How to Buy the Perfect Diamond? Just Ask Concierge Jeweler Dan Moran
I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dan Moran of Concierge Diamonds in Los Angeles. Dan, a private jeweler and diamond expert has been featured in Brides, The BBC, Modern Luxury, Bridal Guide, Women’s Health, and more. Dan is dedicated to creating lifelong relationships with his clients as their friend and advocate in an often-intimidating industry, educating them about diamonds and gemstones, and custom crafting diamond engagement rings and other jewelry for every occasion of their lives. As a concierge fine jeweler, Dan sources diamonds and gemstones, metals, watches, and other items from his personal network of trusted wholesalers, and works one-on-one with each client at the location they choose. As a result, clients benefit from both high value and exceptional pricing, often half of traditional retail. Whether clients are seeking unique wedding rings, custom engagement rings or custom diamond jewelry, earrings or a pendant, Dan shares his knowledge and offers multiple options, ultimately creating the best piece of jewelry for each individual. www.ConciergeDiamonds.com
“That’s when I decided I could do what the retail stores were doing, but do it better and for less money. People work with me because I know more about diamonds than any retail sales person you could possibly encounter — and I charge less and my pieces are custom.”
Thank you for joining us. What inspired you to start a career in the fashion industry?
My family has been in the jewelry business since the end of WW2. I grew up talking about diamonds at the dinner table. So, when I went to college, I actually was adamant about not going into the family business. I got a degree in biology and government. I graduated college during the peak of the dot com explosion. Straight out of college I started a software development company. After college and the end of my first venture, the siren song of the family business called and I went to work with them. I worked with my Uncle (one of the largest diamond manufacturers in the world), interning with him and learning everything there possibly is to know about diamonds. That vantage point of working with him allowed me to see the insane mark up diamonds. Where as we marked up the diamonds by10% to retailers, I saw the stores mark up the diamonds by over100% and pass those costs to the client. I knew the materials, I knew what constituted an incredible diamond and how to pick one, and what could be considered junk, and I put all that together and I started building up a private client base.
Can you tell us an interesting story that has happened in your career lately?
I’ve been fortunate to merge my two loves: aviation and diamonds. I am based in Los Angeles but a lot of my clients are all over the place: San Diego, Vegas, Scottsdale, you name it. I work with clients all over the world. Alot of my clients are in the Silicon Valley, so quite often I will take my small, four-seat plane and fly myself to deliver pieces to my clients, or show them their selection of diamonds. Yes, sometimes they get to go for rides with me in the plane if we have time, and if they don’t get nervous. I often use these little trips to fly up some extremely exotic stones, like rare blue or pink diamonds or extremely large diamonds that I am not comfortable shipping.
What can consumers expect from your jewelry line this year?
Well, I don’t have a jewelry line per say, because each piece we make is custom for our clients. I am here to help breathe life into your vision. Since we custom make everything for our clients based on their specifications, I can tell you that there has been a shift to other shapes of stones besides rounds. With celebs like Paris Hilton opting for Pear Shapes, people are becoming more adventurous in the kind of diamonds they are looking for.
If you could collaborate with anyone on a jewelry line, who would it be?
I’d love to collaborate with Calvin Harris on a jewelry line, or Nervo. I am a huge electronic music fan and bringing these artists from an entirely different field into my work is a thrilling idea. I think the clean lines of electronic music influence my thinking in clean lines and jewelry and I’d love to bring their ideas to my work.
What fashion icon has inspired you the most?
Harry Winston. His devotion to stripping away the inessential to reveal the true beauty of a diamond inspires me.
What advice would you give a young professional just starting out their career in the jewelry industry?
I think it’s strong to have both a technical understanding of gemstones as well as your own aesthetic.
Where do you see the jewelry industry going in the next 5 years?
I think moissanite and lab grown diamonds will move away from fine jewelry and find their niche in costume jewelry, much like Swarovski crystals. These synthetic stones have no inherent value whatsoever and people will want to stop spending money on things with no value. I see the trend of large stones coming back into the market, and definitely colored diamonds as center stones for engagement rings. Any time Pantone releases a new color of the year; we’re flooded with requests for diamonds or stones of that color. This year it’s Ultra Violet, so think purple diamonds (ultra rare) and amethysts.
If you could go back in time and give younger self advice on your fashion career, what would you tell yourself?
I wish I held every stone I bought from ten years ago because they have increased so much in value. I want to tell myself to start sooner, but I had to go through that other phase in my life where I wasn’t 100% sure of what I wanted to do. So learning from all of my mistakes was important but I had to come to terms that it was actually ok for me to make those mistakes too.
What makes your jewelry line unique from others?
Again, I don’t have a line, but I’m a diamond expert, not just a jeweler. People that come to work with me seek me out like they do an attorney, doctor or other trusted advisor. I am not a salesperson and I do not have a store. I make everything custom to my clients’ specifications. That’s the Concierge Diamonds’ difference.
What are your “five tips for success” for a career in the jewelry industry?
1. Educate yourself about your product
2. Learn your personal style
3. The essence of strategy is deciding what not to do.
4. Be flexible. Things will not always go to plan.
5. Stay on top of trends. Keep yourself relevant.
Here’s a fun question. Which of the 4 C’s in diamonds do you think is most important: cut, clarity, color or carat?
Cut. Period. This is the most important of the 4 C’s of Diamonds and here’s why:
Cut is extremely important because a diamond’s only job is to sparkle, and the sparkle is in the cut. So if you’re considering buying a poorly cut diamond just because it’s cheaper, just buy a piece of glass for $15 and save yourself the trouble. But something tells me your bride-to-be probably won’t appreciate that as much. Please remember — it’s the cut that unlocks the beauty of the stone. Take a so-so rough diamond and cut it perfectly, and it will look beautiful. Take a top-of-the-line rough diamond and cut it poorly, and it will look like garbage. Never ever skimp on cut.
To schedule a free consultation with Concierge Diamonds call 213-261-4330 or email us at info (at) conciergediamonds.com!