Rapaport Magazine
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Retail Rap

By Phyllis Schiller
ARE COLORED DIAMONDS SELLING?


Gem Platinum
The 4Cs are not the only things that make a piece of diamond jewelry a sales winner. In an ongoing series, Rapaport Magazine explores the “3Ws” — what’s selling, what’s not and why — by going straight to the people who really know — jewelry retailers. Each month, we ask a sampling of retailers to comment on the important issues that are facing the industry today. Here is what they had to say when asked: “How are colored diamonds selling? If a customer buys one color, can you upsell another color or matching jewelry?”

ADAM GORMAN, PRESIDENT
I. GORMAN JEWELERS
WASHINGTON, D.C.
   “We’re actually having a really good response to colored diamonds. The bulk are the more organic colors and shapes…champagnes and cognacs and even getting into the grays and blacks. We definitely have canary and a lot of champagnes that are traditionally cut — cushions, rounds and emerald cuts. But we’re working with different designers who are doing more organic style cuts, which offer customers something they don’t see at too many other places. More of our business comes from those uniquely cut diamonds.
   “If it starts with the engagement ring, it usually translates over to the wedding band and then customers become real fans of the uniqueness of the color and it then turns into fashion jewelry — earrings, necklaces, bracelets. They become real lovers of something as unique as the colored diamond ring. For the right customer, it really resonates.”

BREANNE DEMERS, VICE PRESidENT
GUNDERSON’S Jewelers
SIOUX CITY, IOWA
   “We’re very big into colored diamonds. We’re very active on the Natural Color Diamond Association (NCDIA) board. Pinks, yellows and natural cognacs are top sellers along with black diamond fashion jewelry. They are easily upgradable and also oftentimes you can get second sales from them coming back to match a suite.
   “Most people who come in assume natural color is way out of their price range and the reality is, it doesn’t have to be. They can get natural color within their price range. Our staff is very well educated. Natural colored diamonds are a regular presentation in all of our stores. We’ve been dealing with natural colored diamonds for 30 years. We have a lot of clients who have collections in natural color and who love them.”

WAYNE ADESSI, OWNER/PRESIDENT
ADDESSI JEWELERS
RIDGEFIELD, CONNECTICUT
   “Colored diamonds for me, honestly, in the past year or so, haven’t been strong. In the past, we’ve always sold colored diamonds and it’s been a good part of my business. But it hasn’t been in the past year or so. I don’t know the reason why. We’re not getting people coming in looking for them. I can afford to carry them, I have suppliers who have them but we’ve haven’t had any calls for yellow diamonds, really. Colored stones and diamonds have been good.”

JOHN CARTER, PRESIDENT
JACK LEWIS JEWELERS
BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS
   “I’d say in the past 12 to 18 months, we’ve had a nice self-injected interest into colored diamonds. We’re a member of the NCDIA, so we’ve done a couple of shows with their vendors to add some interest to our marketplace. We’ve definitely had a lot of conversations about pinks. We’ve sold some nice pinks, yellows, orangy diamonds, just by having the product.
   “I do have collectors of colored diamonds. They’re not necessarily looking for a matched suite in jewelry like they might do with white diamonds, but they might own a pink and down the road they want to get a yellow. They definitely become a fan of colored diamonds once they’ve delved into that world.
   “We get some conversation about colored diamond engagement rings. I wouldn’t say it’s been a major part of our engagement sales. For us, it’s been more anniversary-type gifts or upgrade scenarios.”

COLEMAN CLARK, PRESIDENT
B.C. CLARK JEWELERS
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
   “We’ve sold several yellow diamonds over the years; they’re the most common and we keep them in our showcase. We have had some opportunity to sell some other colors. Recently, we sold a red diamond. We’re currently pursuing a blue diamond as well. Being in the diamond business, it’s exciting to be able to search the world for particular colors.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize that diamonds come in so many different colors. And people are pretty fascinated by it and if they have the means and the fascination for it, they’re prime customers for it.”

RICHARD WHITE, OWNER
ED WHITE JEWELERS
CULLMAN, ALABAMA
   “I have carried some of the treated color, the blues and the yellows, but really haven’t had that much of a response. And occasionally someone will come by and ask about it and we will educate them about the process used to do that. But as far as sales go, it has been pretty slim.”

BRENDA NEWMAN, PRESIDENT
THE JEWELRY SOURCE
EL SEGUNDO, CALIFORNIA
   “The treated diamonds, the fun purples, greens, blues and yellows in fashion have been doing very well from last Christmas on, even set in silver. That’s been very popular; they’re diamonds and they’re inexpensive and they’re attractive. In bridal, we get very little request for the yellows. Everything we sell in the diamond world in larger single stones will be colorless. We do sell more champagne diamonds than we do yellow diamonds: the occasional champagne pendant, a right-hand ring. We had an elaborate multicolored diamond bracelet that was a very big piece we sold last Christmas. The opportunity to add a matched pair of earrings is there…but it hasn’t happened. It’s a natural progression but it doesn’t seem to be the norm.”

LEE HAUSER
HAUSER’S JEWELERS
NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA
   “Most of the customers we have, if they’re looking at colored diamonds, it’s for yellow, canary, something like that in engagement rings. There is the possibility to sell them something else, like stud earrings, but so far that hasn’t happened.
   “Typically, customers interested in colored diamonds come in asking for them, but we do have a selection and we do point them out as well, emphasizing the warmth of the color. We do try to promote it if we have the opportunity. Interest has increased slightly. The main thing is rose gold. That is something that people have started to notice and ask for.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - October 2014. To subscribe click here.

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