Diamonds, Including Man-Made, the Focus at Borsheims

MajorsMay 12, 2017

Diamonds, Including Man-Made, the Focus at Borsheims

Lab-grown diamonds were being sold alongside stones signed by Warren Buffett during Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder weekend event.

Diamonds with the signature of Warren E. Buffett on the girdle were among the offerings Borsheims presented during parent company Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder weekend event. A computer generated image of one of these diamonds with Buffett's signature is seen here. (All photos courtesy of Borsheims)

Omaha, Neb.--There was ping-pong and bridge with Bill Gates, shiny stones with the Oracle of Omaha’s signature on the girdle and lab-grown diamonds.

The man-made stones were among the offerings jeweler Borsheims had during parent company Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder weekend, which took place last weekend in Omaha.

The retailer has been very quietly carrying man-made diamonds since November, mixing in fashion pieces from Swarovski, which started selling jewelry set with lab-grown diamonds in 2016, with bridal rings from a company called Altr.

Altr Created Diamonds is a New York-based lab-grown diamond company that is headed by Amish Shah, the fourth generation of a family that has been in the mined diamond manufacturing business for 75 years.

Borsheims President and CEO Karen Goracke said the retailer decided to start stocking man-made diamonds because customers were asking for them.

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett seated next to master bridge player Sharon Osberg and Borsheims head Karen Goracke (in the foreground, not fully visible) during the Sunday games held at Borsheims over shareholder weekend. In addition to Borsheims, Buffett’s holding company owns Ben Bridge Jeweler and Helzberg Diamonds.
“We realize they are part of the industry, whether you are in favor of them or not. They’re out there. Rather than hide from it, we decided to … have the offering for the consumer who’s interested in it.”

During shareholder weekend, Goracke said most of the commentary about the stones was inquisitive in nature--people didn’t know a lot about lab-grown diamonds and were asking questions.

She also pointed out that the demographic at the shareholders’ event tends to skew a bit older while in the store it is mostly younger customers purchasing the man-made stones, attracted mainly by their lower price.

The lab-grown diamonds were one element of the larger focus on diamonds during shareholder weekend and the following selling period, which extends until the Saturday before Mother’s Day.

Borsheims also featured Kalahari Dream Diamonds, a line from Leo Schachter that it carries exclusively, and, as it has in years past, diamonds signed by Berkshire Hathaway boss Warren Buffett.

Each Kalahari Dream diamond sold benefits communities situated in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

During shareholder weekend, Borsheims said the sale of each Kalahari Dream diamond will go toward building a well in a village in Botswana that is without regular access to water.

It sounds a like a Toms for

diamonds, and that is exactly how some sales associates have been presenting the stones, said Borsheims Director of Marketing Adrienne Fay. Goracke said that the Kalahari Dream diamonds have been well-received both by sales associates and customers.

In addition to diamonds, Borsheims was selling strands of pearls with Warren Buffett’s signature engraved on the clasp. They were “a big hit,” said President and CEO Karen Goracke.

The Buffett-signed diamonds, meanwhile, are something that Borsheims offers only at the annual shareholder event.

The stones has the billionaire investor’s signature on the girdle and, this year, Goracke said they added some strands of pearls with his signature on the clasp as well.

The diamonds, she said, are perfect for “someone who loves jewelry, and someone who loves Mr. Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway.”
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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