Oct 25, 2012

Wine and Dine (Diamond) as acquired taste

We taste wine but we look at diamonds. The enjoyment of both is however similar, an acquired taste. Fair to say, most people can pick out the least desirable ones. Like the cheapest wines selling at Carrefour supermarkets in Paris, selling less than a bottle of Evian of the same size, will most likely be unpalatable, for those whose sole objective is getting drunk rather than for those seeking its taste. And likewise for diamonds. Moving up the spectrum, things will be different. The taste has to be acquired or learned.

One of my friends, a successful investment banker, happened to be an active amateur wine-trader for some years before import tax was scraped in 2008, making his venture less profitable. He had an apartment storing his wines which he bought in bulk or semi-bulk and would resell them to small restaurant owners who preferred not to stock up too many bottles for an individual vintage. He didn't do it for the profit, he loved wine, and he would cash in his profit in bottles of wine and would sometimes shared them with friends, after the cost has been recouped (or timing-wise before the cost has been recouped, for most of the time). And his friends could therefore have an opportunity to taste some bottles of better vintage.

The lesson was, look at its appearance, smell its aroma, taste it in the mouth (before swallowing), and feel its aftertaste. "Catch its overall taste and its complexity." Without the idea of how much a particular bottle of wine cost, it was almost like a blind-tasting training. And it worked, for most of us. Our taste gradually gravitated towards the more expensive ones!

In diamond appreciation, we have the 4Cs, actually three only, because carat is more of a cost concept, though a bigger diamond certainly looks more lovely to any lady! Anyway, we have the color, clarity and cut to look at. Color and clarity are the diamond's inherent qualities, whereas the cuter is the magician that makes all the difference.

As an artistic jewelry designer, I put a lot of emphasis in selecting good diamonds, as a way to enhance my design, as a way to create lasting value for my jewelries, and last but not least, to allow my customers to have the opportunity to learn to appreciate good diamonds, or to acquire a taste in diamonds.

I shall talk about how I do my diamond selection in a future post. Stay tuned.

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