While working in my retail store I was approached by a young, intelligent and educated couple. They had recently graduated from college and were engaged. It was time for a wedding band.
The young girl was an aspiring artist and her fiancée was a tech guy. Their engagement ring seemed relatively simple so I asked what they were looking for in a wedding band. They wanted, “Something with a few conflict-free diamonds.” Ok, we can use grown diamonds instead of mined diamonds.
Then he adamantly insisted, “Also, we need it to be created with Spanish gold!” “Spanish gold?” I asked. “Yes!” the young man stated, boasting that the Etsy site he purchased the ring from only uses Spanish gold because it is the best and is more environmentally friendly.
Fifty years of experience as a jeweler, and generations of family history of goldsmiths that dates back to the 15th century, and I was stunned to hear of this Spanish gold. Serving as a city environmental department head for several years did not even bring this “environmentally friendly gold source” to my attention.
I tried to get the customer to understand that gold was gold and it wasn’t different based on where it was from. Again the customer insisted, “We’ll only use Spanish gold!” Also, he needed us to create the ring because the Etsy site didn’t do wedding bands.
Finally, baffled by his insistence, I asked how he knew it was Spanish gold and not just a marketing scheme. “Look it’s clearly stamped on the inside of the ring! See the cool S for Spanish gold!”
I looked at the ring and sure enough, there was a very obvious S stamped inside. I recognized immediately that all too familiar scrolled S logo of a popular company based in Louisiana that we all know.
Today there is so much information on the internet and so much misinformation or marketing scams. Even those of us educated in the industry have to be careful and watchful for the scams, but we also have to politely educate our customers.
It’s not the customer’s fault that they fall prey to clever marketing. We should be honest and straight up with customers but don’t resent them because they got some bad information from another source.
More and more jewelers are getting bombarded with gimmicky marketing terms that some retailers use to stand out. Things like Hidden Halo, Mustache setting, Magic set diamonds, and a thousand other terms for things that look like diamonds but aren’t. We need to educate our customers and tell them that not all jewelry retailers use the same terminology for essentially the same thing.
In the end the customer appreciated the information about the marketing gimmick and I ended up building them a beautiful ring that they loved. However, we just used gold, not “Spanish gold”.