GEMS TV is set to be screened on ITV tonight (Tuesday, September 2).
The one-off documentary features the Bennett family, who run the UK’s premier retail jewellery business without a single shop.
Instead, the family broadcast on cable television 24 hours a day to Europe and North America.
The family appear on screen, meaning they are familiar to viewers, and they are helped by a team of presenters as they receive up to 3,000 calls every hour.
Buying direct from the mines and keeping costs low means the family can offer bargain prices to viewers.
The documentary reveals despite turnover of £100 million per year, there are two problems looming.
One is finding staff, while the other is Tanzanite, a popular African gem of which stocks are running out.
The programme will be broadcast at 9 pm.
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Gems TV is a family business run by Steve and Sarah Bennett out of a light industrial shed in Birmingham. There are nine or 10, or perhaps 11 (Steve isn’t sure), Bennett relations working at the company. Steve’s future son-in-law runs the American operation; son Matt is the one who has to stand in front of the cameras for all of Christmas Day and most of Boxing Day, because the other 38 presenters are off.
Ah, the presenters. They corpse, they squeal, they shout, they drop things, they trip over the set. Most of all, they smile and talk – endlessly, relentlessly, like DJs who never get to take a call or play a song – in an attempt to keep you glued. “I always say, if people aren’t watching, they can’t buy,” said Steve.
If giddy amateurism appears to be the prevailing tone, the presenters are also very good at what they do. Edina once sold 1,000 diamond rings in an hour, although the channel mostly specialises in pushing jewellery containing gems I’m unfamiliar with – spinel, tourmaline, sphene, labradorite – at knockdown prices. It’s a business with a £100m a year turnover; they ship 10,000 parcels a day. Steve has been clever enough to recognise that an attachment to jewellery, even cheap jewellery, is an emotional one. He buys his gemstones directly from the mines, and his presenters are schooled in their history and their structure. At times it’s like watching a highly-charged geology lesson.
Away from the cameras, Steve has two main problems: he’s running out of both presenters and tanzanite. The latter is a blue gemstone from – you guessed it – Tanzania. It’s Gems TV’s biggest seller, but Tanzania’s miners can’t find any more.
His solution is a new and plentiful mineral called spessartite, but this gemstone comes with problems of its own: it’s bright orange and it has a stupid name. Undaunted, Steve picks a new name – tulelei, a Masai word. Then he sets about turning its colour into a virtue, instructing his presenters to invoke sunsets, and launching tulelei as if he were offering viewers a unique opportunity to own the next tanzanite. Amazingly, it works. Source: http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/sep/03/gems-tv-review-charming-bennett-family
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Gems TV shows the behind-the-scenes jewellery business like no other show has. If you want to learn the differences between the different types of precious gems, diamonds and metals, this is the show for you. Gems TV can be seen on ITV at 9 pm tonight.