Asian faceting methods, and more

Dear Ron and all, I thought it might be useful to point out the
incongruity of the following two statements, and to hopefully share
some hard-earned perspective on the topic. I think that I know what
Ron was trying to say, but it was kind of confusing.

The connoiseur market is limited to fat pocketbooks and everyone
wants to get in on the easy money high ticket trade. The industry is
over supplied with mountains of look alike, shoddy and gimmicky
merchandise. Much of it is doomed to self destruction after very
little wear and some of it is made from paper thin gold and abrasive
grade diamonds.

If both the above statements are held to be true, then in what
direction should we really be headed?

Firstly, the conoisseur market is what raises the bar on what we all
do. The jewellery available to this market is seldom simply
(typically) expensive stones set into utilitarian mounts. On close
examination, much of the jewellery is painstakingly executed, both
from a design standpoint, and by the choice of materials and
craftsmanship it exhibits. There are still many exceptions, where
big, expensive gemstones reflect the selling price, but, largely,
the prices charged by the vendors, or by the craftsmen themselves do
not represent an “easy money” scenario. Some of the jewellers that I
know have shied away from chasing this particular market because,
often, the margins are so slim. Selling themselves out to the
“discount” market brings much fatter rewards, but the loss of their
souls in the process is disheartening to observe. I am increasingly
disturbed by the very distinct possibility that the most heavily
promoted jewellery, the cheesy disposable kind, will forever damage
the prospective market for better products, by disappointing many
first time buyers who don’t grasp quality criteria, but seek only
the lowest price. When their purchase gives out, they become
cynical. All jewellers become “fat-cat rip-off artists” in their
minds, and there is no redemption possible once the former
customer’s mind is closed.

The effort of closing the sale for high-end custom work is wearying,
and a few of the well-heeled clients can be the worst grinders that
we face…but without their end appreciation of very beautiful and
detailed work, we would all be doing hastily moulded knock-offs of
cheap, disposable jewellery, the kind which Ron had described in his
post. Well-made custom pieces with more modest price tags will pay
the bills, and will be the cornerstone of any well-managed
business…but if one is skilled enough to create stunning
jewellery which may be deemed “expensive”, it is an error not to try
to bring it to market. Custom design and skilled technique will
bring personal rewards initially, financial ones much later. If
custom work is bringing you success, don’t give it away, and
continue to make an effort to culture an appreciation of fine
gemstones and superb craftmanship with your existing clients, or any
new ones you may happen to be lucky enough to gain through your
growing good reputation. In the current market, it is the only way
to truly stand out. David Keeling