With back to school this season, here are some helpful sources that can keep you up to date with the latest information.
September is traditionally the month when students begin to return to school and buy the tools they will need to succeed in their classes. But what about your professional studies? Could it do with a polish?
If so, now might be a good time to think about how you can further your knowledge without having to study full-time. Information about diamonds, gemstones and jewelry is constantly changing, so it’s important to stay up to date, no matter your level of expertise.
A great way to boost your industry knowledge in your spare time is to pick up a book. There are many I could highlight, but a few diamond-focused picks to get you started are Diamond jewellery: 700 years of glory and glamor by Diana Scarisbrick; Diamonds: Solid Rock’s quest for the magic of diamonds by Christine Gordon; Diamonds: Diamond Stories by Assouline in partnership with Only Natural Diamonds; and American Cup: The First 100 Years by Al Gilbertson. One of my favorites is Diamonds by Marijan Dundek, which is now available in seven languages in print and e-book format.
A matter of course
During the pandemic, we all realized that while there are huge benefits to studying in person alongside your peers, you don’t have to be in a classroom to learn. For those of us with full-time jobs, online courses are much easier to fit into work. Additionally, you can attend any global school offering digital learning programs, wherever you are based.
A quick Google search will show you the growing number of jewelry and gemstone courses available online, but there are a few that I would highlight in particular. For the basics of gemology, try the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), Gübelin Academy, or the International Gem Society (IGS). For marketing and retail, Rapaport Academy is a great resource. Sotheby’s Institute of Art, on the other hand, offers a course called ‘Principles of Luxury’ which will give you an insight into the wider luxury industry.
Prefer a hands-on approach? I got you. If you are able to travel to the southern United States, there are two remaining De Beers “Introduction to the 4Cs Workshop” courses taking place this year: one in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 20, and the other in Dallas, Texas on Oct. 11.
Keeping up with industry news is another good way to improve your knowledge base and gather interesting insights that you can share with customers to show off your expertise. The GIA’s website is rich in information, as is that of the Fancy Color Research Foundation (FCRF), which has an expert “lounge” section filled with articles, reports and analysis on diamonds from fancy color.
Trade magazines are essential for anyone wishing to expand their knowledge, and many glossy magazines and newspapers regularly publish supplements devoted to jewelry. These can be especially helpful in understanding what your customers might discover.
You can also use social media to follow influencers who offer insight into different facets of our industry. Danielle Miele of the Gem Gossip blog shares information on antique jewelry, while fellow blogger Katerina Perez is a great source of fine jewelry inspiration. Top Notch Faceting’s Jean-Noel Soni will thrill any gemstone lover’s heart with his richly saturated imagery of custom cuts.
And don’t forget to use your own social media profiles to spread your passion and pass on what you’ve learned. The more you can educate your customers, the better. I have so much fun creating reels on Instagram that share my educational journey with my followers.
Tools of the trade
While digital media is a great channel for sharing information, you should also take your knowledge to the store — and why not implement a tool or two to help your customers appreciate diamonds better?
Use a gem tester, such as the GIA iD100, to show them the difference between lab-grown stones and natural diamonds. Or take advantage of instruments like the GIA Match iD, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to match a diamond’s listing with its GIA grading report. The consumer can then use an app to view the report digitally. It’s eco-friendly (paperless), user-friendly, compact and affordable, and it’s definitely something I’ll add to my own September back-to-school wishlist.
Article from Rapaport Magazine – September 2022. To subscribe click here.