Customer Watch: Journeys of the Eye

Visiting a local jewelry store last week for an event featuring mini-image consultations relating to my new book, Jewelry Savvy, I was asked for my opinion as to which of two pearl drop necklaces better suited the customer who was trying to decide between them.


Both necklaces were crafted of yellow gold adorned with a center drop element featuring South Seas pearls and accented with diamonds. Choice A had a pair of large light and dark golden pearls dropping from two fine chains of slightly staggered lengths; Choice B, a single graduated line of three large pearls separated by gold spacers and dropping down from the center of the necklace in increasingly larger sizes and gradually darker hues of silver, gold and brown from top to bottom.


Although, at first blush, the necklaces were similar in composition and even to the extent that they included a dangling center element, the necklace designs sent very different messages. The double drop had a more playful quality due to the movement of the chains weighted by pearls, and the diamonds served as charming accents. In contrast, the single drop necklace was much more formal in feeling, and the diamonds on it appeared more prominent in part because of its static design.


But beyond those considerations, what struck me is the effect of the pearls of Choice B in the journey it took my eye. It was as if the three pearls were like steps progressing downward, with the heaviest point at the bottom, which is where my glance was directed and landed, almost as if with a thud. 


What was particularly noticeable as I considered the customer’s choices, was how Choice B repeated and therefore emphasized the physical characteristics of the customer. This particular customer had a pear-shaped body, with her shoulders noticeably narrower than her hips. The style of the necklace mirrored the way she carried the weight of her body. This in itself is not a bad thing unless the customer does not wish to highlight her natural body shape. More often than not, however, larger hips and thighs are not the feature most women want to highlight. The effect of the pearls was to draw attention down to her hips.


The “journey” style of diamond pendants tends not to have the same effect as Choice B for a couple of reasons. Typically the diamonds are set right next to one another without the spacers that emphasized the increasingly larger, heavier pearls used in Choice B. And of course, there’s the simple matter of size. The pearls were enormous and therefore had a powerful effect in directing the focus downward. If the customer was wearing diamonds the size of those pearls, however, no one’s attention would likely ever be on anything but her diamonds!


This story of pearl necklace choices is an excellent example of why it is important to consider jewelry as it relates to the physical person of your customer. Assess the effect of the jewelry on the customer, and notice whether and how it directs your eye. Have the customer view her jewelry selections in a full-length mirror so she can also see their respective effects. In many cases, her decision will become much easier and she will be thrilled with the result.

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