Tom Shane's World

Our Quality is Black & White

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Recently, I have been buying two new types of sapphires for our company… black sapphires and white sapphires. And the reaction has been fantastic.

Black sapphires are opaque by nature, so one assumes they don’t have a lot of brilliance. But I have been having ours recut by our own gemstone cutters after I buy them in Bangkok. They are being cut like diamonds, and this gives them a beauty that is hard to imagine. They are popular in pendants, earrings, and all kinds of other jewelry. We carry them loose as well as mounted. Most black sapphires on the market have a touch of grey, silver or even dark blue – but I won’t buy those; mine are truly black. We pay a premium for this, but when you see both these stones and how little they actually cost anyhow, you will appreciate our extra effort.

Round Multi-Colored Sapphire Journey Earrings

White sapphires, on the other hand, resemble diamonds. It takes an experienced eye to tell the difference, in all honesty. The white sapphires I buy are also recut by our own gemstone cutters to maximize brilliance and beauty. The color is absolutely white, and they are spectacular to look at. We have had many customers use these stones instead of diamonds. While, technically, they are not as hard as diamonds, sapphires are very durable and equally suitable for everyday wearing.

We carry sapphires in every color that they come in, from all shades of blue, green, yellow, orange, lavender and pink. By adding black and white, we find that our customers can create jewelry that truly sets the mood they desire. Besides commemorating special events or things in a person’s life, jewelry with sapphires can be worn to smartly accessorize a well-groomed woman’s wardrobe. And we are actually putting more of the black sapphires into men’s jewelry than we are in our ladies’ collections.

Round Multi-Colored Sapphire Bracelet (7″)

Larger black sapphires are available. We carry some and, of course, I will always be glad to get one especially for a customer (but it may take time, depending on what is required). On the other hand, white sapphires that have the quality I demand of all our stones are almost non-existent in the larger sizes. It is not even a question of price.

Over the past 20 years, I have personally stopped buying most of the diamonds for Shane Co… But I continue to buy every ruby and sapphire we sell. I take pride in the reaction our customers have when they look inside our showcases and see the difference between our stones and those of any other jeweler in town. This is one skill that I have learned over the years, and I love doing it. I have to get each stone recut after buying it to make sure its brilliance and sparkle is maximized. When you see our newest additions – the black and the white sapphires – you will see that they live up to our high standards.

Round Multi-Colored Sapphire Journey Pendant (18″)

Most jewelers don’t even carry natural sapphires, but that is the only kind we will carry. Others carry lab-created or man-made stones, which to me are phony. When you do find a jeweler with natural sapphires, the color or the brilliance of theirs lets ours stand out and speak for themselves. I eliminate all middlemen and buy direct from the miners and cutters, and pay them cash to get the best prices.  That saving is passed on to you, our customers. But the real issue is our quality. While we welcome anyone to examine our stones up close, the reality is that the difference can be seen from far away!

Tom Shane is the founder and owner of Shane Co., the largest family-owned retail jeweler in the United States. For four decades Tom has traveled the globe buying gemstones, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and pearls directly from the gem cutters for Shane Co. He is the third of four generations of the Shane family to work in the jewelry business. Tom started learning the jewelry business at his father's side at age 12, assisting his father in his store. Tom opened his own jewelry business in 1971, establishing Shane Co. He was 22 years old at the time. In 1996 Tom was knighted into the order of Leopold II in the Kingdom of Belgium in recognition of his lifelong achievement in the diamond business. Tom currently resides in Colorado, but spends a great deal of his time abroad purchasing gemstones for Shane Co. You might know his voice from the Shane Co. radio ads which are the longest running radio ad campaign in history, or you might have caught him at a party with other Colorado celebrities in an episode of South Park.

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