LAKE PLACID - Michael and Eileen Beglin of Beglin's Lake Placid Jewelers in Lake Placid recently returned from a buying trip to the Diamond Capital of the World - Antwerp, Belgium - where two-thirds of the world's diamonds are traded.
While there, Mike Beglin had the unique opportunity to examine huge inventories of exquisitely cut diamonds to find the very best selections for their customers.
"We hand-select each and every diamond that comes in to our store," Beglin said. "Some people think one can look at a piece of paper on the internet and select a stone, but there's no way to tell if that stone has fire, has life - I need the diamond to say something to me."
Beglin's jewelers has direct access to four of the world's finest Antwerp diamond suppliers as the area's exclusive Master IJO Jeweler member of the Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO), an international Buying Group and Educational Organization for retail jewelers.
IJO has 850 members in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and maintains buying offices in Antwerp for the use of its members.
"It is generally out of reach for a single jewelry store or small chain to buy direct in Antwerp," Beglin said. "One of the benefits of our IJO membership is that we become a direct importer of Antwerp diamonds and can save our customers the normal middleman's fee. We are excited about opening this window on the international diamond world and look forward to making some diamond dreams come true for our customers."