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Bringing the past into the future

Dec 16, 2019

Allie Lopato, Director of Estate Jewelry at Samuelson’s, was recently featured in Rapaport Magazine as a next-generation estate dealer. Read on to learn about her work with Samuelson’s or to read the full article click here.

Next-generation estate dealers share how they use technology, sustainability and personal attention to make their businesses appeal to today’s clients.

Allie Azrael Lopato
Director of estate jewelry, Samuelson’s Diamonds & Estate Buyers Baltimore, Maryland

Turning a passion for jewelry into a career after college, Allie Azrael Lopato got her graduate gemologist degree from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), then worked as a jewelry buyer in New York before joining Samuelson’s Diamonds & Estate Buyers in Baltimore in 2018. Hired as the nearly 100-year-old firm’s first director of estate jewelry, she used her background in signed pieces and higher jewelry “to contribute to opportunities to buy larger estates, not just gold and diamonds, and really understanding pre-owned luxury,” she says. The category wasn’t new to the firm, “but it’s something we definitely have expanded on, opening a third location in Tyson’s Corner in northern Virginia this October.” It joins the main branch in Baltimore and a second in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Samuelson’s is more wholesale than retail, Lopato notes. Its wholesale business primarily focuses on diamonds — especially larger old European-cut stones — and its retail side on bridal. The product mix also includes signed pieces, older estate pieces and secondhand Rolexes.

The showrooms are by appointment, offering the “Samuelson experience” to clients who want to buy or sell. “We educate them about what they have and what we’re looking at, giving them all the information they need to make a decision

that makes them feel good,” Lopato says. “It’s explaining everything to customers in a way that makes sense and sharing why we can’t pay more for some items. We might not have a market for it. For instance, it’s tough for diamonds under a carat right now, and the pearl market is relatively soft. We’re totally transparent about everything; there are no secrets.”

Lopato is optimistic about growth in the estate sector and the firm’s goal of becoming “the largest buyer of pre-owned luxury in the DC Metro area. I think growing our brand and focusing on sustainability and the secondary market of recycled diamonds is what we want to be known for, and having less of [a negative] impact on the world, with less of a footprint of mining new stones.”

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