Friday, January 18, 2008

GemsTV, the Newest Obsession

I am not one for infomercials or shopping networks, but I stumbled upon a nifty little, er, gem of a station: GemsTV.

I had never paid attention to it, blindly surfing past it or skipping it entirely. Then, for some reason, I stopped on the channel. The woman sitting behind the counter was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and more than just a little friendly.

The jewelry was pretty, the price was good — but it was the presenter that made me stop. I had never seen anyone as enthusiastic as Karen. She seemed like someone I'd have coffee with, someone I'd chat with at the grocery, someone I'd want at my party.

So I watched.
And watched.
And watched.

The theme for this channel is "Let's play the game." The presenter pulls out the jewelry and the station posts a "starting price" for the jewelry. Then the price "crashes" to something ridiculously low, like 10-15 percent of the starting price. (Even if the "starting price" was hefty, the "crashed" price is very reasonable, even inexpensive.) The presenters talk up the piece, noting the gemstone weight and type, metal weight and color, how common or rare the gems are, how they're mined — that kind of thing. It's chatter that fills the space during the sale.

I love jewelry, to begin with, but the presenters kept me coming back for more. They all were fun, goofy and enthusiastic. I liked them. I wondered if I could keep up that kind of prattle for minutes at a time — then realized I already do.

I keep minutiae in my head about pretty much anything. I have walked friends up and down the main aisle at my Borders and commented on every single book, then turned to the stacks and started on them. I rattle off summaries, reviews, character information — like I wrote the darned things. When I volunteer for local historic tours, I can keep my audience listening to details they never thought to consider about local history, buildings, current development, the whole gamut.

So watching people share seemingly useless minutiae about something I really like was a joy.

It became a sport. Brooke or Rob or Lindsey or Jim would present a piece and I'd guess what the final price would be. (I am rarely off by much.) Even David got into the game, commenting on the pieces and the prices. As time went on, I became much more critical of the pieces, lamenting the lack of yellow gold in the GemsTV collection, learning about the origin of many stones I never really paid attention to before. I kept it on in the background, mute, while reading and blogging. I'd glance up and see what was on. I went online and checked the channel's inventory. I watched the "commercials" about the jewelry makers. Educational, I told myself. Harmless fun. It doesn't cost to watch.

And then I found a piece I really liked: an amethyst ring. I had announced just a week earlier that I didn't plan to purchase any more rings because I had enough. (When you stop laughing, you can continue reading.) Then this ring came on and I said to David, "I think I would wear that one." I have no amethyst in my collection, and I never really paid attention to it, but this piece was nice. So I succumbed.

It's due in the mail next week.

I won't go crazy and start supporting GemsTV with large portions of my salary. (That dubious honor belongs to Borders.) However, I will enjoy tuning in from time to time and watching people do what they love, as well as gander at a pretty bauble or two. I'll tune down one channel, watch lackluster performances by other jewelry salespeople, then return to enjoy the show GemsTV provides. After all, it's harmless fun — right?

No comments: