Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Business after Sept 11th

06 October 2001

I am interested in finding out if the events of September 11th have
impacted the jewelry business in the USA. Have you perceived a
lessening in interest by the customers to purchase jewelry? Are sales
off from the normal volumes at this time of year?

Besides the curiosity, I am contemplating a sales trip soon in the
USA with Emeralds, Opals and colored gemstones from Brasil and want
to know if I should expect to be met by depressed jewelers and shop
owners or by business as usual.

The curiosity extends to the February Tucson Show. Is everyone who
usually goes to the show still planning upon going there for this
coming show?

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Best regards
Robert Lowe, Lowe Associates - Brasil, - Gemstones, Rough, Specimens
Tucson - February 7 - 12, 2002 - GJX # 205
e-mail <@Robert>

All, I would best characterize the current attitude of consumers in
the USA as very cautious. Civilians are trying to find a balance
between the need for safety and the need for freedom. Most of us now
have a deep, controlled lack of trust for the non-industrialized
nations. Countries that will not let us operate in conjunction with
them to incarcerate terrorists, unravel the terrorist network, and
the imminent threat of another attack on civilian targets all lead to
this distrust. When the terrorists attack again you can expect
immediate limits to freedoms in America and USA military actions.
Gemstones fund a large part of terrorist networks. I would expect
each and every dealer of cut and rough gemstones to come under some
phase of scrutiny as the money trail is unraveled. I would expect
gemstone sources to become one of the targets for military actions.

Traveling gemstone dealers can expect undercover surveillance and
detention if they become suspect of aiding terrorism. Already the
Armed Forces of the US are being deployed at every airport. Port of
entry security will increase with the deployment of military and
government agencies. Right now it takes two to three hours to clear
security to board an airplane.

In the jewelry trade most store owners have stopped all their
nonessential spending. Trade shows like the JA Show in Las Vegas
have been rescheduled. I would expect an increase in security at
every show.

Legislation in the USA is being drafted to reflect the need to arrest
and incarcerate people whom help terrorists. Aiding terrorist will
become a crime. New laws are being debated to aid wire tapping, cell
phone monitoring, and email monitoring.

The USA is at WAR with terrorism and countries that harbor or fund

Gerry Galarneau.

Last denver show (september)was slow for many dealers. There will be a
show next week in costa mesa california and we Are thinking to go
there ( we will take blue opal and minerals From peru) and we are
really don’t know how could it go. If there is a dealer from
california please let us know your Opinion. Thanks Mining center peru

I had a few cancellations…and then all but one took them back.

I am more concerned about what we jewelers and stone dealers who do
shows are going to do about carry-on luggage. Some airlines have
already begun to take steps to restrict carry on baggage to one
item…and a small one at that. The recommendations are that all
carry on’s will be severely restricted, is gaining in popularity with
the government and the popular press. If those restrictions do go into
effect, many of us will be in big trouble, as we carry our work with
us on airlines to shows.

Do you want to put your jewelry or stones in checked baggage???
Insuring and shipping is possible, but insuring and shipping the work
involves documenting and packing each and every piece, as well as
paying separately both to and from each and every show. Remember, no
Fed Ex or UPS because of their restrictions on insuring jewelry. I
have looked into it, and for small businesses, the cost is
astronomical. Can we start lobbying our Senators and Congresspeople
now for a special permit, or allowance of some sort? I don’t know
about you, but this new rule will eliminate me from doing any show
that I can’t drive to, and in my case, living in California, and doing
shows on the east coast…that means most of them. There are an
awful lot of us on this forum, lets come up with a plan, and then work
to implement it quickly.

Lisa, (Getting colder here), Topanga, CA USA

Well sales on the net has gone down , And I am sad to Say I don’t
have any plans of coming to Tucson in 2002 Ahmed shareek

Robert, Sales for September were up this year, and it was probably the
best September we’ve had. This is normally a very slow month, and I
expected that this year would be very quiet. Our gallery specializes
in very fine custom work, and we have a lot of customers who live
(and work) in close proximity to the Pentagon.

Instead, I have seen a lot more wedding sales than usual, and a lot
of customers ordering significant gifts for their loved ones. Perhaps
we appreciate each other more these days. I also know that a lot of
people have canceled their holiday vacations and business travel is
more carefully considered. The money that would have been spent on
travel is still in the bank, and people are now beginning to spend it
on things for the home, and on jewelry. Not jewelry for the sake of
status, but as a token of love.

Our public image has always been that of a caring, compassionate, and
socially conscious company. We have always been public about avoiding
not only conflict diamonds, but other similarly “tainted” gemstones.
Instead of advertising, we openly contribute to support the homeless
shelter, Hospice, Habitat for Humanity, the shelter for battered
women, and similar organizations. Quotes from Rumi often appear in
our display windows. Our competition has always courted the upscale
"carriage trade" and emphasized status jewelry. With all the type A
corporate climbers who live here, they have always been more
financially successful. Now, their sales are down significantly.

Americans will continue to spend because that’s what we do…we’re a
consumer-driven economy. But I think we will see a significant change
on what we spend our money on. I hope that we will see more people
sharing and giving to others. We, as a nation, had a great “wake up

Let’s hope we don’t roll over and go back to sleep.
Doug Zaruba

Dear Gerry, I perceive your comments about the gemstone business,
vis-a-vis the impact of the terrorist events, to be borderline
hysteria. You would have us believe that the Afghani Lapis deposits
would be a prime military target and that people carrying rocks might
be incarcerated by the C.I.A. Of course I would not be so foolish as
to try to board a passenger airliner with a large , sharp Quartz
crystal, but I certainly wouldn’t hesitate to load a suitcase with
some Brazilian fossil fish and agate slabs. Yes, getting through
customs and security checks will be much more tedious, but I hardly
think that commerce will collapse.As for gemstones being a prime
source of income for terrorists I think that you are grossly
exagerating and would ask that you document your position. The only
direct link between gems and terrorists that I suspect would be the
assumption that the Mujahedin used Lapis to fund the war with the
Russians. The result was that the market was flooded and the price
was driven way down. The likelihood that Osama depends on Lapis is
preposterous. The likelihood that the AGTA show will be impacted is
probably substantial inasmuch as the membership is dominated by New
Yorkers and many of them are politically incorrect from the
standpoint of certain Middle Eastern entities. As for regular jewelry
commerce I will have to admit that it has been excellent for me. One
of the realities of the business is that people derive much psychic
income from jewelry and that it can be very reassuring in times of
stress and uncertainty. People WILL continue to commemorate special
family events with jewelry and the only diminution that I foresee
will be the impact of unemployment. Eventually, however, it is highly
likely that the economy will rebound vigorously as a result of
military spending and renewed confidence. The only fly in the
ointment is the extent to which Osama will be able to pull off his
terrorism. It is likely that he will do so , but the probability that
he will be able to execute anything of the magnitude of the W.T.C. is
slim in my opinion. While I firmly believe that we are threatened and
that we have entered a new era of difficulty, I also believe that it
is crucial that we remain cool and calm and approach our challenges
with composure and cool headed calculation. Ron at Mills Gem, Los Osos,

Our new incoming orders virtually ceased altogether after 911 until
about 11 days later. At that point we began to see some new activity
coming in. Unfortunately things at the end of August and the beginning
of September had really started to look promising. We had some
significant activity in high end diamonds that we hadn’t seen since
the end of last year. After 911 that stopped, although the month of
September was actually up for us (the first since last November) as we
had had such strong activity at the beginning of the month. (Because
so much of our work is custom work there is a lag time from when the
financial activity begins and when the orders are picked up–hence
making all of September look better than it was.) I, however had
been predicting since last March that we would be in a downturn until
late 2002, early 2003, and we adjusted our spending practices at that
time. It is my belief that the financial downturn on the heels of 911
was going to happen regardless, it just happened a whole lot faster
after that. A word to the wise: If you advertise on a regular basis
DON’T STOP. If anything you need to increase it now so that people
know that you are there ALL the time.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140

Lisa, As a former Airline employee, let me give some background and
also make a suggestion.

During prior periods of airline stress, bombings, highjackings, etc.
There were similar concerns as now and also some over reaction.
Passengers who carried guns had to declare them, dismantle them and
turn them over to the crew for storing. Hunting rifles, etc. were
also declared and stored as baggage.

In a calm manner, persons involved in jewelry, stones, etc. need to
make a presentation to the powers that be that it is necessary to
have these items within the cabin, but you are willing to have the
carry on examined and then given to a crew member for safe handling.
Airlines can created locked space for such valuables. I for one am
very willing to give up the ease of carry on to ensure safety.

Over the years carry on luggage has created many problems, as well as
delays. Time to rethink this. Rocio Heredia is facing this problem at
this time as she will be giving a class in Stockton and will be
bringing along tools for repousse and embossing. On a just completed
Monterrey, Mexico to Las Vegas round trip, Rocio, her mother and
sister were victims of over reaction. Mexican heritage passengers
were not allowed carry on while American and European appearing
persons were allowed. Not a nice situation.

Perhaps a major trade organization can spearhead a campaign. Teresa
in cloudy Oceanside

Hi Robert! I did a local show a couple weekends ago… I was
pre-warned that it’s not a big revenue show; it’s really a festival
with lots of vendors. My objectives weren’t just based on immediate
sales, so I decided to go ahead. I made back my booth fee, but as my
sister pointed out, everybody was walking by empty-handed. They
weren’t just not buying from me… they weren’t buying from anyone. I
had a lot of enthusiasm and interest, which I hope will translate into
future sales. This was the first real weekend people got out after the
attacks and I think they were just out to enjoy the weather, get some
fresh air and clear their minds for a while.

I’m doing a show that is more sales related (Christmas Made in the
South) the weekend after next. I know it’s early in the season for a
Christmas show, but I was able to squeak in. It’s local, and the first
in a circuit of shows around the Southeastern U.S. It has an admission
fee for shoppers and a requirement that everything be handcrafted by
the artist represented. I hope this will direct more purchasing
oriented prospects my way. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Overall, I’d say American consumers are very tentative about
discretionary spending right now. If you had to make plans today, I’d
probably advise you to hold off. If you can wait until December or
January to gauge the tone, that would probably be better.

If you do find your way to Charlotte again, I could probably use some
of those spectacular, huge opals! I’ve got a couple new pieces with
them going into my cases for the upcoming show. I gave a few people
(obvious opal fans) previews of the unfinished pieces at the last show
and had 'em drooling!

All the best,
Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

    There will be a show next week in costa mesa california and we
don't know how could it go. If there is a dealer from California
please let us know your opinion. 

I’m not a dealer but rather a customer who goes to the Costa Mesa
show whenever possible. My plans at this time are to attend the show
as usual and spend as much or as little as usual. Hope this helps.


Howdy Robert, As a hobbiest I have a limited view of this issue but
have just this last 2 weeks participated in a coupla’ shows. Quick
background so you’ll have a better idea of the ‘environment’, then my
’feelings’ on the issue. Weekend be fore last, my wife (lampworker)
and my self (hobby faceter) had a small booth at at a medium/small 2
day show in north Dallas. Sponsored by a loval Gem & Mineral club. We
had prepared ourselves for disapponitment but were VERY surprised at
how well we and every dealer we spoke to did! Up maybe 20-50%! Not a
big crowd but a LOT of buyers. Just this weekend we participated at a
club info/demo/limited sales booth at the International Gem & Jewelry
show -3 day-(Intergem) in Dallas. This show has fewer rough/miner;a
dealers and more finished goods dealers. Very large show too. It was
noticeably down. Keep in mind that an important, for the area,
football game occured this weekend (Texas/OU) as well as the Texas
State Fair. Also friday was rainy in the morning. Friday was actually
the best day though attendance was scarce.(I think friday attracts a
higher percentage of professionals and sat. Sun. general public).
Saturday very slow and few buyers. Sunday much busier but still mostly
lookers. Also, it felt a little weird Sunday after the bombing began.
Certain ‘Asian’ dealers began packing up immediately at the news.
Other dealers just did not want to discuss the events in Afghanistan
at all in front of customers and other dealers. Kinda’ creepy. Some
general feelings I have are that some folks want a diversion. There
are also some folks intent on spending out of a patriotic ‘stimulate
the economy’ feeling. There are also some who think that current
events makes it easier to ‘bottom fish’. Their thinking may be that
dealers are slashing prices to stay in busines. It may be helpful to
play into this belief with appropriate signage. Hard to explain the
success of the G&M show except for the ‘diversion’ issue. I know the
above is a mixed review and it’s as mystifying to me as to you. I’d
like to see other responses to your question. My bottom line advice -
come, but prepare for disappointment. Carl 1 Lucky Texan

I know that some of the retail jewelers here on the Island (Key West)
have reported a record breaking second half for the month of
September. They put this down to people selling shares and, having
liquid assets, finally succumbing to the demands of a spouse to buy
them the 5ct diamond/emerald/sapphire/Rolex that they been promising
all these years. It’s top end only but it does bode well for the
holiday season.

Tony Konrath
Gold and Stone

Last weekend I carried my entire gem inventory on a plane. I packed
only stones in the case–no metal of any kind–and was not stopped or
questioned. My bag went right through the x-ray machine. Don’t know
how it would be carrying jewelry.

The strangest thing was that we had to take our shoes off and put
those through the machine as well! Made for interesting conversation
on the state of everyone’s socks.


Hello, My wife and I have made our living selling our jewelry at
juried art shows in the west for 30 years. On the weekend after Sept.
11th we sold at the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival in Mill Valley,
Calif. It’s been going on for 45 years, we have done it 5 or 6 times
but this was the first time in 8 years. We were still somewhat in
shock and weren’t sure we really wanted to go to a fair but we had
told hundreds of people that we would be there and had sent out
several hundred invitations so we went. It turned into a very positive
experience for us. Part of that was being with the artist’s at the
show, some of whom we’ve done shows with for over 20 years. It was
like being with family. It also got us away from the media for a few
days. Visitors to the fair seemed thankful that the fair took place
and appreciative of the artists being there. This is a very affluent
and educated community. Traffic at the fair was down 50 percent but I
(and most artists that I talked to did better sales than we expected)
I did about half of what I had wanted to do if 100 percent of the
people had been there. Some said that they did great. And, of course,
as at any show some didn’t do as well.

This past weekend we sold our work for three days at the Sacramento
Arts Festival, a four year old show that is still having a little
trouble getting started but seemed to take a surge forward this year
for us and for a significant number of people we talked to. Sacramento
is not an easy market. I have done shows in the Sacramento area for 25
years and had given up on it until this show came along. I have done
this show for three years and this was the test year to see if I
continued to participate. Traffic was down 15 percent even though they
did truly great advertising. My sales were up 60 percent from last
year and I must say that I am very pleased by that both because it
lets me go whole-heartedly back to the show next year and it gives me
hope that my market hasn’t fallen apart.

I must say that probably 75 percent of my business was from my
mailing list of clients but they were buying more expensive items than
usual. From talking to a lot of previous customers who came by, some
who didn’t buy, it seems that people are reacting to the recent
tragedy in two ways (probably other ways too). One way is for people
who used to spend money on special luxury items for themselves
becoming more frugal and conservative in their spending and the other
is for previously conservative buyers to spend money more freely. I
had several customers articulate that to me in the course of
conversation. One customer who usually takes a really long time to
buy something, sometimes a couple of years, came and spent nearly $600
in a 10 minute decision making process. Another longtime customer said
that she just can’t buy things for herself right now. I can relate to
both of these perspectives. The urge to hold onto what you have in
case times get worse and the impulse to just go ahead and do it
because we may not be here tomorrow.

Making jewelry for me is a grounding and balancing experience as well
as a creative and economic one. I plan to continue putting significant
energy into creating beautiful objects and paying my bills while I
continue to evaluate my life and actions in this time of testing and
stress. I find myself trying to be more helpful to the people around
me at this time. I wish you all good luck in you creative and
marketing adventures and hope that peace will find its way into the
hearts of the world.

Be well
Jima Abbott
– Jima & Carlie Abbott
Residing in Caspar by the sea
at the edge of the pygmy forest
on the banks of the digital river

Strange as it seems our business has been brisk. Seems people are
repairing their machines rather than buying new…we are not
complaining :slight_smile:

Mike & Dale, The ultrasonic repair guys. Lone Star Technical Services.

If there will be difficulty in carrying on jewelry and gemstones why
not ask that the airlines provide a locked container were things of
significant value can be specially checked, like the system hotels
have. That would provide both safety and security. Due to the
present mood in congress I think that a special permit would not be
easy to legislate.