Jan

7

 The jewelry business—like many other businesses, especially those that depend on selling—lends itself to lies. It's hard to make money selling used Rolexes as what they are, but if you clean one up and make it look new, suddenly there's a little profit in the deal. Grading diamonds is a subjective business, and the better a diamond looks to you when you're grading it, the more money it's worth—as long as you can convince your customer that it's the grade you're selling it as. Here's an easy, effective way to do that: First lie to yourself about what grade the diamond is; then you can sincerely tell your customer "the truth" about what it's worth.

As I would tell my salespeople: If you want to be an expert deceiver, master the art of self-deception. People will believe you when they see that you yourself are deeply convinced. It sounds difficult to do, but in fact it's easy—we are already experts at lying to ourselves. We believe just what we want to believe. And the customer will help in this process, because she or he wants the diamond—where else can I get such a good deal on such a high-quality stone?—to be of a certain size and quality. At the same time, he or she does not want to pay the price that the actual diamond, were it what you claimed it to be, would cost. The transaction is a collaboration of lies and self-deceptions.

from: The Lie Guy

Chronicle of Higher Education

Jeff Watson writes:

Back in the mid 80s, I was a co-owner of a small emerald mine in Colombia. The stones were plentiful, but the quality was mediocre, very dull. My on site partner used to gather all the emeralds, clean them up, wrap them in gauze, soak them in mineral oil, then put the whole gauze wrapped package over a 100 watt light bulb for a few weeks to "treat" the emerald with heat. After being treated, the emerald was not of higher quality but did look nicer, good shine, better colors to the eye. The emeralds also acted differently under fluorescent and UV light, We would wholesale the stones to buyers who came onsite, and we never dealt with the jewelery trade. The buyers all knew the stones were treated, and didn't care as they were mainly concerned with size and color and weight. I brought a treated stone back to the states and had a local jeweler look at it proclaiming it to be the best stone he ever saw. I showed him the equal stone but untreated and he couldn't believe the difference.

Deception really does work in the gem trade with everything from obvious phony stones, to treated stones, to cut stones made to look bigger, and a whole other bag of tricks. One lesson I learned is that 90% of the emeralds sold in the USA have been "treated" in one way or another, with only the untreated high end stones going to Winston, Tiffany, Stern, etc..

Bill Rafter recommends: 

Recommendation: Influence of Fear on Salesmen by Frank Budd. Excellent book from the 1970s, written for salesmen in the life insurance industry. One of his points is that only a fraud can sell something he does not believe in, and that eventually that fraud will be unsuccessful. Obviously he never knew Bernie M. who was both a fraud and successful.


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