ROTHMAN TO RAPAPORT REDUX
A careful analysis of the editorial that Martin Rapaport writes in the June issue of JCK [“Letters,” p. 30] clearly reveals the author’s own bias of his Rapaport Diamond Report’s market force as a standard, rather than the information resource he repeatedly states it to be.
Rapaport claims to report on prices and not set them. He states with authority, “The fact that transactions take place at free floating variable discounts and premiums to our list is proof positive that we do not control the price level at which the trade transacts.” Can we look carefully at this statement? What is Rapaport saying? I agree with him that he does not control actual diamond transactions. But I also agree with Rapaport’s own statement that his list provides the industry price structure. Rapaport refers to transactional prices as some variable discount of his own. Is this reporting on market prices or does his list limit the maximum and minimum levels at which diamonds trade? You decide!
Tell us, Mr. Rapaport, if your report contains 1,560 price indicators, how many actual transactions do you report on weekly? Do you gather information on all 1,560 indicators, or is it just 1,000, or is it 500, or is it 100? You stated on the Internet in April that you had just spent 18 hours researching the market around the world. Your report on market activity was very accurate, all described in discounts from your standard, your price fix, your “List.” During the exact same time period, I spent eight days in Antwerp visiting major manufacturers and market players. Everywhere I went, every office I entered, I was addressed with the same cry, “When is Rapaport going to raise his list?” Your answer was clearly stated on the Internet in April 1996: “Lots of stuff happening out there. In the end, I decided not to change the list today.”
Rapaport may not be the best weatherman after all (his reference to himself in JCK, June 1996, “Letters”). It’s raining outside and the weatherman “decides” it is still sunny. When was the last time any diamond dealers reading this [letter] saw or better yet actually traded a well-made F SI1 5.00? Maybe one,
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two or three years ago. How can Rapaport fix a price on this category? Does anyone realize the difficulty in getting a price over the Rapaport Report price even if you owned the only F SI1 5.00 in the world?
What does this mean? Does Rapaport report prices or set the standard fix for which prices are transacted? Which comes first, the chicken or the egg.
Glenn Rothman DiStar Boston, Mass.
PGI ON 58.5% PLATINUM
A 58.5% low-content platinum alloy has recently been introduced. PGI has taken a firm stand against this low-purity alloy, recognizing the platinum marketplace will be forever changed by this metal, and there may be dramatic unforeseen repercussions.
Over the past decade, the U.S. jewelry industry has seen many changes, some of which we have just sat back and allowed to happen. Remember the days when jewelry customers wanted high quality merchandise and were willing to pay for it? This standard has slipped in the U.S. marketplace. Today, clarity-enhanced diamonds, low-karat gold jewelry and low-quality diamond tennis bracelets abound.
PGI has made a serious commitment to quality platinum jewelry. This commitment is being threatened by the introduction of low-quality, part-platinum metal. Platinum jewelry has always been 90% or 95% pure (platinum chain products are a minimum of 85%), whereas this new alloy drops that to 58.5%. Platinum’s best-known qualities are weight and purity. Lower-quality platinum has neither of these.
A myth of platinum jewelry is that it costs too much for the average retailer. Not true. PGI has launched the Platinum Retail Starter Kit, with pieces from 39 manufacturers priced from $250 to $999 wholesale.
Quality platinum jewelry means a better satisfied customer who will return to your store again and again. It also means a better profit margin for you — consumers are not looking for platinum jewelry sold by the gram.
Laurie Hudson President Platinum Guild International Newport Beach, Cal.