Interview with the People Behind the New Diamond “Blue Book”

There has been a good deal of interest in, the
free online gem price guide that we
wrote about
last week. Yesterday, one of the people behind it, vice
president of marketing Michael Muttert, very generously agreed to talk to me.

One of the interesting things about this list, is that its
creators do not hail from a jewelry background; some were employees of the famed Kelley Blue Book for used cars.

So why diamonds? “We saw a niche there,” Muttert says.
Kelley Blue Book is being sold, so there were lot of guys wondering where they
go from here. It was one of those things, we were sitting around with a drink
or two and we came up with this idea. We just tried to shoot holes in it, but
we couldn’t shoot holes big enough that we couldn’t fix them.” They have since
recruited advisors from the jewelry industry, though Muttert says they do not
want to give their names. 

Max’s Diamond Price Guide will be updated weekly, and is
currently free, with separate prices for online and bricks-and-mortar
retailers. It does not “price” diamonds smaller than a half-carat, greater than
five carats, or of K-L-M clarity. It hopes to eventually sell advertising,
particularly to the major “online diamond sellers” like Blue Nile. And while
there likely won’t be a print version, its creators are looking at mobile apps.

Here are some more highlights of our conversation:

Its methodology for determining
: “We call all over. We
check on wholesale pricing, and we have people who are very connected in the
industry, in South Africa and here. We have algorithms with proprietary functions,
and use them to get accurate numbers for what diamond pricing should be.”

How it’s being marketed:
“Right now we are working Google AdWords and getting some great traffic with
that. We have ‘diamond blue book’ and those types of words.”

 – The reception it’s gotten: “We have gotten great feedback. We just launched in the middle of November and we have been getting more than 1,000
hits a day. We are getting a 30 percent bounce rate and the click-throughs are doing

The site’s philosophy:
“One thing I want to stress is that we are independent, and want to remain
independent. We are not trying to directly sell diamonds. We have nothing to do
with Rapaport. Nothing against them—they are the wholesale guys and we are
meeting the needs of retail customers. Most of our customers are people who have
just been engaged and are looking for a diamond.”

Again the site is here.   

JCK News Director