Rapaport Magazine

Every Diamond Tells a Story

The world’s most important diamonds all have names and The Museum of Named Diamonds knows that the most important diamond is the one that belongs to you.

By Amber Michelle

The Hope Diamond, The Tiffany Diamond, The Centenary, The Cullinan …every diamond of importance has a name. Every couple or person who owns a diamond, of course, thinks that their diamond is the most important gem in the world. And it is. Each person’s diamond represents a story in life about a significant moment, event or feeling, from love to career success. The Museum of Named Diamonds (MoND) — www.museumofdiamonds.org — makes it possible to save those stories. It is a website registry of diamonds and their stories preserved digitally to share easily with friends, family and generations to come.
   The idea for the MoND came from Alex Voorhees, MoND’s artistic and technical director, the youngest son of Jacques Voorhees, vice chairman and CEO, Board of Governors, MoND, best known for founding Polygon, an online diamond-trading network. “I came up with the idea when I asked what would make us different when selling diamonds? I saw a problem with the grid way of showing diamonds. It’s a glamorous product shown on an Excel sheet,” Alex explains. “Then I thought we could show the diamonds like they show product on Amazon, but the diamonds all kind of looked alike. So I thought, what if we give each diamond a name and artwork that represents the name. We decided to let people name the diamond themselves, so you can pair any name with a diamond. It captures the unique aspect of diamonds.”

   Jacques mulled over the idea and realized that Alex was onto something, and that was the beginning of what is now the MoND. The website allows visitors to register their diamond on the site. Retailers can become Associate Curators for the site by purchasing gift cards and either selling or gifting the cards to clients when they buy a diamond. The value added for the retailers, says Jacques, is that it shifts the conversation about diamonds. It moves the discussion away from commodity pricing to romancing the stone. “The retailer can change the conversation with the customer by saying, ‘Let’s talk about how we can make your diamond even more special,’” says Jacques. “Wouldn’t you rather have a named diamond, like the Hope or Koh-i-Noor?” The retailer then explains how the program works and it makes the diamond purchase much more exciting for the customer.
   “It’s a little bit of a way to romance the stone that gets away from just color and clarity,” says Stephen Burstein, owner of Stephen’s Fine Jewelry, whose store in Kansas City straddles the border of Kansas and Missouri. “Guys are always looking for a way to present the stone. We can suggest that they name the stone, get artwork and tell their story. It sells the stone in a romantic way. If a guy names the stone on his own, it shows how much he cares and if the couple names it together, it’s fun for them.”
   New York–based diamond wholesaler Serge Fischler, owner of Fischler Diamonds Inc., believes so strongly in the program that he provides his retailers with MoND gift cards to present to their customers when they buy stones from him. “It gives brick-and-mortar retailers a tool to change the conversation about diamonds that the internet is incapable of doing,” he says. “It brings in emotion and personalization of a diamond. It strikes a chord with a young couple buying a diamond, which is the most important diamond to them.”

   The Museum website is divided into Famous Diamonds and Personal Diamonds. Famous Diamonds is a listing of well-known diamonds that includes a photo and history of that gem. Personal Diamonds are those that have been named and given a story by the consumer. One example is the “Sea Otter,” which was named by a couple who hold hands while they sleep; sea otters hold hands when they sleep so that they won’t lose each other in the flowing river.
   “The Museum of Named Diamonds helps people open up and tell their story and the relationship between the jeweler and the client is solidified. A jewelry purchase is about trust,” notes Julianne Paulsen, owner, Rocks the Jeweler in Virginia, Minnesota, who sold the Sea Otter diamond and who also sells the gift cards as an anniversary present. “We also do a lot of custom and remount work. Those stories are very meaningful. It starts the journey of what can be in the future and what has been in the past. It is the preservation and continuation of a story. The story can be started in the Museum and each generation can come back and expand on the story. Naming a diamond brings romantic joy into a relationship or legacy.”
   In addition to the story, customers can also add artwork if they choose or a video when the diamond is added to the Diamond Registry. The diamond can be any size or quality, an engagement ring, heirloom piece or a self-purchase and it can be a diamond in any type of jewelry. The only criterion is that it must be a natural diamond to be eligible for the registry.
   “The Museum puts the focus not on the diamond’s physical characteristics but on the story. The owner of the diamond is invited to add whatever other information they wish about the diamond, including closeup pictures of the diamond, wedding or event, even a JPG file of the grading report,” concludes Jacques. “The only thing that is not optional is that the diamond must be given a name. Without a name, it cannot go into the Museum of Named Diamonds.”

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - June 2016. To subscribe click here.

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