Among the thousands of businesses that have found opportunities selling on eBay, Gem Stone King, which sells diamonds and jewelry in user-customized configurations, stands out. It is a family-operated business with roots in the diamond and jewelry trade that extend all the way back to 1905, and 70 percent of its rapidly growing revenues come from sales on eBay.
How fast is Gem Stone King growing its sales? According to Charlie Hollander, a third-generation diamond and jewelry seller whose son Nir now serves as President of the company, when Gem Stone King began selling on eBay 10 years ago, it sold 2,000 items per year. Last year, the company sold over 42,000 items, and this year it will mark close to 200,000 items sold on eBay, including more expensive items than it has sold before.
In fact, eBay sales have done so well for Gem Stone King that two years ago Charlie Hollander shut down the traditional diamond and jewelry business that he operated in Israel to concentrate on the eBay business with his son. He made that decision for reasons that extend from the company’s success in gaining buyer trust on eBay to how inventory is optimized online in ways that it can never be offline. “My son started the eBay business,” Hollander said, “and in the beginning he was selling my goods, but we quickly saw that involving many suppliers was promising.”
“We bring 1,000 suppliers to the table,” explained Hollander. “Any diamond dealer who has inventory synchronized with our system can put diamonds on it. We sell primarily GIA-certified diamonds in rings that regularly go for $5,000 to $15,000 and more. Stores have limited inventory, but on eBay, today, we offer over 220,000 items. You cannot offer that in a store.”
Gem Stone King also benefits hugely from another aspect of selling on eBay: jewelry configurations chosen by buyers. The company helped develop eBay’s Diamond Ring Designer, which allows buyers to pair diamonds they choose online with settings that they also choose. All sales are backed by Buyer Protection from eBay and PayPal, and Gem Stone King accepts returns within seven days of purchase.
“Our diamonds are certified and we rarely get returns, but when we do there are no questions asked,” Hollander said. The company has over 100,000 positive Feedback ratings on eBay, and Hollander said that low prices are a big driver for Gem Stone King’s eBay business.
“These are basically wholesale prices,” he said, “and no retail store can compete with them.” Customer service, reliability and deep inventory are all among reasons why Gem Stone King is frequently featured among eBay’s Daily Deals , where new bargains are offered every day, including current holiday-focused deals.
Gem Stone King is seeing particularly brisk sales of engagement rings during the holiday season, when many people get engaged, and Hollander sees no slowing of the business going forward. “My grandfather began in the diamond and jewelry business more than 100 years ago in Antwerp,” he said. “Now we sell stones on eBay from diamond centers in Antwerp, Israel, New York — from all over the world.”