I’m Not Rappaport was a Tony Award-winning play by Herb Gardner.
Originally presented by Seattle Repertory Theatre, the first Broadway production, directed by Daniel Sullivan, opened on November 19, 1985 at the Booth Theatre, where it ran for 891 performances. The cast included Judd Hirsch, Cleavon Little, Jace Alexander, and Mercedes Ruehl. Hirsch won the Tony Award as Best Actor, and the play itself won for its lighting design and as Best Play.
Inspired by two elderly men Gardner met in New York City’s Central Park, it focuses on Nat Moyer, a cantankerous white Jew, and Midge Carter, a feisty African-American, who spend their days sitting on a bench, trying to mask the horrible realities of aging, mainly through the tall tales that Nat spins. The play touches on several issues, including societyâ€™s treatment of the aging, the difficulties dealing with adult children who think they know what’s best for their parents, and the dangers that lurk in urban areas.
There is another Rappaport currently in our Diamond Industry and that is Martin Rappaport who is the Editor of The Rappaport Diamond Report who publishes a weekly (Thursday-Friday) diamond price list showing wholesale diamond prices. This list, first introduced in 1975 has become the de facto standard Bible for diamond manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers in configuring prices for their diamond inventory. The list is controversial with the main criticism being that it does not accurately reflect actual market buy and sell pricing conditions.
Last week on Friday May 23rd, Rappaport startled the Trade and caused quite a stir by coming out with his list showing significantly higher prices across the board. While higher prices are justified for larger fine-make diamonds of 3 carat+ sizes of which there is a shortage and high demand; the price increases for smaller diamonds of which there is an abundance is in our opinion totally unjustified.
Rappaport seems to agree as he has conveniently backtracked and issued a disclaimer, explaining that these price increases may not be accurate, may go down, and that consumers should proceed with caution.
Mr. Rappaport says in his latest press release:
Question: Why does Rapaport increase prices on the one hand while issuing a caution about external economic forces and warning that diamond price levels may not be sustainable? Isn’t that a contradiction?
Answer: The global economy is undergoing a period of extreme volatility. Oil prices have doubled. Rice is up 80%. The dollar has plummeted. Gold surged through $1,000/ounce and has recently corrected back down to $890. And then of course, there is the U.S. mortgage crisis. These are not normal times and they are impacting diamond prices. Rapaport does not set or control diamond prices. We report them.
At the same time we believe that it is responsible to present our opinion that higher prices are the result of external forces that could suddenly reverse direction. If gold prices can go up and down, the same can and probably will happen to diamond prices. We believe it is important to communicate the risk of volatility to the diamond trade. Furthermore, the higher diamond prices go the greater the risk that they may correct. Finally, we hope that our warning may cool down some of the speculation in the rough markets and cutting centers.”
In our opinion, Mr. Rappaport has done our Industry and Consumers a grave disservice. There is no current valid, rational reason for diamond prices to be listed higher to the magnitude and percentage as indicated in the May 23, 2008 Rappaport Price List. Diamonds are a luxury product and with the state of our current and global economy, arbitrarily publishing ridiculously high price increases pushes away rather than attracts consumers to our beautiful products.
Let’s see what type of reaction Martin gets from Industry Tradespeople and Jewelry retailers at this weekends annual major Diamond & Jewelry show in Las Vegas.