A Day in the Life: Daniel Namdar, Fancy Color Diamond Specialist
Namdar joins a long line of diamond experts, but his love of the trade was learned rather than inherited.
His son, Sammy, headed to New York in 1984 to start his own company. His eye for opportunity led him to shift gears from gemstones to colored diamonds, a then-burgeoning market in America.
Now, those who know colored diamonds know the Namdar name.
Sammy’s sons, Joe and Daniel Namdar, joined their father to carry on the family business.
In a recent Q&A with National Jeweler, Daniel, now director of Namdar Diamonds, shared what a day in his life is like and what drew him to the family business.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
National Jeweler: Your family has a long history in the jewelry business. Why did you decide to join them?
Daniel Namdar: I never really had a calling for jewelry when I was younger, but the business was growing and there was potential, so I decided to do it.
I didn’t have a great passion for it in the beginning, but it developed a couple of years in.
You start learning more about stones and get an appreciation for what you’re doing.
In the beginning, it was a family business so it just made sense, but now it’s something I really love and enjoy doing.
NJ: How did you get started in the family business? What was your first job?
DN: I started doing all the grunt work, which I think is important for any business owner to do.
I did everything from licking envelopes to doing the shipping, picking up packages, and sorting diamonds.
When I started becoming more active in selling and buying, I showed that I had a good eye. The stones I was buying for the company were selling quickly, so I started transitioning more into buying and selling.
Now, I try to focus only on dealing with suppliers and customers.
NJ: Fast-forward seven years, you’re the director of Namdar Diamonds. What are your daily responsibilities?
DN: I oversee what kind of merchandise we’re buying, how we’re allocating our funds, and what we’re investing in.
I also look for new business, new clients, and new stores. I still do a little bit of everything.
I make sure our inventory and money are where they should be. I see how the market is going, what’s selling and what’s not.
DN: I start my day with a coffee. Our business is 24 hours because we deal with people in Hong Kong and India.
We’re very much in the service industry. The bulk of our business is yellow diamonds and that’s all special order. It’s not something a retail jeweler will readily have in stock. It’s something that when they get a call for it, they right away reach out to someone like us.
They ask, “What do you have in this? Can I get a price on that?”
So, a lot of the time, throughout the night, I’ll get texts and calls from different customers. I try not to work when I’m home with my wife and kids, so I write it down and then when I get to the office, I have a list of people to get back to.
A lot of the business is sending out quotes. People want to know how much it would cost for this eternity band or what they can get for this budget.
I have a list on my phone of who I need to get back to and [I] start [my day] by getting back to them.
Once my list is clear, then it’s a little bit of everything. The phone rings throughout the day and then there’s email.
When I have free time, I look through our goods and our shipments.
NJ: So, this isn’t your typical 9-to-5 job?
DN: No, it’s all over the place. This is definitely not a 9-to-5.
NJ: What is your favorite part about your job?
DN: The corny answer is to make people’s dreams happen.
The real answer is, and this is how to do well in our sector of the jewelry industry, finding value.
It’s all about finding something for a good price that maybe here this stone is not appreciated, but you can find somewhere it will be.
For example, in America there isn’t much demand for a chameleon (color change) diamond. If someone has a tough time selling it overseas, we can buy it at a good price, knowing that it’s rare. We can find a person who can appreciate its rarity. If we can make that sale with a fair but healthy margin, that’s very rewarding.
Whenever you create value and create a sale where there wasn’t one, that’s rewarding.
NJ: If you couldn’t have this job, what would you be instead?
DN: I would be a principal of a school. I’m good at running the show and I like working with kids. It’s meaningful.
It’s something I have a knack for and something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid, but the honest truth is in Great Neck, New York [where I live], prices are very high.
We live in a community where there’s a level that people are accustomed to living and teachers don’t make that much money.
I got married at a very young age. I got married at 23. I’m currently 28 with three kids, so money needs to always be coming in.
At the end of the day, I needed to do something where I could support my family and live the life I wanted to live.
NJ: It may be too early to say, but do you think your children will carry on the family business?
DN: It’s something that’s impossible to answer because our business is based in New York City and the climate in New York City is changing so drastically every day.
Really, I don’t know what’s going to be in another 15 to 20 years, but if everything stays the same, I’m sure my kids would like it.
My oldest kid is 4, so right now it’s impossible to say. His passion is fighting crime and saving the world, like the Avengers.
NJ: I’m sure if the Avengers have an opening, they’ll let him know. Lastly, if you could give one piece of advice to someone aspiring to be in your field, what would you say?
DN: The key to being successful in fancy color diamonds is learning to find value. You have to learn how to find X and turn it into 1.5X.
You have to learn who buys what, who needs what kind of merchandise, what sells, what doesn’t. You really have to stay in tune with the market and know what’s moving and what’s not.
If you’re good at it and execute properly, it’s rewarding and you can make a good living.
Without the ability to instill confidence within the industry and directly to the consumer, a diamond holds very little value.
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