Don’t Get Caught in the ‘Net

It used to be a jeweler's headache: a customer coming in with the Rapaport "red sheet" and demanding that the jeweler match the price. Now there's a more vexing problem: customers coming in with sheets from BlueNile, Ashford.com or any of the thousands of diamond-selling Web sites-and demanding that the jeweler match those prices. And since many of the sites are working on close margins, that's no easy task. "Two, three years ago we had rare people walk in with the 'Rap sheet' [Rapaport Diamond Report ], and the Rap sheet doesn't have cut on there, so you could work that," says Hy Goldberg of Philadelphia's Safian and Rudolph Jewelers. "This is a lot harder to fight against." Goldberg says the cyber-competition is forcing him to cut prices, particularly on bigger stones. But don't panic, retail consultants say. "The Internet is not the biggest bear in any market I've been to," says Kate
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