Craftsman, dealer, bench jeweler, gemologist, appraiser: Peter Shemonsky has held almost every position in the jewelry industry. His encyclopedic knowledge of jewelry from across all eras has made him a leading industry expert (and a familiar face on Antiques Roadshow). He joined the Jewelry Journey Podcast to talk about his childhood fascination with gems, his thoughts on the current jewelry market, and the Kashmir sapphire he dreams about to this day. Read the episode transcript below. 

Sharon: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Jewelry Journey Podcast. Today, my guest is Peter Shemonsky, who has been involved in almost every aspect of the jewelry industry. He has worn many hats and still does. He’ll tell us all about his jewelry journal today. Peter, welcome to the program.

Peter: Sharon, thank you so much for inviting me today. I really appreciate it.

Sharon: I’m so glad to have you. Tell us about your jewelry journey. You’ve covered a lot of different aspects.

Peter: First, I want to say I’m very lucky that I found my passion early on in life. It has changed slightly, but I’ve always been within the jewelry industry. As a child, I had a great interest in rocks and minerals. At some point in my life, my parents gave me a book on gems and minerals and I memorized the whole thing. We would go to mineral shows, and I could easily point out different specimens when I was seven or eight years old. The dealers were like, “How does he know this?” One fond memory I remember from growing up in New England, there was a show called the Big E, the Big Exposition, and they had a general mineral section. There was a gentleman there with a lapidary unit cutting cabochons, and I was like, “That’s what I want to do.” I kind of pitched a fit until my father bought me a unit. In our basement, we had all these minerals specimens I used to collect. He saw it as driveway material, but they were interesting, and he was like, “You need to figure out something else to do with this.” So, I started making cabochons. Then I had a bunch of cabochons, and he was like, “Son, you need to figure out what to do with these.” So about age 12 or so, he gave me a book on how to make jewelry. 

Sharon: Your grandfather was a silversmith, if I remember what I read. 

Peter: My grandfather was a silversmith, yes. 

Sharon: All right.

Peter: I had this creative background and understanding of craftsmanship. I think at age 13, I made my first piece of jewelry. There was a local silversmith my father was friendly with for some reason, and he said, “Will you take my son on as an apprentice?” That’s where it all took off. From there, I went to art school to get a degree in metalsmithing and jewelry, I became a craftsman—and once again, this was on the East Coast. I went to Philadelphia College of Art. The other thing was that there was so much antique and estate jewelry there. I was always looking at these pieces in terms of technical advice, in terms of how to make a hinge, how to make a clasp, how these things go together. 

This was in the late 70s or early 80s, and back then jewelry wasn’t all that great—let’s put it that way. It was just gold jewelry, not so special for the most part, but it was the antique pieces that attracted me. I ended up with this full mental database of how pieces went together, the history, the background. I was always curious about what the pieces were about. I also realized that at some point, I needed to move up. I didn’t want to work at the work-bench my entire life. I loved being a craftsman and a designer, but there was more that I needed. I was hungry. At that point, I went to GIA and got my degree in gemology, because that was the next step up the ladder, so to speak. 

Then I moved back to Philadelphia and was very fortunate to get a job with a company called Elaine Cooper, which was in Chestnut Hill. It’s a small, little, tony area of Philadelphia where there’s lots of money, but old money; very old money. We went to see the best antique and estate jewelry you could ever imagine, so of course I was in heaven all the time. I was their appraiser and gemologist and designer. I was designing jewelry for clients; I was appraising the jewelry and identifying everything. I was really being a sponge for all these antique and estate pieces that came in. As a craftsman, which I consider myself to be as well, that satisfied my hunger for knowledge, and that’s how eventually I became a jewelry historian in that way. 

What I will say is that by doing all three jobs all the time—and being the only designer, I would subcontract the designs to my own personal company and make them—I was working like 18 hours a day. After about 16 years, I burned out. Not to sound funny, but there’s a point where you start to hate Christmas because from September to December, you never stop working. You’re always making jewelry. There are all these demands, and I got to a point where it was like, “I need to change gears.” Fortunately at that time—we’re looking at 1988, 1989—there was a position open at Skinner, which is an auction house in Boston. They needed a jewelry specialist, so I applied for the job. I got the job; I moved to Boston. Since I grew up in Connecticut, Boston was familiar to me. 

The great thing about being in the auction business is that you get to handle thousands and thousands and thousands of pieces over time. Every four months you have an auction. There are 700 or 800 pieces at an auction, but it’s not just the 700 or 800 pieces that are there; you probably see another 700 or 800 that didn’t get to go into auction. It was like this constant encyclopedia of knowledge. A lot of people say to me, “How do you learn this?” I’m like, “Go to the auction houses. Handle the pieces. Look at them. Bring your loupe.” It’s a hands-on business in terms of how you gain knowledge. Fortunately, nowadays there are a lot of great publications and books out on various makers and historical background on jewelry. When I was coming up the ranks, that wasn’t quite so popular. It’s a hands-on business, and that was what propelled me forward. I had two sides of the table, so to speak, because I knew how to look at a piece and know if it was correct technically, but I also started to understand if it was correct historically.

Sharon: Correct technically? What do you mean?

Peter: Many times pieces are either changed or altered. We have what we call marriage. Sometimes people, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, they would take things to their jewelers and they would reconfigure them. All of a sudden, you’re looking at it and going, “Well, this isn’t quite right. It’s been cobbled together.” It’s knowing if the piece is technically correct for the period, whether it’s still intact or if it has been married or altered or changed. Those all affect value. It’s also a very important aspect of knowing what a piece should look like. Nowadays, there are so many reproductions in the marketplace. The one thing that happens with reproductions is that they’re trying to find a fast track to make it look like something, but they miss details that the original will have. That’s where it becomes important to know the technical side of how these pieces were supposed to have been made, what they look like today or what they are supposed to look like once they come to the marketplace. 

Sharon: I’m thinking and I can’t remember—I’m thinking about a jewelry class, a lecture where they talked about the platinum art deco bracelets and how they’re being reproduced in Thailand. You have to be so careful. Am I correct in that?

Peter: Exactly. Based on my experience in the auction especially, there was a whole period, especially in the late 80s and early 90s, where there was a huge influx of reproductions in the art deco style. At that point, art deco was still very strong, but it was just reaching—if you had an art deco diamond bracelet in the late 80s or early 90s, the prices kept going up and up and up with authentic ones. What happened was in Thailand, they were basically getting the auction catalogues from Sotheby’s, Christy’s, all the big auction houses, and they were trying to reproduce the pieces. The problem was that they were making them from photographs, so they didn’t understand the three-dimensional quality of the pieces. The second thing is they were doing them in 18-carat white gold, which during the art deco period they should have only been done in platinum. That’s where the disconnect was. A lot of times these bracelets were very flat, they lacked dimension and they were in 18-carat white gold, but as they were getting filtered into the industry and into jewelry stores, there were jewelers who didn’t understand the nature of what an art deco bracelet should be, so they were selling it as art deco. It created a real problem in the marketplace, because it was a third of what the original pieces were. As I said, the funny part was they were flat as pancakes, because they had no idea—they couldn’t see dimension because they were copying off an image.

Sharon: That’s interesting. It takes a special eye. I have a friend who should have been a dealer. She can see what you’re talking about, the dimension. I probably would look at it and say, “I’m not sure.” That’s something you can’t describe, what you see. I would see that, yes, it’s two dimensions or three dimensions, but what is it that tells you this is right; this has the craftsmanship?

Peter: I would say in a certain way there’s a mental checklist. If I’m looking at a bracelet, first off, is this supposed to be art deco? First it should be platinum. The clasp should be a certain way. The hinges should be a certain way. I do a lecture called “A View from the Back Side,” because the back of a piece during that period should be as beautiful as the front. Everything is polished. The openings behind the stones are beautifully articulated. This is where it all starts to fall apart with the reproductions because, again, in Thailand, they couldn’t see the back of the piece; they didn’t know how the construction was; they didn’t know how the hinges were supposed to be. They were making what I call flat bracelets. They were taking a strip of metal and throwing a bunch of stones on it in the deco style. Unfortunately, many of them got sold as art deco for a while. 

The hard part nowadays is that with a lot of the fakes, they’re getting so good at it, to the point that it’s rather scary. They’re not faking vintage so much because the vintage jewelry market has gone a little flat. There’s a difference between reproduction and counterfeit, but I’m using counterfeit. The biggest counterfeit market now is in areas like the Cartier Love Bracelet and the Van Cleef and Arpels necklaces, the Alhambra. Those are being counterfeited to the point where it’s really, really hard to figure out if it’s right or not because, as I was mentioning to a friend the other day, it’s magnitude of scale. If the gold in the Cartier is only $2,000 and you can sell it for $7,000 because the bracelet sells at Cartier for $9,000, guess what? There’s the incentive, and they’re getting, super, super hard to discern.

Sharon: What’s really amazing to me every time I’ve heard this, that art deco wasn’t that popular—to me, it’s so popular. How can it not be popular? It’s so fabulous. 

Peter: I’m not saying it’s not popular. I think it hit its nexus about five years ago. There are still pieces out there that are so iconic and that will always draw massive amounts of money, but the collector market in jewelry has changed because our lifestyle has changed, particularly due to Covid. People aren’t going out and dressing up and, as I would say, glitzing out. There are collectors who will still pay top dollar if it’s a Cartier Tutti Frutti necklace, if it’s a beautiful piece by Boucheron. Those will hold the market, but the market and marketing in the art deco period has basically fallen off. 

Sharon: That’s interesting to me. I can understand the iconic pieces, but it’s the 60s and 70s jewelry coming back. I think about some of the bracelets I melted down because I said, “Who’s going to wear this stuff again?”

Peter: And now, in terms of mid-century modern in decorative arts, furniture and everything, that jewelry market has actually started to move up much higher. One of the more iconic, what I call mid-century modern jewelers is Andrew Grima. That work has skyrocketed. The Brazilian maker, Brode Marks, same thing: work has skyrocketed. A lot of this is driven by taste and usage.

Sharon: Is it all driven by taste, really?

Peter: That’s hard to say. I was joking with a friend earlier today; I said, “Having been in the auction world for so many years, I see how different arenas, different paintings change. Right now the whole silver table top industry is completely going down the tubes. If you have brown furniture, nobody wants it.” There is a taste factor. I think it’s partially education. I think it’s also—it’s my own personal opinion I’ve noticed over time; I won’t say it’s necessarily really what goes on—but a lot of people, they don’t want what their parents have; they prefer what their grandparents have. Now we have a generation whose grandparents were successful in the 50s and 60s. That was the mid-century modern era, whereas my grandparents were successful pre-war, pre-World War II. Their homesteads were very different.

Definitely, there’s this flux that moves and changes, and then there’s the side of it with the whole idea of less is more, deaccession. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in houses where it’s like, “Oh great, everything here is by Ikea.” It’s simple. It’s throwaway. It doesn’t really mean anything. There’s no attachment. Not to sound negative, but most of the middle-class clients that are buying jewelry these days for the wife, it’s a wedding band, a pair of diamond earrings, maybe a nice necklace here and there, a gold watch or a nice watch, and that’s it. They’re not going out to fancy affairs. They don’t need to get dressed up, especially here in California. It’s a super casual lifestyle, so a lot of these things are falling by the wayside.

Sharon: That’s true, especially compared to the past. Nobody’s going anywhere.

Peter: Nobody’s going nowhere, yeah.

Sharon: You mentioned the vintage market is flattening out. When you say vintage, I guess I think of Miriam Haskell. When you say vintage, do you think of Tutti Frutti or downscale from that? What are you thinking of when you say vintage?

Peter: I’m using it as a broad term, but first off—I’ll walk through it quickly. With the Victorian Era, a lot of Victorian Era is far too fussy for most people nowadays. Some of the archaeological revival is nice because gold has come back, so that works. But the Edwardian jewelry, which was very decorative with lots of diamonds, colored stones, etc., and art deco, as I said, it’s just not the product most people are buying. There is an interest in the 1940s because, as I said, gold has come back. For a long time it was all about platinum, but gold has come back. So, gold earrings, bracelets, necklaces from the 40s and early 50s are good, but when you move into the 60s, you start moving into mid-century modern, a little more tailored, for a look that people are familiar with. One thing is that as time moves on, it creates this panacea of what’s different or what’s right for the period. There’s a great book that just came out called “Simply Brilliant.” It’s an exhibition that was supposed to happen at the Cleveland Museum of Art. It’s all about higher-end, modernist jewelry, and it’s brilliant. It really speaks to the time and how things have changed. These are the things people are looking for; as I said, Andrew Grima, Brode Marks. There’s a whole venue that people respond to.

Sharon: For a while they didn’t, but now, yes. That is a great book. We’ve had Amanda Triossi on this show.

Peter: Oh, you did! Amanda’s a great, dear friend of mine. That’s wonderful.

Sharon: Yes, and she told us all about the exhibit, which is supposed to be coming—keeping our fingers crossed—to the Cincinnati Museum of Art at some point, I believe.

Peter: When it’s open. When they’re able to open it up, yes. 

Sharon: Yes, hopefully. We’ll have to see. You used two terms I am always curious about, one of which is craftsman. You are a craftsman, and also, what do you consider a collector? I’d like to hear your opinion on those.

Peter: For me, a craftsman is a person who has worked at the workbench and has acquired an ability and skillmanship to make jewelry to be in line with what is popular for the time. If I was a craftsman in the 1920s, I would need to learn skills in terms of how to do engraving, azure work, stone setting, etc. With most of the companies that one works with—and I’ll use this as an example, only because I’ve been in the workshop of Oscar Heyman—they’ve got one set of craftsmen to do all the gold work or platinum work. They have another set that just does all the stone setting. They have another set that just does all the stone cutting or fitting stones in. They have their own set of engravers. Not one person always makes the entire piece when it comes to high-end jewelry, but they all have a level of craftsmanship and ability to satisfy the needs of what the piece is being designed and created for. 

I just did a lecture the other day on Buccellati, and we were talking about engraving. They had engravers that just did one style of engraving, even though they have many styles of engraving. They were the master engravers, and you would have master craftsmen at Fabergé and Cartier in the early years. That is how it all went together. Not one person made the entire piece. It was a concerted effort by a team of highly skilled people who knew the crafts and the craftsmanship they were going to create.

Sharon: Interesting. Then a collector, what would you say a collector is? Certain people consider a collector somebody who buys a Tutti Frutti piece and puts it in their safe deposit box and thinks, “Well, my kids will want it someday.” I don’t know. What do you think of that? When do you cross the line from becoming an enthusiast to a collector?

Peter: It’s more between being a collector and a jewelry junkie, I think.

Sharon: That’s a good way to put it.

Peter: That’s actually a tough question, because there are people who buy items because they love them; there are people who buy items because they look at them as investments; and there are people who buy items because they’re working in a certain venue. They love Edwardian jewelry. In that line, all they buy is Victorian jewelry, and that’s what they do. I had a client many years ago. All she bought was archaeological revival jewelry and, to me, she was a collector. Every time at auction, regardless of where I was working, I would always contact her if there was a really great piece of archaeological revival jewelry, and she would buy it because that was her passion. That’s what put the icing on her cake, as they say. So, collectors are different areas. I also have another gentleman whose passion is Tiffany jewelry, anything by Louis Comfort Tiffany. He’s very specific, but once again, if I had it, I would contact him and nine times out of ten he would buy it. If I was at an auction or I came across a piece through business or whatever, I would contact this gentleman and be like, “This is what I have. You need to buy it.” Not to honk my own horn, but if I knew it was right, he trusted me, which is a great compliment.

Sharon: Which is why people come to you. You have to trust the person you’re buying from. I have a library of jewelry books, but I don’t want to have to go through each one for each piece. It’s just like in the Buccellati—I’ll say it without the Italian accent—the Buccellati lecture you were doing yesterday. You showed the different Buccellati marks, and I was like, “Oh my god, how does he know this?” I’m sure it’s because you’ve studied it for so long, but I was like, “I don’t want to have to do that.” I have to trust the person I’m buying from.

Peter: Well, the one thing that I’ve always done is take photographs constantly of pieces. I have a massive visual library. I’m actually very visual, and I have an eidetic memory.

Sharon: Sorry, but what’s an eidetic memory?

Peter: It’s like photographic.

Sharon: Oh, O.K.

Peter: Basically if I’ve got a piece that’s interesting, I’m like, “O.K., I’ve got a piece like this. There’s the hallmark.” I’m always taking pictures, especially of hallmarks. I’m always taking pictures of hallmarks and signatures, because this is the confirmation library I work off to decide when something is right or wrong, because it’s not like this is on the internet.

Sharon: Right. I’m curious: When you moved from craftsman to being a bench jeweler, what was the catalyst? Or from bench jeweler to the auction world or retailer? What was the catalyst? You retired? You felt, “I don’t want to work through Christmas,” but what was the one advantage that caught you up?

Peter: As I said, I was working 14, 18 hours a day, doing three different jobs with one particular company, which is a great company. I just got to the point where it was like, “You know what? I need to step back from this. I need to find something other than this because I have no social life.” I didn’t have any life, basically. I thought, “Well, maybe the auction world is an interesting thought. Let me see where it leads me.” So, I moved to Boston. I had burnt out. In retrospect, I probably over-programmed myself. Being young, you never know how far you can push yourself. I was in my late 20s at that time, but it was like, “Well great, I have no social life. All I do is work. I need to find a better way.” 

Fortunately the universe opens up sometimes, and as I said, it brought me to Boston. From Boston my experience there brought me up to a higher level in the auction world, and that’s how I ended up here in San Francisco as the head of the jewelry department of Butterfield. Later they were sold to Bonhams in London, and I was the head of the jewelry department for North America. It was based not only on experience, but my understanding of jewelry. Along the way, you end up making all these contacts, not only in the trade, but with clients. I’ve had some clients who are unforgettable or had amazing, amazing jewelry. If you have a second, would you like me to recount one?

Sharon: Yeah, we’d love to hear. I’m sure everybody listening would love to hear it. I would, too.

Peter: This is back when I was in Boston. I was working with a family. They were originally from France. We were selling some of their French furniture, which at the time was quite extraordinary and quite valuable and desirable. They brought some jewelry in, and one thing they brought in was a 25-carat alexandrite in a mounting surrounded by diamonds. It was made circa 1900, and it was probably one of the finest alexandrites I’ve ever seen in my life. It did the complete color change of red to green. It was absolutely breathtaking, and they had a number of other pieces. There was also the Cartier aquamarine and ruby necklace that they did not consign, but I still dream about. There were some other items; I don’t remember the rest, but we consigned them. We had estimated at the time—this is going back to the earlier 1990s, 1992. At that time, we estimate the piece at $250,000 to $350,000.

Sharon: This is the alexandrite?

Peter: The alexandrite, yeah. It ended up bringing in $600,000. The funny part, the other side of the story is that I was dealing with the husband and wife and the daughter. When she heard the estimate on the brooch, a couple of days later, she calls me up and says, “I have this sapphire ring my grandmother gave me on my 16th birthday. Maybe I should bring it in and have you take a look at it.” So, she brings this ring in. I look at it, and honestly, I thought my teeth were going to fall out of my head. It was a 15-carat, cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire. I said to her, “Well tell me,”—I’m trying to play my cards close to my chest, so to speak. You don’t want to be over-zealous. I said, “Well, tell me, how did you get this?” She said, “Oh, it was my 16th birthday, and I was at granny’s and she said ‘Oh, come here dear.’” She opened her jewelry box and just handed it to her. This family had a lot of great jewelry. I looked at it and said, “You know, this is a real sapphire.” She said, “Really? I thought it was a fake. I wear it around all the time.” And I said, “No, it’s not a fake, and I think we need to send it out for a lab test.” I knew immediately it was a Kashmir. Of course, it did come back as a Kashmir, and when I informed her, I said, “We will put it up for auction between $300,000 and $500,000.” 

Sharon: And her reaction?

Peter: She was like, “Sell it! Sell it!” She was almost slightly mortified, but she was like, “Oh my god, just sell it.” That ring brought in $800,000.

Sharon: Oh my gosh! 

Peter: I’ve got to tell you, it’s still one of the finest Kashmirs I’ve ever seen in my life. It was like a blue swimming pool that you wanted to dive into. 

Sharon: Wow! There are only so many of those in the world, and people are going to want them, right?

Peter: Right. Not only was the stone beautiful, the mounting was so simple. It was everything but nothing. I know this is a strange combination of terms, but it was so elegant, and there was nothing to it. It was all gold and it had some beautiful details, but it was simple. It showcased the stone, and as I say, it was everything but nothing. I still dream about the stone and the mounting. It was sold to a dealer. The dealer that bought it, I told him, “Please sell me back the mounting,” which he never did. At this point in time, that stone now is probably worth about $2.5 million. It was that fantastic. 

Sharon: It sounds beautiful. Did you take photos of that, or was that uncatalogued?

Peter: I didn’t have a cell phone back in those days. It is probably in one of the Skinner catalogues. As I said, it was one of the finest—I go to the AGTA; I know some of the high-end gem dealers. I go to Basel. I’ve seen a lot of Kashmir sapphires. Nothing I’ve ever seen yet has compared to that stone. It was absolute text-book.

Sharon: I hope somebody’s enjoying it right now.

Peter: Exactly.

Sharon: You mentioned different generations looking at jewelry differently. What does the industry need to do to keep the younger generation’s attention?

Peter: If you look at the major houses like Tiffany, Winston, etc., everything is much more diminutive. They’re working on a smaller scale because they know the big, fine jewelry is not selling. Yes, you have Graff, with their extraordinary inventory of diamonds and colored stores, but that’s a very niche market. I think part of what’s happened, especially in the market, people really go for brand name. So, brands know that they’ve got these certain price points, that they have to work with their clients. They want a little diamond pendant; they’re not looking for a diamond ring or a necklace for half a million dollars. They may have it in reserve or have it available, but knowing the brand name market is a strong selling point, they’re basically catering towards what’s saleable. It’s interesting. 

As I said, I used to live in Hong Kong, and if it didn’t have a brand name on it, nobody would buy it. Whether it was jewelry, clothing, luggage, handbags or whatever, it was all very much brand name-based. I used to work with the Real Real for a while, and that’s their driver. They know the luxury market is all about brand name. It doesn’t always necessarily mean it’s about quality. I’ve handled some amazing pieces over time, both for them and the auction, and it’s really about trying to educate the connoisseur about what a good piece is. That’s a very hard thing to do, because they’re like, “Well, if it doesn’t say Tiffany, I don’t know that it’s a good piece.”

Sharon: Just because it says Gucci doesn’t mean it’s a good piece. There has to be a way to separate the wheat from the chaff—is that what they say? 

Peter: Exactly. There are clients you can bring around the curve, so to speak. I had one client that had these amazing 18th-century Georgian set of multicolor sapphires, and they gave it to me on consignment. It took me a while to sell it, but I knew there were a few clients out there that weren’t interested a name brand. They were looking at the piece going, “This is an amazing piece,” but it takes time to educate and explain to clients why this is so much better than anything else you can buy in the marketplace.

Sharon: That’s really true. It takes a lot of education. You used the term connoisseur, which is one you don’t hear very often. To me, a connoisseur is somebody who already has everything or has had everything, and then says, “O.K., been there, done that. I don’t need another Victorian cameo. I want something really special.”

Peter: Right. Part of my business, dealing with antique and estate jewelry and being in the auction world, the great thing about it—especially in the auction world—there are clients who would come to all the previews, even though previews don’t exist so much anymore. I would have a client come in, and I would see Ms. So and So and say, “Let me show you the piece you need to look at.” You knew how to direct them to what they were looking for because you knew what their taste was; you knew what their proclivity was for collecting. For example, I have a client in Philadelphia who calls me about every four months and he’s like, “I need a gift for my wife,” and I’ll be like, “Nope, don’t have anything for you,” or “I do have something for you.” I’ve been selling for 30 years. If I say, “This is what Donna would like,” he’s like, “Great, send it to me,” and 99 percent of the time he buys it. It’s knowing the client, knowing what they love. At the end of the day, it’s all about relationships.

Sharon: It’s about relationships. You touched on a lot of things, qualities you have that I always think about when you’re trying to hire somebody. There’s a lot you can’t teach. 

Peter: Exactly.

Sharon: Yes.

Peter: For me, it’s not about making a sale. For me, it really is the relationships. As I said, I love the history and I want to make sure my client—actually, most of my clients become friends at a certain level. When I was working at the Real Real, a woman came in with a very big consignment from her mother’s estate because her mother was a big jewelry buyer, and we have this great relationship. She just trusts me explicitly. I’ll look at a piece and I’ll be like, “No, you shouldn’t sell this right now,” or “Yes, you should sell this right now,” or “The market’s so-so.” I’m straightforward with my clients because I always want them to be having a good experience. If I can’t sell it, then I’m going to tell them I can’t sell it; this is just not the market or the market’s not there. There’s no smoke and mirrors here.

Sharon: And that’s what people look to you for; you’re somebody they can trust. I always appreciate when a dealer will tell me, “I don’t know what the stone is. I don’t know when it’s from.” I’d rather hear that, because I’ve been lied to, and not knowing any better I said, “I’ll buy it.”

Peter: Exactly. Nobody wants to be in that position. Fortunately, I don’t have a retail store so I don’t have all that much overhead, so that part doesn’t influence what I’m doing. For me, it’s about the piece, about the client and about satisfaction.

Sharon: Well, your clients are very fortunate to have you as a guide. Thank you so much for talking with us today, Peter. This has been so interesting. I could talk to you for another few hours. Thank you for being here.

Peter: Thank you for inviting me. I hope your participants have enjoyed it.

Sharon: I’m sure they will. Thank you so much. We will talk to you again.

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