Your Turn

In this column, members of the jewelry industry can state their views, wax poetic or otherwise pen their thoughts in slightly longer form than the traditional letter to the editor. We welcome your submissions. Please send them to P.J. Donahue, JCK, One Chilton Way, Radnor, PA 19089; fax (610) 964-4481, e-mail pdonahue@chilton.net.

Embarrassed by retail jewelers

Having just returned from Basel, I have reaffirmed an old conviction I wish weren’t true. Retail jewelers from the United States are some of the rudest people I know.

A few years back, my wife and I were having dinner in New York during the summer show. The waiter offered us after-dinner drinks as an apology for the “loud and obnoxious jewelers” a few tables away. The next night we attended the Plumb Club dinner with Gladys Knight as the entertainer. The whole room buzzed with conversation during her performance. We were embarrassed.

In Basel, Bulgari hosted a beautiful party with talented singers. Big video screens were positioned so everyone could see. Still, the audience talked. Some even yelled to be heard over the entertainment. We were horrified.

I wish my colleagues would be respectful of those who enjoy a quiet restaurant, a beautiful party, and fine entertainment. Shame on you for being so rude and selfish.

W. Gregory Mendell Kerns of Burlingame Burlingame, Calif.

How to win back our reputation

I watched with dismay the newsmagazine “Extra” on May 20 as our industry suffered the humiliation of yet another damaging exposé. The spotlight found three individuals in New York whose incompetence and lack of integrity tarred our industry. As a result, more than 5 million viewers could be forgiven for thinking that the jewelry industry isn’t to be trusted.

I say enough is enough. I urge the industry to unite and demonstrate professional competence to the consumer. “Extra,” “Dateline NBC,” “Prime Time,” and other TV shows are relentless in their sensational claims that our industry can’t be trusted. They prove their point to the public and our whole industry suffers from the gemological ignorance of a small minority.

We can win back our reputation by promoting professional competence. If ever there was a time for GIA graduates to prove themselves, this is it. Dust off those diplomas and get your gemologists out from the back room. Well-educated staff are the front-line troops responsible for saving our industry’s credibility. The media are teaching consumers to ask the right questions, and we must be ready with the right answers. Make sure your staff is professionally qualified, and make sure your customers know it.

William E. Boyajian President Gemological Institute of America