Boy, the Internet sure is a weird place. While I do enjoy some of it, I end up shaking my head more often than I’d like to admit. Following particularly jewelry-specific sites and threads, I come across my fair share of misinformation about the retail jewelry sector. It’s about time I clear some things up–Not just for the consumer, but for some in the industry as well.
Myth #1. Jewelry stores have an absurd markup.
First of all, pharmaceuticals have an absurd markup–but let’s not get into that. Internet service has an absurd markup. Luxury items are worth what someone is willing to pay for them, so just because you think it’s “expensive” doesn’t mean that the asking price isn’t it’s value.
In today’s brick-and-mortar retail, businesses in every industry are fighting to make sure that the bills are paid, the product is of quality, and the employees receive a living wage or hopefully better so they can have a high quality of life.
To clear up any confusion…
Your local jeweler does NOT mark up their product 8 – 10x what they paid for it. Not even CLOSE.
The local jewelry store has a fair markup to account for salaries, equipment, materials, bills, etc. They’re charging enough so they can stay in business and service your jewelry not just for the rest of your life, but so that when you pass it down to your kids and they to their kids, they can count on your local jeweler to take care of them too. And not to mention honor the warranty that you probably didn’t pay for.
Please keep in mind that your local jeweler is having to charge less to stay competitive with online businesses that simply do not offer the same quality of service. Especially right now.
Your local jeweler is there to answer your questions, repair your jewelry (sometimes at no charge for a quick fix), and help you feel confident in your purchases and the price you have paid.
A brick-and-mortar store is by no means overcharging you for jewelry. They are giving you a hell of a lot more service, for marginally more than what you would pay a faceless online presence.
Myth #2. Working in jewelry is like working in any other retail store.
To work in a jewelry store takes tremendous knowledge, skill, and the ability to communicate complicated concepts. Gemology is a science, you know. And valuing is a precise and high-risk job that the customer and the insurance company have to depend on.
Your local jewelry store has probably spent thousands of dollars giving their employees the training/certification they need to speak accurately about the science of gemstones. What gemstones can take heat? What stones can go in the ultrasonic? How do you determine a diamond’s quality and therefore value?
Did you know that if you have a fracture-filled diamond, it can’t be cleaned by traditional methods? Your jeweler does. They can identify the microscopic signs of fracture filling and act accordingly. If they didn’t, they could ruin your diamond.
We’re talking about individuals who handle multi-thousand dollar items (sometimes multi-ten-thousand dollar items) and therefore have to know how to keep them safe, stable, and unbroken during cleaning, repairs, and handling. Mistakes can compromise the value of extremely expensive pieces of jewelry, but I promise you the staff at your local jewelry store is trained VERY well not to make these mistakes. Even the young college student at the front counter, although he/she’s often underestimated.
Myth #3. Jewelry stores can’t offer the same “style” as online retailers.
Don’t shun me, but I have no problem with online retailers. In fact, I strongly believe in a lot of them as many of them (that I know at least!) have integrity, knowledge/training, and a real zeal for the industry.
That being said, jewelry stores have access to the same materials as online retailers.
Should jewelry stores rip off online retailers designs?
Please don’t take a photo of a design from an online retailer into a brick-and-mortar store and ask them to “recreate” it. The brick-and-mortar retailer can get in HUGE trouble and be subject to major fines if they are violating copyrights. And yes, most online retailers have copyrights.
However, if you see an obscure stone online, for instance, a moss agate or a salt-and-pepper diamond, your local jeweler can also get the same type of gemstone and probably create a custom mounting for it to your exact preferences if you’re wanting to support a local brick-and-mortar store.
Don’t forget that e-tailers and retailers alike are often small, American businesses that need support. You will likely get a much better quality product shopping with a small business than if you get it from a chain store due to the nature of mass-production and overseas labor.
If you prefer to shop online, please shop with a small business! Don’t spend your hard-earned money on a piece of jewelry that won’t last.
(And don’t forget…A lot of brick-and-mortar stores have e-commerce now after the COVID-19 crisis!)
Have you heard any weird rumors about jewelry stores? Any questions you have that I can clear up for you?
Let me know!