Published: August 16, 2017
Co-owners of The Diamond Reserve, Steve Rosdal and Kaeleigh Testwuide, are a vibrant pair who have taken the very traditional model of jewelry sales and turned it on its head. They spoke with us about how Millennials are changing market trends, and how they find the perfect diamond for each customer at half the price quoted by traditional jewelry retailers.
Steve, you’ve been in this industry for roughly four decades. You were the CEO of Hyde Park for 35 years. How did you end up at The Diamond Reserve?
Steve: I got my start selling Indian jewelry in Tamarac Square in ’73, but then we transitioned in to gold and diamonds. Then I co-founded a business that ultimately became Hyde Park. Then I retired…but I failed at retirement.
Kaeleigh: … he started watching daytime TV.
Steve: Haha, I was bored. I needed more to do, but I wanted to get back in to a business situation that worked for me. I wanted very specific hours and I wanted to work directly with people. I get to do that here.
So The Diamond Reserve operates differently than most other jewelry stores. For example, you operate by appointment only?
Kaeleigh: We think people deserve some privacy when shopping for a diamond. It’s not really comfortable to blurt out “What’s your budget” in front of a crowd of people…
Steve: …while standing over a huge case.
Kaeleigh: Exactly. We also buy our diamonds a couple of different ways. We work straight with the cutters and we buy diamonds in lots, which helps us lower our prices. We also do a lot of estate buying which is huge in the jewelry business, especially now as baby boomers are aging. We can re-cut diamonds that have resurfaced and have them GIA certified. We then do 3-D digital renderings for our clients, so they can see it from every angle. When it gets approved by the client, we send it off for production with our amazing benchman and diamond setter right here in Colorado. Keeping things local also helps us keep our costs down.
What is a GIA certification?
Kaeleigh: It stands for the Gemological Institute of America and they’re really the mecca for diamond grading, especially for the consumer. They are the only non-profit grading laboratory and their mission is to benefit the consumer so that they know what they’re buying is what the jeweler says it is.
Most people know about the “Four C’s” relative to diamonds: carat weight, clarity, cut and color. But The Diamond Reserve goes a step further in educating its customers, right?
Kaeleigh: Right. We also talk about fluorescence, symmetry and polish. We try to teach everyone about the metrics when diamond shopping and how changing each can tweak the price. We help them figure out what is most important to them. It’s interesting, in the U.S., women tend to prefer a 2-carat diamond that is a little bit lower in clarity and color, but in the Asian market, for example, they value a smaller diamond of higher quality.
…And some people seem really preoccupied with brands, like the “little blue box from Tiffany.”
Kaeleigh: True, but let’s say you were going to buy a carat-and-a-half at Tiffany. It’s going to be around $30,000 there, but we can typically do the diamond and the ring for half that price. I always ask people how important a brand name is to them when they can get the exact same diamond and the exact same GIA certification at half the price through us.
What are some of the trends you’re seeing in the diamond industry?
Steve: Being in the industry forty-some-odd years, I can tell you it has completely changed. I think it’s fascinating that Millennials buy 43% of the jewelry sold in this country. Do you know why? It’s all engagement rings. The engagement “experience” is really important to this demographic. Millennials aren’t in to possessions and collecting things like my generation was. The ring is part of the experience, as is the photographer who photographs the moment you pop the question, and the location where you pop the question, etc.
Kaeleigh: Did you know that today 86% of men get on their knee to propose, and 91% of men propose with an engagement ring? This generation has really raised the bar.
Kaeleigh, you’re part of that Millennial generation and you were married last year. What was your engagement “experience?”
Kaeleigh: My husband proposed on the Taylor River where we were fly-fishing. When I caught the fish, he got down on one knee to net it and he had the ring on his pinkie when he was getting the hook out of the fish. It was amazing.
Can you two leave us with some parting advice for first time engagement ring shoppers?
Kaeleigh: Sure! First, I’d tell someone to get on GIA.edu and read about the “Four C’s,” but then you have to physically go look at your diamond before you buy it. Don’t buy on the internet or based on certification alone. Steve looks at every diamond before he buys it.
Steve: Two diamonds can have the exact same qualifications and look completely different because of the crystal structures. Some were formed with a little more heat and energy, some were formed with nitrogen, some without.
Kaeleigh: Also, I’d say don’t get caught up in the setting, you need to start with the diamond. Most women would rather have a bigger better diamond than an elaborate setting. Put your budget towards your diamond, because you can always upgrade your setting later. Jewelers make the most money off the settings, so that’s why they try and get people wrapped up in this…but we believe it’s always all about the diamond.
The Diamond Reserve
100 Fillmore Street
Denver, CO 80206
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