Today’s topic is diamonds and precious gems. A year ago, or so I got a call most jewelers could only dream about, an important somebody’s (I never did find out exactly who) personal assistant was inquiring about procuring a six-carat diamond engagement ring. It’s not something your average jeweler will have in stock mind you, and the fact a six-carat diamond is a rare commodity plus she was requesting the color to be a G and the clarity quality to be near flawless which will make it even more rare and difficult to find. I took the information and hinted to the assistant that we could be looking at close to seven figures (a million!) in cost for a six to seven carat round diamond to her specifications.
That said and done I got busy trying to locate the biggest sale of my lifetime. Hours later after numerous phone calls, texting, and emails, I was unable to come up with not one single diamond to meet the customer’s specs! There was nothing under 900K to be found anywhere including The New York Diamond District!
My feelers were out there – I had several people searching and I found out through the diamond grapevine that there had been other calls from other jewelers in my area searching for exactly the same size and quality diamond! The assistant was obviously doing her job checking around Naples and beyond to find that diamond for her boss.
A week later I got a call from a diamond dealer from Israel – he had the stone. It would be in New York City by the week end. He sent me a digital video of the diamond; it was the most exquisite diamond I ever set my eyes on! It weighed a little over six carats and filled all the parameters beyond her expectations and to my amazement the diamond was less than the million or so I expected to pay.
I informed “the assistant” I could have the diamond on the island by early next week.
Now shipping a near million-dollar diamond to Marco Island you don’t just jam it in a FedEx box – it was coming by a private security courier (probably armed) on a direct flight from New York to Ft. Myers, requiring I set him up with meals and a night’s accommodations at either the Marriot or the Hilton hotel all on my dime, whether I make the sale or not. Ouch!
I called the perspective buyer of the situation, and the matter of the final cost was discussed, tax included! I was then told she could most likely find the diamond for considerably less money from another source and if I “found” one for less to ring her up! WHAT???? I thanked her for giving me the opportunity to help find her perfect diamond and I’m sorry I could not meet her and her bosses’ expectations and encouraged her to purchase it from her “other source.”
So, after two weeks of wasted time and effort I washed my hands of the whole transaction. I have no idea is this was a real request or an elaborate scam to boost the rock from me, guess I’ll never know?
Sadly, it’s all part of the business and it happens to all jewelers more than I care to mention. I have spent days or weeks locating that perfect one carat diamond or gem for a client and they never give you the courtesy of showing up to view the gem once I locate it and bring it in all by their request.
I have a nice selection of diamonds in stock, but everyone has different requests about the sizes, shapes, qualities and most importantly one’s budget. Even the big box jewelry stores can’t carry everything folk’s request. Two carat size diamonds are most requested in my shop, 20% of the inquiries realize they can cost $12K to the high $20K’s on average. The other 80% have no clue to the expense and are a bit shocked at the sticker price. A rule of thumb…if a nice one carat diamond is $5,000 that does not mean a nice two carat is $10,000.
Diamonds and precious gems are not priced that way; as the carat size and quality increases the price scale varies to accommodate the times, economy, and rarity.
Back in the 1980’s boom there were one carat diamonds selling for $20K or more each and people were buying them as “investment diamonds” only to find out years later in the new millennium the true value was thousands of dollars less! Some investment that was!
The same hold true to precious gems – I call them the Natural Gem Group…rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Today you can pay more per carat for these than diamonds; large important and fine quality gems are also rare and even a two-carat ruby can fetch thousand per carat, and emeralds can go to higher highs.
Become an educated buyer before you jump into the glimmering pond of diamonds and gems. There are hazards below that can cost you thousands of dollars.
Richard Alan is a designer/ goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith on Marco Island, a purveyor of fine diamonds and gemstones since the 1970’s. He welcomes your questions and comments about All That Glitters. www.harborgoldsmith.com.