Wednesday, August 8, 2007

King Of Bling

I recently read an article about Laurence Graff that I thought was very interesting on a couple different levels.

The first thing that struck me is that I always enjoy rags-to-riches success stories. This story proves that if you have a strong enough passion for what you do, you can make it. The owner of this website is more proof of this concept. Having arrived in the states in the ‘80’s with almost no money and against family members advice, he went into the diamond & jewelry business and now has a successful jewelry website.

I, myself, left an excellent paying job as a machinist 23 years ago. I would probably be earning in excess of $100,000 today had I stuck with it. Something I can’t quite put my finger on about the jewelry business was too strong of a draw for me to ignore. In the future, I hope to be another one of the successes with my custom faceted gemstones and one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces.

The other aspect of this article I liked very much was the discussion of the concept of vertical integration. Many of the diamond dealers of today are stuck in a traditional rut of procuring loose diamonds for $X and reselling them for $Y which includes their profit. With the progressive thinning profit margins and transparency that now exists in the loose diamond business, the whole jewelry industry for that matter, this old business model will simply leave those unwilling to change in the dust. Mr. Graff started getting personally involved in links further up and further down the diamond jewelry food chain by bringing mining all the way to retail stores “under one roof”. Using myself as an example, I specialize in Oregon Sunstone from the Dust Devil Mine. If I were to simply buy rough, cut the stones and try to sell them, I will never survive. The approach I’m taking is to go to the mine and dig the rough out of the ground myself. Once I’ve cut the stones in nontraditional cuts/shapes, I design custom pieces and have them manufactured, often by hand.

I believe this is the only way diamond dealers and jewelers of tomorrow will weather the storm of drastic changes occurring around them. To quote Hunter S. Thompson, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

Report :

Martin Guptill GG FGA

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