The pot has a lot of sticky fingers in it, including some who are brand new to the diamond game. What if you are hooked by the diamond desire? More and more, women are buying themselves diamonds in industry code: self-purchasers. Do you go to the diamond district, Tiffany's, or wait for the De Beers brand? How about DirtcheapDiamonds.com?
Every day and in every way, Jim Schultz is a symbol of what can happen when you broaden the diamonds' appeal. He's a young newcomer with absolutely zero connections to the diamond trade. Dirt-Cheap diamonds deliberately takes diamond mystique and debunks it to nothing but the facts.
"Diamonds are not remotely rare," says Schultz. When I searched the Internet, I would get hundreds or thousands of diamonds. There were a lot of hands that each diamond went through before it got to me. Depending on whether a diamond went through two hands or three hands or twenty hands between De Beers and the retailer seemed to be reflected in the price."
The irony is that as the d in diamond becomes more aligned with the d in demographic, it also stands for discount. For several years now, Costco, the purveyor of all things bought in bulk from toilet paper to crab legs has a jewelry bar. We visited a Costco in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, not a tony place.
There, in a Plexiglas case of jewelry in the store's center, twinkling at one end, was the diamond display. Costco's diamonds come with a guarantee: they will be half the price of an appraisal anywhere else, or your money back plus a hundred dollars and the cost of the appraisal. Such competitive pricing shows how much flexibility in the diamond's markup.
We interviewed some of the Costco shoppers, and none of them felt their diamond would mean any less if it came from Costco. Shopper Eileen Morales certainly did not think so, "I came here last week and I was looking at the diamonds…they're pretty good. It's really nice, I like diamonds and have nice diamond earrings on."
Morales said she was surprised to find diamonds at Costco, but when asked if she would think less of her diamond if it came from Costco, she said, "I don't think so. The quality of the diamond is guaranteed; they're really good, and you can tell because if you put your hand over the diamond and the light goes through it and they're good diamonds. That's how you know that diamonds are forever!"
As a marketing ploy, the slogan still works. But as the markets are profoundly changed from upper class cachet to the dirt-cheaps and bulk stores; perhaps a more apt slogan should be "a diamond is for everyone."
And that is the depressed diamond industry's greatest hope: that we just can't live without those glittering, glamorous gems, however we get our hands on them.