10 Tips for Selling Diamonds This Holiday Season

EditorsNov 27, 2023

10 Tips for Selling Diamonds This Holiday Season

Sales experts and a diamantaire share their best advice on how to send customers home with diamond jewelry.

De Beers Metamorphosis high jewelry earrings
A pair of titanium, gold, and diamond earrings from De Beers’ “Metamorphosis” high jewelry “Winter” collection. Ahead of the holiday season, Associate Editor Lenore Fedow asked three sales experts and a diamantaire for their top tips on how to sell diamonds this year.
With the holiday season swiftly approaching, jewelers are hoping shoppers will have diamond jewelry on their wish lists, but declining demand could put a damper on the festivities.

India has called for a two-month moratorium on rough diamond imports while De Beers Group’s rough diamond sales hit a pandemic-level low as it gives sightholders flexibility in a challenging market. 

While the situation seems uncertain heading into the 2023 holiday season, the jewelry industry may just surprise us like it did during the pandemic. If it does, we’ll likely have savvy salespeople to thank.

In lieu of asking for a holiday miracle, National Jeweler asked sales and diamond experts for their best tips for selling diamonds.

Ask this key question before you show the customer any diamonds.

James “Jimmy” DeGroot, a professional jewelry sales and operations trainer and speaker, has been in the management and jewelry business for more than 20 years.

He shared the importance of knowing what matters to your customer.

Start by asking, “What’s important to you in a diamond?”

“If you don’t know the answer to this question, you’ll waste a lot of time doing show and tell and greatly decrease your connection with the customer and thus your likelihood of closing the sale,” he said.

“You can best guide your customer through the sale by asking great questions rather than pulling out every diamond you have.”

Education at the counter is key.

Pat Henneberry, a sales expert better known to the industry as the “Jewelry Coach,” echoed DeGroot’s sentiment about figuring out what matters to your customer, but also stressed the importance of helping them make an educated choice.

With all the information, reliable or not, available online, it’s important for a salesperson to share their own expertise.

“What bugs the crap out of me is when people say, ‘Let the customer decide,’” said Henneberry, adding this practice is particularly bothersome when it comes to lab-grown versus natural diamonds.

“Customers have no idea what they really want when they walk into your store. Who knows what sites they’ve been reading or where they got their information,” she said.

It’s the job of the sales associate to educate the customer, like about the differences between lab-grown and natural diamonds and their respective value.

“It takes time to walk a customer through what I call ‘their unspoken need,” she said.

“We know sparkle, design and size are important. But now we have to add a new story at the counter and that’s perceived value. What does your customer perceive as valuable?”

To answer this question and better serve the customer, you have to ask relevant questions and answer their inquiries honestly.

Consumers are visiting jewelers for guidance.

Mark Klein, vice president of wholesaler Julius Klein Diamonds, shared his experience with speaking to retailers who aren’t exactly sure what their customer wants.

Poor communication leads to a lot of back-and-forth between the wholesaler and the retailer, and, ultimately, can make for an unhappy end consumer.

“I feel like there’s not enough hand-holding at the counter,” said Klein.

Customers easily can buy a ring online so if they’ve walked into a store instead, that means they’re looking for an expert opinion.

“They’re walking into the store, they’re looking for guidance, they’re looking for someone who is professional and can guide them through the step-by-step process,” he said. “People are still coming in because they want that experience.”

That is why, Klein noted, personal jewelers and concierge shopping services are becoming more popular.

“Get as much clear and concise information from your customer as possible. Really, truly understand what they need and what you can offer them. That way, you can make a sale coming from the store or call one of your suppliers and get the right thing at the right time,” he said.

The benefits come after the features.

Once you’ve established what the customer wants and values, including their budget and personal style preferences, then you can get into the details.

“Explain the benefit of [lab-grown and natural] to your customer. But remember, the benefits come after features and never give features without telling the benefit to them individually,” said DeGroot.

For example, a salesperson would say to their customer Sarah, “This natural diamond has that warmer color characteristic that you asked for so that it matches perfectly in your grandmother’s ring.”  

“The feature is the color and the benefit to Sarah is that it matches grandmother’s side melee,” he said.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Don’t focus only on the price.

Price may not be of the utmost importance to every customer.

“If you’re new to the jewelry business in the past few years, you may have found it rather easy to sell lab-grown diamonds because of the price,” said De Groot.

“More seasoned veterans, however, understand that there’s so much more to our industry than price.” 

When salespeople listen to their customers and assess what’s important to them, the answer won’t always be size and price, he said.

“We need to stay sharp as sales professionals and be able to match our customer’s desires to the appropriate product. This takes ongoing training and practice.”

Don’t undersell.

Peter Smith, a sales expert, author, and National Jeweler columnist, shared his advice for working with a customer’s budget.

“Don’t undersell the customer. Once you’ve established their budget, know that it is a safety net only, not what they are willing to spend,” he said.

“What they’re actually saying is, ‘Here’s my low bar, but feel free to inspire me.’”

Smith recommended keeping in mind the paradox of choice, which is the theory that limiting the number of choices and only showing customers a few things makes for a better, less stressful experience.

Show three items, he said, including one at their budget, one that’s twice their budget, and one that’s somewhere in the middle.

This will make a huge difference in your average ticket, he said.

Customers presume higher prices mean better quality, he added.

“If you are selling lab-grown [diamonds], sell bigger and watch your average ticket. Don’t unwittingly conspire to reduce your average ticket and hurt your business, and disappoint the customer,” said Smith.

The best way to measure value, he said, is by how satisfied the customer is.

“No customer wants to second-guess whether they got the best discount or not as they leave your store. Inspire the customer to spend more and dispense with any regret they may have about pricing nonsense.”

For engagement ring purchases, send the customer on a fact-finding mission.

Klein shared helpful advice for salespeople to pass along to customers looking to buy an engagement ring for their significant other.

When friends ask him about ring prices, specifically how much they should spend, he tells them to look at the rings of friends or family members who have recently gotten engaged. 

Their partner likely will expect a ring that’s about the same size and quality.

“If everyone they know in the neighborhood is getting a 1-carat, you should get them a 1-carat,” he suggested.

That isn’t true for everyone, admitted Klein, as some people will have their own style or value different things, but it’s common practice to compare your ring with those of friends and family, and buying accordingly could make for a happier customer.

Ask for the sale.

Smith has written an entire column for National Jeweler dedicated to this tip.

“Customers say yes about 70 percent of the time when a salesperson asks for the sale in an assertive and confident manner,” according to Smith’s column, citing data from sales expert Jeb Blount.

The most talented salespeople tend to be optimistic, noted Smith, and want to provide good service to their customers.

They don’t fear rejection or take it personally, and don’t worry about making customers feel uncomfortable by asking for the sale.

Storytelling is an essential element.

Henneberry is a big believer in the power of storytelling, so much so that she teaches a class on it.

“Share the stories of famous natural diamonds, such as the Hope Diamond or the Koh-i-Noor, to evoke a sense of wonder and history. [There are] many great stories to share,” she said.

When selling natural diamonds, note that customers tend to associate them with tradition, heritage, and sentimental value, said Henneberry.

By tapping into these emotions, you can create a stronger connection with the customer.

For sustainability-focused customers, share stories, when applicable, about the diamond’s origin, she said. “Ethical and responsible sourcing practices can be a compelling selling point for natural diamonds,” said Henneberry.

Lastly, natural diamonds often have unique characteristics, like inclusions and color variations, which can be a motivating selling point.

“Highlight these distinct features as part of their charm,” she suggested.

Be honest about trade-ins and buybacks.

The future value, or possible lack thereof, of lab-grown diamonds has been a hot topic in the industry.

“Many stores are having customers actually sign a receipt to the effect that the future value of lab-grown diamonds is undetermined and that trade-ins and buybacks cannot be guaranteed,” said De Groot.

While there also is uncertainty about natural diamond prices, he said, they tend to be more stable. 

“Make no guarantees outside of your individual store policies on trades and buybacks. Whatever your individual store’s policy is on any diamonds you sell, know it well and be sure to inform your customer of your store’s policies before they purchase.”

The Latest

Van Cleef & Arpels tie necklace
AuctionsMay 23, 2024
Sotheby’s to Offer Rare VCA Necklace, ‘Lavender Dream’ Diamond

A tie necklace from Van Cleef & Arpels and a pinkish purple diamond are highlights of the upcoming New York jewelry auction.

Tiffany Venetian glass bead ear clips
TrendsMay 23, 2024
State of Jewelry Design: 3 Themes That Will Shape the Next 5 Years

Color, storytelling, and the use of nonconventional materials are the signatures of today’s most innovative and influential designers.

Inoveo Platinum
MajorsMay 23, 2024
PGI to Debut New Platinum Alloy in Las Vegas

Inoveo Platinum will be distributed exclusively by Stuller in the U.S.

1872 x 1052 Gemolite.jpg
Brought to you by
Meet Gemology’s Next Generation Microscope: GIA® Gemolite® NXT Professional Edition

GIA®’s most advanced microscope has new features to optimize greater precision and comfort.

Alan Hart Headshot
MajorsMay 23, 2024
Gem-A CEO Alan Hart Resigns

He is stepping down in August after eight years as CEO.

Weekly QuizMay 23, 2024
This Week’s Quiz
Test your jewelry news knowledge by answering these seven questions.
Take the Quiz
Rose cut arch cabochons Columbia Gem House
SourcingMay 22, 2024
State of Colored Stones: Why the Market Is More Colorful Than Ever

As prices of “The Big Three” skyrocket, supply dwindles, and focus on sustainability grows, an age of open-mindedness is dawning.

The Eden Rose, a 10.20-carat fancy intense pink diamond
AuctionsMay 22, 2024
Christie’s Website Back Online, Announces Plans to Auction 10-Carat Pink Diamond

The fancy intense pink “The Eden Rose” is estimated to sell for up to $12 million at the New York “Magnificent Jewels” sale next month.

Royal Chain gold chains
Brought to you by
Record Gold Prices Have Consumers Undeterred. Here’s Why.

Despite the rising prices, consumers continue to seek out the precious metal.

Pandora Essence jewelry
CollectionsMay 22, 2024
Pandora’s New Jewelry Collection Reimagines the Essentials

The “Pandora Essence” collection brings a contemporary and sculptural feel to staples like gold hoops and pearl necklaces.

Instore show 2024
Events & AwardsMay 22, 2024
InStore ‘Cram Day’ To Focus on Lab-Grown Diamond Education

The limited-seating learning event precedes its second annual trade show, which starts Aug. 11.

Swarovski New York City flagship
IndependentsMay 21, 2024
State of Retail: 4 Retail Design Trends for 2024

From lighter color palettes to the integration of AR, experts offer inspiration for jewelers in need of an aesthetic refresh.

Dame Shirley Bassey’s
AuctionsMay 21, 2024
Dame Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds Are Ready for Their Encore

Sotheby’s will auction jewelry belonging to the “Diamonds Are Forever” singer in Paris this October.

National Jeweler columnist Sherry Smith
ColumnistsMay 21, 2024
Successful Vendor Relationships: A Win-Win Approach

Sherry Smith shares tips for fostering successful vendor-retailer partnerships, from marketing investment to fast-seller replenishment.

Jennifer Herold, Independent Jewelers Organization vice president
IndependentsMay 21, 2024
Jennifer Herold Promoted to VP at IJO

Herold has been with the organization for 22 years and will continue in her current role of conference director.

Studs pop-up
MajorsMay 20, 2024
Studs Opens Luxury Piercing Pop-Up in NYC

“Fancy Studs” will feature revamped branding and a new lab-grown diamond fine jewelry collection.

Nivoda executive team at table
SourcingMay 20, 2024
2 Business-to-Business Platforms Secure Millions in Funding

Nivoda and Liquid Diamonds both have big plans for the new capital.

Stuller Packaging & Displays 2024-2025 catalog
MajorsMay 20, 2024
Stuller Issues New Packaging & Display Catalog

The 2024-2025 edition features new colors and styles, as well as storytelling elements.

Elephants wading in the Okavango Delta in Botswana
SourcingMay 20, 2024
State of the Diamond Industry: Botswana Beyond Diamonds

From moringa to ecotourism in the Okavango Delta, the country and its leaders are exploring how Botswana can diversify its economy.

Rough diamonds from De Beers
SourcingMay 20, 2024
Anglo American Confirms It Is Looking to Sell De Beers

The mining giant also wants to offload its platinum business as part of an overhaul designed to “unlock significant value.”

Buccellati jewelry
FinancialsMay 17, 2024
Richemont Appoints Van Cleef & Arpels’ Nicolas Bos as New CEO

The announcement coincided with its full-year results, with growth driven by its jewelry brands.

Watches of Switzerland Mall of America store
FinancialsMay 17, 2024
Watches of Switzerland’s Fiscal-Year Sales Flat

Looking ahead, the retailer said it sees “enormous potential” in Roberto Coin’s ability to boost its branded jewelry business.

My Next Question webinar series graphic
Recorded WebinarsMay 17, 2024
Watch: Preparing for Trade Show Success

Jewelry trade show veterans share strategies for engaging buyers, managing your time effectively, and packing the right shoes.

Cartier ring-tailed lemur brooch circa 1991
AuctionsMay 17, 2024
Piece of the Week: Cartier’s Ring-Tailed Lemur

This little guy’s name is Ricky and he just sold for more than $200,000 at Sotheby’s Geneva jewelry auction.

202.18 carat fancy intense yellow diamond The Yellow Rose
AuctionsMay 16, 2024
Christie’s Holds 2 Sales Despite Cyberattack

Though its website has been down for a week, Christie’s proceeded with its jewelry and watch auctions on May 13-14, bringing in nearly $80 million.

The Allnatt yellow diamond
AuctionsMay 16, 2024
Sotheby’s Withdraws 101-Carat Yellow Diamond from Auction

Despite the absence of “The Allnatt,” Sotheby’s Geneva jewelry auction totaled $34 million, with 90 percent of lots sold.

National Jeweler columnist Lilian Raji
ColumnistsMay 16, 2024
The PR Adviser: What the Designer Should’ve Done

Lilian Raji gives advice to designers on how to make the most of great publicity opportunities.

Mothae Diamond Mine Lesotho
SourcingMay 16, 2024
Lucapa to Shed Stake in Lesotho Diamond Mine

The mining company wants to divest its 70 percent holding in the Mothae Diamond Mine in an effort to streamline its portfolio.


This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy