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A message to the trade from one of my favorite rabble rousers, Martin Rapaport.

Wink

Ideal_Rock
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In this Rob Bates article, Martin Rapaport talks about diamond dealers being crucial to the trade, then about the need for greater diversity within the trade. From there he talks about Estate Jewelry and also branding and about retailers needing to have the ethics to tell their clients up front that synthetic values will continue to drop. I know a lot of jewelers and dealers love to dislike Martin, but he made my life so much better when he started publishing his price sheet back in the 70's. The man saved me and other jewelers out in the boondocks a LOT of money. He also earned the enmity of many in the trade who could no longer get the margins from those of us not in NY or LA that they had come to take for granted as theirs. I even took a copy of his report to a federal trial I was an expert witness in against DeBeers Consolidated Mines, Inc. (Not Limited) in AZ. That is another story for another time.

You can read the article here.

Wink
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
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Interesting article Wink. Thanks for posting it. I think the horse already left the barn though.
Being in NY, I can still work with dealers - maybe about 1/2 that we could 10 years ago. But a lot of “old timers” retired with no kids taking up the banner. The saving grace here has been Indian companies setting up offices on 47th st Which take up some of the slack.
In Israel, it’s far worse, from what I hear.
It is true that dealers have been essential to the trade thus far.
 
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Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
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But a lot of “old timers” retired with no kids taking up the banner.
That has happened to about 80%+ of the stores in my area from 20 years ago.
A few are still going into the second and maybe a couple third generations and one extended family owns a few of the newer non-chain store ones.

A lot of it has to do with small business syndrome, parents build a decent business that can support an owner and maybe a couple employees. They die or retire and give it to their 3 kids wanting to be "fair" and there is not enough business to support all the families so they fight over what is there and it goes under.
Multiple children of the founders owning/taking over a business kills a ton of businesses.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
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5,124
“Diamonds are forever. Little old ladies are not."

:lol::lol::lol:

A lot of it has to do with small business syndrome, parents build a decent business that can support an owner and maybe a couple employees. They die or retire and give it to their 3 kids wanting to be "fair" and there is not enough business to support all the families so they fight over what is there and it goes under.
Multiple children of the founders owning/taking over a business kills a ton of businesses.
I had never thought about that but it makes sense!
 

Wink

Ideal_Rock
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Are there no thoughts about this comment? "“Our industry has to evolve. Where are the women in the diamond industry? Where are the millennials? We have to look like our consumers.”

I know several very well respected ladies in the business. I agree, we can use more of them, but certainly, we are no longer the troglodytes we were when I joined the business.

And what about this VERY provocative statement? “Brands are the future. If you buy from a brand, you know what you are getting. There is no watch without a brand. Five years from now, there will be no diamonds without a brand.”

What do our members here think about this? Is it pie in the sky? Is it a given? Is it something that will never happen? I think this is one of the most interesting comments in the article and I am curious what our professionals and our prosumers think about this.

Wink
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
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We have to look like our consumers.”
Bullsnot you just need to know how to serve all your customers.
The racist and sexist idea that you have to be like someone to serve them in a business relationship is disgusting,
 
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Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
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And what about this VERY provocative statement? “Brands are the future. If you buy from a brand, you know what you are getting. There is no watch without a brand. Five years from now, there will be no diamonds without a brand.”
Stores are trying it, everything that is not a brand already is being store branded.
I find it rather stupid.
 

RunningwithScissors

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Apr 29, 2019
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Bullsnot you just need to know how to serve all your customers.
The racist and sexist idea that you have to be like someone to serve them in a business relationship is disgusting,
I'm not commenting on this article, but I am commenting as a consumer of high end goods in several different categories (specifically fine art, jewelry, and furniture) and as a 45 year old (which may or may not count as a Millennial, depends how you define the generation.)

I have yet to feel treated well by any, ANY Baby Boomer selling a high end product.

I have heard countless Boomers bemoan the end of their businesses as they know it. "What's wrong with Millennials" they cry, "why don't they buy our goods? Do they not have money? Are they stupid and being hoodwinked by flashy branding? Are they too casual [ie sloppy] to appreciate the 'finer things' in life?" In Boomer's minds the blame is on the perceived character flaws of the younger generations. They refuse to analyze their own behavior. You all treat fellow Boomers like royalty and you treat us like Cinderella (at best.)

Reality? We (Gen X and Millenials) have money -- we are in the prime of our earning potential. We like the 'finer things' and we see through the branding BS. However, most of us have been burned, countless times, by Boomers. So we go elsewhere. We vote with our dollar and buy things from people who treat us with respect and dignity.

I'm not saying a business owner has to be 45 to sell to a 45 year old, or be a women to sell to a woman, or be a Latino to sell to a Latino. But if you (meaning any older white male) can't honestly and with humility analyze they way you treat your clients, and make sure you don't treat other older white Boomers far better then they way you treat the rest of us, then your business will die out with your generation. And quite honestly, I have yet to see any of you all do that.

Edit: This is NOT an attack on any particular person on this forum.
 
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chroman

Brilliant_Rock
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948
“Brands are the future. If you buy from a brand, you know what you are getting. There is no watch without a brand. Five years from now, there will be no diamonds without a brand.”
But if I have a lab report, I already know what I’m getting..
 

Karl_K

Ideal_Rock
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8,509
I'm not commenting on this article, but I am commenting as a consumer of high end goods in several different categories (specifically fine art, jewelry, and furniture) and as a 45 year old (which may or may not count as a Millennial, depends how you define the generation.)

I have yet to feel treated well by any, ANY Baby Boomer selling a high end product.

I have heard countless Boomers bemoan the end of their businesses as they know it. "What's wrong with Millennials" they cry, "why don't they buy our goods? Do they not have money? Are they stupid and being hoodwinked by flashy branding? Are they too casual [ie sloppy] to appreciate the 'finer things' in life?" In Boomer's minds the blame is on the perceived character flaws of the younger generations. They refuse to analyze their own behavior. You all treat fellow Boomers like royalty and you treat us like Cinderella (at best.)

Reality? We (Gen X and Millenials) have money -- we are in the prime of our earning potential. We like the 'finer things' and we see through the branding BS. However, most of us have been burned, countless times, by Boomers. So we go elsewhere. We vote with our dollar and buy things from people who treat us with respect and dignity.

I'm not saying a business owner has to be 45 to sell to a 45 year old, or be a women to sell to a woman, or be a Latino to sell to a Latino. But if you (meaning any older white male) can't honestly and with humility analyze they way you treat your clients, and make sure you don't treat other older white Boomers far better then they way you treat the rest of us, then your business will die out with your generation. And quite honestly, I have yet to see any of you all do that.
I truly am sorry you have been treated that way.
Yes there are some out there that refuse to learn how to relate to younger people but I have found is if there is someone younger working there they usually suck at customer service too.
I'm just pushing 50 myself, not a boomer. Gen-X i guess I would be.
 

Lessics

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2019
Messages
191
As a 25 year old I have to say that people in my age care to some extent about brands that you can see (car, purses, watches). With a diamond the brand can't be seen (if it isn't a very obvious special branded cut). For jewellery there are already brands (Tiffany, Cartier etc.) that serve the people who want brand jewellery (a lot of asians I have the feeling). The rest would rather pay a bit less then pay for all the brand overhead.

Would you count HP Diamonds or Whiteflash as a brand? Then I would probably buy from a smaller brand like that as it gives me piece of mind but not because of the branded aspect.
But to be honest if I had seen Whiteflashs page without knowing about their great reputation I probably wouldn't have trusted that they really sell a better product than bluenile. Obviously they do, but only PS opend my eyes to that :)
 

Johnbt

Shiny_Rock
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Mar 13, 2018
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250
"Edit: This is NOT an attack on any particular person on this forum. "

Sounds like you need to find better places to shop.
I know that there are better places out there, along with the usual assortment of duds run by people of all ages.

I'm just a 69-year-old guy who enjoys spending money and I really don't like having to work too hard to do it. I don't argue with all the idiots and demand to be treated according to my preferences, I just walk out. I suppose I've mellowed a bit with age; I used channel my redheaded Scots-Irish mother's temper and let them know in no uncertain terms why I was taking my business elsewhere. :)
 

Diamond_Hawk

Brilliant_Rock
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1,153
I would be stunned if branding became a mainstream norm in diamond sales anytime soon. The store still carries some weight (e.g. “it’s from Tiffany & Co.”) but, unless the average consumer does the research and sets aside skepticism regarding branded and non-branded, the lab report will likely suffice for most people.
 

Polyhex

Rough_Rock
Joined
Sep 18, 2003
Messages
16
You can't see a diamond brand. In order for branded diamonds to become dominant, I think the brand would have to stand for something besides the diamond itself. For example a "Maker Diamond" brand where the purchasing experience includes visiting a workshop where technicians will guide you through laser welding the simplest parts of the ring. "I love you so much I made your ring myself." Or a "Social Change" brand that hires people who grew up in extreme poverty and trains them in diamond cutting and you know exactly who cut your diamond and how their lives changed as a result.
 

Rockdiamond

Ideal_Rock
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I think that brands serve a different purpose/ or more accurately, different purposes.
For a long while, diamonds become commoditized. A race to the bottom. Who can sell for the lowest possible price.
But the most discriminating consumers learned enough to understand that the sacrifices associated with buying blind off a list were more than they wanted to make. So what has emerged is a market that’s more diverse than solely price sensitive.
Dealers that specialize in picking diamonds are offering a service that turns into a brand, on a small scale.
That’s one sort of brand.

Specialty cutters that can offer stones other sellers can’t are a different sort of brand.
In a world where the largest sellers have gotten so much larger than small businesses, without something special smaller sellers are history.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,124
Are there no thoughts about this comment? "“Our industry has to evolve. Where are the women in the diamond industry? Where are the millennials? We have to look like our consumers.”

I know several very well respected ladies in the business. I agree, we can use more of them, but certainly, we are no longer the troglodytes we were when I joined the business.

And what about this VERY provocative statement? “Brands are the future. If you buy from a brand, you know what you are getting. There is no watch without a brand. Five years from now, there will be no diamonds without a brand.”

What do our members here think about this? Is it pie in the sky? Is it a given? Is it something that will never happen? I think this is one of the most interesting comments in the article and I am curious what our professionals and our prosumers think about this.

Wink
I don't know enough about who is "behind the scenes" in the diamond industry to comment on the first. I am sure like many industries, it is becoming more diverse but slowly. I see plenty of female designers and sales associates, to be sure. I know most of the men in the industry who post on this board employ and work with women. But I also know there's a lot of the diamond industry in countries that aren't so equal as the US - like how many diamond cutters in India are women? I bet it's more unequal there than here.

I do know that when I am shopping with my husband, the salespeople/jewelers in most stores speak to him, not to me. There are two exceptions to this - most PS-recommended vendors we have been to together, and high-end stores like Cartier, Graff, etc. But at MOST jewelry stores, they talk to him, they show him specs and prices, and they just show me the jewelry. Presumably I am an airhead who just says "ooh sparkly" and then bats my eyes at my husband until he judges if it's good and buys it - when in reality it is the other way around! I judge if it is good and priced well, do any negotiating, and he is there to go "oooh shiny, yes, I like it!" There is the MADDENING thing where they type the price on a calculator and show it to him without me seeing it, and he has to take the calculator and show it to me, then I counter, and they'll type a new price and show it to him, and he will have to take the calculator and show it to me AGAIN... and anyway this is why I buy online. So much easier.

As for the second - I don't know. A lot of the way the economy is going right now is that smaller companies are getting squeezed into oblivion by big companies, and I can certainly see that happening in the diamond industry as well. If he means stuff like branded diamonds, branded cuts - if they are good quality, that would be good, but a diamond doesn't HAVE to be branded to have a good quality cut. I would hate to see the industry take a turn where even more small businesses are squeezed out though because as many of the businesspeople on this board demonstrate, a lot of industry innovation (and cut innovation!) is coming from small businesses with creative people at the helm. So I wouldn't like to see that stifled since that is a big part of what I personally support - people like David and Wink who made the jump to internet selling early and carved out specific niches they excel in, people like Karl and Jonathan and Yoram who have designed specialty cuts, etc (sorry if I am forgetting anyone!) - I would think THAT is the future of the industry. Millennials as a whole seem to like things that market themselves are smaller, more independent brands, with more individualized offerings, so I'd think that sort of thing might have more success in the future. But maybe that is just wishful thinking on my part!
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
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Messages
8,683
But if I have a lab report, I already know what I’m getting..
GIA is a brand, probably the most powerful brand in the diamond business at the moment, but their reports do NOT answer all of the questions on the table either in terms of either diamonds or market.

You need to look no further than the database here to understand that superficially identical stones can trade for wildly different prices.
 

Johnbt

Shiny_Rock
Premium
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Mar 13, 2018
Messages
250
"I do know that when I am shopping with my husband, the salespeople/jewelers in most stores speak to him, not to me. "

The salesman at Diamonds Direct bluntly asked my girlfriend - now wife - "Where's your boyfriend?" He wouldn't show her any one or two carat diamonds or settings and tried to get a budget number. She told him there wasn't a budget and she was trying to decide what size and color she wanted. I suppose he didn't believe her.

What a freaking idiot move that was on his part. She was 63 then, had 3 college degrees, a job with clients, managing expenditures, etc., etc., etc. And there wasn't a ring budget. Really.

She came home and paid much more attention to my plans for internet shopping. Fwiw, she ended up picking a 1.5+ carat F VVS2 from WF.

Oh, and then there was the day we went into one of nicer stores at the regional mall and discovered that their guy sorted and graded the diamonds for all of their stores. My wife still tells people about the look on my face when the saleswoman told me in great detail how good they were at grading diamonds and that we didn't need any paperwork with measurements.
 

distracts

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
5,124
"I do know that when I am shopping with my husband, the salespeople/jewelers in most stores speak to him, not to me. "

The salesman at Diamonds Direct bluntly asked my girlfriend - now wife - "Where's your boyfriend?" He wouldn't show her any one or two carat diamonds or settings and tried to get a budget number. She told him there wasn't a budget and she was trying to decide what size and color she wanted. I suppose he didn't believe her.

What a freaking idiot move that was on his part. She was 63 then, had 3 college degrees, a job with clients, managing expenditures, etc., etc., etc. And there wasn't a ring budget. Really.

She came home and paid much more attention to my plans for internet shopping. Fwiw, she ended up picking a 1.5+ carat F VVS2 from WF.

Oh, and then there was the day we went into one of nicer stores at the regional mall and discovered that their guy sorted and graded the diamonds for all of their stores. My wife still tells people about the look on my face when the saleswoman told me in great detail how good they were at grading diamonds and that we didn't need any paperwork with measurements.
Yeah, there are a lot of stores that are putting themselves out of business with this sort of behavior. When you can easily find vendors who give you all the appropriate info AND treat you respectfully online, why bother with ones who don’t? Previously they had a captive audience who had to buy from them if they wanted the product, and who probably didn’t have much information, but that’s no longer the case.

Because people know I like jewelry, people ask me for store recommendations all the time. About half don’t want to shop online. I have recommended several stores in my area, some that I’ve never even bought anything from or had work on my pieces, based on how they treated me and the salesperson’s knowledge (and of course my knowledge of what they stock and make). Jewelry purchases are some of the most expensive most people make after houses and cars so you want to be working with somebody who is knowledgeable, reassuring, respectful, and who is saying things that match what you read when you look up the information on your own! Just about any jeweler can call in a diamond and stick it in a stock setting, but not every jeweler can do those things, even though they seem to me like the basics for running a successful business.

And there are also stores I do not recommend based on how they treated me. Anyone can read on this forum, preserved for posterity where Yelp can’t take it down, the story of the jeweler who made my mom cry, for instance.
 

Polabowla

Rough_Rock
Joined
Nov 15, 2019
Messages
57
It's in so many businesses that I as a female am ignored, that when I'm not I truly take notice.
I will say that graff & ralph Lauren (both in nyc) have always treated me amazingly well- even when my husband was no where to be seen & i was dressed in "mom"clothes.
 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Messages
19,951
I do know that when I am shopping with my husband, the salespeople/jewelers in most stores speak to him, not to me. There are two exceptions to this - most PS-recommended vendors we have been to together, and high-end stores like Cartier, Graff, etc. But at MOST jewelry stores, they talk to him, they show him specs and prices, and they just show me the jewelry. Presumably I am an airhead who just says "ooh sparkly" and then bats my eyes at my husband until he judges if it's good and buys it - when in reality it is the other way around! I judge if it is good and priced well, do any negotiating, and he is there to go "oooh shiny, yes, I like it!" There is the MADDENING thing where they type the price on a calculator and show it to him without me seeing it, and he has to take the calculator and show it to me, then I counter, and they'll type a new price and show it to him, and he will have to take the calculator and show it to me AGAIN... and anyway this is why I buy online. So much easier.

As for the second - I don't know. A lot of the way the economy is going right now is that smaller companies are getting squeezed into oblivion by big companies, and I can certainly see that happening in the diamond industry as well. If he means stuff like branded diamonds, branded cuts - if they are good quality, that would be good, but a diamond doesn't HAVE to be branded to have a good quality cut. I would hate to see the industry take a turn where even more small businesses are squeezed out though because as many of the businesspeople on this board demonstrate, a lot of industry innovation (and cut innovation!) is coming from small businesses with creative people at the helm. So I wouldn't like to see that stifled since that is a big part of what I personally support - people like David and Wink who made the jump to internet selling early and carved out specific niches they excel in, people like Karl and Jonathan and Yoram who have designed specialty cuts, etc (sorry if I am forgetting anyone!) - I would think THAT is the future of the industry. Millennials as a whole seem to like things that market themselves are smaller, more independent brands, with more individualized offerings, so I'd think that sort of thing might have more success in the future. But maybe that is just wishful thinking on my part!
Can I just ditto all of this?
Especially that calculator waffle! :x2:roll2:
 
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