Call it Murphy’s Law, call it whatever you want but it applies to the diamond and jewelry trade just as it does in every other trade and walk of life. Here are some of the examples I have come across.
Losing in the gem and diamond world is really making money
Gem and diamond dealers are like babies, the more they cry about their misfortune the more they grow (in business). As I asked one of my friends: “How, in the name of all gems, if you lose and lose, did you become so big and rich?” To which he replied that he lost a great deal. “But how can you lose a lot and still look very good?” His simple answer was: “I sold to other dealers who lost even more”. And how are they now, I asked with astonishment: “Oh, they are fine, even richer than me”.
You never have enough of the right size that your customer asks for
No matter how big your production is, and how precisely you aim to fill your customers’ needs, you’ll never have enough of the “right things”. In my early days as a gem cutter, when I used to cut parcel productions of maybe $10,000 in total, and displayed the cut goods to my potential customers they never found enough of the sizes they were looking for in my parcel. At those times I longed for the days when I would produce enough so that a customer would find all his needs fulfilled with my goods.
And then I grew and started producing productions of say $50,000 at a time, cutting many beautiful stones, waiting in anticipation for my customers who looked at my parcels and still did not find all they needed and asked for goods I did not have. And then with God’s help and some luck I reached the stage today where I am producing really large parcels with practically all sizes and shapes which I show to my customers. They, of course, never find enough of what they are looking for.
The further you are from the source the bigger the discount you get and the longer the terms of payment
In the mines, close to the digging place of gems you always, but always, have to pay cash and rarely get more than a few percent discount. In the cutting centers, such as in Bangkok and Jaipur, you may ask for 30 days terms but still get only a real 10 - 20 percent discount. In the consuming countries your business customers will demand 90-120 days terms and 30 percent discount. And finally to the actual consumer in the shop where the goods are sold at a 50-80 percent discount and with very long term credit, some even give the buyer mileage points.
I am still trying to figure out this phenomenon, because using my poor judgment, one is better to buy gems as a private customer, and sell it to the mines. He or she will get a better price and have the money way before payment is due. And then I remembered Einstein and his theory of relativity...
And last, but not least: the beauty of gems is not necessarily in the eye the beholder.
IDEX MAGAZINE | NO 183: GEMS
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