Ask Angel

Buying and Selling Gold Body Jewelry

Dear Elayne,

From talking to my friends in the industry, I know that a lot of shops are now selling more gold than ever. Even though I’ve been in the piercing business for over a decade and take pride in having a great selection of quality body jewelry for my clientele, I never managed to get on board with the gold thing. I mean I have placed some special orders, but I don’t keep any in stock.

Now I can see that I’m missing out, and I am pretty sure that my customers are going elsewhere because when they have asked for gold, I’ve had to say I don’t have it. To be honest, I’m nervous because it is so expensive and I don’t feel like I know enough about it to jump in. How should I begin and what do I need to know?

Thanks a bunch, Y.

Dear Y.,

You are absolutely right! Gold is in hot demand now and it is important to be able to satisfy your customers’ cravings for it. However, you are not required to launch in with a massive order initially; you can begin slowly and build up your inventory over time. And don’t worry, it isn’t difficult to learn what you need to know to be successful at stocking and selling gold body jewelry.

If you’ve been paying attention to what shoppers have been asking for, then you likely have a pretty good notion about some of the items you should be carrying. Solicit ideas and opinions on what your patrons are interested in wearing, and take note any time you get a new inquiry or request. You may want to start announcing now that you’ll be getting gold in “soon” and offer to record contact information so you can let people know when it arrives. That could help diminish defections to other shops, especially among your most loyal piercees.

I’d suggest that you start by purchasing some gold pieces for the most prevalent piercings you do in the most common sizes you already use. These should be easy to move and make it simple for existing clients to upgrade into gold for their healed piercings. Unless you have heard comments to the contrary, it might be best to focus primarily on yellow gold (and rose, if people have asked for it), since the white is more similar in appearance to what you already stock.

It is likely that some of the jewelry companies you currently buy from manufacture gold too. It makes sense to shop from their lines initially, since you’re already comfortable with their quality and business practices. After learning more about gold and gems, gaining some experience with the new merchandise, and assessing demand, you may decide to branch out and include other reputable companies that specialize in precious metals.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has an eLearning course, “Jewelry Essentials,” (i) that would give you a great education to prepare you for selling fine jewelry. They also have a free online gemstone encyclopedia, (ii) which is an excellent resource.

If yours is like most studios, you’re probably doing an abundance of ear work and nostril piercings these days. Stocking an array of press-fit (threadless) ends is a great way to start—assuming this is the style of jewelry you’re using. If not, see my article, “NeoMetal’s Snap-Together Jewelry” in a former issue of Pain Magazine.

Easy-to-sell options include ends with prong- and bezel-set gems, either natural or lab created, in clear stones and the colors that you commonly use. Over time you will be able to assess whether your clients prefer genuine stones. Note that white CZs are suitably sparkly and diamonds elevate costs significantly. They may be best left until you are more versed in fine jewelry sales, though you should welcome custom orders for them.

Septum piercings are also quite the rage in many regions. Gold clickers and seam rings with and without gemstones are currently hot specialty items for ornamenting the center of the nose. If there are other piercings you do with great frequency, you might want to purchase a small assortment for those as well.

Along with more standard designs, it could be worthwhile to elevate your showcase impression and display some eye-catching creations, if your business can handle the investment. Humans are not generally predisposed to delayed gratification, so shoppers are more likely to buy when they actually see an exceptional piece of alluring jewelry—and walk out the door wearing it. That said, have ready access to jewelry catalogs to show individuals who wish to requisition something that is not in stock. Requiring a 50% deposit for custom orders will guard against an out-of-pocket expense if the customer fails to complete the sale.

Get into the habit of placing gold pieces on a velvet jeweler’s pad or other special surface when you bring them out for closer viewing. This is particularly important with luxury goods to accentuate their value. Alternatively, for tiny items like threadless ends, it is common practice to securely situate them in hemostats and allow customers to hold the jewelry up near the area in question to see how it would look. This can be especially helpful when they’re deciding between two or more sizes, colors, and/or gem settings. Bright lighting is essential for exhibiting this jewelry at its best, both in your display case and near your mirror where shoppers do their visual checks.

Don’t offer gold only to those who ask for it. Any appropriate gold pieces should be presented along with the other options every time you discuss jewelry selection. Further, never assume that a shopper can’t afford higher-end jewelry based on their appearance.

Sound jewelry sales technique involves having robust product knowledge and sharing the particulars during your presentation. This important in order to appear professional and inspire confidence. Learn the language and volunteer information on gold karat, the safety of the alloys (“nickel free!”), gem types, sizes, and cuts, the names of stone settings, and any distinctive techniques used in the production.

It is sometimes hard to close the deal if the customer is focused on price, but stay away from a hard-sell approach. Try to identify what taps into your customer’s emotions and steer the conversation toward the overall value and benefits—how the jewelry makes them feel. Gold enhances prestige, self-confidence, and self-worth. It reinforces individual identity and supports other emotional needs. Maintain the position that they deserve a decadent indulgence, especially if it will make them feel happy and satisfied. Gold is a purchase that will last, that they can enjoy every day for the rest of their lives! Buying gold jewelry is an investment in a precious metal that always retains some resale value, as compared to steel and titanium. Finally, sometimes the best sales technique is to say nothing. Let the client look at the jewelry for as long as they need to; gold often sells itself. Furthermore, you can make an inspiring example of yourself: if you like gold jewelry, wear it!

Even if gold doesn’t appeal to you personally, it is well worth the effort to learn about fine jewelry and to hone your skills at selling it. When you become a jeweler as well as a piercer, you can see payoffs in both customer satisfaction and higher profit margins.