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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Shop Local. Again.

Blue sheen moonstones in 18k and 22k gold
When even my wife Kathy says that it's been too long since I've written a new blog article I know I've been absent from the pages here.  My apologies.  I don't have a regular assistant these days so I'm forced to do pretty much everything and I've been working 7 day weeks most weeks so if it seems that it has been awhile, it's true, but you'll just have to forgive me.  I'm returning to a topic I've discussed before because it cropped up again recently.  I am always unsure how this topic is viewed as it is, by necessity, self serving but it's a fact of life these days. 

So I had a gentleman come in my shop a few days ago and he asked me if I would look at the inscription on a diamond to see if it was the one he was actually sold.  The first thing I said to him was what I always say to these visitors.  Why oh why would you buy a product from someone you don't trust????  And he said what they all say when I ask them this.  Oh no, I trust them but could you just please look at this and tell me if it's the stone on the certificate.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who can see the fallacy in this statement.  If he trusts them, why does he need me to confirm it?  And if he doesn't trust them then why did he buy from them?  Now I'm a nice guy most of the time so I was going to look at his stone for him anyway so I figured I might as well go all the way and bring up the second part of this article. 

I then asked him where he got the stone (and ring).  I already knew what he was going to say but I just wanted to make sure. Of course he got it online.  I then pointed out to him that people like me (you know, the bricks and mortar small retailers) were going to go out of business and not be here anymore to verify his purchase if everyone just bought their products on line.  I asked him what he would do then?  What would he do the next time if there were no more jewelers on the street like me that he could go to for this kind of thing?  I got the usual, well everyone else was too expensive.  I looked at him and said, look I know I'm expensive, but I also know that there are plenty of bricks and mortar jewelers who will match the price of stuff bought on line because they've been forced to in order to stay in business.  He was very apologetic but being apologetic doesn't solve the larger issue here.  The larger issue is that you all need local shops for something but by shopping exclusively on line you are driving many of them out of business.

Everywhere I look I see things about "shop local".  I'm curious then why there are so many, who when faced with making an expensive purchase, throw away this option?  Remember, next time there may not be that hands on, actual person there to help out. 

And now I have a question for my readers.  My wife thinks I should charge for this service even though it only takes me a few minutes.  I have mixed feelings about it.  What are your thoughts?  And if you think I should charge for it, how much do you think would be reasonable? I'm also taking suggestions for topics you'd like to hear me address.  As always thanks for reading and please feel free to share my blog articles on social media.

P.S.  You can now find me on Instagram too so become a follower!


  1. Daniel, I just found your blog by chance while reading about jewelry on a whim. What luck!

    In regards to this post, have you ever considered selling on Etsy, or other online sites like it? I recently purchased a pendant from a merchant that has been a b&m shop for over 25 years. The best of both worlds, right? :-)

    Also - and forgive me if you've already posted about this (I've yet to get through every entry) - maybe your next post can be about how/why you got into this business? Or maybe jewelry trends you've witnessed over your career and your opinions on them?

    1. Hi Michelle, thanks for writing. My jewelry is very expensive and I have found over the years that on line sales just don't work for me. You have to actually see what I'm doing to appreciate what it is and why it costs what it does. I have a particular issue with Etsy however as so much of what they claim is hand made is nothing of the sort. Stuff assembled from pre made parts. Stuff made in factories overseas. It goes on and on. I am happy to sell something to people who aren't around here that they see on my website, blog, Facebook or Instagram but they kind of have to understand what I do here.

      I'll be happy to write about how I got into my business in my next article! Thanks for writing.

  2. Daniel, tell me.......why do you think you don't charge for this service?
    You said you had "mixed feelings" about this. Don't you think you're perpetuating the problem of people buying online instead of local if you make it easier for them to discover if they've been taken?
    Just a thought from someone passing by.

    1. Well basically I'm a nice guy! In the past if someone brought in something minor for me to deal with (tightening a jump ring or something similar) I wouldn't charge them. The first couple of guys who came in with a similar request to the one in the blog I just kind of didn't think about it. Now I am. I think I will begin charging for the service. And I'm thinking I'm going to make it steep enough for them to think twice the next time.

  3. Fantastic blog ! The patience you have!
    Just happen to stumble on this and have throughly enjoyed and appreciated it. Wondering about the price of a white, or very pale blue sapphire, two carats. Round brilliant cut.
    Thanks in advance, Nicolette in Nova Scotia.

    1. Hi Nicolette, I'm not sure of pricing on something like that up in Nova Scotia. But around here it depends, as it always does, on the quality of the stone you're getting. A pure white sapphire will be cheaper than a pale blue. Probably you would be in the $6-700/ct. range for a white one from me (I don't buy many white sapphires though so you can't hold me to this). If you are looking at more generic (i.e. not so nice) material you could find something somewhere for probably in the $2-300/ct range. Pale blues will be a little more than these prices depending on the color saturation. Usually, however, very pale blue sapphires are natural color ones and natural color commands a premium. So it would depend on whether the material has been heated or not. For more information on heat treatments you can search my blog. I have a number of articles about it. If you're interested in having me find you a sapphire, please email me at my store: Thanks for reading!

  4. Thank you so much for your reply. I suppose I was expecting that a pale blue or nearly white would be cheaper than a white but when I'm actually looking for is just a white ,clear white sapphire. I'm really embarrassed to tell you the story of this, so I'll make it short. My mother has four daughters and two sons. She gave all of her jewellery to the girls. Since I am the youngest I get the last piece of jewellery and it was a very large , 2.5 carat white sapphire. It was set in white gold in a really large unattractive setting. I was very young at the time and didn't realize how valuable it was and of course even more so now that my mother is older. I tucked it away and never wore it as I thought it was just Gaudy
    What eventually happened was that I had a break-in in the ring was stolen. I would give anything to have that ring back! So now I'm just looking to try and replace it. The stone was about 2.3 to 2.5 carats . So I am looking for something between 2.3 to 3 carats
    I went to a local jewellery store in the area and they wanted $1000 per carat. As did all the other jewellery stores, approximately give or take the same price. That's when I started looking around online. Hey prescient any help with any information you can give me. Thanks again, sincerely Nicolette. In Nova Scotia

    1. Hi Nicolette. I don't think these prices are at all out of range. I honestly haven't bought anything of this size in the last 10 years because I don't get a call for them and I simply don't buy them for use in my pieces. So I checked with some of my suppliers for current pricing. From my primary sapphire supplier (who is going to be more expensive then my others because their quality is superior to anything else you'll find out there) a 2.51 ct. radiant cut, natural (unheated) color would run about $1500/ct. On the other hand I can get a 2.42 oval cut white from one of my other suppliers and the cost would be $900/ct. Under 2 ct. and the prices run between about $700-1200/ct. from this supplier depending on the stone. I could probably check with some more people and find some less expensive material but I think it's going to be crap (that's a jeweler's term). No matter what the stone is going to run you some money but if you really want to replace it, then cost shouldn't really be an impediment. Also if you're shopping for it online I would be extremely careful about who you buy from as most of the gemstones that I see purchased on line are junk.

  5. Good afternoon Daniel, I thank you again for your input. Buying stones online is certainly a great concern of mine as yes, I don't want any crap! LOL! I visit the sites, and I look at all the pretty stones, but my gut always tells me it would be naïve and foolish to trust most of these people. And that was another question I kept asking myself, how do you find somebody reputable? I felt that if I went to a jewellery store, I would certainly be getting a good stone but felt there was a great chance that I would be overcharged, because they want a fee as well.
    I thought it would be a good idea to try and shop around as much as possible; it should be possible to find a beautiful stone from someone' reputable for great price.
    Or so I think! Perhaps I just need to bite the bullet, go back to the jewellery store and save a little money get them to order me something.
    Thank you again for all of your helpful information, I really appreciate it.
    If I know of anyone needing a quality piece of jewellery or just information, I will send them your way. All the best from Nova Scotia. Sincerely, Nicolette. 👍

    1. I'm sure somewhere on line there is someone reputable. But I can't tell you I know of any of them. But here's one of the best things about biting the bullet and shopping local. You have complete recourse if something goes wrong. You don't have to ship anything back and forth if there's a problem. You can walk into the store and directly confront someone if there is a problem. Plus you get to see what you're getting before you pay for it. I would strongly urge you to save up and, yes, shop local. Good luck and let me know how it works out.