This month, JCK debuts “’Net News,” a column featuring Internet trends and, in the tradition of Netscape Navigator™, sections called “What’s New” and “What’s Cool.” “What’s New” will list new jewelry-related Web sites and “What’s Cool” will feature useful, original sites discovered by JCK staff in the course of surfing the World Wide Web.
Rapaport explains benefits of doing business on-line
Need a diamond? It can be right there, right now, with the help of on-line trading sites such as Rapnet (http://www.diamonds.net), Martin Rapaport said at a recent speaking engagement.
Rapaport is the publisher of the Rapaport Diamond Report and creator of Rapnet, a diamond and jewelry site on the World Wide Web that provides registered members with prices and statistics and acts as a trading forum for industry members.
“The Internet has the potential to revolutionize the way diamonds are traded. Retailers, armed with extensive market inventory and price information, can now provide superior service to consumers,” Rapaport said.
Retailers who are looking for a specific stone can browse through the on-line electronic inventories of Rapnet and other trading sites, he said.
The Internet is still in its infancy, but jewelers should get in on the ground level of the important technology, he said. “Electronic commercial space has become more relevant,” he said. “There is a need for both an electronic and a physical space. A Web page keeps a retailer’s name out in front of the customer.”
Next issue: How safe is it to do business on the Internet?
http://www.jewelrymall.com: Jewelry Mall is a colorful, well-organized marketplace of jewelry retailers and designers, jewelry and craft malls, gem shows and wholesalers.
Designed to bring jewelers to the buying public’s fingertips, the “mall” is not a shopping site but a lengthy list of links to retail outlets, carefully explaining that only buyers with resale licenses may buy from the listed wholesalers. The site divides the listed jewelry retailers – everybody from craftspeople using glass, beads, bone and crystals to fine jewelers specializing in custom design – into five price categories, from under $50 to over $1,250.
Gem show listings are worldwide, featuring gem and mineral fairs that are open to the public (and aren’t to be found on most industry trade show calendars). The site also features a list of on-line “malls,” similar to Jewelry Mall, that link users to artisans and virtual craft stores and antique shops on the Internet.
For fun, the site also offers information on birthstones; Zodiac star-sign stones; U.S. state gemstones, minerals and rocks; and therapeutic uses for gemstones. You can also brush up on some really corny jewelry jokes (Q: What did the diamond say when it crossed the road? A: I’m not as cheap as a chicken.)
Jewelers can be linked to Jewelry Mall free for four months. The site also offers 1 MB of storage space for jewelers’ home pages at $10 a month or $110 a year, and will create a page for $75. The site is linked to Yahoo! under “jewelry” and is a member of the Internet Link Exchange (http://www.diamonds.net). For more information, e-mail lorraine@ jewelrymall.com.
http://www.virjewel.com: Virjewel is a jewelry shopping site that went on-line in March, aiming not only to sell but to educate consumers about jewelry. Virjewel offers more than 120 styles of rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and men’s jewelry, and more styles from other manufacturers will be offered. Arthur Tschopp of Insiteful Interactive Marketing, the site’s administrator, describes the current offerings as mostly “low end,” with retail prices ranging from $44.12 for a ruby/diamond, emerald/diamond or sapphire/diamond ring, to $1,230 for a 1-ct. t.w. diamond anniversary ring. Most prices are under $300, Tschopp says.
About two-thirds of the site is devoted to basic information about jewelry, including the 4Cs, colored stones and jewelry arts. “We want consumers to know what they are buying,” says Tschopp. “We anticipate that they will shop to compare our prices and quality, and with this knowledge, they will know the kind of questions to ask. Then they’ll see that we offer a good quality product at a good price.”
Virjewel provides a list of FAQ’s (frequently asked questions), such as “Where do diamonds, gemstones and gold come from?”; “What makes colored gemstones valuable?”; “What’s the difference between natural
gemstones and created gemstones?”; “How is jewelry made?”; and “What’s the difference between 10k, 14k and 24k gold?” Colorful maps and diagrams show the origins of gemstones and step-by-step processes such as lost wax casting.
While the site makes a case for buying jewelry through the Internet, Tschopp says he doesn’t anticipate Virjewel or any other Internet jewelry shopping site replacing a jewelry store. “We will peacefully coexist with the retail jeweler,” he says. “It’s like the videocassette. People thought it would replace movies, but the opposite was the case. Movies became even more popular.”
Tschopp, a graduate gemologist, has 14 years of experience in the jewelry industry and has served as marketing/advertising director for Don Roberto Jewelers, a 46-store chain in California and Texas. He combined his jewelry knowledge and experience with the interactive marketing know-how of Jay Stoegbauer, president of Insiteful, to create Virjewel.
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
http://www.isa-appraisers.org: What elements make up a good appraisal? What questions should you ask when hiring an appraiser? What’s your
Find out at the International Society of Appraisers Web site. One of the best-organized appraisers’ sites on the Internet, the home page is frame-based, allowing users to click easily from one topic to another. Users can search for ISA appraisers by state or keyword (type “jewelry” to find jewelry appraisers, for example). The site also features a list of topics useful for helping consumers and businesspeople understand the basics of appraisals.
The site also serves ISA by offering membership information, the ISA Code of Ethics, a course schedule and conference information.
For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
Romanoff International Supply Corp., a jewelry manufacturing equipment supplier, is on the World Wide Web at http://www.romanoff. com. The site provides company news and information about monthly specials. Users can request items from the Romanoff catalog or e-mail technical questions and receive answers in under 24 hours. Romanoff International Supply Corp., Nine DeForest St., Amityville, NY 11701; (516) 842-2400, fax (516) 842-0028, e-mail romanoff1@aol. com.
Creor Inc., Hanover, Mass., launched a Web site at http://www. creor.com. The site specializes in 18k gold jewelry and watches primarily from Italy and France. Viewers can click through 30 pages filled with graphics and descriptions of products and then can access an order form. The site accepts major credit cards using a Secure Sockets Layer server environment. Creor Inc., P.O. Box 2170, Hanover, MA 02339; (888) 88-CREOR or (617) 826-7183, fax (617) 826-7527, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.