Roundtables: The Hot New Way for Retailers to Sell Colored Stones

Lois Wacholtz is considered by many to be the pioneer of roundtable sales. That’s because on a Saturday in September 1987, the co-owner of Christopher’s Fine Jewelry Design in Champaign, Ill., set up some card tables in her store and invited seven colored stone–loving clients to come in for an afternoon to indulge their passion.Longtime gemstone dealer Barney Goff, now deceased, had pitched her the idea of ­having an intimate sales event, and when given the chance, brought in a rich selection of loose faceted rubies, garnets, sapphires, and tourmalines as well as cabochon cuts of moonstone and hunks of agate for Wacholtz to show her clients.A patron considers how a colored stone looks on her hand.As Goff passed the stones around in their gemstone papers—“because it sent the message of opening a present,” says Wacholtz—the store’s jewelry designer (and Wacholtz’s partne

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