Honestly, I’ve never thought of diamonds as anything remotely close to practical. Expensive, a status symbol, sometimes procured through questionable and dangerous means, they’ve just never been this girl’s best friend. However, a tour of the Boston Jewelry Exchange building and the small jewelry businesses that make up its core succeeded in changing my mind a little bit, showing me the practical side of the business – and also reminding me that any way you cut it, sparkly things are a lot of fun to look at.
The tenants of the Boston Jewelry Exchange invited the Boston Brunchers to do a tour of the landmark building in downtown Boston. After getting acquainted with the other bloggers along for the tour over some tasty hors d’oeuvres and wine generously provided by Scholar’s Bistro, we were introduced to the jewelers.
I don’t know why, but it surprised me to learn that the majority of the businesses housed in the Exchange are family owned and operated, and have been as such for as many as three generations. Though they all represented their different companies, it was clear that there’s a bond between the people running these stores. They have grown up together in this building and rely on each other to keep their businesses successful.
There are three main designations of business in the building: retailers, wholesalers, and the people who actually make the jewelry. We were privileged enough to see versions of all three types in our 13-store tour. We’ve all seen jewelry stores before, but getting to see the actual workshops where the pieces get made was a unique experience. There’s such an interesting blend of modern technology and traditional craftsmanship that goes into any given piece of jewelry. Access to this and the wholesalers was unprecedented, as neither of these types of businesses are used to allowing the general public into their shops. (Quote one nervous wholesaler: “How many are you letting in? My insurance only covers 25 people in here!”)
Learning the way the jewelry business works, at least in the Boston Jewelry Exchange, gave me insight to the practical side of diamonds. The building holds businesses that all need each other in order to succeed. If I’m ever in the market for a piece of fine jewelry (not just diamonds, but watches, pearls, one of these awesome necklaces), I’ll be going to the Exchange.
The tour also taught me that sometimes, practicality be damned, it’s just plain fun to look at sparkly shiny things.