November 29, 1999
Retailers, dealers and manufacturers in the U.S. increasingly are expanding their networks of vendors and customers internationally with the help of the Internet. GemNet, based in Great Britain, is one example of an international community trading services and ideas on-line.
Recently expanded, GemNet offers a trade-only bulletin board, a free directory for suppliers and other opportunities to advertise your services or search for vendors. Jewelers discuss business practices and gemology and promote their products and services in the password-protected Trade Forum as well as in the Public Open Forum, where consumers can chime in or ask questions. In World Links, you can search for company Web sites by name, country or services offered, or add your own free Web site listing. The site is currently offering free banner ads for a trial period to suppliers or designers who want to advertise their services.
GemNet is beta-testing InterLogue, an on-line catalog of international suppliers searchable by category and subcategory, metal and stone type, price, country and supplier name. Retailers can search the catalog for free and can also order it on CD-ROM.
You'll have to register for a password and list two "references" to prove your industry affiliation before you can enter certain parts of the site. If you're trying to establish contacts or find vendors in other parts of the world or if you want a new perspective on industry issues, this growing jewelers' network is a good place to start.
- by Stacey King