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Gem & Mineral shops In Tourist towns


#1

I would appreciate hearing the views of Orchid Members concerning
some questions I have about visiting your favorite tourist town.

1- When visiting your favorite tourist town at what type of store
would you most likely make a purchase. That is would it be an Art
Gallery, Jewelry Store, T shirt shop etc.

2- Would you make a purchase at a gem and mineral shop in a tourist
town?

3- What type of items would interest you at a gem and mineral shop
while on vacation in a tourist town? Would it be uncut gems and
mineral specimens, cut gems, finished artist made jewelry, tools and
equipment etc. I hope we can keep this as close to on subject as
possible since the answers are important.

Thanks to all that give their opinion

Greg DeMark
If You Like Antique, Vintage or Custom Jewelry
Visit us on the web at:
www.demarkjewelry.com


#2

Hi Greg:

Would you make a purchase at a gem and mineral shop in a tourist
town? 

I was just in a tourist town over the weekend and (honestly) I
thought about stopping in the local rock shop in the next town over.
I didn’t do it though. I guess I was thinking…“what would they
possibly have that I do not see already on the many websites I have
access to?” and the prices are going to be retail. I will rarely pay
retail anymore. However, no matter where I am, I will always purchase
books and I would most certainly purchase tools.

Good Luck
Kim

p.s. I’m mulling it over and thinking about unique cabs. If I thought
I would only find them at your place, I would pick them up as well if
they were affordable. I think the key for me is uniqueness.


#3

I would make a bee-line for the gem and mineral shop. Cutting rough
and slabs would be my target. Occasionally I have found nice cabs in
such places priced more cheaply than I would cut them for, and I
would buy those also.

I also like to check out the jewelry shops and galleries. Tee-shirt
shops are of no interest to me.

Lee


#4
When visiting your favorite tourist town at what type of store
would you most likely make a purchase. That is would it be an Art
Gallery, Jewelry Store, T shirt shop etc. 

An art gallery…a real art gallery, with high quality work, not an
art “gallery” that sells broomstick witches and has a year-round
Christmas display.

Would you make a purchase at a gem and mineral shop in a tourist
town? 

Probably not…seems as though I could buy at wholesale any material
I want through my business, rather than pay retail just because I’m
on vacation.

What type of items would interest you at a gem and mineral shop
while on vacation in a tourist town? Would it be uncut gems and
mineral specimens, cut gems, finished artist made jewelry, tools
and equipment etc. I hope we can keep this as close to on subject
as possible since the answers are important. 

If I learned of an exceedingly rare/unusual material being sold at a
local shop, I would consider purchasing that…but not before calling
my lapidarist friends and making sure it’s legit, and worth the
asking price!

Matthew Crawford
www.MatthewDesigns.com


#5
When visiting your favorite tourist town at what type of store
would you most likely make a purchase. 

A used book store

Would you make a purchase at a gem and mineral shop in a tourist
town? 

Yes, unless the shop insists on “tourist prices.”

What type of items would interest you at a gem and mineral shop
while on vacation in a tourist town? 

Gem rough, mineral specimens

James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL


#6

Thank you to Kim, James, Matthew and Lee for taking the time to give
me their thoughts on visiting a tourist town. I appreciate your time
and thoughts

Greg DeMark
If You Like Antique, Vintage or Custom Jewelry
Visit us on the web at:
www.demarkjewelry.com


#7
  1. an art jewelry gallery

  2. yes, i have done it many times and seek them out…in fact i have
    owned a few! I find it common that they tend not to last more than a
    few years in any one location unless the area is known for gems and
    minerals or is a rock hunting site/area ( like western N.C.-
    franklin, little switzerland,along the blue ridge/appalachian pkwy’s,
    dahlonega GA or out west)…

In places where the entire economy is purely tourist dollar driven
and not focused on anything but junk and t-shirts (cherokee NC- where
the indian items are largely made in china, Gulf Shores AL-once a
thriving gulf coast vacation area akin to the pocono’s or fire
island, now t-shirt after t-shirt shop with the odd candy store or
water park thrown in for a few years, on Bourbon St in New Orleans-
where tourists flock to drink and get suckered into buying extremely
overpriced t-shirts, and junk that has nothing to do with the
culture or history of the Vieux Carre-a.k.a. french Quarter,when two
blocks in either direction are authentic art galleries and antique
shops ,vintage and collectible jewelry stores and a huge number of
belle epoch era garnet jewelery dealers-that is… before hurricane
katrina wiped most of the operators out and now rents have
skyrocketed and no tourists are to be seen on the streets of the
Vieux Carre unless there’s a convention… or Helen GA- a dying
experiment in creating a pseudo-bavarian villiage with t shirt shops
and wholesale lots that were intended to be sold in Cherokee NC
pushing out the euro imports and bistro like eateries ! ) the
tourists eventually stop coming as what originally drew them there
has bocome like every other tourist trap in this country just with
differing weather.

3)and there’s the rub of the question in your survey…and a common
problem with start-up businesses…you asked what one would buy in a
gem and mineral shop…Focus on selling gems and minerals…only…
sidelines detract from the purpose of starting a gem /mineral
business and how many people on vacation are bringing their work
benches with them and need to run out, during business hours, because
they forgot to bring a 4/0 sawblade…I would focus on selling high
quality gemstones that are either cabbed or faceted, and keep very
little rough unless you have a lot of floor space in the
building.(.don’t put it outside.it will not help draw the clientele
you want to purchase stones in to the store, it generally looks
rather trashy as people that rumage through bins don’t always treat
slabs as a cabber might,and then there’s the theft aspect in leaving
things outdoors. Equally, being exposed to the elements is not great
for some types of minerals, and for tourists that fly, carrying rough
is a hassle unless its very small facetable items…not slabs- the
dept. of “homeland security” would probably confiscate slabs of
anything anyway…sad as that is!!) Decide on your target market…if
that is selling tumbled stones to kids, that is a different ball
game, but if you want to sell to jewelers, beaders, and people
looking for unique items to have turned into jewelry then the ticket
goes up and the store design should reflect that marketing.

the only deviation from selling exclusively gemstones and minerals,
and perhaps a few carefully selected items that are not available at
wal-marts everywhere ( like. polishing cloths by conoisseur, and
home ultra-sonic cleaners, and costume jewelery) would be to offer
mounting services for the and perhaps if you have the
facility to do settings and mountings and a large enough local
population to support it year round- jewelery repairs can be highly
profitable if done professionally.

If you want or need more of a treatise on my take on the subject feel
free to email me off orchid…


#8
When visiting your favorite tourist town at what type of store
would you most likely make a purchase. 

We always make a bee-line for gem/mineral shops, art galleries,
museums, etc. Our “family travel rule” is to find on the
town history, native peoples and or current local artists and then
find their art. Our main goal is to support locals in exchange for
sharing their space with us.

Would you make a purchase at a gem and mineral shop in a tourist
town? 

In Juneau a couple months ago I purchased a beautiful fan of epidote
jackstraw from a native Tlingit Indian man. I also saw for the first
time, an incredible display of grape garnet from Orissa India in a
high end jewelry store. It was all so firey that I first dismissed
it as unnatural. Getting to see an amazing display of Indian garnet,
up in Alaska no less, was just a stroke of luck for my eyes. True
facetted grape candy. Then over in Skaggway we found a mammoth ivory
carver who saved chunks and chips in a vase that my kids got to
peruse for free specimens.

What type of items would interest you at a gem and mineral shop
while on vacation in a tourist town? Would it be uncut gems and
mineral specimens, cut gems, finished artist made jewelry, tools
and equipment etc. I hope we can keep this as close to on subject
as possible since the answers are important. 

For us, it’s definitely mineral specimens and artist made items. All
else would be taking saved $$ away from the family vacation. When I
travel and buy a piece, I buy a connection to the artist and a
lingering internal pride that I contributed directly to a livelihood.
That’s what makes the vacation more memorable (aside from the
pictures of my goofy kids.)