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Giving the Best

Sep 3, 2003 5:04 PM   By Martin Rapaport
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One of the pioneering designers who helped put platinum back on the map, Scott Kay discussed the importance of this pure white metal with Martin Rapaport during the JCK Las Vegas show.

Martin Rapaport: How important is platinum?

Scott Kay: In the ’80s, our industry was basically an incomplete industry. There was no platinum around. Taking platinum out of the jewelry industry is like taking diamonds away from it. Platinum is now back and it’s part of our culture as a jewelry industry.

Platinum is to precious metal what diamonds are to gemstones. If you leave the two of them on a table and come back a thousand years later, they will be just like the day you left them, because they are what G-d put into the earth.

Diamonds are pure. They radiate purity. They do not change. They do not tarnish. Platinum is also pure. Leave it on the table, and nothing changes. Diamonds and platinum are just as natural. You can’t ask for a better match.

MR: How do you feel about silver?

SK: The inexpensive silver that was available in the marketplace was not meeting our industry’s needs. I felt that I could raise the bar by making sterling silver jewelry. So we’ve taken my discipline as a bench jeweler, as a diamond person, as a mechanic, and we created “sterling jewelry with a platinum approach.” The natural application was to mix diamonds in with our sterling silver jewelry to give it a lot of light. To make sure that all of the areas where the diamonds are set are vibrant and sparkly. And it has created a big category for the market. U.S. consumers will look at jewelry on a different level now. This is the other natural white metal.

I do not believe in white gold. I do not recognize it and I think it’s bad for our industry. We should sell the natural properties that were put into the earth by the Creator. Gold was created as naturally yellow. Platinum is naturally white. Silver is naturally white. Diamonds are naturally white, diamonds are also other natural colors.

But white gold is really fabricated by man, and to call something like that white gold is kind of like deceiving the consumer. It’s like selling an enhanced yellow diamond and not saying that it was treated. You should have to disclose that white gold is treated.

I think natural yellow gold has a tremendous place in our market. Our job is to bring the treasures of the earth and shape them, not to change them.

MR: How do you feel about brands?

SK: I think we throw around the word “brand” too loosely. People put their name on the door and they think that they’re a brand. A brand has to have an essence. It has to have a voice behind it. There has to be almost a cultural feeling behind it. A brand is not just a name. You can’t tell yourself when you’re a brand. The consumer will tell you when you’re a brand. I started the Scott Kay brand in 1988. Brands take time to nurture and cultivate. At one point, I called us “The Baby Brand.”

The Scott Kay brand owns the words “Never Compromise.” The promise of Scott Kay is that we don’t compromise in the way we make a piece of jewelry. We offer uncompromised quality with uncompromised attention to detail and quality. You don’t ever have to guess. A lot of times I tell people, “Don’t look at the jewelry;close your eyes and touch it. Feel it with your eyes closed.”

You see a lot of these new diamond cuts coming out. Some of these cuts don’t make it a better diamond. They just create a point of difference; to be different, but not to be better. It’s deceiving the consumer for their own self-serving needs. I don’t follow or respect those types of people.



MR: How is your brand distributed?

SK: Our brand goes to the highest-level retailers. We’re not going to over-sell or over-distribute this product. It’s a very special product for special stores that appreciate it and know how to sell it. We want our customers to love us, and we want to love our customers and embrace them.

MR: Tell us about platinum diamond jewelry.



SK: Platinum has now been resurrected through the bride and groom. The first step was to recognize yellow gold, then to create two-tone jewelry, which was made of two different metals, half yellow, half white. A few years later, we promoted white jewelry with little yellow accents; then we extracted more of the yellow. A few years later, we entered into the all-white world. Then, a few years after that, when we were comfortable with all-white, we went back to two-tone, but this time it was two tones of one metal. Like my wedding band: It’s bright and satin. So now consumers are completely enveloped into platinum. They understand it and they’re educated about it. Platinum owns a word in the mind, meaning “the best.” When you say “This is a platinum record or platinum credit cards,” you’re saying “This is the best.”

Our next project is to bring back the spiritual meaning of the anniversary. How can someone thank his wife for taking care of the family and allowing him to work so hard during the course of the year? So once a year, he sits down privately with his wife and re-proposes. And that is what the anniversary should be all about. It’s about recommitment; it’s about ‘thank you.’ It’s about keeping things tight and harmonious with each other. So the anniversary is the next place that we are going with platinum.

Platinum is more than a metal. When you give something in platinum and diamonds, you’re giving a silent message within your message. You can say all the words you like, but when you give platinum and diamonds, you’re adding another silent message: “I’m giving you the best.”
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Tags: Consumers, JCK, Jewelry
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