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Curious how diamond vendors keep all of the diamonds straight and delivered?

moneymeister

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Not sure if trade can say much about this, but it occurred to me there are many diamonds floating around the networks.

How does "Acme" diamond supplier physically keep the diamond inventory? Are there drawers, or racks? what does the business look like behind the scenes (asking for information that does not compromise security and trade secrets).


It would be fun to know how the diamond is filed and ordered and then and transported through the system, if in a general way.

Thanks if you can satisfy my curiosity.
 
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sledge

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I'm not in the trade, but believe it would start with main line suppliers. My guess is virtual inventory control via online methods they make available to their distributors (JA, BN, etc). If you've ever noticed, there is sometimes a lag when a diamond on Vendor A's site shows available but shows as sold on Vendor B's site. This is because of the timeliness the supplier updates his inventory and then how quickly each respective vendor refreshes/updates their inventory of that particular supplier.

Also, I believe when an order is processed, there is phone communications which confirms inventory is available, etc before the online part is updated.

Where they store, how they ensure security, transportation methods, etc would likely vary from vendor to vendor.

Vendors with local inventory would likely operate a little different. I know WF is ISO9001 certified and to my knowledge the only vendor that carries such a certification. If you aren't familiar it is a pain in the rear to obtain and upkeep but it deals and addresses in detail many of the things you are asking about.

https://www.whiteflash.com/confidence/whiteflash-certified-iso-9000.aspx

This certification is something they take very seriously and utilize to maintain and improve themselves in all facets. I'm just scratching the surface, but sure @Texas Leaguer can explain in more detail.
 

Wewechew

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I have always been curious if jewelers inventory was financed the same way car dealerships finance their cars, on a floor plan. The bank finances the car 100% up front. Every 30 days the car dealership has to make a car payment plus interest. After selling the car, the dealership pays off the car loan with the bank. :geek2:
 
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diamondseeker2006

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I think they are each in folded paper with the specs written/printed on them in a box or drawer. There was an IG post not too long ago from a vendor that had dropped a box of diamond papers on the floor! I can't say that all suppliers are like that, but I'm betting a lot of them are old school!
 
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Snowdrop13

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I wonder if they ever get stones mixed up? I guess it’s easy if all of them are certified. I remember once being shown a pair of diamond stud earrings in a store, my mum noted they were slightly different sizes and indeed they were, one of the earrings had been accidentally switched and no one had noticed!
 

Rockdiamond

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Companies that maintain diamond inventories of larger stones( say .50ct and larger) generally use the same methodology.
The stones are kept individually, each in it's own parcel paper. The papers are kept in boxes, which are kept in a safe.
Nowadays pretty much all the large companies have bar codes labels on the parcels. Or they can have hand written labels.
How to make sure that diamonds are kept in the correct papers?
Generally there's a level of security where only a limited number of people have access to the safe. That's the level where you need people with gemological knowledge. Many stones have GIA inscriptions- but you'd still need a gemologist to confirm that the correct stone is in the paper.

Smaller diamonds are kept in large parcels. For example diamonds used in pavè are kept in large amounts. A sieve is used to separate sizes.
 

Demon

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Companies that maintain diamond inventories of larger stones( say .50ct and larger) generally use the same methodology.
The stones are kept individually, each in it's own parcel paper. The papers are kept in boxes, which are kept in a safe.
Nowadays pretty much all the large companies have bar codes labels on the parcels. Or they can have hand written labels.
How to make sure that diamonds are kept in the correct papers?
Generally there's a level of security where only a limited number of people have access to the safe. That's the level where you need people with gemological knowledge. Many stones have GIA inscriptions- but you'd still need a gemologist to confirm that the correct stone is in the paper.

Smaller diamonds are kept in large parcels. For example diamonds used in pavè are kept in large amounts. A sieve is used to separate sizes.
Oh how I would love to come and play in your safe! :twisted:
 

Texas Leaguer

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Let me just say that I am extremely grateful to the people who developed diamond laser inscription technology! :D

Our operation is unique in several respects. We have ongoing manufacturing arrangements and we buy and stock a large number of diamonds. The diamonds go from our manufactures to the lab. Those diamonds that pass our criteria at the lab then come to Whiteflash for gemological review, additional testing and imaging, and final categorization. Once passed through this QC system, the diamonds are added to inventory and securely stored.

Because we have a retail showroom and because we provide enhanced photo services such as side by side images on request, diamonds often move around internally before being put back in the safe.

Once an order is placed the diamond moves into the fulfillment process and a multi-level QC regime where inscriptions are checked at every stop, in addition to all other relevant quality checks.

When you think about a fairly high volume of diamonds moving through a system like ours, and recognize that because we are so specialized many of the stones are extremely similar, you can appreciate how much additional time would be required if we didn't have inscriptions and instead had to do strictly gemological verification each and every time a diamond was taken out and put back into the safe.
 
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Wewechew

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@Texas Leaguer do people have to "check in and out" diamonds from the vault? Just curious as to the added security measures in case a stone goes missing.
 

Texas Leaguer

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@Texas Leaguer do people have to "check in and out" diamonds from the vault? Just curious as to the added security measures in case a stone goes missing.
Absolutely they do.

We have to know the physical whereabouts of the diamond at all times, and have a trail of custody in case there is an escapee.;-)

The system works. I can't remember the last time a diamond went rogue. :-o
 

Rockdiamond

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Sometimes Fancy Colored Diamonds are kept in boxes that allow you to see the color.
These are smaller stones in the midst of designing new pieces
20190918_144247.jpg

Diamond wallet- and papers inside
20190918_144350.jpg 20190918_144405.jpg

Rings- and other pieces of jewelry. We keep them in envelopes......
20190918_144329.jpg

Back when I first started at Harry Winston, they used a double-blind system. The people in charge of giving the diamonds out to be worked on did not know how to grade- and the graders did not know the prices of the diamonds we were working on.

Since we have a smaller company, with limited access to the goods, it does make things more simple than larger companies who have greater security concerns....
 
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AV_

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This thread reminds my storing samples, fun enough.

Back when I first started at Harry Winston, they used a double-blind system. The people in charge of giving the diamonds out to be worked on did not know how to grade- and the graders did not know the prices of the diamonds we were working on.
That works for pearls too; lab rats do not know prices (not least because I have never asked!) Small world...
 

moneymeister

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@mwilliamanderson I wasn't sure if we'd get replies at first! But we did! I was in meetings all day but kept an eye on this thread - pretty excited to read the replies.

@sledge I worked in manufacturing and went through the ISO 9000 certification process. My hat is off to Whiteflash. That is quite an accomplishment @Texas Leaguer. I think your process outlines are probably pretty accurate.

@Wewechew, wow that's a thought! can you even imagine how painfully expensive that would be?

@diamondseeker2006 "I think they are each in folded paper with the specs written/printed on them in a box or drawer. There was an IG post not too long ago from a vendor that had dropped a box of diamond papers on the floor! I can't say that all suppliers are like that, but I'm betting a lot of them are old school!" That would be a complete heartbreak of a situation. Can you imagine people demanding their diamonds and a tired staff member sifting through a pile of probabilities? Pre-engraving, that would have been one long, long week.

Snowdrop13 "I wonder if they ever get stones mixed up? I guess it’s easy if all of them are certified. I remember once being shown a pair of diamond stud earrings in a store, my mum noted they were slightly different sizes and indeed they were, one of the earrings had been accidentally switched and no one had noticed!" Oh, I bet some old-timers have a story or two...or maybe that's going to the grave with them. LOL.

@Rockdiamond Thanks so much for taking time to reply. I figured there would be a tight protocol. Its fascinating to peek into your world. Interesting to hear how you sort small diamonds too.

@Demon I would also love to go play with diamonds. What a great job!<3

@Texas Leaguer "Let me just say that I am extremely grateful to the people who developed diamond laser inscription technology! :D" HAHAHAHA modern miracles - I bet!!

"Our operation is unique in several respects. We have ongoing manufacturing arrangements and we buy and stock a large number of diamonds. The diamonds go from our manufactures to the lab. Those diamonds that pass our criteria at the lab then come to Whiteflash for gemological review, additional testing and imaging, and final categorization. Once passed through this QC system, the diamonds are added to inventory and securely stored.

Because we have a retail showroom and because we provide enhanced photo services such as side by side images on request, diamonds often move around internally before being put back in the safe.

Once an order is placed the diamond moves into the fulfillment process and a multi-level QC regime where inscriptions are checked at every stop, in addition to all other relevant quality checks."


When you think about a fairly high volume of diamonds moving through a system like ours, and recognize that because we are so specialized many of the stones are extremely similar, you can appreciate how much additional time would be required if we didn't have inscriptions and instead had to do strictly gemological verification each and every time a diamond was taken out and put back into the safe.[/QUOTE] Not unlike hospitals checking that newborn and mom's ID at every opportunity. I would imagine mix-ups would be terrible.

@oldworlddiamonds these pictures are so fascinating! Thank you so much for the peek.

boxes.jpg [/QUOTE]

Dear Trade, Thank you for taking the time to let us have a glimpse into your world.
 

moneymeister

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These replies are terribly truncated for now. I'm sorry! more later (guests at the house!)
 

Wink

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The system works. I can't remember the last time a diamond went rogue. :-o
I had one go rogue just last week. I had just finished making a comparison video of three diamonds, I had checked the inscriptions of all of them as I got them out of the paper, as is our practice, and was weighing the next to the last diamond to be sure it went back into the same paper, they were all different in weight, so it was quick and easy to be sure. Until...

I clipped a corner of the scale enclosure with the tweezers I was using and the diamond took flight. I heard it hit the floor and thought I could tell the direction it was rolling. (Note to self, never trust a sound's direction, our ears are not well designed for it.)

I looked for ten to fifteen minutes and got to the point where I turned out the lights, lay on the floor to be able to see any profile and got out my smallest flashlight to catch sparkle, nothing. Got the rest of the staff involved, three of us looking for another twenty minutes. Still nothing. Then I started crawling around under my desk, even though I had distinctly heard it rolling away from there. Finally I lifted up my surge protector and there the little rogue was. Whew!

A good steaming and another five minutes of inspecting it to be sure it was not damaged, and I had to come in on my day off to do the work I had wanted to do before leaving that evening.

No matter how good a system is, it is still at the whim of those sneaky little sparkly things who want to go on unauthorized leave every now and then.

Wink
 

Karl_K

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I had one go rogue just last week. I had just finished making a comparison video of three diamonds, I had checked the inscriptions of all of them as I got them out of the paper, as is our practice, and was weighing the next to the last diamond to be sure it went back into the same paper, they were all different in weight, so it was quick and easy to be sure. Until...

I clipped a corner of the scale enclosure with the tweezers I was using and the diamond took flight. I heard it hit the floor and thought I could tell the direction it was rolling. (Note to self, never trust a sound's direction, our ears are not well designed for it.)

I looked for ten to fifteen minutes and got to the point where I turned out the lights, lay on the floor to be able to see any profile and got out my smallest flashlight to catch sparkle, nothing. Got the rest of the staff involved, three of us looking for another twenty minutes. Still nothing. Then I started crawling around under my desk, even though I had distinctly heard it rolling away from there. Finally I lifted up my surge protector and there the little rogue was. Whew!

A good steaming and another five minutes of inspecting it to be sure it was not damaged, and I had to come in on my day off to do the work I had wanted to do before leaving that evening.

No matter how good a system is, it is still at the whim of those sneaky little sparkly things who want to go on unauthorized leave every now and then.

Wink
I'm sorry but that truly had me rofl!!!!
People would be shocked to see how at times what is probably a few million dollars worth of diamonds is tossed around in wallets like the one David showed.
 

OoohShiny

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I had one go rogue just last week. I had just finished making a comparison video of three diamonds, I had checked the inscriptions of all of them as I got them out of the paper, as is our practice, and was weighing the next to the last diamond to be sure it went back into the same paper, they were all different in weight, so it was quick and easy to be sure. Until...

I clipped a corner of the scale enclosure with the tweezers I was using and the diamond took flight. I heard it hit the floor and thought I could tell the direction it was rolling. (Note to self, never trust a sound's direction, our ears are not well designed for it.)

I looked for ten to fifteen minutes and got to the point where I turned out the lights, lay on the floor to be able to see any profile and got out my smallest flashlight to catch sparkle, nothing. Got the rest of the staff involved, three of us looking for another twenty minutes. Still nothing. Then I started crawling around under my desk, even though I had distinctly heard it rolling away from there. Finally I lifted up my surge protector and there the little rogue was. Whew!

A good steaming and another five minutes of inspecting it to be sure it was not damaged, and I had to come in on my day off to do the work I had wanted to do before leaving that evening.

No matter how good a system is, it is still at the whim of those sneaky little sparkly things who want to go on unauthorized leave every now and then.

Wink
I have visions of you yelling "lock the door!!", and then nothing and no-one being allowed to enter or exit the room until you have searched from top to bottom and stripped down to your underpants in case it fell into a fold of clothing! :shock: :lol:
 

OoohShiny

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Texas Leaguer

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I see what you did there ;-) :lol:
I know WF is ISO9001 certified and to my knowledge the only vendor that carries such a certification. If you aren't familiar it is a pain in the rear to obtain and upkeep but it deals and addresses in detail many of the things you are asking about.

https://www.whiteflash.com/confidence/whiteflash-certified-iso-9000.aspx

This certification is something they take very seriously and utilize to maintain and improve themselves in all facets. I'm just scratching the surface, but sure @Texas Leaguer can explain in more detail.
Thank you @sledge for that mention.
We often get compliments from the auditors because of our approach to ISO certification. While most companies go through the process because they are required to in order to get government contracts or it is required by the companies they want to sell to, we adopted ISO because we saw in it a structure and a methodology that would benefit our quality assurance and dependability, and provide incremental improvement over time as we grow the business. And it truly has positively impacted "all facets of our business". It also has strengthened our team fabric as each person at Whiteflash is directly involved in determining the improvements in their area that are derived from evolving our ISO framework. Everyone on the team also sees clearly how their particular role(s) intersect with the overall operation.

Having said all that, we are far from perfect! But ISO keeps us focused on those imperfections so we at least understand the root causes that must be addressed.
 

Karl_K

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Thank you @sledge for that mention.
We often get compliments from the auditors because of our approach to ISO certification. While most companies go through the process because they are required to in order to get government contracts or it is required by the companies they want to sell to, we adopted ISO because we saw in it a structure and a methodology that would benefit our quality assurance and dependability, and provide incremental improvement over time as we grow the business. And it truly has positively impacted "all facets of our business". It also has strengthened our team fabric as each person at Whiteflash is directly involved in determining the improvements in their area that are derived from evolving our ISO framework. Everyone on the team also sees clearly how their particular role(s) intersect with the overall operation.

Having said all that, we are far from perfect! But ISO keeps us focused on those imperfections so we at least understand the root causes that must be addressed.
Your type of business is one where the ISO requirements actually make sense.
You should have that level of tracking anyway for security reasons and making sure policies are formally documented and followed just makes sense.
For many industries I have a rather sour opinion of ISO.
 
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Texas Leaguer

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Your type of business is one where the ISO requirements actually make sense.
You should have that level of tracking anyway for security reasons and making sure policies are formally documented and followed just makes sense.
Fpr many industries I have a rather sour opinion of ISO.
Certification is certainly not right for every business, considering the money and resources required. But I do believe that following the concepts would help any business.

Good documentation of workflow and processes is good for training and onboarding. Recording and tracking non-conformities, determination of root cause, designing an improvement for a problem, and then measuring its effectiveness, these are common sense practices that can and should be used by any company that wants to be on top of their QC and desires to continually improve.

But without being forced to do these things, and building it into your regular routines, it's all too easy to get off track. The structure of ISO is its most powerful feature. And I will say the auditors don't mess around, so the fear factor is a good motivator!
 

Rockdiamond

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Totally symathize with @Wink !!!
We've spent more hours than I can count on our knees tracking down runaways....
One time I had a parcel of Argyle melee - small stones- in a diamond scoop. As I went to pick it up, I accidentally turned it over in a way that caused those 25 teeny weeny stones to fly in different directions.
Each stone was over $1000.
We found every. Single. One.
Took hours.
Many hours......

Years back, I was working for a siteholder. In those days, large stones were kept in large parcels ( groups of stones)
One day a three carat stone "popped". As the owner of the company ( thankfully it wasn't me) was holding the stone in a tweezer, it just "popped" out- as stones are wont to do.
We searched for so many hours. We had the building's maintenance crew come up and disassemble the radiators. That stone was never found.
 

moneymeister

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@Wink you sure do spin an entertaining story! :) Glad it all turned out okay and the renegade was found.
@Rockdiamond chasing mele. Not sure if the pink was an advantage or not. Glad you rounded them all up. A 3-carat loss of inventory must have been devastating for the poor man. I wonder if the stone ended up traveling home with someone at some point. I really enjoyed the cased diamond photos above. So many interesting and beautiful diamonds.
 

mrs-b

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@moneymeister -

I've been having a sale of a few things I own for about 2 weeks now, and I'm just about ready to jump off a cliff! There's already been a dozen times when things have almost fallen through the cracks - enough to raise my blood pressure and leave me saying "Oh lordy...what if...!!!" Like yesterday - when I pulled an envelope I'd missed with 4 little plastic baggies in it, each containing a single piece of jewelry, out of my office trash can!! I remember sitting there and looking at them and thinking "How the hell do people do this on a large scale??" This has given me new respect for people in this industry - from a logistics side, if nothing else! I'd go out of my ever-loving mind.
 

Rockdiamond

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Not sure if the pink was an advantage or not.
In general- colorless stones are a bit easier to find on the floor. Like Wink, we use a flashlight to get them to sparkle when they're hiding.

A 3-carat loss of inventory must have been devastating for the poor man.
Don't cry for him Argentina. We're talking about a South African Site Holder. They have money they haven't even looked at for 30 years. The owners' wife used to wear a "bauble"- 15ct Asscher cut.
They submitted to GIA one day ( the stone had been cut many years ago, and hadn't been to GIA)
Fancy Vivid Yellow, Internally Flawless......

when I pulled an envelope I'd missed with 4 little plastic baggies in it, each containing a single piece of jewelry, out of my office trash can!!
IN the diamond biz, you really want to ( carefully) empty your trash bin every single day.
That's a favorite spot of rogue diamonds, attempting to escape:)
 

moneymeister

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In general- colorless stones are a bit easier to find on the floor. Like Wink, we use a flashlight to get them to sparkle when they're hiding.


Don't cry for him Argentina. We're talking about a South African Site Holder. They have money they haven't even looked at for 30 years. The owners' wife used to wear a "bauble"- 15ct Asscher cut.
They submitted to GIA one day ( the stone had been cut many years ago, and hadn't been to GIA)
Fancy Vivid Yellow, Internally Flawless......



IN the diamond biz, you really want to ( carefully) empty your trash bin every single day.
That's a favorite spot of rogue diamonds, attempting to escape:)
Oh holy smokes, a 15 carat IF yellow. That's astonishing :) I bet you folks have met some veeerrrry interesting characters over the years.
 
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