Gold, silver, and platinum buying is a business that has been around a long time. And it’s not too difficult either, from a buyer’s perspective. No knowledge is necessary about rarity or condition, no price ambiguity, and relatively easy and liquid selling on the other end. Simple metallic tests can determine if pieces are genuine, making market entry with little knowledge possible. So it’s no wonder you saw a new cash for gold business on every corner during the boom.
But in Rochester New York, the team at Ridge Coin & Gold Exchange do things a little bit differently. They’ve been in business for decades, also coming from a background dealing in antiques are rare items (including collectible gold, silver, and platinum coins). They are much more than your typical “cash for gold” company, with a booming local business based on their expertise and ability to accurately value what customers bring to their shop. After experiencing so much success in restoring the reputation of the cash for gold market in the area, they’re taking to the next market in need of disruption: diamonds.
If you’re at all familiar with the diamond business, you’ve probably heard of its jaded past. From market monopolies to terrifying accounts of “blood diamond” fame, the diamond business is as ugly as it is lucrative for these multinational companies. Diamonds aren’t as rare as you might think, and they can more or less be produced artificially. So while we might need diamonds – those “diamonds are a girls’ best friend” marketing slogans are pretty engrained in our traditions – these are so many in circulation at this point that a better solution must exist for providing beautiful, affordable pieces to people in the market for diamonds and diamond jewelry.
That’s where Ridge Coin comes in. They have GIA certified experts on their team that know how to properly appraise and price diamonds quickly and accurately. After a short inspection of a diamond someone brings in, they are able to determine its value, how difficult it might be to resell, and offer cash on the spot for the stone. They are then attempting to make a stronger second-hand diamond market, selling diamonds to individuals at a fraction of retail costs.
This transformation of the industry immediately benefits buyers much more than it does sellers. While sellers are receiving much more than they would have from a jeweler, the gigantic retail markup in the diamond industry leave most people surprised at how little the diamond is worth. Between the big markup and the craftsmanship required to produce a custom ring (a lot of people these days have rings customized), a $15k retail ring might fetch $3k. Ridge Coin aims to be the top of that spectrum due to their resale network and volume. Still, they’ll be looking to sell that same diamond for $3.5-$4.5k after months of searching.
So, the real winners here are the people buying the $15k diamond ring for $4k. There’s something sentimental about the “I don’t want a ring that was meant for someone else”, but that stance is rather antiquated and people are getting past it. That line of logic is just another example of the successful marketing that the huge retail diamond industry has been able to execute. They’ve convinced people that engagement rings are so incredibly personal, even a personalized or modified second-hand ring is “used” and not as good as one that has never been owned before. Is that worth paying an extra $11k? It’s probably not even worth paying an extra $1k, but fighting past decades of marketing is easier said than done.
People who want to sell an old engagement ring, loose diamonds, or jewelry that has been passed down can now do so at Ridge Coin. Their service is just local at this point, so you’d have to travel to their Rochester NY location in order to buy or sell valuables.
If you’re shopping for a new engagement ring, Ridge Coin is also a great first place to stop. They have a fantastic selection of engagement rings that look just like new and are likely to cost you half as much (or less) than a new ring.
It’s tough to say how willing diamond buyers will be to shift the market and accept “used” or “rebuilt” diamond rings as acceptable. The desire to buy a ring from a fancy jewelry strong is strong, and many people will spend more just because they don’t want their fiancé to think they’re “cheap” or that she is worth any less. While we don’t think it’s a reflection of that at all, surely not everyone will feel the same way. As far as we’re concerned, getting the best ring at the best price should always be the priority.