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Missed opportunity: Gemmology stories from the frontlines

In an age where information is readily available over the Internet, consumers are better able to determine the accuracy of your sales associates’ statements regarding a product. As such, is education a priority in your store?

A couple of weeks later we received an irate phone call from the e-tailer who had sold that fancy-colour diamond to our client. He claimed we had undervalued the stone and cost him a sale. After the phone call, I searched for this person’s name online and managed to find his website. His e-store featured a large collection of fancy-colour diamonds—one of them was the stone we had appraised. This diamond was accompanied by an appraisal that valued it at more than double what we indicated. In this case, the seller relied on an overstated appraisal report to justify his selling price. He refused to take into account that in a highly competitive retail market, profit margins in the hundreds of percentages do not exist, unless you are a well-established brand or have exclusive access to a product that cannot be easily compared in price to another.

As information becomes more readily available, it is increasingly apparent businesses need to put their best foot forward every single time they interact with a consumer. Knowledgeable staff can make or break a sale and misrepresenting a product is a sure-fire way to ultimately destroy a business. With all the time and money that goes into running a profitable operation, a lack of education should not be the one thing that destroys your efforts.

Hemdeep-PatelHemdeep Patel is head of marketing and product development of Toronto-based HKD Diamond Laboratories Canada, an advanced gemstone and diamond laboratory with locations in Bangkok, Thailand, and Mumbai, India. He also leads Creative CADworks, a 3-D CAD jewellery design and production firm. Holding a B.Sc. in physics and astronomy, Patel is a third-generation member of the jewellery industry, a graduate gemmologist, and vice-president of the Ontario chapter of the GIA alumni association. He can be contacted via e-mail at or

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