By Brecken Branstrator
Intercolor is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2020, led by four brothers. From left to right: Afshin (Alan) Hackman, Benjamin Hackman, Daniel Hackman and David Hackman.
New York—Making it to 40 years in business is no small feat, and one colored stone dealer wants the trade to celebrate the occasion with them, appropriately, in Tucson.

This year, New York-based wholesaler Intercolor is fêting four decades in the gem world.

Brothers Benjamin and Daniel Hackman founded the company in 1980, inspired by their late uncle who was in the loose colored stones business in London starting in the late 1950s.

Afshin (Alan) then joined in 1981, followed by David in 1984.

For the past four decades, the brothers have brought fine rubies, emeralds, sapphires and tanzanite weighing 1 carat or more to the market, traveling across the world to source them.

Not surprisingly, several things in the business have changed since Intercolor first started operating.

One key thing, Afshin told National Jeweler, is that with all the information the internet has brought to their fingertips, buyers’ perceptions of colored stones have changed and they’re shopping with even more knowledge.

And all the better for it, he added.

“When you have an educated client and they look at a gemstone to buy, at least they have a good idea of what they’re looking at,” he said.

“It takes a lot of effort and talent, I always say, to take someone’s hard-earned cash and give them a tiny piece of rock in return. So, if they have dug out some information on their own, at least it helps make the transition smoother.”

Another key factor that’s changed the colored stone sector is the ease of taking pictures of product and sending them instantly to clients.

“Nowadays … taking pictures and sending information beforehand has drastically improved the memo-sales ratio for everybody,” Hackman said. “This is also one of the biggest differences I’ve seen from 35 years ago.”

He noted decades ago, they’d sometimes ship as many as 40 or 50 packages a day but would get about 90 percent of them back in the mail because “more than half the time, the client’s perception of what they were receiving in the mail was different from what you explained. Now, with all the pictures and image-taking, at least right off the bat, they’ll rule out what they don’t like.”

The four decades in business has been filled with as many highlights as changes.

When asked what he’s most proud of as they mark the big milestone, Hackman noted the values by which they’ve run their company—honesty first, followed not far behind by customer service and supplier service.

“At a very young age, I was taught by my late father that if you want to stay in business for a long time, you always treat your suppliers the same as you treat your clients.”

There were also notable moments like Benjamin Hackman serving as president of American Gem Trade Association and the International Colored Stone Association.

The company now also includes the second generation—Daniel’s son Ivan has been with Intercolor for the last 18 years, and David’s son Zachary plans to join in June 2021, when he finishes his studies.
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They are also coming off one of Intercolor’s best holiday seasons in history, according to Hackman.

Because of how it went for them, as well as a very good season for many of their clients, the brothers are anticipating a strong show when they exhibit at the upcoming AGTA GemFair in Tucson.

Fittingly, it’s also out in the desert that they’re inviting everyone to celebrate the anniversary.

Anyone with an AGTA GemFair or GJX badge can join them at Intercolor’s 40th anniversary party on Thursday, Feb. 6 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Culinary Dropout on East Grant Road.

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