Our Newly Minted American Gem Trade Membership, and YES, CRD’s Ten Year Anniversary Bash
I hope all of you had a fun and/or restful holiday season. I spent mine doing what retailers do, getting a lot of last-minute orders out, doing my own holiday shopping and decorating in between. Then I went to spend Christmas with my dad and mom in Germany, did some rock climbing with my sister, racked up weight watchers’ points eating dad’s cookies and singed my new sweater blowing up new year’s fireworks. Now it’s time to shed the holiday pounds and get cracking on the new year! Already on the calendar is the Tucson show which is less than a month away and I have to figure out what I need, what I want, and how to strike a balance between the two.
A spring cleaning of the stock shelves of “Sophie,” our faithful 600-pound steel guardian of gems, reveals old Madagascar and Tanzania goods from as much as two years ago: unlisted beryl and aquamarine, goshenite and Mahenge garnet. This is a good thing because at least aquamarine is going up in price. All mine are unheated which is even better! There are other gems I still need to list, like color change garnets and Madagascar sapphires. We plan on one more winter cleaning in the form of a steep flash sale just before Tucson, and then it’s “in with the new.”
I’m really thrilled that this year we are going there as AGTA members, and can sport the logo on all of our listings as well – something we started just a short few months ago. This is a big deal. The American Gem Trade Association has worked hard in the last couple of years to raise public awareness of gemstone treatments and enhancements. While the law on disclosure of the latter is always slow, the AGTA is proud to have implemented a self-monitoring system whereby all its members obligate themselves to full disclosure.
Why does this matter? Because treatment can affect both pricing and durability of a gem. For example, a ruby purchased from an overseas vendor may be glass filled but if the seller doesn’t disclose this, the buyer is up a creek, especially if she’s not protected by Etsy or PayPal Buyer protection. The buyer will have overpaid, the gem cannot undergo certain cleaning processes because it will lose its color, and the chances of a full refund are limited, especially, and this is important, because the gem IS a ruby and as such the vendor did not lie, even if he or she did not fully disclose!
Buying within the US, and especially buying from an AGTA vendor, a retail buyer enjoys much greater safety. The AGTA carefully vets each new member. It takes several months to process a new membership, which is not automatic but the result of a vote, and requires several references of both AGTA members and non-members. To be an AGTA member, you have to be a US based business and have been active for at least two years.
From what I am able to gather, we are actually the only vetted AGTA member selling on Etsy (if there are others, they are not making this public). We would be eternally grateful if you help us spread this news!
We are happy to send you informational brochures on gems and gemstone enhancements from the American Gem Trade Association for free! Request one now via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Tucson, we will be visiting several shows in addition to the AGTA: GJX, 22nd street show, Inn Suites and more. We are starting to take orders already, please let us know if you are interested in anything in particular.
In other news – and more about this in future blogs – CRD is going to be 10 years old this year. Our Etsy shop was established in August of 2009. I had my first sale in October of 2009 – a beaded necklace - and I started selling loose gems in 2011. We’re still thinking about how to celebrate this. Obviously, we will have a sale, but we do that anyway! We want to have an event, probably in October, so stay tuned, AND let us know if you think you’d like to be part of it. We are happy to entertain suggestions about how to make this a national, no, INTERNATIONAL event, since so many of you are actually overseas. Cecile Raley Designs has been blessed with an amazing number of repeat clients, some of them going back to as early as 2011, when our shop really started to take off.
Until next time, and Happy New Year to you all!
Yvonne, Debbie, Karen, and Joanne