Negotiating Skills in the Gemstone Trade
I know of a man who wanted to become a gem dealer and eventually succeeded. One of the biggest surprises in the early stages of his career was that no one, no matter where he travelled, would tell him what something was worth. He finally came to realize that the price of something was based on his negotiating skills.
He became an extremely tough negotiator. One day in India he was having trouble making a deal. He reminded the seller that his asking price was higher than the last time, to which the lapidary replied; “The last time you were here my children had no milk.” He felt ashamed that he had pushed the man that far and became less aggressive in his negotiations.
I know people who go to great lengths to get the very best possible price. They think they are cleaver business people and I can’t argue with that. However, what is right for one person isn’t right for everyone.
I am at the other extreme. Before beginning negotiations, I realize that something is only a good deal if both parties make a profit. I also recognize that time is money. Both I and the other party are small business owners and our time is precious. I make an offer, then one or two counter offers and if we can’t reach an agreement I move on.
My priority isn’t just making a purchase or sale, it’s establishing long term relationships and being respectful of the other party is essential to that end. Before leaving, I always ask, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” or “Is there anything else you need?” Simply asking these questions lets them know that I am thinking about their well being, not just myself.
I also get some surprising answers. People have told me that they need something that I would never think to ask about, but am able to get. It turns into an extra sale for me and helps my customer.
The culture you are working in often has an effect on how you deal. I once saw a necklace, containing about 100 carats of matched green opals, brought into a jewellery store. A wealthy foreign customer was there and wanted the piece. The jeweller told him that, since it had just come in, she would offer it at an exceptionally low price. He wanted to negotiate the price, but since the initial offer was already rock bottom the jeweller couldn’t move. He refused the deal simply because he felt he needed to negotiate on the price.
Had the jeweller been familiar with his customs, she could have made the sale.
There is no one right way to conduct business; each of us has to find our own style. Above are some considerations to help you find the right balance for your business.
Donald Clark CSM IMG
International Gem Society
Note: The above article appeared in the IGS newsletter. We have featured it because it gives a very different perspective on the Gem Trade. For considerable accurate gem pricing we request you to visit the resource below:
That being said, watch the video of a massive 11+ carat natural emerald from Afghanistan with no OIL.
The rarity of origin, the size and lack of treatment given the clarity make it a once in a lifetime Gem. How would you put the price to such a Gem
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