Diamond.com Lays off 20

In another sign of dot-com woes, Diamond.com laid off 20 people, or nearly one-fifth of its workforce. Alan Lipton, president of the sightholder-owned site, says the layoffs took place because of the sluggish economy. “We still have 80, 81 people working for us,” he says. He notes the company did $30 million in business last year.

The site also has its eye on a brick-and-mortar location. The options being considered include erecting a flagship store in New York or nabbing an existing small chain. The site hopes to have its stores open by the 2001 holiday season.

“We always hear that people can’t see the diamonds before they buy,” says Nicolas Topiol, the site’s chief strategy officer. “This will help with that.” He adds that there will be “synergies” between the Web site and brick-and-mortar outlets.

The site also is celebrating its recent $500,000 sale—a possible record for jewelry on the Internet. The sale involved a 60.79-ct. t.w. diamond and platinum necklace that was custom-made for a Florida businessman for a 30th anniversary Valentine’s Day gift.

While the sale wasn’t concluded online, the man found diamond.com through a search engine and talked with employees about custom-designing the necklace.