Site Review | Professional Jeweler

August 15, 2001 is a unique diamond business-to-business site aiming to revolutionize the diamond trade by linking Antwerp's diamond industry to U.S. retailers. The site provides an online diamond marketplace for retailers and eliminates the hassles of customs, certification, shipping, insurance and returns.

Sandy Ray, president of BelGem, says U.S. jewelers want better access to the services, skills and goods offered by Antwerp merchants, but lack a cost-effective way to access the market., says Ray, is the solution. Jewelers can fill out a simple registration form to join BelGem and then have access to over 6,000 diamonds from Antwerp cutters and suppliers.

Jewelers can use BelGem several ways. They can search for diamonds, they can show diamonds to customers and they can make special requests. Searching for diamonds is simple. Users choose the "buy diamonds" options and then select the criteria – cut, certificate, carat range, color and clarity – and choose how to sort the results. Matching diamonds are listed in a table with details about each stone, such as discount, price, measurements and a copy of the certificate. Jewelers add the diamonds they want to their shopping carts and check out. BelGem handles the rest and offers credit to good customers. Jewelers have seven days to decide if they want to keep the stone. BelGem will take back diamonds for any reason within that seven-day period.

When customers request diamonds that are out of stock, jewelers can use BelGem with the customers to find the perfect stones. Jewelers select the "show diamonds" option and search for stones as described above. The only difference is customers see the retail price – the price for the diamonds in the search results includes the retailer's specified mark-up.

If jewelers can't find the diamonds they want, they can submit a special request to BelGem. BelGem posts the requests in the diamond club in Antwerp, and gets back to jewelers with information about any diamonds matching the requests. Technical assistance is also provided to members. Ray says BelGem is in touch with jewelers every step of the way.

- by Julia M. Duncan