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Drone delivery by US jeweller succeeds

A jeweller in the United States has completed what is thought to be the first drone-delivery ever undertaken by a jeweller.

Distinctive Gold Jewelry, of Frankfort in Illinois, delivered a women’s watch to a couple celebrating their anniversary.

The business owners say that have being “dying to do” such a delivery since they first heard of the concept of drones.

Drones have become a talking point in retail and consumer circles ever since online shopping giant Amazon said it was trialling the technology.

Recently a video of Jeremy Clarkson explaining how the latest iteration works using GPS and safe landing sensors went viral.

It is not clear whether Distinctive Gold Jewelry intends to roll it out as a standard part of their service offering, but it has nonetheless garnered some attention stateside, with US trade magazine National Jeweler breaking the story.

Here is the American jewellers’ account of their achievement [verbatim]:

Time Flies: A Watch Delivery via Drone in Frankfort IL

On Tuesday September 23, 2015 Distinctive Gold Jewelry in Frankfort, Illinois did something that no other jewelry store in Frankfort or possibly Illinois has done! We delivered our first gift to our customer by drone delivery! We delivered a women’s watch to a wonderful couple celebrating their anniversary. Now this was a manned drone delivery, and not exactly the GPS driven and unmanned drone’s that are to be “the future”, but I don’t even know if Amazon has that figured out yet!

This was something that I, Tony, was dying to do since the first murmurs of Drone Delivery hit the airwaves. The idea came to me right before the Christmas season of 2014. I wanted to deliver an engagement ring to a willing customer, via Drone. I wanted to give a couple something that they could never forget; A memory they will keep for a lifetime. We have had some really neat engagement proposals throughout the years and with 2015 coming soon it was a new year’s resolution or promise to myself. At Distinctive Gold we have had such amazing proposals… from a full showcase display in the Field Museum in Chicago, to even during a cave exploration in Southern Illinois; we’ve seen them all, or so we thought.  As anyone in the jewelry industry would know, Christmas and the holiday season can be quite hectic and time consuming. Yet for a willing customer we were ready to do this, however as many also know, the weather and details of the Chicago Suburbs are arduous especially when dealing with the weather. As well, the task of being a local jeweler in a small town in IL and wanting to make an unprecedented jewelry delivery by Drone!

How we delivered a Watch by Drone

After the busy Holiday season, it was a new year, February 2015, and in the back of my mind “I need to do this drone thing”. Well Lisa, one of our longest employees, recommends one of our customers who is a tech-junkie and has been an extremely kind and loyal customer of Distinctive Gold for many years, to give it a try. I thought, “Yes! I’m in!”  So we approached the subject of doing this “drone delivery” to this customer.  We received a “Yeah! Sounds cool!” But it wasn’t quite in the cards for all of us at that point, but surprising his wife in this way would be a memory that they can share forever! That’s what we considered to be of the utmost importance. We wanted to give something to a couple that they can never forget.

So, I learned something: We can create a great memory for our customers to share, but timing is everything.

Knowing in the back of my mind, that I need to be ready at any point, I contacted David at Aerial Photo of Illinois and approached him with the idea. I have been a jeweler for over 40 years. I dabbled with technology, but I was in no way a pilot and did not have the capabilities to do so. That was where David stepped in; we approached him with the opportunity. David with a level head accessed the risk: drone crashes, FAA licenses and approval, unexpected complications. He knew it was a great opportunity, but would take a bit to figure out, and he did. We were ready with the technical aspects, just needed the timing to be perfect.

Jewelry Delivered: Time Flew

As Summer passed, things started to come together in the right sequence for this drone idea.  So now we needed to figure out the distance for David to accomplish this one of a kind surprise.  David has the know-how and skills to manage the distance of the delivery.  A date was set and a beautiful day as well. I knew we had a lot of things that could go wrong. The drone has 15 minutes of battery life, we needed to secure the expensive jewelry piece, and we had to “chase” the drone to make sure it arrived without hitting the high tension wires that paralleled us on the way. We always reminded ourselves “We could have just hand delivered it or sent it through the Frankfort Post Office, but what’s the fun in that?” It had to be from David’s Drone. With no “dry run”, we chased the drone with the package attached and hoped for the best!

It was a success! This couple received a great memory, a customer received a beautiful watch (with some complimentary champagne and flowers to celebrate the moment), and we may have accomplished something cool along the way! We are not so sure this drone delivery is the future but we loved the surprise and it couldn’t have been to a sweeter couple celebrating an anniversary gift from Distinctive Gold Jewelry. 

About Michael Northcott

Michael Northcott

Michael is the editor of Jewellery Focus magazine. He draws from experience at a wide range of B2B magazines, including Management Today, Legal Business, Retail Week and Hotel Owner. Feel free to drop him a line with any stories or feature ideas.

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