Tom with Stuller Rep. Lauren Mathews

Me and Stuller Rep. Lauren Mathews

We are constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve with the ever changing technology and jewelry trends as well as the constant influx of new gemstone treatments. As a Master Gemologist Appraiser I am required to take a minimum of 20 hours per year of continuing education and I can tell you that in the 29 years that I have been in the gems and jewelry industry I have never done only 20 hours.

For the first 15 years of my career I operated a Trade Shop which is a business that does repairs, restoration and custom design work for jewelry stores that don’t have their own jewelers. We changed our business model 14 years ago and now we only offer those services to our private clients.

Bayou from the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge

Bayou from the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge which at 18.2 miles is one of the longest bridges in the world and it goes right over the swamp.

My most recent educational trip ended last Wednesday night when I got back from Lafayette, Louisiana after an intensive two day workshop called “The Bridge”. The theme was bridging the jewelry industry of today to the future. The focus was how to be “Tomorrow’s Jeweler”.

The company that conducted the workshop was Stuller Settings which is the largest supplier of finished jewelry, jewelry parts, diamond, gemstones, tools and equipment and just about anything else jewelry related.

What I came away with is a renewed enthusiasm for the technology that is available. The most exciting that we added is the Counter Sketching software. Counter is a computer aided jewelry design program. The program enables us to draw from over 3200 existing jewelry templates that we can use as a starting place for a custom design and then to make over 500 adjustments to each one of those designs. This is all done real time on the computer with our clients directing the changes and within a very short period we can come up with a cad/cam image of what the finished piece will be.

Tom and Matt Stuller owner of Stuller Settings

Me and the owner of Stuller Settings; Matt Stuller.

In addition to that we are going to be working with the design folks from Stuller to incorporate a Bridal Bar in our showroom with a 40 inch flat screen tv to view the actual design while it is being done. With the new technology we will be able to connect via Webex or Skype to clients remotely while we design their piece of jewelry for them.

Another two pieces of being “Tomorrow’s Jeweler” puzzle is our virtual store with full on shopping cart function and our texting platform to better communicate with our clients. With the texting platform we will be able to sign our clients up for our Customer Loyalty program where we will be using a point system to reward our clients and friends for referrals and for making purchases at Suncoast Gems.

We expect to have the Counter Sketching software in house in a matter of a couple of days so if you want to get some ideas of new designs for your jewelry, give us a call to come in for a demonstration.