Marketing Technology, Inc. Blog
Protea Diamonds • Beautiful Jewelry • Personal Attention • Great Service • Repeat Customers
I asked Anthony Taitz, owner of Protea Diamonds in Arlington, Va., to talk about his background and success as a diamond jewelry retailer in the Washington, D.C. metro area.
Q&A with Anthony Taitz of Protea Diamonds, Arlington, VA
Love Is In The Air
Where did you first learn the diamond jewelry trade?
I learned the diamond jewelry trade in Johannesburg, South Africa. When I finished compulsory military service, I was offered a position in our family business to learn diamond cutting.
I spent three years learning to polish round and fancy diamonds as well as sorting rough diamonds, marking diamonds, cleaving diamonds, and dealing with wholesale clients all over the world. I was extremely lucky to have been taught by my former brother-in-law Moshe Duek who is one of the world’s most knowledgeable people on polished diamonds.
The diamond business is, normally passed down from generation to generation, and I feel very lucky having learned the trade as it is a complex industry, and people usually have to pay to learn every aspect of the trade.
As a young adult, you moved to the U.S. from Johannesburg, South Africa. What U.S. city did you first live in and what was your first job?
In 1983 I moved to Dallas, TX to work for Protea Diamonds USA, which at the time had wholesale offices in New York, Atlanta, and Dallas, and a team of 16 salespeople on the road. My job was selling loose diamonds to jewelry stores throughout the United States.
You married, became a U.S. citizen, had children and started your own business - Protea Diamonds in Arlington, VA more than 28 years ago. What do you like about living in the Washington, D.C. metro area?The main reason I moved to Washington, DC was because my wife (who I met in Dallas, TX) moved here and I, like a lovesick puppy, followed her. Washington was central to a lot of the territories I was working as a wholesaler. What I love about Washington is its proximity to New York, the ocean, the mountains, as well as the fact that it is a cosmopolitan city with lots of culture and museums.
Did you have any retail experience before opening Protea Diamonds?
From a very young age, I used to help my dad in his business. He had a business, Union Army Stores, which was in downtown Johannesburg at the corner of Loveday & Marshall Streets, selling overalls and gum boots to the mining companies. While working at Protea Diamonds South Africa, I used to sell to busloads of tourists who came to visit our diamond cutting factory.
I understand that you are good at honey-do and handy man type projects such as fixing the dryer, fixing electronics and so on. Did you learn these skills growing up?
I’ve always been very good with my hands. My late father had a workshop with a lathe and many other tools, so from a young age I was always busy fixing things. This now translates to jewelry design and repair work where I have learned skills such as mold-making, soldering, setting, sizing, and crafting pieces of jewelry.
What are some interests outside of work that you pursue for fun?
Why did you decide to open Protea Diamonds?
Has Protea Diamonds always been a “by appointment” retailer?
Your retail diamond business faces a lot of competition from other diamond retailers, department stores and online retailers. What are Protea Diamonds market niches?
What items are first-time customers interested in buying?
What items are repeat customers interested in buying?
What jewelry do women buy for themselves from Protea Diamonds?
What do you keep on hand and what do you have custom made?
Do you sell jewelry other than diamond jewelry?
What are the steps involved in buying an engagement ring or other jewelry from Protea Diamonds?
People usually call or email us to set up an appointment. We discuss their desires, establish a budget, and give them options for their particular needs. We work with all budgets and strive for quality without sales pressure.
What is the biggest diamond you’ve ever handled or sold?When I was an apprentice in South Africa, I personally transported (in my pocket) a ten-carat fancy intense pink diamond valued at $8 million in todays prices. The largest diamond I ever sold was to a Senator—it was a 12 carat emerald cut, F/VVS1, for $220,000.
Tell us about your jewelry repair business. What types of jewelry do you repair?
Most of our jewelry never needs repair, however, because jewelry is worn on a daily basis occasionally people need repairs done or rings resized. We repair all jewelry we sell. We can, on a case-by-case basis, repair jewelry from other vendors as well.
Can you share the love story of one of your clients?
Promoting Protea Diamonds
How would you describe the Protea Diamonds Brand?
For someone interested in contacting Protea Diamonds for an appointment - what is the best way to reach you?Give us a call at (703) 536-9822, or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our toll-free number is (800) 333-8339.