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**Fear and Loyalty Among Diamond Buyers**

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AGBF

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The recent threads on the departure of Brian and Lesley from Whiteflash and the fear that I have seen that engender; the discussion of whom one could really trust to judge a great diamond at Whiteflash (Brian? John Pollard?) has set me to thinking.

I have been around on diamond fora for many years and I remember when Eightstar was the only diamond that was touted as the most perfect diamond because it was cut to its own specifications in its own facilities. (At that point, I was a sworn enemy of Eightstar!)

Over the years I have come to realize how much a consumer comes to rely on the jewelers with whom he works, on their judgement. Although I am supposedly an educated consumer, I could probably be sold cut glass and could definitely be sold a diamond simulant except for the fact that I demand a GIA or AGS cert (and although another jeweler would eventually discover this since I get around a bit).

At any rate, I started thinking about the diamond I think I would most trust from the cutter...and the answer was Eightstar. I decided to do a search on this and see what had been posted in recent years on Eightstar. (I do not usually frequent Rocky Talky.)

I was absolutely delighted to see that Stephan had gone to Eightstar for a recut of his diamond! I am quite late in offering my congratulations, but Stephan, it is amazing!!! It just couldn't be lovelier! I am attaching a link to the first thread about the ring. Everyone should know that within that thread there is a link to another thread with even more amazing pictures, however!

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/diamond-liposuction.92710/page-2


I would love to have an Eightstar! My only problem is that I would also like to have a larger diamond than one I have now, too!

That is not the point of this thread, however. The point of this thread is that consumers become very dependent on their vendors and start to think that only their jewelers can be relied on. It is really magical thinking. Except for Eightstar (which may not have a product that is demonstrably better than anyone else's at all), everyone buys his diamonds from the same heap! Why would one person be so much better able to choose diamonds than another person? It is nonsense. Nonsense and marketing.



Deborah
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diamondseeker2006

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Deb, I pretty much agree that AGS Ideal cut is a no-brainer, and with a little knowledge, you can do fine picking the best of GIA excellent. Before, ACA''s were no brainers because everyone knew Brian chose the best of the AGS Ideals for the ACA brand. Would any of really see the difference in AGS0 stones with our eyes? I seriously doubt it. I am pretty picky when buying for myself because I have learned the hard way that I usually regret not buying the best, but in general, I wouldn''t really turn down any stone that was either AGS0 or GIA Excellent with AGS0 light performance. I think others can certainly choose great stones for the ACA line. I just hope they keep the same high standards.
 

Maisie

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There are six doctors at my local health centre. I always see Dr Needham. I could go to the other doctors if I wanted to, after all they are all equally trained in being a general practioner. Why do I stick with that one particular doctor? Because she is the best there, in my opinion. Which is all I can go on - my opinion. I have visited the other doctors but they just don''t seem to understand my needs like she does. They have their own interpretations of what I am asking or telling them about.

I believe that we trust certain vendors because we have a good experience with them. The ACA diamonds were what drew me to Whiteflash. Brian has a certain expertise in that area. Is he better than any other vendor. Possibly. Nobody has ever complained about the quality of the diamonds he selected.

I believe that the anxiety you speak of was because of the upgrade policy at Whiteflash. Maybe people (me included) naively though that Brian would be there forever and that any new diamond we chose would come as a result of his expert knowledge. The same knowledge we trusted in when we bought our original diamond.

Could there be someone who can select ACA diamonds as well as Brian? I hope so! Time will tell.
 

Harriet

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I don''t know why, but I instinctively trusted Brian.

P.S. Deb, a bigger stone?
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pyramid

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But there again Eightstar would not get an AGS0 because they are very heavily painted stones.


 

strmrdr

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My answer would be Diagem and Paul(going thru Gary or Wink) and the cutter that cut wifey2b's diamond(thru Jon), and the cutter that cuts the gog trinity.
Eightstar would pretty much be my last choice far behind the above.

There are a lot of vendors that do not buy from the same heap as everyone else.
They may buy from the same cutters but the product is specific to them.
That eightstar is the only one is very out of date.
 

Fly Girl

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Having met Paul Slegers and John Pollard of Crafted by Infinity, and admired their round brilliant and especially their unique Princess cuts, I''d like to say that their diamonds are not cut from the same heap. I''ve never been a Princess fan, but I would definitely make an exception for a Crafted by Infinity Princess. At this point, the pavillion on every Princess has been cut by the same cutter, and this guy has it nailed! (John P. told me this last month, so I hope I got this right.)
 

Steel

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Maisie - Do you want to keep the name of your Dr in your post, unless it is a pseudonym? (Just looking out for ya
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diamondseeker2006

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I totally agree that the ACA''s, GOG H&A (ISee2, Towlkowsky, etc.), and Infinity are all at the top of the heap!
 

denverappraiser

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I’ve not been reading the forum so diligently during the Christmas season and this was news to me with this thread.

Brian has some remarkable skills and I’m sure he will be both missed at WF and appreciated wherever he goes from there. His will be difficult shoes to fill but it *IS* possible and I’m sure Debi is working on it instead of slacking off for the holidays or, for that matter, instead of posting explanations here. Whiteflash is a well run organization and I have no doubt that they will continue to take the integrity of their brand and the quality of their customer care as their top priorities.

Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
 

beach

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Whiteflash is a great organization and will figure things out. Neil, there is info in Diamond Hangout with threads fom Lesley and Brian and one from Debi.

Anybody else notice how girdle inscriptions are now changing on their ACA's (anything graded in december). They used to only have A Cut Above and then the AGS number. They now say Whiteflash ACA and then the AGS number.... Just thought it was interesting that they were just revised :)

Here is an example of the new inscription:
http://www.whiteflash.com/hearts_arrows/Whiteflash-ACA-cut-diamond-1848277.htm#
 

Harriet

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Date: 1/1/2009 4:00:45 PM
Author: denverappraiser
I’ve not been reading the forum so diligently during the Christmas season and this was news to me with this thread.

Brian has some remarkable skills and I’m sure he will be both missed at WF and appreciated wherever he goes from there. His will be difficult shoes to fill but it *IS* possible and I’m sure Debi is working on it instead of slacking off for the holidays or, for that matter, instead of posting explanations here. Whiteflash is a well run organization and I have no doubt that they will continue to take the integrity of their brand and the quality of their customer care as their top priorities.

Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
I agree. Debi is a hardworking, resourceful and successful woman.
 

AGBF

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Date:
1/1/2009 3:30:25 PM
Author: Fly Girl

I've never been a Princess fan, but I would definitely make an exception for a Crafted by Infinity Princess. At this point, the pavillion on every Princess has been cut by the same cutter, and this guy has it nailed!

(John P. told me this last month, so I hope I got this right.)

Fly Girl,

When I posted I did not mean that there are no individual cutters out there in the big world. Obviously there are. Some do work which is held to be very desirable...obviously.

But I do not know of one facility that cuts to a set of specifications and sells its diamonds only under one brand...except Eightstar.

If there is a thread on the process of the cutting of Infinity diamonds, I would like to see it. (Does Paul do all the cutting himself to a set of specifications on which he has decided?) I only came up with this:

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/8-vs-venus-infinity-cut-comparison.17801/


Regardless of what Infinity does or doesn't do-and I think their round brilliant cuts are gorgeous- it doesn't mean you have to like Eightstars! :)


Deborah
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Modified Brilliant

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Date: 1/1/2009 4:00:45 PM
Author: denverappraiser
I’ve not been reading the forum so diligently during the Christmas season and this was news to me with this thread.

Brian has some remarkable skills and I’m sure he will be both missed at WF and appreciated wherever he goes from there. His will be difficult shoes to fill but it *IS* possible and I’m sure Debi is working on it instead of slacking off for the holidays or, for that matter, instead of posting explanations here. Whiteflash is a well run organization and I have no doubt that they will continue to take the integrity of their brand and the quality of their customer care as their top priorities.

Neil Beaty
GG(GIA) ICGA(AGS) NAJA
Professional Appraisals in Denver
Ditto that.

Now on to Diamond Hangout.

www.metrojewelryappraisers.com
 

Fly Girl

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Date: 1/1/2009 5:07:26 PM
Author: AGBF








Date:
1/1/2009 3:30:25 PM
Author: Fly Girl

I''ve never been a Princess fan, but I would definitely make an exception for a Crafted by Infinity Princess. At this point, the pavillion on every Princess has been cut by the same cutter, and this guy has it nailed!

(John P. told me this last month, so I hope I got this right.)

Fly Girl,

When I posted I did not mean that there are no individual cutters out there in the big world. Obviously there are. Some do work which is held to be very desirable...obviously.

But I do not know of one facility that cuts to a set of specifications and sells its diamonds only under one brand...except Eightstar.

If there is a thread on the process of the cutting of Infinity diamonds, I would like to see it. (Does Paul do all the cutting himself to a set of specifications on which he has decided?) I only came up with this:

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/8-vs-venus-infinity-cut-comparison.17801/


Regardless of what Infinity does or doesn''t do-and I think their round brilliant cuts are gorgeous- it doesn''t mean you have to like Eightstars! :)


Deborah
34.gif
Deborah - Paul has written a series of articles on the cutting of Infinity diamonds here. Link
 

diamondseeker2006

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Date: 1/1/2009 5:07:26 PM
Author: AGBF








Date:
1/1/2009 3:30:25 PM
Author: Fly Girl

I''ve never been a Princess fan, but I would definitely make an exception for a Crafted by Infinity Princess. At this point, the pavillion on every Princess has been cut by the same cutter, and this guy has it nailed!

(John P. told me this last month, so I hope I got this right.)

Fly Girl,

When I posted I did not mean that there are no individual cutters out there in the big world. Obviously there are. Some do work which is held to be very desirable...obviously.

But I do not know of one facility that cuts to a set of specifications and sells its diamonds only under one brand...except Eightstar.

If there is a thread on the process of the cutting of Infinity diamonds, I would like to see it. (Does Paul do all the cutting himself to a set of specifications on which he has decided?) I only came up with this:

https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/8-vs-venus-infinity-cut-comparison.17801/


Regardless of what Infinity does or doesn''t do-and I think their round brilliant cuts are gorgeous- it doesn''t mean you have to like Eightstars! :)


Deborah
34.gif
Deb, Good Old Gold sells Towlkowsky diamonds, of which mine is one. Here is a video about their cutting facility and process (first video on the page):

http://vimeo.com/thediamondschannel
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Great thread Deb.


And you got some great responses so far, and i have no disagreement. Dont even know why i am posting.


Re buying from the heap vs cutting:

You can John West from the heap at little cost (vs cutting you must have a costly second channel to sell the near misses).
The other issue about cutting from rough is supply - 8* had a problem that put me off them - they could not guarantee supply of high colour medium clarity. I am totally uninterested in anything below H SI2+ or above VS1.

One of the strengths of WF is their internal rating system - where even AGS 0''s can be offered as 4 cherry rating (ie one less than 5 cherries). Not sure if that was Brian''s or Debi''s inovation.

But in the end there is lots of different vendors with different skills and a variety of qualifications. Interestingly some of the favoured vendors have little or no GIA qualifications.

 

Regular Guy

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Date: 1/1/2009 11:34:49 PM
Author: Garry H (Cut Nut)

Great thread Deb.

I agree...though I don''t have a meaningful contribution...except to say that...when you don''t have to pay a significant enough (measure that!) premium for branding....it''s easy to recommend...

Also...


Date: 1/1/2009 11:34:49 PM
Author: Garry H (Cut Nut)

One of the strengths of WF is their internal rating system - where even AGS 0''s can be offered as 4 cherry rating (ie one less than 5 cherries). Not sure if that was Brian''s or Debi''s inovation.
I would put a bet on the fact that the move to cherrys/stars...also linked in time to a detailed discussion on Pricescope about what Ideal means...was at least a means of not having to deal with the criticism of "naming" classes of diamonds as "ideal," and having to justify that.

Unless, of course, I''m imagining these things...

Also...though I think it''s only in theory that an AGS0 could also only get the 4 cherry/star, because they have not, and may not (who knows) provide this option of grading report for diamonds that are not both ACAs and 5 stars.
 

Paul-Antwerp

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Date: 1/1/2009 11:34:49 PM
Author: Garry H (Cut Nut)

Re buying from the heap vs cutting:

You can John West from the heap at little cost (vs cutting you must have a costly second channel to sell the near misses)
I have no idea what to ''John West'' is, but this remark shows a dichotomy between your and my views of the industry, between a traditional trade-oriented one (yours) and a consumer-oriented one.

From a technical perspective, it is entirely possible to organize a production that achieves its goals exactly. We are doing this on a daily basis. This does not involve any near-misses, and no need for a secondary channel. It just implies a dedication and focus for a specific goal and good preparation.

Your idea about buying from the heap is a traditional trade-view, where the goal of a cutting-operation is often seen as achieving a certain lab cut-grade for instance. In that way, the cut-grade becomes synonimous for the brand, and one can buy whichever stone from whatever source if it has that grade. It is a producer-oriented commodity-type point-of-view.

Ours is different. We see that within any top cut-grade, there are still different levels of performance. And we see that a number of consumers is willing to seek the best performance possible. Having identified this market, one can organize a production specifically for that market. But one is limited to only using one''s own production, and not buying from other sources. We for instance often get offers for fine productions, but we cannot use them, since part of our brand is that it is produced by us. And because of this own production, we have an unmatched consistency, that would be lost if we would allow the introduction of other sources.

In this latter consumer-oriented view, lab-reports, measurements and pics (ideal-scope, ASET, H&A) are only secondary, in the sense that they only show and describe the product in a simplified way, they are not the essence in designing the product.


Date: 1/1/2009 11:34:49 PM
Author: Garry H (Cut Nut)

The other issue about cutting from rough is supply - 8* had a problem that put me off them - they could not guarantee supply of high colour medium clarity. I am totally uninterested in anything below H SI2+ or above VS1.

Interesting statement. Some of our retailers have the same preferences. Luckily, we also have retailers who are specializing in the higher clarities. And others are very strong in the lower colours and lower clarities. It gives us the benefit of a wider assortment being sellable.

What is surprising though, is to see how all retailers regularly sell outside of their color-clarity-preferences, often stones that they would not even consider some time ago. But they found out that they have consumers looking for these.

As a summary of the Infinity-situation:
- We produce all our stones ourselves, without any secondary sales of near-misses.
- Both our rounds and princess-cuts are cut for one specific goal.
- This goal is not affected by developments in cut-grades or other evaluational tools, since all these tools are limited in their scope.

Live long,
 

startech

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Date: 1/2/2009 10:12:59 AM
Author: Paul-Antwerp
Date: 1/1/2009 11:34:49 PM

Author: Garry H (Cut Nut)


Re buying from the heap vs cutting:


You can John West from the heap at little cost (vs cutting you must have a costly second channel to sell the near misses)

I have no idea what to ''John West'' is, but this remark shows a dichotomy between your and my views of the industry, between a traditional trade-oriented one (yours) and a consumer-oriented one.


Paul, John West is an Australian-owned canned fish company. They have a pretty well-known advertising slogan back home, referring to their quality control and choice in selection of fish: "It''s the fish John West rejects that makes John West the best." That probably sums up Garry''s sentiments quite well
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diagem

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Date: 1/2/2009 10:12:59 AM
Author: Paul-Antwerp

Date: 1/1/2009 11:34:49 PM
Author: Garry H (Cut Nut)


Re buying from the heap vs cutting:

You can John West from the heap at little cost (vs cutting you must have a costly second channel to sell the near misses)
I have no idea what to ''John West'' is, but this remark shows a dichotomy between your and my views of the industry, between a traditional trade-oriented one (yours) and a consumer-oriented one.

From a technical perspective, it is entirely possible to organize a production that achieves its goals exactly. We are doing this on a daily basis. This does not involve any near-misses, and no need for a secondary channel. It just implies a dedication and focus for a specific goal and good preparation.

Am I wrong..., or did I read previously that you are in need to re-market (on a secondary channel) a part of the rough that doesnt suit your production needs?

Your idea about buying from the heap is a traditional trade-view, where the goal of a cutting-operation is often seen as achieving a certain lab cut-grade for instance. In that way, the cut-grade becomes synonimous for the brand, and one can buy whichever stone from whatever source if it has that grade. It is a producer-oriented commodity-type point-of-view.

Ours is different. We see that within any top cut-grade, there are still different levels of performance. And we see that a number of consumers is willing to seek the best performance possible. Having identified this market, one can organize a production specifically for that market. But one is limited to only using one''s own production, and not buying from other sources. We for instance often get offers for fine productions, but we cannot use them, since part of our brand is that it is produced by us. And because of this own production, we have an unmatched consistency, that would be lost if we would allow the introduction of other sources.

In this latter consumer-oriented view, lab-reports, measurements and pics (ideal-scope, ASET, H&A) are only secondary, in the sense that they only show and describe the product in a simplified way, they are not the essence in designing the product.



Date: 1/1/2009 11:34:49 PM
Author: Garry H (Cut Nut)


The other issue about cutting from rough is supply - 8* had a problem that put me off them - they could not guarantee supply of high colour medium clarity. I am totally uninterested in anything below H SI2+ or above VS1.

Interesting statement. Some of our retailers have the same preferences. Luckily, we also have retailers who are specializing in the higher clarities. And others are very strong in the lower colours and lower clarities. It gives us the benefit of a wider assortment being sellable.

What is surprising though, is to see how all retailers regularly sell outside of their color-clarity-preferences, often stones that they would not even consider some time ago. But they found out that they have consumers looking for these.

As a summary of the Infinity-situation:
- We produce all our stones ourselves, without any secondary sales of near-misses.
- Both our rounds and princess-cuts are cut for one specific goal.
- This goal is not affected by developments in cut-grades or other evaluational tools, since all these tools are limited in their scope.

Live long,
 

Paul-Antwerp

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Yes, Diagem, you are right.

In the rough, we do not use the stones that can get a better value if cut in another geometry than ours. These are not even windowed, and are in no way inferior rough. As such, this is a relatively easy sale in the Antwerp market.

It also is the basis why we do not need a secondary channel for polished diamonds.

In the end, this is a balancing act with the goal of efficiency towards a specific market, which again results in cost-reduction.

Live long,
 

diagem

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Date: 1/2/2009 12:02:32 PM
Author: Paul-Antwerp
Yes, Diagem, you are right.

In the rough, we do not use the stones that can get a better value if cut in another geometry than ours. These are not even windowed, and are in no way inferior rough. As such, this is a relatively easy sale in the Antwerp market.

It also is the basis why we do not need a secondary channel for polished diamonds.

In the end, this is a balancing act with the goal of efficiency towards a specific market, which again results in cost-reduction.

Live long,
See..., we do the same thing basically but in different fashions..., I choose to pick exactly what I need (and pay a premium)! I never buy "on block"! Or havent done it in the last decade = NO LEFT SHOES!!! Incredible important these days of turmoil!
4.gif
 

Moh 10

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So Paul, let me see if I understand.
You cannot pick and choose rough stones.
You buy rough diamonds is in lots of several stones.

You only cut the stones that will result in a diamond that meets your tight tolerances for round or princess cuts.
You sell the remaining rough.

Of course any rough could be cut into any shape. - It will just end up being a smaller diamond that wastes too much of the rough. (Bad business)
The issue is using the rough efficiently. (Good business)
The shape of one rough stone and/or the location of the inclusions may dictate the most sensible use to be, say, a marquis, a steep-deep round or a trillion.

Your business model does not include these cuts so that rough is sold, uncut.
 

Paul-Antwerp

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Date: 1/2/2009 12:54:14 PM
Author: Moh 10
So Paul, let me see if I understand.
You cannot pick and choose rough stones.
You buy rough diamonds is in lots of several stones.

You only cut the stones that will result in a diamond that meets your tight tolerances for round or princess cuts.
You sell the remaining rough.

Of course any rough could be cut into any shape. - It will just end up being a smaller diamond that wastes too much of the rough. (Bad business)
The issue is using the rough efficiently. (Good business)
The shape of one rough stone and/or the location of the inclusions may dictate the most sensible use to be, say, a marquis, a steep-deep round or a trillion.

Your business model does not include these cuts so that rough is sold, uncut.
Very well summarized, Moh.

In our range of rough, which is relatively popular, it is indeed very difficult to be picky when buying rough. As such, the current economic conditions are a boon to us, since we have less competition in buying rough.

As for the second highlight, it is indeed so, that we will also sell a rough stone that could yield a 1.20 E-VVS2 Infinity if someone else will produce a 1.55 E-VVS2 steep-deep (which is more valuable). Rough-buyers who buy parcels of us say that ''we have a good hand'' because of this. And since we took the time to individually study each stone, we can also sell stones individually to a buyer who prefers that.

The efficiency of our business-model is such that we not only select our rough for production-efficiency, we also produce only what we can sell. Our whole organisation is set up to sell only the very best and it gives us a lot less headaches to concentrate on only that.

Live long,
 

strmrdr

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Paul it is an interesting system you have and thank you for sharing the details.
Do you think it can scale to 10000 stones a year? 100000?
 

Garry H (Cut Nut)

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Date: 1/2/2009 11:07:20 AM
Author: startech



Paul, John West is an Australian-owned canned fish company. They have a pretty well-known advertising slogan back home, referring to their quality control and choice in selection of fish: ''It''s the fish John West rejects that makes John West the best.'' That probably sums up Garry''s sentiments quite well
1.gif
I thought they were global!!!
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=zOpKFPEah3E
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=1BBzpLEjAr8&feature=related
 

Paul-Antwerp

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Date: 1/2/2009 3:00:18 PM
Author: strmrdr
Paul it is an interesting system you have and thank you for sharing the details.
Do you think it can scale to 10000 stones a year? 100000?
100,000 stones at an average price of say 5,000 is a turnover of 0.5 billion USD. I do wonder if the market is big enough to reach such figures.

10,000 stones is no problem.

Live long,
 

oldmancoyote

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They are global (well, at least they are in supermarkets in the UK, France and Italy), but the slogan is not. The only one I heard is "we endure the worst to bring you the best" - with the bear ad you linked.
 

diagem

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Date: 1/2/2009 2:46:22 PM
Author: Paul-Antwerp

Date: 1/2/2009 12:54:14 PM
Author: Moh 10
So Paul, let me see if I understand.
You cannot pick and choose rough stones.
You buy rough diamonds is in lots of several stones.

You only cut the stones that will result in a diamond that meets your tight tolerances for round or princess cuts.
You sell the remaining rough.

Of course any rough could be cut into any shape. - It will just end up being a smaller diamond that wastes too much of the rough. (Bad business)
The issue is using the rough efficiently. (Good business)
The shape of one rough stone and/or the location of the inclusions may dictate the most sensible use to be, say, a marquis, a steep-deep round or a trillion.

Your business model does not include these cuts so that rough is sold, uncut.
Very well summarized, Moh.

In our range of rough, which is relatively popular, it is indeed very difficult to be picky when buying rough. As such, the current economic conditions are a boon to us, since we have less competition in buying rough.

As for the second highlight, it is indeed so, that we will also sell a rough stone that could yield a 1.20 E-VVS2 Infinity if someone else will produce a 1.55 E-VVS2 steep-deep (which is more valuable). Rough-buyers who buy parcels of us say that ''we have a good hand'' because of this. And since we took the time to individually study each stone, we can also sell stones individually to a buyer who prefers that.

The efficiency of our business-model is such that we not only select our rough for production-efficiency, we also produce only what we can sell. Our whole organisation is set up to sell only the very best and it gives us a lot less headaches to concentrate on only that.

Live long,
*Are you talking about a Infinity round vs. a round steep-deep?

**Do you market your unwanted rough individually?
 
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