Trying to Educate Customers

Dear Richard,

There is a company that sells red beryl as red emeralds. 

And they’re very pretty! Steve Perry at has some,

However, my dad isn’t that “up” on the jewelery industry. He’s
thought that his whole life. Basically, he gets rubies and emeralds
confused. “Emerald red” just sounds good to him.


Well, well, well!

Don’t we all have very high opinions of ourselves!

The jewelry making community which includes the Jewelry industry,
studio jewelers and jewelry instructors (et all), has a very
important responsibility. We must all earnestly endeavor to educate.
We must be trusted in our endeavor to educate. That is the true
mission of this web site.

We as jewelry makers hold some that others are ignorant
of, that is all, this makes us different not special. We have chosen
to educate ourselves in this area and not others. I have seen far
more ignorance and arrogance on this web site about gemstones and
all topics metal than I encountered in my 15 years dealing with the

I am glad that I do not have to hold all the about
automobile repair, or writing code to get my computer to work, or
how to best treat my child if he is ill. I am glad that others have
other interests. I depend on other people having other interests,
just as they depend on me to honestly sharing my education with

To act egotistical about our knowledge alienates those we depend on
to survive. I don’t care how great of an artist you suppose yourself
to be, if you do not have a market for your goods or services, you
will perish.

In the years I was the fine jewelry designer at Nordstrom, my
greatest efforts where put toward consumer education and sales
associate training. I love jewelry…its design and manufacture
regardless of if it is for 50 pieces in a production line or 1 of a
kind. I wanted others to trust that I would not do them wrong.
Because I wanted to share my love of this medium, I was very

If I had ranted on in exacerbation would I have been as successful?
When the customer could not be convinced otherwise, I humbly
apologized, and that was all that could be done.

We are just metalsmiths and jewelers.

Reality check.
Nanz Aalund

To act egotistical about our knowledge alienates those we depend on
to survive. 

Well put, Nanz - I do think it’s important that we keep in mind that
while our customers may not know everything about jewelry and its
manufacture, they may be highly educated in areas in which we’re
totally ignorant. Many of my designs tend to appeal to educated
people of many backgrounds, some of whom might not know the
difference between fine silver and sterling, but who could name all
the kings of ancient Egypt in chronological succession.

It seems that folks like us who have an interest in a very specific
and somewhat esoteric field run the risk of “geekishness.” Think of
those odd people at Star Trek conventions who try to suppress their
laughter when you can’t recall the name of the captain of the

All the same, I think we should reserve the right to chortle over
customers’ comments, as long as it’s not to their faces. I had the
pleasure, at a recent (and pretty bad) show, of watching a friend
field the question, “Are those made with REAL rhinestones?”

I burst into an ersatz coughing fit as my friend patiently
identified gemstone beads and Swarovski crystals, and even did a
little discourse on the history and physical properties of leaded
crystal. She maintained a crisp, professional demeanor the whole time
and was not the least bit condescending. Once the shopper was out of
sight, of course, we looked at each other and burst out laughing :wink:


Jessee Smith (who believes that life is short, and should therefore
involve lots of chocolate)
Cincinnati, Ohio