By Pamela Crabtree, MLS
“Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” sung by Marilyn Monroe is spot on. Diamonds are the most sought after gemstone by women, and “the guy segment is growing” according to Jim Jensen, who along with his cousin Dave, owns Jensen Jewelers.
All gemstones are not created equal, so we gathered information and tips to use in the quest to find that ‘perfect jewel.’ We spoke with several local jewelers, with more than 400 combined years of experience in the jewelry business. Broer Freeman Jewelers has been in business since 1877. Leo Marks Jewelers has been around for 100 years. Harold Jaffe Jewelers has 70 years under their belt, and Jensen Jewelers holds down the 60 year mark and David Fairclough Jewelers comes in at 42 years.
There are no rules, regulations or certifications needed to sell jewelry, although there are several titles obtainable through progressive education. Many local jewelers, or their employees, hold advanced certifications, providing expertise.
A gemstone primer
There are three types of gemstone products: natural gemstones, laboratory created stones and imitation stones. Also, according to Guildhall Diamonds Inc., “Diamonds and gems fall into two different categories of gemstones. Diamond is a precious gemstone while Gem is a semi-precious gemstone.”
Jeff Jaffe, who along with his brother Ivan, own Harold Jaffe Jewelers said when purchasing jewelry start by being “comfortable with who you’re dealing with” and adhere to the old jewelry business adage “if you don’t know your jewelry you should know your jeweler.”
Steve Schoch, manager at Leo Marks Jewelers said that jewelry buying, locally, over the years, “hasn’t changed a whole lot except more credit based companies (those located mainly at the mall), have as their main objective— to hold their in-store credit card. Independent jewelers are more service based, finding out exactly what you want, making it more of an emotional experience and creating a memory.”
Which begs the question if being a local jeweler helps or hinders a jewelry business? Mr. Fairclough, owner of David Fairclough Jewelers, said “I think it has helped my business. I think people like to do business with a face, someone who lives in the community.” Mr. Schoch agrees, “it has definitely helped. Being independent you have to be involved in your community, have to let people know who you are and what you stand for and be a great neighbor.”
Mr. Jaffe attributes Harold Jaffe Jewelers success and longevity to “doing the right thing [for the customer] and being part of the community.” He also said “you have a conversation with them to find out what they are thinking about [purchasing] and assist them with the desired results the best way possible.”
Our local jewelers develop a bond with their clients, asking questions, knowing family histories (i.e., a promotion at work, an upcoming anniversary) which results in a long term relationship that goes on for generations. National chains often do not have that connection.
We asked what is the average cost of a good piece of jewelry? We also asked these jewelers to tell us about their favorite piece of personal jewelry?
Mr. Jaffe believes that “there is no median price” and his favorite piece of jewelry is a “cognac diamond wedding ring and a number of watched that I am fond of.”
Mr. Schoch said “there’s a national median on what people spend on Valentine’s Day, they spend more on Mother’s Day and less on birthdays. The national average is $5,000 for an engagement ring…here [at Leo Mark Jewelers] I’d say my engagement rings are more around $6,500.
Mr. Cameron said Broer Freeman Jewelers average cost of a wedding set ranges from “$2,000 to $5,000” with his personal favorite piece of jewelry being “my platinum and 18K Gold wedding band.”
Mr. Fairclough said his “medium price is $1,500 to $2,000.” He also emphasized the need to “find a jeweler that you have confidence in and trust” which will protect you from purchasing a fake diamond or gold.
The majority of our experts agreed that their most popular and sought after items are diamonds, especially diamond engagement rings.
We asked our experts: to tell us about the cost of the most expensive piece of jewelry they had sold. Not all were comfortable with disclosing that information. One jeweler believed disclosing that information could be akin to breaching medicines HIPAA law. The prices ranged from a mere $85,000 to a whopping $405,000, for a 7 carat diamond.
When Mr. Jaffe and Mr. Cameron venture out of town, they often visit jewelry stores for a look see. Mr. Cameron said “I always introduce myself as a jeweler and tell them I’m looking at their beautiful displays and the beautiful things they sell and trying to get good design ideas for my displays.” He said when he visits the world-renowned Tiffany’s in New York City he found it “breathtaking.”
Mr. Jaffe said Tiffany’s is a “nice store” as is Cartier’s, but “those stores don’t do anything like we do for our clients.” For instance, if someone came in to our store “with a piece of jewelry that they bought from any store, including Tiffany’s, we are more than happy to clean it, check it and make sure it’s in good shape. But if you walked into Tiffany’s with a piece of jewelry that was bought anyplace else they won’t even talk to you about cleaning it.”
Mr. Jaffe shared a funny story, “people want us to give them an estimate on the phone for something we cannot see, so we ask them to hold it a little bit closer to the phone.”
Local Jewelers We Spoke With:
Jaffe Jewelers | 4211 Talmadge 419- 472-4480 | haroldjaffe.com
Leo Marks | 3435 Secor Rd. 419-531-1223 | leomarksjewelers.com
David Fairclough | 7141 W. Central 419-843-8877 | davidfairclough.com
Jensen Jewelers | 4481 Monroe 419-471-1000 | jensenjewelers.net
Broer Freeman | 4328 W. Central 419-536-5272 | broerfreeman.com