Why the 47th Street Diamond District?
No matter where in the world you’re based, if you’ve shopped for diamonds you have heard of the 47th Street Diamond District. Ever think why? Ever question how one block in the middle of Midtown Manhattan has such a strong manifestation in the diamond industry? Why the 47th Street Diamond District? What makes it trump most other diamond districts the world over?
I’ll tell you.
Between 5th and 6th Ave of Manhattan’s heart, in Midtown Manhattan is New York’s largest Diamond District the 47th Street Diamond District.. There are buildings on 45th, 46th, and 48th street operating in the jewelry business, but the soul of the diamond district in NYC remains on 47th Street. If you walk by 47th Street Diamond District you couldn’t doubt for a second that this is the Jewelry Road. From corner to corner jewelry stores display some of the most exquisite pieces of jewelry. You can have signed pieces like Tiffany & Co.®, BVLGARI®, and Cartier®, (to name a few) at your fingertips. And just inches away you can also find cheap diamonds advertised in name brand jewelry stores for almost triple the price. There is such a variety of merchandise available to the general public at amazing prices.
Hundreds of millions of dollars of merchandise pass through this one small block daily. This merchandise consists of diamonds (big and small), sapphires, rubies, emeralds, CVD’s, melees, gold bars, platinum sheets, silver coins, palladium nuggets, loose stones, and finished jewelry pieces. This is just the actual merchandise that passes through the 47th street Diamond District.
What about the talent? What about the amazingly talented diamond cutters, jewelers and benchmen? The 47th street diamond district is home to some the highest skilled diamond cutters in the world. It’s also home to some of the finest hands in the industry. Similar to the still skilled hands of a surgeon, a benchman or jeweler must also be able to display extraordinary skill to remain situated in the 47th street district. If the skill isn’t there, the jewelry will not be able to withstand the high demand for finer craftsmanship and eventually will jump ship. The clientele that flows through the NYC diamond district is very fastidious and demanding. So mediocre craftsmanship will not fly. Only the best will endure in NYC’s 47th street Diamond District.
Even the lamp posts at the 5th and 6th Ave junctures highlight the obvious status of the 47th Street Diamond District with in New York City. And this is the same esteem the 47th Street Diamond District is endowed throughout the world. Worldwide people have heard of the diamond district in NYC…even if they haven’t been diamond shopping.
What makes the 47th Street Diamond District more enticing than all the other diamond districts worldwide?
Well, for starters if you’re reading this blog post you’re most likely not going to travel to India, Dubai, or South Africa (or any other International Diamond District) for that engagement ring purchase. If you’re reading this blog then you’re most probably somewhere in the US or Canada (or considering a visit sometime soon).
To be honest, if you’re not a big traveler chances are you’ll probably buy your diamond in a local jewelry store or some big box company. And if you’re a little computer savvy, you might even end up on a jewelry website or two. All these options are great. My motto is as long as you’ve got diamond buying on the brain we’re good. The only downside to the above options are that you’re limited to either whatever the jewelry store has in store, or if you’re buying online you have no way of actually seeing your diamond before you buy it.
For the most part shopping in the diamond district is an amazing experience.
The 47th Street Diamond District has all your jewelry and fine metal needs in the same place. Let’s say you have a wedding coming up. Let’s say it’s your son or daughter. Looking for wedding bands? The Diamond Districts got them. Looking for diamond eternity bands? The Diamond Districts got them. Looking for diamond earring for the bride? The Diamond Districts got them. Looking for cufflinks for the groom? The Diamond Districts got them. Looking for bridesmaids gifts? The Diamond Districts got them. Groomsmen? The Diamond Districts got them.Looking for something for the mother of the bride? Mother of the Groom? Yah the Diamond Districts got those too. Need a gold watch for groom? Or how about a name brand watch like Cartier® or a Rolex®…The Diamond Districts got them too.
Let’s say you don’t need jewelry.
Let’s say you’d like to get the newlyweds a wedding gift that they weren’t registered for. Like silver flatware aka silverware…The 47th Street Diamond District has it too. You can actually find a lot of trinkets made of silver in the diamond district. Anything from sliver candle sticks to silver candy dishes. So, as you can see your trip to the 47th street diamond district will not leave you dissatisfied. Even if all you needed was a battery changed in your watch…the diamond districts’ got a booth for that too.
That’s not to say there aren’t tons of people that have had a terrible experience in the Diamond District.
There are those people that have only terrible things to say about the diamond district but that’s mainly because of “bad business”. Just like in any industry, there are some bad apples in every bunch. For the most part many of the establishments conducting business are trying their best to provide a quality product at a reasonable price. But of course there are those that are just trying to make a quick buck. Then there are those that are just unpleasant to deal with. The general complaints about the diamond district is either one of two things.
2. The hawkers
Unless you’ve already been to the 47th Street Diamond District you’ll have no clue what these two things are.
Let’s start with the later.
A hawker as defined by Dictionary.com is a person who offers goods for sale by shouting his or her wares in the street or going from door to door; peddler. In the 47th Street Diamond District these guys are all over the street. They aren’t the actual merchants but rather are hired by the merchants to have them get the attention of a potential consumer and bring them into their store. Many shoppers get super intimated by these hawkers and try to avoid the block completely. Others find a way to coast right by them. They put on blinders and ignore them completely. The hawkers are like vultures…the moment you answer one, they swarm up on you.
Now let’s move on to the number one complaint about the 47th Street Diamond District. Misrepresentation. What does the mean? Basically what it means is that an uninformed consumer went shopping for something and bought it…without doing enough research. So here’s a scenario. You (shopper) wants to buy a diamond engagement ring. You walk into the first store and ask for a diamond engagement ring. The shop keep says, “sure, of course”. He proceeds to show you many different diamond rings. He shows you a round brilliant diamond, then a princess cut diamond, and then an emerald cut. Asks you which you like better. You fall in love with the round and proceed to tell him “I’ll take it”. I’ll bet that at that moment you’ve never seen someone process a sale so quickly.
Is this a real diamond? Did you ask?
What’s the quality? Did you ask?
Did you ask if its certified? By what lab??
Is it refundable? Did you ask?
What if she doesn’t like it? What if she says NO?
Is this diamond enhanced? Could this diamond have been treated?
Do you know if its conflict free? Could it be a moissanite? Or an Amora Gem?
DID YOU ASK?
This is really the number 1 reason the diamond district on 47th street gets a bad rep. In this scenario, was the salesperson unethical? Did he do anything wrong? If you were sold a dud it was really your fault. You MUST come to the 47th street diamond district educated and ready to ask a ton of questions. Regrettably, if the sales person you come across is unable to answer your questions, then you move on to the next…and the next after him…and the next after him. That’s what’s amazing about the diamond district…there are thousands of shops you can shop at. You are not limited in any way, shape, or form.
And if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon a jeweler or diamond dealer that is fair, honest, and knows what he’s talking about then you’re in good hands. If you’re having information conveyed to you in a clear and transparent manner then you know that you are in the right place. My recommendation is usually not to buy the first diamond or ring you’ve been shown. Do your due diligence. Get educated on line in places like pricescope.com to find out whats important to look for. Then visit the one place that will give you the most hands on experience you could think of.
That’s what makes the Diamond District in NYC the most esteemed over all international Diamond Districts.