E-myth, diamonds key topics at AGS Conclave

The American Gem Society’s annual Conclave opened Wednesday in Atlanta with a rousing keynote address by Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth business books.

Speaking to an audience of approximately 650 attendees, Gerber highlighted key reasons why entrepreneurs don’t achieve their fullest potential.

“Most entrepreneurs are not really entrepreneurs. They’re technicians having an entrepreneurial seizure,” he said, meaning that most small business owners know about the product they’re selling when they should really focus on becoming experts in the system of doing business.

“You’re so busy doing it, doing it, doing it,” he said, “that the things you can’t [don’t have time] to do are your most significant opportunities.”

Other Conclave education sessions focused on using diamond cut to increase sales, a rousing, standing-room-only seminar presented by retailer Mark Moeller and AGS’s Peter Yantzer. Yantzer discussed the technical aspects of evaluating a diamond’s cut, and Moeller discussed how to use those aspects at the counter. Moeller said 80% of his diamond sales come from branded stones (Hearts on Fire and Lazare Kaplan) and that he is making 40-50% gross profit on diamond sales.

He presented four concepts for jewelers to tell customers to ask the competition when they shop for diamonds:

* Is your optimal viewing distance 10 inches?

* What is the diamond’s performance—how does it do what a diamond does best [sparkle].

* How does it perform when tilted? A fine-make diamond will perform better when the hand is tilted.

* How is its contrast between light and dark spots?

Selling “the dream” of diamonds was the focus of Friday’s breakfast presentation from the Diamond Promotion Service. S. Lynn Diamond and Diane Warga-Arias discussed the importance of selling the dream, not the deal. In an effort to transform the way the industry sells diamonds from a price-centered commodity to a luxury item, the DPS presented both highlights of its upcoming advertising campaigns for three-stone diamond anniversary rings and the diamond right-hand ring, and a separate series of vignettes about innovative retailing. In that segment, Warga-Arias explained the importance of experiential retailing and selling to fulfill an emotional need.

JCK Senior Editor Carrie Soucy also hosted a standing-room-only session titled “Fashion Facets,” which covered the coming color and style trends for fall fashion. Key color trends for fall include purple and deep burgundies, plus the warm browns instead of gray or black for the neutral palette. The chandelier is out, replaced by long slender drop earrings. The drop silhouette is still important but the long skinny drop is the newest interpretation.

Social/educational highlights included the Supplier’s Fashion Show luncheon, featuring models wearing jewelry from AGS suppliers. The show, which had a ‘60s theme, was co-narrated by Bill Sites, incoming AGS president, and Hedda Schupak, JCK editor-in-chief. The finale was the presentation of Michael Werdiger’s glamorous evening dress studded with champagne diamonds, the most-downloaded image from the Oscars’ red carpet.

Friday’s lunch presentation was the annual “Brightest Facet” game show, again following a Sixties theme. Narrated by AGTA Executive Director Douglas Hucker, the theme was AGS history, in honor of its 70th anniversary. The winner was appraiser Davia Kramer.