Data Suppliers: Index Feedback

The FCRF data suppliers are 24 of the most influential fancy color diamond companies in the market. Among these companies are manufacturers, traders and other specialists, each representing a different segment of the fancy color niche. The data suppliers, in addition to being members of the FCRF, are responsible for providing high quality pricing data every quarter in order to generate the Fancy Color Diamond Index (FCDI). The interviews below provide insights on the quarterly index readings.

Name
David Shara
Company
Optimum Diamonds
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
1999
Location of Offices
New York
Fancy Color Price Category
Medium to High
Most fancy color diamond wholesalers experience a real difficulty finding new important stones in rough and polish (especially in pink and blue). Do you think the second hand market will be the main source for these diamonds considering rough production is dwindling?
Yes, absolutely. I think that the majority of blue stones coming into the market now are pretty much from the secondary market. There's no doubt about it. The majority of the blue diamonds, especially the vivids, the deeps and the really fine stones, are all [coming out of] secondary markets and tertiary markets.
How was 2017 for the fancy color market in your specific niche of goods?
My niche is super high end [goods], and it was an awesome year. There was an enormous amount of interest from collectors, from retailers, from all of the above. The real hardship is finding great stones. I'm not doing much wholesale–it's now about 60 percent of my business, and [in the past] it used to be 90 percent wholesale. Finding really great stones is what it's all about. You find the products, you make the sales.
Name
Matthew Aldridge
Company
Gemcut SA
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
1978
Location of Offices
Geneva
Fancy Color Price Category
Medium to High
Most fancy color diamond wholesalers experience a real difficulty finding new important stones in rough and polish (especially in pink and blue). Do you think the second hand market will be the main source for these diamonds considering rough production is dwindling?
I think there's going to be a big shake out in the industry because of the dwindling supply problems. Yes, the secondhand market will supply a little bit of merchandise, but I believe a lot of it won't come directly into dealers hands. [Rather], it will come into the auction domain, where the chances of you buying the object is going to be very slim because there will be huge competition. So there will be a certain amount that comes back to the market, but whether you can actually get your hands on it, God only knows. Yellows come out of the ground every week and they're not so rare, but blues and pinks are, and the world's starting to realize the fact. Each time you sell a nice fancy color diamond you're getting that much closer to closing your office.
How was 2017 for the fancy color market in your specific niche of goods?
For me, I can't complain. But again, once you've made that sale, where do you put your money? Whether it will continue, I don't know. I think there will be a shake out in the industry and it will become more streamlined. A lot of people who tagged along because it seemed like it was easy to make a buck are in the business and maybe shouldn't be. Those are the ones who are finding it tough now.
Name
Bruno Scarselli
Company
Scarselli Diamonds
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
1980
Location of Offices
New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai
Fancy Color Price Category
Medium to High
Most fancy color diamond wholesalers experience a real difficulty finding new important stones in rough and polish (especially in pink and blue). Do you think the second hand market will be the main source for these diamonds considering rough production is dwindling?
There is a wide selection of this type of merchandise out there, but it's in people's safes. I think there is a lot of secondhand merchandise in the marketplace, but determining the origin of a stone is a challenge as there is almost always a disconnect between the source of the material and the people that want to buy the material. It's a marketplace with a lot of mechanics that don't necessarily work for the industry.
How was 2017 for the fancy color market in your specific niche of goods?
We did have a very good first half of the year, but unfortunately our experience in the latter was somewhat average, and somewhat off. For me, 2017 was a year of observation and maturing.

Q2 2017

Name
Marc Boghossian
Company
Bomare SA
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
1991
Location of Offices
Geneva
Fancy Color Price Category
Medium to High
Fancy color wholesalers and manufacturers report that a larger portion of their sales in the last 12 months is made to the investment community. According to the study, Investors don't necessarily look at fancy color as a commodity for a short flip for a profit but rather as a long term item to preserve wealth.
Do you also feel this shift in demand? If yes please elaborate on your perspective.
I do see a shift in demand but it is not new. This has been the trend for the past two to three years. People see fancy color diamonds as an alternative investment channel. The scarcity, especially of the pinks and blues, give people a comfort level even if they are buying it as a piece of jewelry. White goods, even the very large and expensive ones, do not inspire the same level of comfort because they are in much higher supply.
How do you see the demand ratio between retail and investment (or purchases made for wealth preservation) in your business space?
This is a very tough question. I also sell to retailers and I am not sure who they sell to so it's very difficult for me to know how much of my business goes for investment or retail. My feeling is that it is probably 60 to 70% for wealth preservation rather than retail.
Name
Ishaia Gol
Company
Ishaia Trading Corp.
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
1978
Location of Offices
New York, Geneva and Ramat Gan
Fancy Color Price Category
Medium to High
Fancy color wholesalers and manufacturers report that a larger portion of their sales in the last 12 months is made to the investment community. According to the study, Investors don't necessarily look at fancy color as a commodity for a short flip for a profit but rather as a long term item to preserve wealth.
Do you also feel this shift in demand? If yes please elaborate on your perspective.
In the past 30 to 40 years since diamonds greatly appreciated in price, most buyers do not see them purely as an ornament but also as an investment. In the fancy color diamond market, the smaller diamonds, up to 3 carats, are more likely to be bought by collectors to maintain the value of their money. They will buy a few stones and hold them in the safe as an investment.

However, I believe that the larger stones, 3 – 5 carats and above, are still going to people who buy them for jewelry. If they buy a stone for $30 million it is because they appreciate the rarity and the beauty, and they buy it to enjoy it as a precious item, not to be stored away in a safe
How do you see the demand ratio between retail and investment (or purchases made for wealth preservation) in your business space?
In my case most of my sales are to retailers, and I don't know who the final buyer is. However, in most cases they ask to have them mounted, sometimes in elaborate settings, so I assume that they intend to use them as jewelry. I believe that almost all of my sales are to people who want to wear the fancy color diamonds.
Name
Richard Vainer
Company
M. Vainer Ltd.
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
1980
Location of Offices
London
Fancy Color Price Category
Low to High
Fancy color wholesalers and manufacturers report that a larger portion of their sales in the last 12 months is made to the investment community. According to the study, Investors don't necessarily look at fancy color as a commodity for a short flip for a profit but rather as a long term item to preserve wealth.
Do you also feel this shift in demand? If yes please elaborate on your perspective.
Undoubtedly yes. But this isn't a recent phenomenon. It has actually been going on for quite a while. That said, I believe that it is difficult to make the distinction between retail and investment. It is naïve to think that anyone who buys a rare fancy color diamond ring is not looking to preserve value. Rare fancy color diamonds are not a first purchase. The buyers of these stones are sophisticated and they understand the value of what they are buying.

What we are seeing amongst the super wealthy is a trend toward using these rare stones as a place to park their money. They are the perfect commodity for this – they are small, portable and rare and their value is not known except to a handful of experts.

I consider fancy color diamonds an asset class of their own, similar to the art market. Over the past several years I have seen how the market for them has changed: whereas once they were considered an oddity and of little interest except to experts they are now an active wealth preservation vehicle.
How do you see the demand ratio between retail and investment (or purchases made for wealth preservation) in your business space?
I can't really answer this question. As I said, those who purchase rare fancy color diamonds may want a lovely piece of jewelry but they want to preserve the value of their investment as well. Moreover, if I sell to a jeweler I don't know who he is selling to - if it is someone who loves important jewelry or a very wealthy person making an investment.
Name
Leibish Polnauer
Company
Leibish & Co.
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
1979
Location of Offices
Israel, Hong Kong, New York
Fancy Color Price Category
Medium to High
Fancy color wholesalers and manufacturers report that a larger portion of their sales in the last 12 months is made to the investment community. According to the study, Investors don't necessarily look at fancy color as a commodity for a short flip for a profit but rather as a long term item to preserve wealth.
Do you also feel this shift in demand? If yes please elaborate on your perspective.
This trend is visible also at our company. However, the majority of our clientele want fancy jewelry made using selected stones up to a value of $50,000. The investment sentiment is not the central factor in our business.
How do you see the demand ratio between retail and investment (or purchases made for wealth preservation) in your business space?
So far the retail and private purchase of jewelry is dominant, but from time to time we sell a ticket of $500,000 to $1 million for investment also. The market is not yet hot in most of the goods, except for intense and vivid blue stones.

Q1 2017

Name
Eden Rachminov
Company
Rachminov Diamonds 1891
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
1994
Location of Offices
Tel Aviv, New York and Hong Kong
Fancy Color Price Category
Medium to High
In your opinion, what kind of information/education or tools sales associates in jewelry stores are missing in order to enhance their fancy color diamond selling process?
Most sales associates are missing practical tools to support their sales pitch. Weather they discuss rarity, the investment factor or argue their case against a price their client saw at auction, unless they have access to the data the FCRF supplies, most sales people don’t have enough talking points to conduct a powerful sale presentation for an a savvy client. The tools the foundation offers to its member cover most of the needed subject.
In many cases, an experienced fancy color diamond collector is more knowledgeable than the average sales person in the store. How do you think jewelry stores/brands should cope with this situation?
When it comes to fancy color, Retailers are not investing enough in educating their sales team and in many cases are perceived as non-professionals, thus not very convincing. One way to empower the sales team is to get them the right literature or any online support available. Retailers who want to go another step could actually get help from fancy color diamond dealers who supply them their stones.
Name
Oded Meirov
Company
MID
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
2005
Location of Offices
Tel Aviv and 8 satellite offices worldwide.
Fancy Color Price Category
Medium to High
In your opinion, what kind of information/education or tools sales associates in jewelry stores are missing in order to enhance their fancy color diamond selling process?
I think the main problem of stores selling fancy color diamonds is the lack of knowledge of the public regarding fancy color diamonds. If the stores will have more information to give to the private customer on fancy color diamonds, they will be more likely to purchase fancy colors.

I think that in comparison with to white diamonds (for which people can compare prices – using the Rapaport list, etc.), for fancy color diamonds the prices are much more open market. For the same diamond the customer may be quoted different prices by different stores, with a big deviation in price.

So the main goal of providing information and education about fancy color diamonds in jewelry stores, in my opinion, is to give the private customer the confidence concerning prices. FRCF does this very well by providing a comparison to the market price for VS diamonds, and also offers an application to figure out the rarity of each diamond.
In many cases, an experienced fancy color diamond collector is more knowledgeable than the average sales person in the store. How do you think jewelry stores/brands should cope with this situation?
That’s true, but I don’t think the goal of the store is to sell a fancy color diamond to a collector. The main goal of a jewelry store is to increase the consumer sales of fancy color diamonds.

To give the sales person more knowledge about fancy color diamonds, it is very important for them to read articles about auction sales around the world. Today it’s very easy to receive this information, via all the media channels.
Name
Bruno Scarselli
Company
Scarselli Diamonds
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
1980
Location of Offices
New York, Hong Kong, Shanghai
Fancy Color Price Category
Medium to High
In your opinion, what kind of information/education or tools sales associates in jewelry stores are missing in order to enhance their fancy color diamond selling process?
Education is the best tool to insure a sale. There are informational and colorful brochures which in my view are powerful tools of general education. There are also forums which aim to expose specific subjects and are highly educational; in my opinion they are "a must".
Alternatively, we as vendors attend educational weekends for sales reps and share our hands on knowledge, which is most often not available in any book.
In many cases, an experienced fancy color diamond collector is more knowledgeable than the average sales person in the store. How do you think jewelry stores/brands should cope with this situation?
Educated consumers and collectors alike are difficult clients to please, but often these individuals know what they want to buy, which it makes the selling part easier. The ability of a retailer to introduce the FCRF collected trade data would help scale the present value and potential investment upside.
Name
Rick Shatz
Company
Rick Shatz Inc.
Dealing in Fancy Color Since
1972
Location of Offices
New York
Fancy Color Price Category
Medium
In your opinion, what kind of information/education or tools sales associates in jewelry stores are missing in order to enhance their fancy color diamond selling process?
The sales people have to stress the beauty of the stone. The buyer needs to see the beauty and the uniqueness of the color diamond. Everybody has been wearing white diamonds for years and years. A color diamond is unique. No two color diamonds are the same. The sales associate needs to stress that this is very rare, very unique. And that if you want something very rare, very unusual, very beautiful you will have to pay. A Rolls Royce costs more than a Camry.
In many cases, an experienced fancy color diamond collector is more knowledgeable than the average sales person in the store. How do you think jewelry stores/brands should cope with this situation?
True. A person with a fancy color collection is very knowledgeable and has had years of experience. For a typical sales associate this is almost impossible to duplicate. Unfortunately you cannot teach experience. It has to come over time. The dealer can spend time showing the sales team but cannot impart years of experience. When I look at a stone it grabs me. It's a matter of personal taste. That takes years to develop.

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