THE DIAMOND OF YOUR DREAMS
AT A PRICE IN YOUR BUDGET
Jewelry by Michael is not in the “diamond business.” We are jewelry designers who use diamonds in our designs. We do not mine them or cut them. We buy them directly from a site holder to eliminate middle-man markups making your purchase of a diamond from us as economical as possible.
At Jewelry by Michael, we broker all of our large diamonds (one carat and above) at 10% above our cost, 15 % if the diamond is smaller than a carat. We do not keep a diamond inventory in our design studio. Large diamond inventories translate into bank loans for hundreds of thousands of dollars, double digit interest payments, and retail diamond prices. When the loan payments are due, retailers are more interested in selling their inventory and selling “up,” than they are listening to what you want, and finding it within your budget. That perfect diamond is only 24 hours away.
When purchasing a diamond for an engagement ring or anniversary, we will educate you, find out what you desire in a diamond, and then choose diamonds from one of our three diamond suppliers’ inventories. We bring them in, inspect them, and then call you to view the best of the selection. You can choose to purchase a diamond from us, or use a diamond of your own. Some customers have “family” diamonds that are being passed down, others choose to shop the internet for diamonds. If you are one of those Savvy internet shoppers who prefers the do-it-yourself plan, one of our suppliers will work directly with you. The only thing we require at JBM is that your diamond is a fine quality diamond so as to reflect the quality of craftsmanship that goes into each Jewelry by Michael design.
Why today is not a good day to buy a diamond.
It is simple. The worst time to buy a diamond or to make any major purchase, is immediately. Always sleep on it. A major acquisition should never be based on an impulse or an emotion. Most diamond engagement rings are emotional and/or impulse buys. The engagement moment, not the engagement ring purchase, should be an emotional time. At Jewelry by Michael, we keep the emotion in the engagement moment, not in the purchase hour.
Historically, guild stores (high fashion jewelry resellers) make the majority of their money on diamonds. In order to do that, they have to stock a huge supply of diamonds and fully mounted engagement rings with the intention of hooking you upon your first visit to the store. If you leave without buying, you quite possibly might find a better price or quality diamond elsewhere.
It is not unusual for a jewelry reseller to have a million dollars locked up in a box the size of a small paperback book. The money to pay for these diamonds is often borrowed, so these diamonds are on lease from the bank. Once a month, their "rent" is due. This affects how jewelry resellers sell diamonds.
When you enter a guild store, you may have a good idea of what you want, but they have a better idea of what they are going to sell you, and it is most often something from their inventory so they can pay their diamond rent. This is not necessarily best for you nor is it necessarily what you desired when you entered their lair.
Now a good salesman is taught to play on your emotions, explaining this is a purchase that represents your love. When the salesman sees hearts flowing up from your fiancé’s aura, he flips from the emotional to the impulse and offers a discount if you buy it today. The hook is set.
Here is our "skinny." In 1983, when we opened our first retail design studio, we decided to broker diamonds rather than to market them at retail. We could not align the Golden Rule with charging $30,000 for a $15,000 item (standard retail markup) when our investment in the sale was minimal. That is not how we would want to be treated. Since that time, we have been brokering diamonds at 10% above their real value (wholesale cost) for diamonds weighing more than a carat, and 15% above real value for 1/3-carat to 1-carat diamonds.
Now this is how brokering translates in real dollars. A hundred dollar diamond may cost you $110 to $115 at Jewelry by Michael, depending on size. Down the street, where the emotions flow before the purchase, that same $100 diamond is $200 to $250. However, if you impulsively make a decision today, they will let you take it home for $160 to $200. The difference can be huge, but the big difference is this. When you go to trade it in, our diamond will always be worth what you paid for it minus the brokerage fee. That’s our policy, and that’s the way we have been doing it for nearly three decades.
We work hard for our brokerage fee. When we shop for diamonds, we work with several site holders to minimize middlemen between you and the diamond mine. Our specialty is a well made diamond, ideal or premium cut, G or better in color, no less than an eye-clean SI2 grade, so all SI grades are carefully reviewed. We scan the certification papers, choose what we think are the best, order them in for observation, and then scrutinize them ourselves before we ever call you back for a look. If at first we don’t succeed, we try again until we find what we think is the best value for your budget. We call you for a look only when we believe we are in the zone. Most of these processes take 24 to 72 hours. If we are looking for a very specific diamond, it may take a little longer.
One of our diamond suppliers called us last week and reported we ranked highest among his customers for number of sales per diamonds ordered. That might not sound noteworthy until you know they are one of the largest diamond suppliers in the country. The reason we are his #1 is because we are so careful at what we do. We need not return many diamonds because we are so customer specific on finding the right diamond to fit your desires before we bring them in. If you can understand why your best advantage does not come by our filling your order with what we have in our stock, then you will see the benefit of buying from a diamond broker. Our brokerage fee covers our time in finding your diamond, all postage, all certificate work, and the setting of the diamond into your finished JBM piece.
CAN I KEEP THE "SURPRISE" AND STILL INVOLVE MY FIANCÉ IN THE PROCESS?
To all the Guys out there considering an engagement ring purchase:
Over the years we have developed a way to keep the "surprise" in your engagement moment to make it perfect. We allow you to purchase the diamond at its real value, and then we will set it in a Tiffany style, 4 or 6 prong setting so that you can pop the question without getting your fiancé involved. After the engagement, she can choose to keep the timeless and traditional Tiffany style setting, or the two of you can come back and work together through the process of finding a final design in which the engagement diamond can rest. We take back the Tiffany setting and deduct the entire price of the Tiffany setting from the finished price of your wedding set. Simple, easy, and emotional with the "surprise" element intact, all with your budget in mind.
HOW DOES BROKERING WORK?
Very well thank you. Brokering is your best advantage to find the finest diamond possible within your budget. Once we know your budget, we can go shopping to find the right stone for you. Most shoppers are leery when asked about their budget. Their first thought is the jeweler wants to know how much money he can get. Our query is quite honest. Bear in mind, you do not have to buy from us. You can take our best offer and move on down the street until you hear what you want to hear, so giving us a budget does not hurt you. A budget allows us to fulfill your dreams without pushing you to engage the savings and loan industry.
An engagement ring budget should be healthy, but not beyond your means. If the budget does not allow for a diamond center, then sapphire may be the gemstone of choice and the one most often used in the royal weddings of Europe. Keep in mind that a quality Tiffany style mounting, even though simple in design, can run from $195 to $375 depending upon the style and size. Tax on $1000 is $72.50. Do you want diamonds on the side? It all adds up. All of these little factors have to be deducted from your budget before we know how much is left for the center diamond. Then we go shopping. A $500 budget is not a healthy engagement ring budget. Can it be done? Yes, but to preserve high quality and maintain the integrity of the JBM name, we have to be highly creative.
GETTING THE REAL VALUE FOR YOUR OLD DIAMOND IN A TRADE
First off, let me say, we do not buy diamonds. We do not own even one. If we were to begin stocking diamonds, we start down that road of selling you what we have in our stock instead of what you want. We do not even buy back our own diamonds. We have successfully remarketed nearly every one that has come back to us. Remarketing means we add your "diamond for sale" to a list and check it against our customer’s wish list. If we sold it once, it already meets our criteria. If we find a match between seller and buyer, and the buyer is not put off by buying a resale diamond, then we will broker it for you. You get back your original price and we make our 10 or 15% from the buyer.
We have had customers who have purchased diamonds from us and then, to avoid embarrassment, went elsewhere to try to sell their diamond after a divorce or breakup. These same people then came to us and reported they were offered less for their diamond than its real value, which sounds like it could be a reflection on us. That is when I give them the following lesson.
If a jeweler can buy a $100 diamond today for $100 by lifting the phone, dialing a number and signing a Fed-Ex slip tomorrow, then why would he pay $100 for it today if he does not need it. That is bad business. He knows he has you over a barrel because you need his money. But he does not need your diamond. He will offer you less so that he can make money on it even it sits unsold in his store for a couple of years before he moves it. That is good business. When you pay one jeweler $200 for a diamond with a real value of $100, and then another jeweler offers you only $50 to buy it, it is understandable why you might be angry with the jewelry industry. It is also one of the leading factors in the popular misconception that jewelers have such a high markup.
If you bought a diamond from us, you know the real value. If you did not buy your diamond from us, and you want to find out what is the true value of your diamond before you sell it or trade it, take it to your local guild store and tell them you are considering buying a matching diamond and having the two of them mounted into a pair of earrings. Ask them, "Is that something you can do, and how much would it cost to get an identical diamond?" Then sit still while he figures the true value of your diamond.