If you think that diamond trade is a highly exclusive business open only to the chosen few we wouldn’t lie to you – it is more or less the way it is. Even among other jewelers, those dealing exclusively or almost exclusively with diamonds constitute a close-knit caste. Many diamond dealerships are family businesses that deal with other families based on their reputation in the industry.
It doesn’t mean that it is impossible to get into this business. It just means that it has a quite high entry level, requires a lot of long-term effort, considerable start-up budget, and knowledge. Here we will cover the most important things you should know and have before you try to take the industry by storm.
1. Establish Initial Connections
As we’ve already said, diamond trade is an elitist business. It doesn’t mean that everybody in it knows each other, but it is closer to the truth than you may think. You may find out that simply having the money to buy the stones is not enough – if you don’t have a well-known name and reputation, most dealers just won’t sell you their stock. This industry is dominated by tradition, and those already in it don’t want it to be diluted by newcomers.
Therefore, before you attempt to become a diamond trader, you should establish a network of contacts in the industry, and one of the best ways to do it is to take an entry-level or junior position in an existing business. This will allow you to meet people who already belong there and, if you play your cards right, you will be able to keep these contacts for later. Practical experience you acquire along the way is another significant benefit.
2. Get a Relevant Education
While having a formal education isn’t absolutely necessary, it can give your career a serious leg up, especially if you are just starting out and don’t have many connections. An online guide or two may be enough in the very beginning, to give you a general understanding of what to look at when you study a diamond, and you can pick up more skills as you go along, but having organized theoretical knowledge is much easier to build on. In addition to that, a degree from a Gemological Institute of America or a similar institution is an awesome addition to your credentials and general reputation.
3. Get in Touch with a Gemstone Association
We won’t tire of repeating this: diamond business is all about contacts and reputation. The more authoritative people you know, the better. One way to acquire new connections is working with an association like American Gem Society. These organizations can provide entry-level traders with contacts of members, including other traders, appraisers, cutters, jewelry experts and others. Reaching out to them can go a long way towards establishing your network. In addition to that, being a member immediately sends a positive signal to any potential customer – you are alright, it is safe to buy from you.
4. Be Ready to Do a Lot of Travelling and Negotiating
Running a diamond business, you cannot just wait for the stones to be brought to you and then wait for customers to ask you for them. You have to be out and about, looking for new opportunities, read new materials on gemology, acquire new contacts, travel to negotiate deals in person and find better prices. The secret to getting a profit out of diamonds is not in selling but buying. If you are poor at negotiations and aren’t ready for long and grueling bartering, you should either acquire these skills or find yourself another vocation.
5. Always Have Your Diamonds Certified
To an inexperienced eye, cheap cubic zirconium is identical to a perfect diamond. The only thing that can prove the authenticity of your stock to a layperson (short of independent expert evaluation) is a certificate from a lab. So make sure all your stones are certified, and it will immediately improve your standing in the eyes of customers.
Getting into diamond business may be difficult, even impossible – but both the profits from it and the allure of dealing with precious stones on a daily basis are indeed worth the trouble!