Tom Shane's World

Heading Back to Bangkok

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I am again on the ‘big iron bird’, flying to Bangkok.  This will be a short trip (for me) of only a couple of weeks.  Then I will have three weeks back in the States and I have to turn around and return to Asia.  As much as I love being in Hong Kong and Thailand, each of these trips take over 24 hours…and that’s not fun.

Anyhow, our Christmas sales of rubies and sapphires exceeded our plans, so we won’t have enough stones to get us through ‘til April, if I don’t buy them now.  We’ve recently gotten the fancy colors of sapphires into our showcases.  While we always carry three shades of blue, as well as pink, yellow, green, orange and lavender…we now offer some colors that are really “fancy” one-of-a-kind items.  We can mount them in rings or pendants; just don’t ask for those fancy colors in earrings, please!  We can never duplicate them for a proper match.

We are now starting to work with white sapphires as well.  They look almost like a diamond (not quite the brilliance, if you have a really discerning eye).  We won’t have them available in our normal stock for a few months; but if you mention reading about them on this blog, we will bring them in for you to look at.  They cost a fraction of what a comparable diamond would cost.

If anyone has ideas of where they would like to see us use these white sapphires, please let us know in the comments.  We are really curious as to how they will be received by our customers; given their easy confusion with diamonds, to the untrained eye.

There has been much internal conversation, within our company, as to the pros and cons of offering these white sapphires.  Some of our executives fear that a couple may wish to use a white sapphire instead of a diamond in their engagement ring, thus hurting our diamond sales.  Some of our people are concerned about the “what if…” issue.  That means what if he buys a sapphire and tells his bride that it is a diamond.  Who is to be held accountable?  Interesting issues, so please let us hear from you!!!  My own thoughts are that some people may actually prefer the white sapphire for personal, political or financial reasons…and it is our job as their jeweler to give them the opportunity to make an informed choice.

Another new product that is coming our way, but not until March, will be red sapphires.  Most gemologists study that both ruby and sapphire are made of the same mineral, which is corundum.  Corundum in every color but red is called sapphire; in red it is called ruby.  However, I have come across some extremely rare red stones, which are truly sapphires and not rubies.  They have more crystal (when examined internally) than rubies, making them prettier and visually different.  They can only be seen side by side with a ruby, to let you understand what is so special about them.  If you are curious, be sure to call the store closest to you, to confirm that they have red sapphires in stock to show you, before making the drive.  If not, make your request known, and they will get one in to show you, by request.  Just be patient with us, as they are just now being re-cut and re-polished in our Bangkok cutting factory, so the beauty is sure to be maximized.

Red sapphires I was looking at during the buying trip

I love being able to offer our customers things that they will never see anywhere else in America.  This excitement is, in addition to great business, personally very rewarding.  Having unique product is one major way in which we differentiate Shane Co. from other jewelers.

Valentine’s Day fancy colored heart shaped sapphires are still in stock, but running out soon.  These are natural sapphires, but in colors that you have never seen elsewhere.  Each stone is truly one of a kind, and most unusual.  The prices on these are really great, as I bought up an entire production, which took years to accumulate by a man here in Bangkok, who was in need of cash.

This trip in Bangkok will be a short one, but we will be able to remain well stocked in the rubies and sapphires that remind you of how different our quality is from anyone else.  Every stone we have is 100% natural; mined from the earth.  To us, we sell symbols of love, and can’t imagine a man made or synthetic stone causing a woman a great feeling of the relationship, compared to a natural stone.  Especially when we sell natural stones for less than others sell phony stones for.  But that may be my personal prejudice showing through!  Anyhow, my next blog post will be from Denver!

Tom Shane is the 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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