Hello Dave,

I wish you the best of luck with your venture into the public spotlight. I tried
‘ exploitation cutting ‘ when I set up my faceting bench in the front window of
our rock shop jewellery store back in the late ’70’s. It was a learning experience
and at times quite frustrating but the benefits were surprising. If you have
the right temperament (patience) and a little sales aggression you might
seriously improve your income. A few things to consider and prepare for;

Establish your sales procedure with the store and arrange for a store clerk to
complete any stone sales you close.

You can not have anything on your bench except your machine, this is NOT a club
show this is retail, if not, you will have your laps fondled and consequently
contaminated,  you will also lose important parts such as dops and allen keys.
Keep all of your polishing laps in bags in drawers and put them away if you
have to leave the bench even if it’s just for a few minutes. People are not
content to just look, the shorter they are the greater the tendency to
touch…everything, the very short will also attempt to taste as well.

All of these people, no matter how short or irritating, are called ‘ sales
opportunities ‘ and have to be treated as such. I had a bowl of tumble polished
stones and made certain that every inquiring customer received one. Hot gluing
them to business cards might be a good idea as you are not resident. Have
examples of partially cut stones attached to dop sticks illustrating the
progressive steps involved in producing a gem. Have as many cutting designs as
you can lay your hands on to tempt potential custom cutting clients.

For an educational/sales tool take samples of your work in standard cuts using
inexpensive rough such as paler varieties of amethyst, blue topaz and citrine.
Add purchased imported ‘ native cut ‘ examples of one identical coloured,
identical weight counterpart and one identical coloured, identical sized
counterpart. Label these examples with weights sizes and appraised values. I
displayed mine in a large Riker mount box, gem cups are not a good idea for
obvious reasons. With this opportunity to see the difference, your stones even
at full retail compare quite favourably and this is no time to have humble

Remember again this is not a show, you are now a salesman and you have the full
attention of an interested retail customer who is ready to buy, you must take
full advantage of this situation, it is enviable. Immediately stop cutting when
approached and never act as though you want to get back to your stone whilst
the customer is talking to you. i.e. don’t fidget with your machine. Don’t use
cutting or mineralogical jargon and be prepared to answer; what’s that in
inches? over and over. By all means educate but be succinct and always steer
the conversation back to your special talent, the artistic advantage of
informed accurate cutting.

When people realise they have an opportunity to own a unique stone for a few
dollars more than a mass produced item there is very little sales resistance,
your price probably plays a very small part of this decision. When a custom cut
stone is ordered the price plays no part in the buying decision and you can
charge all the way up to full insurance replacement appraised value. The
average faceters major obstacle to loose stone sales is the lack of a skilled
goldsmith to make it wearable, You do not have this problem.

One more time, you are not demonstrating, this is not a show, your faceting
machine has become a sales tool and you have become a salesman. Personal
service is a hard sought commodity in our society and few can boast they have a
gem that was cut for them especially if they get to participate in the design
choice. Don’t diminish your customer’s experience with a low price but be quick
to offer cheaper alternatives, if you see a wince, suggest paler or less
desirable hues, better still suggest they negotiate for a cheaper mount from
the jeweller, maybe 10K rather than 18K

Finally a few more don’ts;
Never identify or value a customers stone, it’s not your job, it’s dangerous.
Say that’s pretty…..often.
Never berate a customers stone or jewellery, even if there are still bits of
Cracker Jack sticking to it.  Say that’s pretty…..often.
Never try to cut or repair anything ‘ while you wait ‘
Never use technical manuals
Never publicly cut anything of value
Never leave stones laying around
Never argue with a customer  (the difficult one)

HTH.  Tony.