The words “Golden Girls” likely bring to mind Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia and the popular 1980s sitcom bearing the same name.
But savvy buyers in the colored stone trade consider Dena, Ella, Kate, and Betsey – the leading ladies of J. Frank Golden & Associates – to be the Golden Girls of gemstones.
While some may affectionately quip that JFG is the acronym for “Just For Girls”, J. Frank Golden has been an important name in the colored stone industry for more than 50 years, synonymous with quality, variety and outstanding service.
Founder and owner Frank Golden nurtured a lifelong affinity for gemstones that began when he started cutting opals in Arizona as a teenager. Before starting JFG in 1970, Frank earned his Graduate Gemology degree from the Gemological Institute of America, where he also served as a student instructor, before his next gig as a staff gemologist for the Army & Air Force Exchange Service.
Frank settled in the Atlanta area, and his business quickly proved that Stone Mountain wasn’t the only reason to think “stone” when you think Georgia. The gem house offers hundreds of varieties, from alexandrite to zircon, as well as lab-created and synthetic stones, gem beads, and pearls.
A pioneer in promoting color, JFG was the first gemstone wholesaler to have a sales catalog and 800-number. JFG stocks an enormous collection of calibrated stones in all sizes and shapes, and larger price-per-carat single stones, with a majority of its products accompanied by a lab report.
The Golden Rule
Second generation JFG, Dena Golden Tanner grew up around gemstones, attending gem and mineral shows, and helping her dad in the family business, stuffing holiday cards in envelopes as a kid. Dena officially joined JFG in 1989. So, when Frank retired in 1995, she was ready to take the helm as president.
Working alongside Dena is Ella Golden-Eskridge, a Golden cousin, who has been with JFG since 1986. A GIA-certified Graduate Gemologist, Ella oversees inventory grading, quality control and buying for JFG, and manages the Stone Gallery on the JFG website, including photographing all of the stones.
In 1995, Kate Spencer came on board as a sales associate, and over the years also took on developing and managing JFG’s Social Media communications. Emigrating from England in 1987, Kate’s British politeness proved to be simpatico with Southern hospitality.
The newest cohort on this collaborative team of women is Betsey Wheeler, who joined JFG last year as sales associate and office assistant. A longtime friend of the Golden family, Betsey has more than 20 years of experience in jewelry retail, custom design, and bench work.
“We have continued to grow throughout the years, but have always remained a family business, and follow the Golden rule that people come first,” describes Dena. “Working side by side with jewelers across the country helps us to be the most comprehensive colored stone source to those who need and want color.”
From serving up homemade gemstone cookies as a holiday treat to providing compelling sales tools and programs, the Golden Girls offer Southern hospitality–style service focused on relationships.
The sitcom’s theme song, “Thank You for Being a Friend” by Andrew Gold, resonates with the Golden Girls of JFG in their view of purpose and how they are all in this together for each other’s success.
Tools of the Trade
Jewelers will find www.jfrankgolden.com to be a tremendous resource that is visually inspiring and chock full of information, including gem facts and gemstone color chart and wheel.
Frank developed the color chart 40 years ago, and Dena says it remains the most popular sales tool, used and copied by many. She believes that the more jewelers are talking about color, whether they are JFG customers or not, the better it is for the entire industry.
Jewelers shopping the Atlanta Jewelry Show, March 10-12, are invited to visit JFG at booth #1116 for a free gemstone sales kit consisting of laminated desktop and poster size versions of the gemstone color chart and color wheel.
Moreover, JFG supplies its gemstone facts on printed cardstock, which it sends out with gem parcels, and also provides to jewelers for sales training and point-of-purchase material.
In addition to its public Facebook page J Frank Golden & Associates, last year JFG launched a private page for jewelers and their customers The JFG Vault that offers shareable images and information to continue the color conversation.
The Stone Gallery on the website shows a portion of in-stock gemstones, with new gems added weekly. Prices are omitted so that jewelers can browse the gem selection with their customers. For pricing and stock information, jewelers can contact JFG via the website, Facebook, Instagram, text, email, or phone.
“Gemstones are not easy to buy online, which is why JFG offers a generous memo program,” Dena explains. “We like to offer alternatives for any featured stones, which often helps jewelers up-sell their customers.”
In fact, JFG offers a 30-day gemstone store memo, with no obligation to buy, featuring an assortment of loose color that includes the current month’s birthstone. It helps drive sales of custom pieces and remounts by introducing unique and unusual colors to a jeweler’s display case.
JFG also helps jewelers on the back-end of their store, providing services from gemstone identification and appraisals to lapidary and bench work.
Color is Trending
Jewelers who are not selling colored gemstones are missing out on sales opportunities, and better margins than they’re used to seeing with diamonds.
Dena notes that the trend for colored stone engagement rings has been great for JFG, broadening its customer base. “In the gemstone category, sapphires are number 1,” cites Dena, “no matter the color.” She also mentions alexandrite and opal among the bridal gem favorites.
Moreover, the Golden Girls stay current on the top fashion colors, recently chatting up Pantone’s 2023 Color, “Viva Magenta,” and the gems that come in this hue like sapphire, rhodolite and Malaya garnet, and rubellite tourmaline.
Dena, Ella, Kate, and Betsey are confident that the gemstone market will continue to be very strong in 2023, and they want to empower jewelers to “add a little color to their sparkle.”
Contact JFG at jfrankgolden.com or 800-241-2165.