CAN A SMALL DEALER AFFECT THE COLOR TRENDS OF THE INDUSTRY IN THE SAME WAY THAT BUTTERFLIES AFFECT THE WORLD’S CLIMATE?Nov 01, 2005 - I am a veteran of the trade and I’ve heard lots of stories, which were told to me by prominent or less prominent figures in the trade. But this last story I heard, which is unfolding in the jewelry industry right before our very eyes, has astounded me.
Just before breaking my arm very badly in Bangkok and realizing that cracks in bones are really much worse than cracks in gems, I had an opportunity to meet with a dear friend of mine, a connoisseur of gems and yet not one of the biggest dealers of all. What he told me amazed me.
He started by saying “you know, everyone in the trade thinks that brown and brownish colors are unattractive to our customers. When you so much as mention brown in conjunction with a certain gem or a certain color, your customer always thinks that it is inferior.” Then he hit me with his declaration, “Can you believe I have changed this concept in the jewelry trade this year?”
Well, it was only lunchtime and he was certainly not drunk. He is a serious person so I began to wonder what on earth he is talking about, to which he unfolded the following story.
“About a year and a half ago I visited Africa with my dear better half, to enjoy Safaris together and to show her what her husband does as a gem buyer. In one of the offices a dealer came to me with a bunch of cut, brown stones and asked me if I would be interested in buying them, to which I immediately uttered, “really brown, you must be joking! Who would buy such gems?” Though being silent most of the trip to Africa, my better half suddenly showed intense interest in those brown gems saying, “wow, aren’t earth colors very popular with everything today?” Well, he tells me, ‘I decided there and then to take my wife’s word for it to buy almost a kilo of this brown rough’.
“Time passed, a few months went by and I sent the parcel to be cut, only to receive many more brown stones, which I knew had no chance on the market, unless a miracle would happen.
By chance, I took the stones with me to the U.S. with all the rest of my goods, all very saleable blues, greens and reds. Sales were mediocre. Then at the last minute, I decided to show my customer, a very prominent jeweler, those very peculiar brown colors. I don’t think that he was really impressed until his wife suddenly walked into the meeting room where I was showing him those brown stones, looked at them and said, “Wow, Earth Tones”. I immediately realized that these were no longer “brown stones”, but from then on, “Earth Tones”. To cut a long story short, he bought the lot from me and since then, suddenly, one can see plenty of jewelry with Earth tones stones set into them.”
‘I don’t want to be too big headed,’ he tells me, “but I believe that I have changed the concept of people to those colors in the same way that butterflies can affect the world’s climate.
” What on earth (tone) is he talking about? That I leave for you to decide, but would you believe that only a couple of weeks ago I received a call from one of my customers asking for... Earth Tones!
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