24 Karat Corner: An off the rack world

Last night, after a vigorous twenty minutes of racket ball, the boys and I went out to dinner.  After ordering, the conversation turned to the normal topics, and my friend Mel wondered aloud why he still couldn’t meet a suitable girl.

By suitable girl, he meant, of course, the perfect girl.  So, while its nice to dream about finding that one girl who scores a perfect ten in all the important categories, the fact is, we are living and searching in an off the rack world, and customization just isn’t an option.

Sure, minor alterations are always available, and we can hope to modify small behavioral nuances that we find objectionable.  But, basically, people come with a mixed assortment of qualities and attributes, and you just have to keep looking through the racks and hope to find the one that fits you best, and go from there.  Rather than wasting time hopelessly searching for that D flawless triple ex, you might well be very happy with that VVS with potential. 

As jewelers, “special orders” aren’t supposed to upset us, and many retailers are proud of the lengths they’ll go to source that special stone, or find that unique piece for their customer.  When “off the rack” won’t due for a customer, most savvy jewelers are quick to step up and customize a piece to their customer’s specifications. 

The challenges facing jewelers today however aren’t off the rack anymore. Changing regulations, new media opportunities, fluctuating metal prices, and a host of other issues require fresh thinking and creative approaches to everything from merchandising, marketing and technology.  “One size fits all” solutions no longer apply, and things are changing at a faster rate than ever before.

So, where do you turn for expert advice in areas outside your comfort zone?  Today, you really can’t be an expert in all the areas it takes to run a successful jewelry business.  Luckily, the 55 members of The 24 Karat Club are standing by to offer their unbiased expert opinions and advice in their individual fields of expertise.  Members of The 24 Karat Club are selected for their experience in the industry, their commitment to the retail jewelry business, and their devotion to public service.  There is a wide diversity of members covering every facet of the business a retail jeweler could possibly need.  Please check the directory on our website (www.The24KaratClub.org) and feel free to contact any of the members for helpful advice on any matter that concerns you.

Yes, Mel, it is truly an off the rack world.  Stay away from the irregulars, and eventually you will find something that fits you just fine.

Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a  board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS.  Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..