Thornton, Colo.--Return phone calls promptly, take chances when they are offered and look for partners.

Those are three of the lessons Troy and Joy Thollot, owners of Thornton, Colo. independent Thollot Jewelers, learned after being featured on a recent episode of ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss.

Extreme Weight Loss is a reality TV show where trainer Chris Powell and his wife Heidi help people shed pounds and change their lifestyles, documenting their year-long transformation in an hour-long episode.

This season the show has three special episodes, all dubbed “Love Can’t Weight” and dedicated to couples who are trying to get into shape for their weddings.

That is where Thollot Jewelers comes into the picture.

Prior to the jeweler’s Extreme premiere, Troy Thollot, a graduate gemologist with 25 years of experience in the industry, said he had actually contacted a number of large TV networks to offer his services as a diamond expert for any segments involving jewelry.

He was out for any kind of free airtime he could get to market his store but, little did he know, it already was on its way to him.

Unaware that he had reached out to the network, a producer from Extreme Weight Loss called Thollot and left him a message. He returned the call immediately--something small business owners tend not to do because they get too busy--and was told that show, which is filmed in Denver, was looking for a jeweler to supply a ring for an upcoming episode.

The episode, which aired June 23, featured a couple from New Orleans named Cain Myers and Tiffany Kasunich. They wanted to walk down the aisle together but were held back by their shared weight problem and his gambling addiction. 

Upon getting the request, Thollot didn’t have to think twice, and exercised one of the advantages of being a small, independent jeweler: he didn’t have to run any big decisions up the chain of command and was able to say “yes” very quickly. 

“I’m a small store in a very large market. If there’s a chance to get any kind of free airtime, I’m all in,” he said. 

Soon after he signed the contact and started negotiations, Thollot got his first lesson in reality TV love: It doesn’t come cheap to the jeweler.

He was expected to supply an impressive ring to the couple being featured on the show for free. So, Thollot began searching for a partner to shoulder some of the costs.

One company that came to mind one Sunday afternoon as he and his wife were chatting about the show on their deck was Hasenfeld-Stein.

The New York-based diamond company makes the FireCushion, an excellent/excellent (Ex Ex) cushion brilliant-cut diamond. The whole idea behind the cut is that there is no excess weight, allowing the diamond to have better light return (brilliance.)

Hasenfeld-Stein cuts away the “big belly” typically found on modified cushion cuts, meaning they remove weight from the diamond in the area between the girdle and culet. This results in the FireCushion having an average light return of 95 percent, whereas light return on a typical cushion-cut diamond is between 85 and 90 percent.

Thollot said he and his wife thought the FireCushion would be a perfect fit for the show because of its story of weight loss, so they contact Hasenfeld-Stein. Sales and marketing director Steve Feldman emailed them back right away, and the partnership was sealed.

Thollot crafted a custom 14-karat white gold setting with 0.62 carats of diamonds, put a 1.52-carat Forevermark FireCushion in the middle--total appraisal value, $24,500--and then watched as his store’s name, and that of Hasenfeld-Stein and the FireCushion, aired to an audience of 4.75 million viewers.

A clip from the show--the part where Cain visits the store to pick out the ring, naturally--is up on Thollot’s Facebook page, and the entire episode can be viewed on ABC’s website.

Since the show has aired, Thollot said he has received 50 to 100 congratulatory emails from people in his area, and has been contacted by a number of jewelry industry vendors, both new and existing, who also saw the show.

Both ultimately will help him achieve his goal of growing the business he and his wife opened in 2000 after years of owning a trade shop that repaired jewelry for other retailers.

“That helps with the brand I’m attempting to build, as the local, independent diamond dealer with integrity,” he said.


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