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David Squires

What’s the Story – Selling Diamonds




Everybody sells diamonds, so how do you stand out from the crowd? On Friday at The SMART Show in Chicago, diamond expert Maarten de Witte said if you can tell your customers a story — put a story in their head that they’ll want to share with their friends — they’ll buy from you.

Right now, de Witte says, two stories dominate the industry. The first and most prevalent is “I got a deal.” A guy researches the 4 Cs, shops around, and gets to brag to his buddies that he got a high-quality stone for a great price. But the end result of selling based on the 4 Cs is that diamonds are becoming a commodity, with a much smaller profit margin.

Brands are the second big story. Where the 4 Cs is a story about what a diamond is, brand is a story about what the diamond does. Brands can differentiate you, can offer cachet and personality, but they can be harder to sell to consumers who aren’t specifically looking for them because they usually come with a higher price tag.

Your option besides selling on the 4 Cs and brands is to think about different stories for diamonds. One way to do that is to think beyond 1 ct. G SI1 stones being marketed to brides. “If you want to own a market, the best thing to do is to create one,” de Witte advises. “Then you own it even if other players come in — they’re copycats and you’re the original.”

Consider these ideas:

Very few jewelers try to sell men any jewelry. But ust a few decades ago, it was men who had the biggest diamond rings — Masonic and university rings and the like. Lots of L- and M-color stones are being sold these days. There’s a new breed of customer who doesn’t care about having a bigger stone than her girlfriend; she wants something with personality. Todd Reed is doing great business selling organic diamond jewelry that appeals because of its rawness.


“I have yet to find a go-to promise ring,” de Witte says. When a high school couple comes in, a jeweler usually scrambles to stick a piece of melee on a ring to make it look like a smaller engagement ring. There’s no natural choice.

Diamonds can symbolize achievement. If a guy wins an Ironman competition, isn’t that worthy of celebrating with a diamond?

Engineers are famously hard customers. De Witte sold one a synthetic diamond, and the customer loved it. We can pooh-pooh synthetic diamonds and complain they’re going to ruin the industry, or we can embrace that it’s amazing that scientists can create diamonds this way and impress some of the most difficult customers with them.

“There’s a seat for everybody at the diamond table — not just bridal,” de Witte says. “Every kind of diamond can be sold, not just the ones on the Rap sheet. But it takes some work.”






Wilkerson Testimonials

Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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