I Love My Job! The REAL question

It was a stunning view, we were on a bluff that over looked the city, the stars had all come out for the event, and even the moon was in full display. The city lights below shone like a bed of gemstones atop a lit table. I turned to look at him and he was not towering over me at his 6'4" height - he was kneeling. He took my hand and softly spoke my name and from that moment on I cannot exactly remember what was said. I do recall pulling him up, by his shirt, from his knee and hugging him with all my might. I knew there was a ring on my finger, but I had no clue what it looked like. All I knew was that at some point he said, "Will you marry me?" and I said, "Yes." As proposals go - it may not have been the best; however it could not have been bad - after all I said, "Yes" and we have been married for 23 years.

Now some twenty+ years later, I get a glimpse into my husband's preparation for that unforgettable night. I am the retail jeweler that plays a part in that night by assisting in the selection of the "symbol" of that request, commitment and promise.

I must admit that as each hopeful groom passes through my door I get more and more confused and at a loss to understand this next generation. I recently had a client come in to purchase an engagement ring. He came through the door saying that she wanted a 1+ carat round brilliant diamond with a good color, ideal cut and good clarity. After spending 3 hours with him, attempting the impossible (made impossible by his $2K budget), I sent him out the door to rethink things. He could not give her what she wanted and spend what he wanted. I told him, "Welcome to the world of marriage - marriage is about compromise and one of you has to bend." I explained that I would love to help him in his quest however his quest had to be reasonable.

As he left I wondered what her proposal would look like. Would they stand on a bluff in the beauty of the night, with him on one knee? Would she pull him to his feet by his shirt and proclaim, "YES" or would she say, "Well, I do not know. Let me run back to the car to view the ring in the light." Would she say, "I will give you my answer in the morning when I can see the ring"?

Yesterday I met with a client that was looking for a "certified" diamond. It had to have papers. I have no issue with that, but I will admit that his insistence had caught me a bit off guard. I dealt with my "off balance" feelings by chalking it up to him being one of those people that will have a registered breed dog, authentic Waterford Crystal and is suspicious of everything. I did have some fun with him because I think I caught him a little off guard when instead of pulling out diamonds to show him I pulled out nothing but certificates.

As he left the office, with papers and diamond in hand, I could not help but play out his proposal. I could picture it. He stands before her reading the certification, then hands it over to her along with the ring. In turn she hands over a copy of her birth certificate, family pedigree and health records - and they are now officially engaged.

I understand that I am a bit out of touch with things. I am always the last to hear about a plane crash or the latest lottery winner. My time is consumed by my business and by my family so I am sure I missed something. I would really like someone to help me understand... When did the RING stop being a SYMBOL of the commitment and become the focus of a marriage? Would she really say NO if she did not get her one carat? When did the focus of a proposal shift from the commitment and union of two lives to the type of ring he proposes with?

Silly me, as a retail jeweler, I thought it was my job to assist in finding the perfect ring that matched the uniqueness of their relationship and love. I thought that with a GIA diploma and years of experience I was well prepared to perform my job - and I was - until someone changed my job description. Now my job description states that I am a go-for. I am dictated to by clients that know nothing about diamonds. I am told, "Go find me a (alphabet soup) diamond and put it in this ring (showing me a print out of a picture she e-mailed him) and do it for (blank) amount of money." I am forced to work under the implied impression that if I cannot perform the dictated task she will not be happy and I will be a failure.

Perhaps I could be more successful in my job if someone could help me understand - when did the real question of "Will you marry me?" become "Will you accept this ring?" On second thought, with divorce rates at 50+%, bankruptcy at an all time high, and staggering foreclosure rates - I am not sure I want to understand how the focus became the ring instead of the commitment.


Tammy L. Williams, Graduate Gemologist of GIA, also prizes her membership in AGTA. She is President of J D Jewelers, a salon private jewelry business located in Suwanee, Georgia and the Southeastern Rep for Global Diamonds. Tammy is very active as a speaker and authority on Gemstones and Diamonds. Whether in her laboratory at J D Jewelers, on the lecture circuit or writing about her experiences in business, her love and passion for gemstones becomes contagious. If you'd like to contact Tammy, please e-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Internet Marketing Strategies: Online stores 101

Selling jewelry online can be a highly profitable venture or the biggest waste of time and money you have ever spent. The difference is generally in the approach you tak...

Sales Growth Expert A recession is a terrible thing to waste - and a very good time to sell jewelry for high profits

There are two good times to take advantage of your competition:
  1. When business is good. It is easier to make a good time better than a bad time good.
  2. During a recessi...

The Best Policy Would your business survive?

The Best Policy Would your business survive?"Friendly fire." A friendly fire is the one in your fireplace, in your patio grill, or gently flaming from the end of the torch at your jeweler's bench. But friendly fi...

The Retailer’s Perspective: Made in America Part II

After my first 30 days of trying to buy only American made products and services, I've learned a few things I‘d like to share:
  1. There are no artist paint brushes ma...

Nice Diamonds sets the standard for education and quality products

Nice Diamonds sets the standard for education and quality productsWith the economic outlook still uncertain, today's consumers are searching for dynamic, meaningful jewelry on a budget. Fancy color enhanced diamonds may be just the answ...

Jeweler Security Network provides timely updates

(ATLANTA) - Security within the jewelry industry is an ever-present issue. For jewelry salespeople the risk is about more than just product; it is about personal security...

Closing the sale

In previous articles we have discussed the process called the "Circle of the Sale". To review, you greet the customer with a warm friendly greeting as you would a friend ...

Sales Growth Expert: You do not drown by going under water... You drown by staying under water

When the economy is slow, customers are not walking in your front door or telephoning, you must increase your marketing, which will increase your sales and profits. And ...

Page 70 of 78

Facebook Share

Share this article on Facebook

Hot topic


Elisa Ilana rings in the new year with fresh styles

(OMAHA, Neb.) - Elisa Ilana is a premier manufacturer of fine fashion jewelry, offering a ...


Roseco 2015 Catalog now available

Roseco, an industry-leading supplier of findings, mountings, stones, tools, and supplies i...

Media Kit



Download now! pdf-logo