A Rose by Any Other Name – GIA Symposium Day TwoAugust 30, 06
The first full day of the 2006 International Symposium got off to an early start with a breakfast speech by behavioral market research expert
During the course of his well attended speech, Underhill was especially tough on jewelry retailers who complain that the Internet is destroying their business. “The net is failing you because you haven’t figured out a way to use it,” he said in no uncertain terms. “If you don’t use the Internet in 2006, goodbye, because you won’t be here in 2010.”
However, it was not all bad news from the man who has made a career out of telling some of the world’s top retailers how they can improve their businesses. Underhill advised the audience – which included many retailers – that they must figure out how to fit into their customers’ lives. As an example, he cited the Damas chain in the
Following Underhill’s talk, the extensive Symposium program began. The day was divided into four hour and a half long discussion sessions. Choices included Diamonds: Mapping the Future, Jewelry: The Changing Landscape, Luxury Retailing: Going for the Bling, and Identification Technology: The CSI Factor. While the sessions all had a question and answer session, it was during the last gathering of the day, the debate centers, that Symposium attendees really had the chance to air their opinions.
The three debates focused on hot topics in the industry: The Great Synthetic Diamond Debate, Ethical Dilemmas in the Jewelry Industry, and Locality of Origin: Does it Really Matter? With the care for details that the GIA had shown throughout, the Symposium organizers injected some fun into the proceedings. The Great Synthetic Diamond Debate was held in room decorated to represent a Roman amphitheater, complete with stone pillars and an ancient Roman backdrop. The lighthearted atmosphere, however, could not detract from the divisiveness that synthetic diamonds are currently causing in the industry.
Key among the discussion points was the fundamental issue of the nomenclature of synthetic diamonds. Even among the synthetic diamond producers represented on the panel – Tom Chatham of Chatham Created Gems and Diamonds, Bryant
The discussion also focused upon the need, or otherwise, of gem lab reports for synthetic diamonds. Though the GIA recently announced that they were postponing the launch of synthetic diamond gem reports, Dr. James Shigley, the director of research at the GIA confirmed that the institute is still intending to produce the certificates, though there has been no decision on the final wording to appear on the reports.
As the synthetic diamond debate drew to a close, it was obvious that chief among the audience’s concerns was the subject of consumer confidence. Confidence is an issue that has dominated many of the discussions at the Symposium, and is a topic that will continue once the event finishes.