Millennial Intel: Insights From Philadelphia’s Cool-Kid Jeweler

Can a jeweler who’s been in business for less than two years have anything valuable to teach you? What if her customer base is 90 percent millennial, and you’re feeling flummoxed by this demo and the kind of engagement rings they want, not to mention their shopping habits and preferences?

Enter Lauren Priori of L.Priori, a by-appointment private jeweler that specializes in custom work and estate jewelry. Based in Philadelphia’s ritzy Rittenhouse Square, Priori has consistently been able to retain millennial clients after an initial consultation by successfully, and instinctually, delivering what they want in a design and customer experience.

“Millennials love the experience of creating and owning a custom-designed, one-of-a-kind piece,” says Priori, a recent Wharton grad and certified gemologist who has previously held positions on the sales floor at Tiffany & Co., a fast-paced diamond auction house in New York City, and on Philadelphia’s Jewelers’ Row. “With so much visual content available to them online, they’re aware of every possible variation, so settling for a ring off the shelf is much less appealing.

“Most jewelers have beautiful pieces, but these tend to be buried in cases full of dated inventory. Keep your collection tightly edited. And the same things apply to the store: If your showcases and carpets are dated and dingy, clients will assume your jewelry is too.

“And remember, today the sales pitch starts well before the client even walks into your store—when they’re looking at your website or reading your Yelp reviews, they’re already deciding if they want to buy from you. Creating trust early on and providing as much content in advance is key.”

Below are some recent L.Priori ring collaborations with local clients whose requests represent a broader millennial customer mindset.

“Let’s Keep This Quick and Painless.”

Morganite ring nontraditional yet feminine

“The customer’s girlfriend had mentioned wanting a morganite because she loves pink and wanted something nontraditional yet feminine. (Often if a customer comes in wanting something nontraditional, it’s because they’ve seen it on my Instagram feed.) The proposal was happening in two weeks but he hadn’t found the right setting and realized he needed to go custom. Each time I contacted him, I gave him as much information as he could possibly need regarding pricing with different metals and how customized we could be within his timeframe. He was able to make a decision within hours of our first email exchange.”

“It Needs to Be Different—and Perfect.”

Custom nature inspired ring

“My clients are increasingly drawn to exploring many of the possibilities of custom design. This bride-to-be came to me in search of something with nature-inspired, delicate details, but the challenge was to create a setting that would still feel strong and sturdy. We went back and forth several times on this design—including three wax reviews—before the ring began to match her vision and we both were happy with it. She loved that we used both CAD and hand engraving to make a piece that was truly one-of-a-kind. ”

“I’m Super Informed, I Already Know I Want to Work With You, and I’m Super Excited Talk About What I Want.”

Custom emerald cut ring

“Millennials are the first generation to have grown up with the internet. They use it to research everything, and along the way, they’ve picked up a lot of information. For jewelers, it can be tough to break through all the conflicting information and assert yourself as the expert to be trusted. This customer had been sure he wanted a round stone, until hours of research online told him that an emerald cut would better show off color and clarity. Our first phone conversation lasted an hour, and it was apparent he had also done his research on me. He referenced rings I had posted to Instagram months and months ago, and he knew my process inside and out.”


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Amy Elliott

JCK Contributing Editor

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