When people think of what a "diamond district" should look like it's no surprise that visions of New York's 47th street come to mind. Not only is it the worlds largest wholesale gemstone and jewelry street, but it's ground floor wholesale/retail jewelry shops bring people from far and wide to gaze at sparkling gems, as well in hopes that they will get a deal.
The jewelry business came to midtown Manhattan during World War 2, as Jewish diamond and jewelry merchants, fleeing Europe, settled their businesses in this area. Today, many of these businesses live on alongside new businesses opened by waves of more recent immigrants, mostly from formerly communist Eastern Europe.
Every facet of the jewelry and gem business is covered in this area. From small scale retail establishments to large diamond and gem dealers, to online retailers. It's a busy block with an enormous amount of revenue generation. It's estimated that the street turns over roughly $24 billion yearly.
But even with all that wealth, 47th's street is not a charming street. 47th is filled with small jewelry exchanges, cash for gold stores, and pawn shops, most with relatively outdated displays and frontage. The enormous number of touts either trying to get pedestrians into their shops to buy, or even worse - repeating, as if a mantra - We Buy! We Buy! should be enough to give the average consumer pause. Yet amazingly, people trudge through the exchanges, and allow themselves to be led into offices by touts met on the street - all in the hopes of some special secret stash of gems, which are priced better than the rest. So is it possible to get deals? Well maybe....
There are deals to be had, but it all depends on what items people are looking for. I advise working with someone trusted in building valuable jewelry pieces such as engagement rings. These are quite expensive purchases, and hopefully pieces that are kept for a lifetime. For simple things however, the exchanges might be worth a look. Typical things, like simple gold hoop earring's, thin diamond bands, or very small studs, can sometimes be good buys in the exchanges. These are all items which many vendors keep in stock and want to turn over. Also, these are typically lower priced items, which are good for fast gifts, or just to wear as everyday pieces. For more important pieces (pieces over $1,000), diamonds over 1/2ct and really anything special, I always feel it's better to work with reputable people. Buying expensive items is daunting, and requires honest guidance to make sure you get a quality item.
If you do plan to go and shop in these exchanges there are some things you can do to be prepared:
1. Know what you want and comparable prices for those items.
2. Ask for certifications - GIA specifically - and don't allow someone to sell you something with a very high grade from a sup-par laboratory.
3. Don't get pressured into buying things.
4. Work with trusted people first.
5. If you need something like this 6ct round G VS1. Call us first!