Diamonds will never go out of fashion; however, the way we buy them has been changing over time.
From being the symbol of eternal love, to contemporary sign of independence if women buy them by themselves as a statement of success. Either way, they have always been regarded as the epitome of luxury.
SEE ALSO : De Beers launches lab-grown diamond line
Diamonds, as symbol of eternal love, and exchanged as engagement rings have always leveraged on the strong emotional relationship sealed by the product. Diamonds have always been regarded as jewelry with heavy memories, and sometimes people just do not know what to do with them, once that memory is not meant to be carried to the future.
WP Diamonds, the US-based recycled diamond company, has found a solution to those broken hearts or simply to people who do not want those diamonds anymore, a platform where to sell diamonds, in any shape or forms, and trade them for their actual financial value. Focusing on expertise, security, and trust, WP Diamonds provides an efficient yet secure service, both online or by-appointment, at one stop.
WP Diamonds was founded in 2012 by Andrew Brown a world-class online diamond purchaser, as a division of White Pine Trading, an international diamond, and jewelry recycling company.
WP Diamonds works with customers from over 140 countries, with offices around the world, including New York, Los Angeles, London, and most recently, Hong Kong. In the belief of three core values: expertise, security, and trust, WP Diamonds is accredited by the top industry associations like the Jeweller’s Vigilance Committee, British Jeweller’s Association and The Jewellers Board of Trade, and their diamonds buyers are fully BBB accredited with an A+ rating.
The whole process takes around 2 days from receiving the price quote to being paid. GIA-trained gemmologists accurately inspect diamonds, and there is no fees applied – valuation, shipping, and insurance.
Retail in Asia has had the chance to know more about WP Diamonds, directly from his founder, Andrew Brown.
RiA : Your business is quite unique as it collects items such as engagement rings, it deconstructs them and sells the diamonds under other forms. How did everything start?
Andrew : We were selling to retail jewelers in the US during the gold buying boom of 2004-2009. The retailers were surviving a difficult retail environment by buying gold (and diamonds) for consumers at very low prices. They would sell the gold to a refiner and be left with bags of small diamonds.
In 2010, we formed White Pine and created a market for them to sell those loose diamonds. We used the diamonds for a new jewelry line and sold the remainder to diamond manufacturers and jewelry manufacturers. We would buy diamonds and scrap jewelry from pawnbrokers, retail jewelers, refiners and gold buyers. Our customers typically kept anything nice for themselves and just sold us items that were hard to move.
As such, in 2012, we formed WP Diamonds in order to focus attention on the consumer and gain access to better products.
RiA : The diamond industry is going through a transformation. What’s the reason to launch in Asia?
Andrew : Asia is a huge diamond, jewelry and watch market, so WP Diamonds wants to offer its services to consumers who already knowledgeable about the products.
Japan has long been the second largest diamond market, after the US. China is now a vast and growing diamond market, and South East Asian watch and branded jewelry markets are among the largest, growing markets.
RiA : Which opportunity do you see here more than in other markets?
Andrew : In our early market testing in South East Asia, we found that our pricing for diamond jewelry and watches was favorable comparing to that of our local and other somewhat global competitors. As such, we expect to grow in these markets.
Watches and branded jewelry are huge market opportunities in Hong Kong. Similar style watch brands are also extremely popular in Hong Kong and China.
RiA : Who are your suppliers actually?
Andrew : Now, we source products almost entirely from consumers; consumers looking to raise funds for life events, people looking to sell inherited jewelry, out of style jewelry, engagement rings from broken engagements or failed marriages, or simply looking to upgrade a jewelry item.
We offer a quick, professional and discreet service aimed to make selling diamonds, jewelry and luxury watches easy and pain-free. We have appointments available in Hong Kong, New York and the UK, but customers also have the option of selling online with our free and insured mailing service.
RiA : What’s your customer profile? How is it different in Asia from US?
Andrew : We have been buying globally from consumers for 6 years now and the profile remains fairly constant regardless of geography, i.e.
- Average age group: 30-50 years
- Selling engagement rings: 65% women, 35% men
- Selling watches: 30% women, 70% men
Our sales channels are largely online back to similar demographics: collectors and millennials looking for a great deal on an engagement rings or self-purchase. A lot of our GIA Graff diamonds are sold back to US retail jewelry and diamond dealers.
RiA : Is that true based on your experience that women buy diamonds for themselves nowadays?
Andrew : Yes! We see a lot of self-purchased jewelry and diamond pieces now. Even a recent DeBeers study found that while Millennials are buying fewer engagements rings (or waiting until later for them), they are still buying as much, if not more, diamond as prior generations due to self-purchases of other jewelry items.
RiA : What’s your view on synthetic diamonds?
Andrew : They play a role in the jewelry industry, but I believe that consumers looking for diamonds, still go for the natural ones. Now that DeBeers has entered that market and priced their synthetics at $800/ct (approx. a quarter of the price of the incumbents), it seems that synthetics will be treated more like costume jewelry than a competitor to natural diamonds.
RiA : Which trends can you predict within the diamond industry?
Andrew: Secondhand or recycled diamonds will become a more important segment of the industry as natural diamond supply starts to wane after 2020. Branded jewelry will continue to represent a growing percentage of the jewelry market as Millennials shop for a few key brands, such as Tiffany, Cartier and VC&A. Rarer colored diamonds (blue, pink, red, green) will continue to increase in price as supply continues to slow (Argyle shutting down soon as the major supplier of pinks, for example, over the last 20 years).
Retail in Asia will keep an eye on WP Diamonds to follow up n pre-owned luxury market. WP Diamonds gives a second life to jewelry that would be kept into a drawer, and at the same time provides its customers with the chance of trading them and invest the profits into their own life, either experiences, or another piece of jewelry, which better resonates to their lifestyle.