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Making the Grade with Carter

By John Carter, CGA

I’m sure I speak for all of you when I say it’s a relief to have come out the other side of a year that brought challenges to our lives that we could have never predicted but…we made it!

So, now what? Having spoken with many of you over the past several months, I’ve been impressed by the spirit of our industry and our insistence to use 2020 the past year, not as an excuse, but as a chance to get better.

Collectively, we used the shutdowns and slowdowns as opportunities to improve our businesses and I found myself being more inspired by our little group than ever before. At Jack Lewis Jewelers, we took the time to tear down our old website and rebuild it one digital brick at a time. The results were incredible, and it was just what we needed heading into the fourth quarter. Had I not been forced to look at business differently in 2020, we likely would have never done this. I am thankful for that.

One way you can position your business for the future is to create your own in-house brand of diamonds using— you guessed it—AGS Laboratories grading reports!

Just over four years ago, we created our own version that we lovingly refer to as Jack Lewis Flame. These diamonds are all AGS 0 cut grade diamonds that can range in color from D-K and clarity all the way down to I1. The one thing every Jack Lewis Flame MUST have in common is that overall coveted cut grade of AGS 0.

John Carter, CGA

Then we explain to the client the difference between these diamonds and one they may find online that receives a less specific grade of “excellent.” Why would this matter to the client at all? Because, my friends, a diamond that receives a cut grade of “excellent” from another laboratory, can receive a cut grade as low as 3 or even a 4 by AGS standards.

At this point, I ask the client at the counter, “Is a 3 the same as 0?” It, of course, is not, and this answer allows us to focus on diamonds that are cut as well as they possibly can be, then fill in the blanks with color, clarity, and even budget to find the right diamond for them.

Capping off this process is an additional service that AGS Laboratories has to offer: Only My Diamond®. This allows us to set all Jack Lewis Flames apart from any other diamond they may see. By typing in a diamond’s unique serial number on our website, the client can see EVERYTHING that makes their Jack Lewis Flame special. The grading report, light performance quality details, the ASET® image of that diamond, its laser inscription (which includes our logo), and even a 360-degree video!

Essentially, we say that every Jack Lewis Flame has its own website! We top all of this off with a little plastic card they can carry around in their wallet with that diamond’s number on it (yes, AGS Laboratories also prints these cards for us). They can look up their diamond anytime they want to show it off to their friends. Sound cool? Try it yourself by visiting, scroll to the bottom, and type in this number: 6212209. Enjoy the story of a 2ct Jack Lewis Flame!

Only My Diamond
Screenshot of Only My Diamond®

Our business is about storytelling and I believe this will be even more important in the coming years than it ever was before. This past year forced us all to focus and reflect on what is important. You could put anything in your cases to sell to your clients and friends, but you don’t. You are choosy. You use your lifetime of honing your skills to offer your clients the very best.

A special collection of diamonds that have been hand-chosen because of their superior cut grade with their own stories, not only sets them apart but sets your store apart as well. Your diamonds are a cut above the competition and so is your store. AGS Laboratories is here to help you tell that story.

It’s your chance to do something different in 2021. Start by building your own brand of diamonds and ask us how we can help. You will be so thankful you did.

Check out John’s Video Series, Making the Grade with Carter at