The trade has long held a bias against diamonds with blue fluorescence because—well, no one is sure why. It seems to have dated back to the 1970s investment craze, and was exacerbated by a 1993 TV show in South Korea. But even after the GIA conducted an extensive study that determined fluorescence has no consistent effect on a diamond’s appearance, the stones still have long been considered less desirable.
So, the people at Brian Gavin Diamonds figured: Why not change that from a sales killer to a selling point?
Brian Gavin Diamonds is a Houston e-tailer that grew out of a fifth-generation diamond cutter. (Gavin was once a partner in another e-tailer, Whiteflash.) According to Internet Retailer, the site sold $10.8 million online last year, enough to make its list of Top 1,000 e-tailers.
Recently, the site introduced Brian Gavin “Blue,” a brand counterintuitively built around diamonds that exhibit blue fluorescence. (“Take advantage of the fluorescence prejudice,” the site proclaims.)
The idea was hatched out of a decade’s worth of frustration over not being able to sell fluorescent stones.
“With the previous company, we used to sell branded stones with fluorescence,” says CEO and namesake Brian Gavin. “Nine times out of ten, those sales didn’t stick. Back in the early 2000s, people would walk into a jewelry store and say, ‘Can you tell me if this is OK?’ The first question is, ‘Where did you buy it?’ They’d say online. And once the jeweler saw the fluorescence, they said, ‘You don’t want it, it has fluorescence.’”
As a result, he didn’t sell those stones. But then he resolved not selling them was “ridiculous,” and decided to flip the negative rep on its ear.
“We thought, let’s find stones with blue fluorescence where there is no milkiness, where it actually makes it an advantage, so you can get it at a lower price point but you are getting a really good stone,” says Danny Gavin, vice president and director of marketing (and Brian’s son).
The Blues sell for 15 percent less than comparable stones sold at the site, says Brian Gavin.
There is, of course, the issue of a stone with blue fluorescence glowing under the ultra-violet light in a disco, but Brian Gavin says, “Customers love that.” (In fact, the stones are sent with UV flashlights.)
“We are taking on something with such a bad rap and turned it around,” he says. “And it’s a huge hit.”