WP Diamonds buys diamonds from the public
As online retail gains momentum, Jewellery Outlook interviews one of the leading companies in the U.S. and Europe that buys diamonds, diamond rings and diamond jewellery from the public through the internet.
February 17, 2013 – WP Diamonds buys all kinds of diamonds from the public, offering a fair valuation reflecting the latest market conditions in return for used gemstones, rings and jewellery.
WP Diamonds is one of the world’s fastest growing diamond buyers buying diamonds directly from members of the public.
“We have offices in the US, UK and Spain and are looking to expand our operations in the coming months,” said Matthew Howe, WP Diamonds’ General Manager.
WP Diamonds is owned by White Pine Trading, a global buyer of recycled diamonds.
White Pine Trading buys diamonds from businesses of all sizes from the very largest refiner to the smallest gold buyer.
White Pine Trading is a well capitalized and profitable company with direct access to the diamond markets in New York and Hong Kong.
“We sell the diamonds we buy to a global network of industry participants,” Howe said.
WP Diamonds has significant financial backing from a global investment company and has a secure financial base from which it can carry out transactions of any size.
WP Diamonds buys all kinds of diamonds from the public as long as the diamonds reach certain thresholds of value.
The second hand value must reach $500 in the US and £300 in the UK and €300 in Spain.
“Normally we buy single stones of over 0.5 carats for round diamonds and 0.75 carats for other shapes and we will buy diamonds of any shape, size, clarity or color,” Howe told Jewellery Outlook.
Rings are the most commonly bought item and we have completed purchases of over $250,000 in a single transaction. Customers sell engagement rings in large numbers and they can hold substantial value.
“Around 30% of the inquiries on the site are to sell loose diamonds,” Howe said.
“Another very interesting trend is for customers to sell their diamonds as they look to upgrade to larger stones, to obtain the diamonds they have always dreamed of.”
WP Diamonds’ strength comes from its size.
It is part of an organization that traded $75m of diamonds in 2012.
That scale has benefits for the consumer.
“Because we sell the diamonds we buy directly into the Hong Kong and New York markets, we can achieve higher prices than going through intermediaries,” Howe said.
“This access also means we can buy all kinds of diamonds, certified and non-certified.
“Most jewellers won’t buy the vast majority of stones as they don’t have any means of reselling them. This is certainly not the case for WP Diamonds.”
Another huge benefit is that WP Diamonds has a large and hugely experienced valuation team in one central location.
This benefits the consumer as WP Diamonds’ experts will have far greater knowledge than any one individual in a jeweler or pawnbroker.
“Our team has over 55 years accumulated experience in grading to the highest of commercial standards and know the true worth of the diamond items they are grading,” Howe said.
The last reason is that of convenience, he added.
“Customers don’t have to drive around their local area to find a buyer,” he said.
“They can receive a pre-paid pack or shipping label to ship their items to us. It’s simple, secure and convenient for people. The whole process can take as little as 4 days, and money will be in your bank account.”
WP Diamonds uses price sheets, which reflect the very latest conditions in the second hand marketplace.
“Our buyers use the price sheets to provide price to our consumers,” Howe said.
“It’s methodical and professional and isn’t the opinion of a single individual or a negotiation as the prices we offer are pre-determined by the organization and are not influenced by any particular individual buyer.”
Howe said that WP Diamonds is in the diamond buying business for the long haul and the only way it believes it can grow and become the biggest brand in the second hand market, is by offering its customers good value and fair prices.
“We only hire exceptional buyers who have the necessary commercial grading experience,” he said.
“There is no incentive for us to offer poor prices as we are in a competitive market place.
“Lastly, nearly all of our valuations receive a second opinion. Any inaccuracies in grading or pricing would be picked up by the second opinion. It’s a safety net for customers. “
One of the main themes in the second hand market is the difference between the prices people pay in stores (retail price) and the second hand value.
It’s very similar to the car market in the sense that as soon as a customer buys an item it’s worth less in the second hand market.
WP Diamonds pays prices at the top of the second hand market, Howe said.
“We tell customers that they can expect to realize around one quarter of the retail value,” he said.
A diamond passes through many hands on its way to a retailer and that means they all take their cut which makes retail prices very high in comparison to second hand prices.
“We return the maximum prices we can, knowing that we have to resell the diamonds and make some kind of profit,” Howe said.
“The diamonds that we re-sell are some of the cheapest in the industry.”
WP Diamonds realizes that keeping their diamonds safe is a prime concern for customers when transacting with an online business when they sell diamonds.
“We have selected postal services that are highly secure and have outstanding reliability records for this very reason,” Howe said.
“We also insure each item individually so if anything was to happen to the item the customer would receive the appropriate compensation,” he added.
“Our overnight services have to this day never encountered any problems. In fact we use the same services for our business customers who regularly send hundreds of carats to us of far greater value.
“Packages can also be tracked whilst in transit so we can see where they are.”
When a package arrives at WP Diamonds, the package is opened on video to establish if it contains the items the customer has said they are sending and that the diamonds haven’t been tampered with.
This ensures that customers can trust the operations of WP Diamonds and know that the company is handling their items in a responsible way. It is also important for any potential insurance claims.
“We notify customers the moment their package arrives at our offices as we are aware customers are anxious about their items,” Howe said.
“We have been fully accredited by the Better Business Bureau and are a member of various trade organizations so people can feel comfortable they are dealing with a well vetted and professional organization.”
Customers do not have to pay to post their diamonds to WP Diamonds.
“We cover the cost of the posting and insurance of inbound packages to us and if customers don’t like the offer they receive we will pay for the insurance and posting costs for outbound packages also,” Howe said.
“It’s not a small cost to WP Diamonds but it’s part of the service.
“If you don’t know anything more than the weight of your diamonds, we allow customers to send in the diamonds using their own postal costs and insurance.”
From start to finish the process can take as little as 4 days.
“If you call on a Monday for example we can give you an initial valuation the same day and send you out a label or pack,” Howe said.
“If you send us your items on the Tuesday it will arrive on the Wednesday. We will value the item on the Wednesday and make you an immediate offer. If you accept it then we can transfer the money to your account via Wire transfer.
“The money will be in your account on the Thursday at the latest.
“It’s very quick and customers don’t have to do anything other than provide us with identification. We have received exceptionally positive reviews from our customers and they appreciate the speed and professionalism of the service.”
The diamond industry is known for being complicated and being quite a closed industry.
WP Diamonds is aiming to be the exact opposite.
“We are a modern and forward thinking company staffed with motivated and customer friendly people,” Howe said.