Ron, I agree with your honorable intent.I think that in the throw
away society we live and work in a shlocky pendant with a diamond
(if you can call it that) for $75 or less or a 10k gold trio,
earrings and ring set with synthetic stone for $22 is going to appeal
to a large number of people and I cannot make anything by hand for
that price.Not everyone wants to be educated though.They want to run
to the mall and buy something cheap and quick.They work in fields
picking vegetables or cleaning houses or work in the mini marts and
make eight bucks and hour.Some are born in this country some don’t
speak English.They work hard and have little free time.You can tell
them all about quality and lay down the expensive quality piece next
to the shlock and they WILL buy the shlock.You can educate your
customer and chances are they won’t retain it.Look at the stats for
reading and writing in this country.If many people are barely
literate and the education system could not educate them.Will
you?They don’t care about diamond quality they care more about how
it looks and the price.I have had customers come into my stores
saying their husband bought them a little heart pendant or ring with
diamonds in it before he died and they know that there is no quality
there. To them it is pretty and they would never part with it or
change it for anything I have three benches and do work for six
stores I see people from every socioeconomic strata some want quality
some don’t.Our industry gives both.More people wear gold jewelry than
in any other time in the history of jewelry.If it wasn’t for schlock
that would not be possible.Good bad or indifferent it is true.
Ron, I agree with your honorable intent.I think that in the throw
Living and working in San Antonio, which has a high immigrant
population and low standard of living, i feel qualified to take
exception to J.Morley’s catalogueing of Shlock Buyers.
To an extent, the generalization is true. But please, let’s not dump
on the wage slaves. Wealthy people can be just as despicable.
My experience has been that when i have gained my coworker’s trust
(for the record i support myself and my jewelery habit on $6.50ph)
they are perfectly willing and excited to have something strong and
beautiful made just for them. The key here, as in all aspects of
jewelery, is trust. I am one of them. i work beside them, take breaks
with them, ride the bus with them. we cover each other’s shifts, and
when the talk comes around to a piece that needs to be made or
purchased, they say, “go see Susannah, she’ll give you a good deal -
see this pin/ring/earring(s) she made for me?” A couple of times this
is how i’ve made rent.
My point is this, when you come across as “The Man,” you will not
necessarily be trusted. and when you expect them to choose the more
expensive, well made piece, you are overlooking the fact that you
just told a member of the lower class to give you more money - when
it is obvious you have more than they to begin with. No matter how
true your statements are, or how good your intentions may be, that
message will more likely be the one they hear.
There are many factors at work in these situations - but when the
walls are broken down, poor people can discern quality just as well
as a more affluent individual.
I could go on and on, but that isn’t necessary here. All i ask is
that those with stores and benches and employees have a little more
consideration for the guy or girl scraping by at the mini mart.
Susannah, Miscommunication is such a wonderful thing.First of all I
did not catalogue any race or person or economic strata.I was
responding to someone else’s use of the word schlock to describe
lower end jewelry.My point and I will try to make it understandable
to all without being politically incorrect is this.This country and
planet is made up of many different people All are different and
enjoy different things including jewelry.That being the case I
thought it would be ok to put my view out that there is nothing
wrong with a working stiff buying a cheap ring from a chain store or
God forbid Wal-Mart that brought them as much joy as spending $300
dollars to pay MY rent.The flip side of that I believe is this, it is
perfectly OK for a despicable wealthy person to spend their dough on
a finely crafted work of art.Even though we all know wealthy people
don’t earn cash it is given to them.I hope that doesn’t sound like
Iam defending the wealthy.By the way I don’t have employees I work
all six stores and 3 benches by myself.That makes me not "THE MAN"
just a working stiff trying to make a living. Total Regards J Morley
Coyote Ridge Studio In beautiful Colorado where Iam not a
spokesperson for the poor OR the wealthy
The most fortunate and unfortunate thing to happen to the industry
is QVC…Service Merchandise and some of the other home shopping
clubs. They do the serious jeweler a disservice by “selling” cheap
poorly made items (that we get for repairs)and people think are
wonderful, you all know what we are up against. They also use
terms that fool the customer or confuse them. Of course without
QVC we probably wouldn’t have had tanzanite become so popular, and
there is customer awareness that has been raised about other stones.
I know I sure have been tempted to pick up a few pieces on the tv
shows in my time, and I have seen a few good ones. I work in a
downtown store and we get an incredible assortment of people from
street folk (literally) to lawyers, students, politicians and lots
of state workers. We have a wide customer base and need different
price points to serve them all. The fact is, there are many people
who just cannot afford the custom pieces. We try to get quality
pieces for reasonable but it isn’t easy.
So what can you do? Take care of every one to the best of your
ability, recognise where your market is and honor them with goods
they can afford or terms to help. Good luck and God Bless us all
through the tough times.
The most fortunate and unfortunate thing to happen to the industry is QVC...Service Merchandise and some of the other home shopping clubs. They do the serious jeweler a disservice by "selling" cheap poorly made items (that we get for repairs)and people think are wonderful, you all know what we are up against. They also use terms that fool the customer or confuse them. "
HERE! HERE! I hate to admit it, but I created sets for the Home
Shopping Network for the last year of my show biz career–what can I
say, I wanted to be closer to family and it was the only game in
town. Anyway, during that time I had so many people ask me what the
quality of the jewelry was really like. Strangely enough, I told
them the same thing everytime–The only stuff that looked decent
were the CZ lines (Absolute and Suzanne Somers–one of my shows, by
the way). The jewelry that featured gemstones and gold was all crap
and looked 100 times worse in person–you would be amazed what they
can do with those cameras! I also think they have some of the best
jewelry stylists around–these guys work miracles!
As for the confusing terms, I agree. I think the hosts try to be
accurate, but the buyers often give them incorrect
While I was there, Colleen Lopez, who knew I made jewelry, often
asked me to verify the that she got from the buyers. I
saw a ton of errors. Unfortunately, she was the only host who was
conscientious enough to ask someone who knew. I no longer watch the
broadcasts–I only watched them to check my sets–so I have no idea
what is going on now. I left the Network about 3 years ago.
For what it is worth, I tried to make a difference…he he!
Andrea L. McLester
A few more shopping network comments: I know a candy maker here in
town that got into a contract with qvc and had a hellish time with
the orders and ended up making about .50, yes 50cents for a pound of
candy…they don’t do that show anymore. I also know, for a fact
that a jeweler was asked to make a drop dead looking piece for the
camera work for the show, it was not the piece being sent out, which
was mass produced. Also a friend who is Brazilian, goes to the
mines to buys stones, hears a guy on the 14 hour bus trip back from
the mine to Rio bragging about all the topaz etc that he bought for
We all know what stuff costs and what we put into it. You all have
to use your good conscience to sell fairly and for a good price for
you so you can earn a living wage.
I did an art fair, a guy there, dressed to the nines in leather with
very fancy set up and at least 5 sales persons was selling a ring(
that certainly didn’t weigh more than 6 grams and was set with a cz)
for $1200.00!! Oh well!
I can relate to your friend’s situation. While working for Home
Shopping, I was approached about selling my dichroic line on the
Network. At first, I naively thought that maybe by producing
quality work, it might raise the bar. However, I quickly found out
that they wanted me to work for third world wages and I passed.
As for the $1,200 CZ ring, I agree that he was doing us a
disservice, but at the same time, if he could sell CZ for that much,
I would not mind attending his marketing class! he he!
Andrea L. McLester
My husband - who is a producer/director - says that they use a
special light kit to shoot the jewelry. The light kit is EXTREMELY
expensive - but it sure makes the jewelry sparkle.
What surprises me is that they seem to have millions of repeat
customers. There must be something to the appeal of the item -
besides the factor of attention that comes from being one of the
lucky ones to have their call answered on the air.