Last September, I wrote an article on lab-grown diamond prices, where I quoted an “industry veteran” as saying that, with lab-grown diamonds being sold at 90% off the Rapaport list, “what’s lower than that? 100%?”
Then last week, I wrote a blog post on the coming lab diamond shakeout, which mentioned that a vendor at the JCK show in Las Vegas had offered 1 carat lab-grown diamonds at “100% back of Rap.” You don’t need the latest copy of the Rap list to know that “100% back” means free.
What I didn’t realize, but have since found out, was that the person that gave me that blind quote—who is allowing me to reveal his name—and the person behind the “100% back of Rap” promotion in Las Vegas, were one and the same.
Alan Cohen, vice president of sales for Shinebright USA, a lab-grown diamond seller, says he dreamt up the “100% back” idea with Shinebright president Akshat Sanghavi as more or less a joke.
“It was out of frustration of hearing everyone saying 97 off of Rap, 98 percent,” he says. “I don’t see how you make a profit at 97 back. So I said, let’s do something crazy.”
The promotion stipulated the diamonds were “100% back of Rap” with special conditions, meaning another purchase. So it wasn’t like the company was giving away diamonds for free, he says.
His company got calls from all over the world about his promotion, and he was able to open up a bunch of new accounts at the show. (Though he notes that not everyone on the wholesale end found it funny.) And while his company did give away a few diamonds, they were accompanied by other orders.
Cohen is extremely bullish on the future of lab-grown diamonds, which he thinks will eventually comprise 50% of the market. But he says the promotion had a message behind it.
“I was saying stop devaluing the product. Stop the madness.”
All of which made for a clever eyebrow-raising promotion. But did it stop the race to the bottom? By recent evidence, probably not.
Photo courtesy of Shinebright USAFollow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Twitter: @jckmagazine
Follow JCK on Facebook: @jckmagazine