eBay and that was a complete hassle where I dealt with fraudulent buyers more than anything else. — Kristin Cornwell, Cornwell Jewelers, Athens, OH
  • It’s a pain in the bones for small independent retailers to have a storefront and sell online. There’s also way too many online scammers out there trying to rip you off. No thanks. — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX
  • I don’t have time or expertise to manage a website. Had a site a few years ago and it was a money pit. — Mark Thomas Ruby, SunSpirit Designs, Loveland, CO
  • We have done this in the past, but didn’t see a response appropriate to the costs of offering online purchasing. I also haven’t committed my staff to dedicating their time to responding in a timely manner to online inquiries, purchases, etc. We are limited in staffing as well as where we spread out ourselves. This was not something I wanted to only do “halfway” and the decision was made to focus on what we do best (which is focusing on our customers’ instore experience!). The challenge to offer an online purchasing presence is still at the top of my To-Do List and something we will revisit soon. — Erika Godfrey, Hawthorne Jewelry, Kearney, NE
  • No time to sit at computer and watch this and can’t afford to pay someone to do this job. — Laurie Cusher, Hyde Park Jeweler, Hyde Park, NY

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Yes or No: Print Advertising for the Holidays?

Our Brain Squad weighs in.

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Yes: 54%

  • People look for jewelry at the holiday season more than other times. — Steve & Alice Wittels, Aljan Jewelers, Mahopac, NY
  • There are still people in our area who get the local daily paper. Demo probably 45 years and up. — Cindy Fuller, Fuller Designs, Poplar Bluff, MO
  • We have a clientele that encompasses all ages. Older clients still follow and advertise using traditional methods. We still have to do everything. — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA
  • We have a weekly newspaper in our small town and we advertise every single week of the year. Ironically, our print ads are our most effective form of media. v Nicole Shannon, Keir Fine Jewelry, Whistler, BC
  • We receive co-op for some vendors. Seems more people are looking at print during the holidays. — Brenda Hefner, Oz’s Jewelers, Hickory, NC
  • Christmas catalog is the only print media that works for us. — Joe Thacker, Thacker Jewelry, Lubbock, TX
  • People still respond to print! Postcards, ads in popular local magazines. Some of our customer base is still not digital. — Kim Hatchell, Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC
  • We do very little in print. We focus more on direct mail, email blasts and social media. We feel that you just don’t get the bang for the buck with print today. — David Lindsay, Purdy’s Jewellery & Gems, Bobcaygeon, ON
  • I believe that you need to utilize all levels of marketing in today’s world. Print reaches an older generation that is not as comfortable with social media. As well. I believe that with social media at times, it feels like you are bombarded with ads. — Stacey Gemici-Saunders, Gelmici Jewellers, Edson, AB
  • I only run print ads in November and December, with the bulk in November because we are a custom shop. I cut print advertising by 70 percent this year, and our numbers are running neck-and-neck with last year. Social media brings customers to us far better than print ad ever did. — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Oconomowoc, WI
  • I use it to feature a specific product (i.e., diamond stud earrings) or some other item that I may stock in anticipation of a trend for the holidays. Small ads as a reminder. — Murphy McMahon, Murphy McMahon & Co., Kalispell, MT
  • Though it has lost its effectiveness, our older customers are almost exclusively receptive to print advertising. — Steven Wardle, Forest Beach Design, Chatham, MA
  • Even though the Houston Chronicle only has a circulation of about 7 percent of the population, that readership is a core demo for the holiday jewelry buyer: male, educated, employed, disposable income … and it provides an immediacy that no other media replicates. — Rex Solomon, Houston Jewelry, Houston, TX

No: 46%

  • Doesn’t work well in my area. — Laura Pool, Laura’s Jewelry Designs, St. Robert, MO
  • Diminishing results for last decade. Finally redistributed entire ad budget. Switched to social media. Still doing direct mail but no newspapers, shoppers guides, etc. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY
  • Too much money and no guarantee to increase sales. — Tommy Thobe, The Village Gem, Perry Hall, MD
  • I do not. I think billboards, social media and email marketing are much more cost effective, and I like the idea that you can target a specific audience. — Michael Kanoff, Michael’s Jewelers, Yardley, PA
  • Not this year; will be doing more radio. — Cathy Graves, Ellis Jewelers, Frankfort, IN
  • Digital works better for us. — Tim Sherrer, Lou’s Jewelry, Mobile, AL
  • Circulation in the newspaper business has decreased, and those reading already have most of their jewelry wardrobe. — Laurie Cusher, Hyde Park Jeweler, Hyde Park, NY
  • It stopped working. — Ken A. Apland, Apland Inc., Hood River, OR
  • I used to send direct mail. I am planning not to this year. Emails are working; why waste the dollars. — Varsenne Massoyan, Massoyan Jewelers, Old Tappan, NJ

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Try To Sell Wedding Bands With the Engagement Ring? Our Brain Squad Is Almost Split

Slightly more jewelers say ‘don’t do it.’

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: Do you try to broach the wedding band sale immediately after closing the engagement ring sale?

Yes: 45%

  • We offer a credit based on the amount of the engagement ring purchased towards wedding bands. We mainly let the customers know that, and if they want to look, we do. — Rick Sanders, Sanders Jewelers, Gainesville, FL
  • Actually I mention it before we close the engagement sale: “What band will we be making to match?” — Russell Criswell, Vulcan’s Forge, Kansas City, MO
  • We offer a coupon for money off both their wedding bands when an engagement ring is sold. It does well for us, too. — Beth Cevasco, Scott’s Custom Jewelers, Fairlawn, OH
  • Many years ago, I read that statistically, people don’t even buy their bands from the same store as they buy their engagement ring. From that time on, I’ve always at least planted the seed and often offer an incentive to have the clients come back. After all, you’ve already done the heavy lifting. Why not finish the job? — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA
  • I like to show all the options available when the engagement ring is here and the customer is excited. Also, many guys don’t necessarily think about rings for themselves, and they start to have fun looking. It’s finally their turn! — Robin Lies, Burnells Creative Gold, Wichita, KS
  • They are in a happy, excited mood and still in the buying mood. — Paul Reiniger, Reiniger Jewelers, Swansea, IL
  • Why … to educate, to create satisfaction with our product quality/care/maintenance plans, to create additional ring sales and to create lifelong customers/friends and referrals. I always tell people that they want to consider the type of band that will be worn with the ring (integrated, contour, stacked … ), that guys tend to get a few alternative bands for fashion, and that we offer a Tough Love silicone band to each of them complimentary as we’re describing best care for fine jewelry. — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
  • Always looking for the add-on sale because if you don’t ask, you will not always get it. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • If they decide on a ring that does not have a matching wedding band, then they need to start thinking about having one made right now if they are going to consider more than one ring. I have had customers come in a week before the wedding and want a band that will have to be custom-made. We can’t usually help them at that late date. Even if they don’t purchase now, they need to be thinking about a band for the guy and the girl. — Murphy McMahon, Murphy McMahon & Co., Kalispell, MT

No: 55%

  • I don’t ever pressure my customers to buy anything. I don’t like it and would never do such a thing to them. — Craig C. Curtis, Belfast Jewelry, Belfast, ME
  • Only if we are custom-making an engagement ring do we approach the band sale at that time. We have found in our area that an engagement might take a year or few, and we do not want to push the issue and lose the engagement sale. — Tim Wright, Simply Unique Jewelry Designs, Yorktown, VA
  • They are usually exhausted from the decision-making, if they were selecting as a couple. If he’s making the decision alone, HIS band is the last thing on his mind! The exception is for same-sex couples. We look for both together — it’s cool! — Debbie Fox, Fox Fine Jewelry, Ventura, CA
  • Still in shock from selling the engagement ring. — Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN
  • Why ruin the moment? If it needs to be resized or they bring it in for cleaning, then we will bring the wedding bands up. — Donald Killelea, Killelea Jewelers, Midlothian, IL
  • Too pushy. If you’ve done a good job, the chances are high you’ll get an opportunity down the road. — Bob Goodman, Robert Goodman Jewelers, Zionsville, IN
  • We always let the buyer know that they will receive a discount on their bands as a reward for buying the engagement from us. When we meet the bride-to-be is when we really drive that point home. The guy has forgotten every detail as soon as his feet hit the curb. We feel it’s better to let him get out of the store feeling excited about what he’s about to do and follow up with the bride-to-be a few weeks later. We have over 90 percent conversion on wedding band sales to clients who bought their engagement from us. — Mark Snyder, Snyder Jewelers, Weymouth, MA
  • I should. I get lazy. — Steven B. Goldfarb, Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler, Bellevue, WA
  • Relationships take time to form and evolve. Things should happen in gradual steps. First maybe the engagement ring, next would be a birthday or holiday gift. I should also see her a few times for a cleaning where we can talk about the wedding planning process and than bring up wedding bands, wedding gifts and something borrowed. — Christopher Sarraf, Nuha Jewelers, Plainview, NY

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Discounts For Cash Payments? 6 Out of 10 Brain Squad Members Say Yes

Most jewelers will offer at least a small discount for dollars.

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Yes: 60%

  • If cash, the discount can be 4 percent, but usually only offered if the customer keeps insisting on a discount. — Spencer K., Sheridan, WY
  • 3 percent. It’s what I would pay to run a credit card. — Kelly J., Sammamish, WA
  • No matter how low I go on a sale, I always leave 2-4 percent for a credit card. If a client offers cash (or a check), I will give them 1-3 percent off, depending on the item. The credit card companies have created a truly dependent society. Everyone uses them for every purchase. Clients do not even KNOW that there is a fee to the vendor! We receive our 1099 every year from Mastercard/Visa and we could pay another employee a full salary with what we pay them just to accept cards. It’s crazy and nobody even knows! — Mark S., Weymouth, MA
  • Courtesy 10 percent if asked for. — Gordon L., Santa Fe, NM
  • With repeat customers, I like to offer them a discount as an incentive to keep coming back. — James S., McMinnville, TN
  • Usually 10-15 percent, if at all. Not too often, but some customers are insistent, and it’s not usually the millennials. — Cathy M., Austin, TX
  • If they ask, I’ll give them up to 20 percent off of in-case items, never any discount for custom or repairs. — David P., Durham, NC
  • Depends on how often the customer buys from me and how long I’ve had the piece. Maybe 30 percent off. I have a month-long clearance in September, which most of my customers wait for. — Laura P., St. Robert, MO
  • 2-5 percent. I’d rather give it to my customers than the credit card company. — David E., Tacoma, WA
  • I offer my credit card discount if someone is haggling and only for dollars. A check will not do. — Paula D., Asheville, NC
  • When someone negotiates in cash, I am happy to offer them the 3 percent discount for what it would cost me in credit card fees. However, I always respond to them by saying, “I look terrible in orange” (meaning going to jail in an orange jumpsuit), and we pause and chuckle a moment, and then I further explain that I will still be giving you a receipt for this purchase, on which I will need to include sales tax. Reminding them that sales tax is “collected” for our state … and I am obligated to collect it. It is NOT my money. Most of the time, they understand and are grateful for the additional 3 percent. — Rita W., Rocky Mount, NC
  • 20-30 percent. No choice. Everything is available everywhere for cheaper. — Christopher S., Plainview, NY
  • The discount depends when I purchased the item and at what gold market I paid. Some items will get a 30-35 percent savings. — Anonymous

No: 40%

  • The customers who are offering cash are usually expecting big discounts for cash, and that is not our business model. It all goes in the register and on the books, so our savings are less than 2 percent, so they usually plunk down a card. — Alan L., Cape May, NJ
  • We stick with one price for everyone … cash, charge, rich or poor, frequent flier or new customer. Our egalitarian mindset may cost us a sale every so often, but in the long run, our clients have learned that we are not desperate and that they receive the best value. “You can get money anywhere, but this one-of-a-kind piece … only here. Sorry, we don’t discount.” — Steven W., Chatham, MA
  • In order to offer a discount, you need to add dollars to the price up front. When you do this, where do you stop and who do you offer this to? It is kinda like a stripper: they have to put on the garments before they can remove them. I know that this comparison is crude, but think about it and determine what kind of business person you want to be. My pricing scheme is to charge all customers the same and not play favorites. I know that I lose some customers because I don’t give discounts, but I have very loyal customers that would abandon me if I were to offer discounts. If you explain that you price your product correctly to start with, most customers understand. — Ed M., Brainerd, MN
  • Never. Our credit card merchant agreements state that it is against the contracts to offer a discount for a payment that is other than having the customer use the respective credit card. Additionally, our bank charges our company a cash handling charge and we have to fill out a lot of paperwork when people pay with cash. Bottom line: the price is what it is. — Andrea R., El Dorado Hills, CA

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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