Las Vegas--Jewelers looking for a product that sets their store apart and holds its own when it comes to margins might want to try natural-color diamonds, retailers told an audience of hundreds at a breakfast event held on Friday morning during the JCK Las Vegas show.
For the event, titled "The Language of Color," Natural Color Diamond Association (NCDIA) Executive Director Robert May and consultant Diane Warga Arias, of DWA Communications, introduced four retail jeweler panelists, who then spent about an hour sharing stories of selling natural-color diamonds in their stores.
At Wick and Greene Jewelers in Ashville, N.C., owner Michael Greene told the story of a professional athlete who entered his store looking for an anniversary gift for his wife when a display of natural-color diamonds caught his eye.
He gave his a wife a piece showcasing the stones and it was a success, so much so that the wife is now requesting additional natural-color diamond jewelry as a gift to mark the upcoming birth of their first child.
"Natural-color diamonds--they are the ultimate colored gemstones," Greene said.
In addition to being a favorite among customers, natural-color diamonds--unlike colorless diamonds--cannot be shopped on price, Greene said, which allows jewelers to obtain greater margins with these stones.
"There are no Rap lists or other comparative lists for our fancy natural-color diamonds," he said.
Michael Pollack, co-founder and chief executive officer of Hyde Park Jewelers, with stores in Denver, Phoenix and Las Vegas, agrees.
"If you sell something that can be compared, the consumer is going to see if there is a better value out there for them," he said.
Pollack said he sold a customer a five-carat natural fancy yellow diamond ring simply because she fell in the love with the piece and, though she tried, couldnt find anything exactly like it anywhere else.
Pollack also noted that natural-color diamonds hold their value--they have doubled in value every 10 years since the 1970s--and have their place in history.
Recently, a 7.03-carat blue diamond sold at Sothebys set the per-carat record price for a gemstone sold at auction, and some of the worlds best-known diamonds are natural-color stones, including the Hope Diamond, the Tiffany Diamond and celebrity-gifted stones, such as singer Jennifer Lopezs pink engagement ring from ex-fiance Ben Affleck.
The stones also are rare--only one in 10,000 stones that come out of the ground are considered natural-color diamonds.
When asked about how to market natural-color diamonds, retailer Alfredo Molina, of the Phoenix-based Molina Group, said that to sell natural-color diamonds, retailers have to advertise that they carry them.
He said he recently had success advertising a yellow diamond on The Robb Report.
George Walton, of Golden Diamond Co. in Anchorage, Alaska, said that traditional ways of marketing, such as advertising in the newspapers, dont work for natural-color diamonds, just as they dont work for general advertising anymore.
He recommends that retailers "step out of the box" and embrace new forms of advertising when marketing natural-color diamonds.