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Diamond in the rough

77 Diamonds prides itself on its unique offering of diamond jewellery of the highest quality and craftsmanship, sourced ethically and priced affordably. This winning formula sets it apart from many other jewellers and has enabled the company to go from strength to strength in achieving its position today as the fastest growing online jewellery retailer in the UK and Europe.

We were delighted when 77 Diamonds agreed to meet with us during what is the busiest time of year for them. Following a hugely successful Black Friday event and an exciting run up to Christmas, we caught up with Tobias Kormind, a former investment banker and the co-founder of 77 Diamonds and his team.

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What is the concept behind 77 Diamonds? What were the initial difficulties and how did you deal with them?

I co-founded the company in 2005 after realising there was a gap in the market when it came to selling diamonds and luxury jewellery online. Widespread scepticism in the industry was the main hurdle we faced; it was as if no one could imagine that people would buy diamonds online. Despite the doubts, we took risks and aimed to offer an alternative to Bond Street by giving consumers the opportunity to purchase from an extensive range of quality diamonds and luxury pieces at affordable prices at the touch of a button. Our prices were so competitive from the outset that there were times when other jewellers would contact us and ask us if we were a real business!

In your view, what innovations within the luxury jewellery industry have been most effective at meeting the needs of the high-end consumer whilst improving their positive impact for the future?

Online platforms have made consumers more aware and more demanding. Businesses have had to respond to consumer demands and trends. The blood diamond phenomena and ethical concerns within the global supply chain, for example, are serious issues that have come to the forefront through online technology. The luxury jewellery industry has had no choice but to react and through initiatives such as the Kimberley Process, which has all but eliminated issues in the sourcing chain, they are now moving to the next level – taking positive steps to better society and the environment.

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How has 77 Diamonds dealt with the issues of traceability within the diamonds, metal and precious stones industry?

Almost everyone will do research online prior to making a purchase. We have endeavoured to educate our customers by providing them with clear information about the pieces they’re buying both online and in person, should they wish, from our showroom in the heart of Mayfair. We take great care with the sourcing of our raw materials, the manufacturing of our products and the marketing of our services. Utilising the Kimberley Process and in compliance with the UN Resolutions, we source our diamonds and precious stones only from legitimate sources that we know are not involved in any funding conflicts. We guarantee that all of our diamonds are conflict-free based on written guarantees and personal knowledge from within the diamond industry. Our diamonds come to us directly from the miners that cut the rough. We skip out the middle men in the supply chain which ultimately allows us to keep a closer handle on the origin of our diamonds.

We are extremely proud to be a British company that produces and manufacturers our jewellery within the UK. We offer a very transparent service both online and in our showroom. Our showroom and workshop are all based in Mayfair so we are able to monitor the production and manufacture our jewellery to the highest level possible.

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Are you a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council? If not, is this something you are considering?

Currently we’re not, but our application is with the RJC and in process. Similarly, we’ve been working with Positive Luxury for the last year with the aim of achieving the “Butterfly Mark” in the coming months.

Do 77 Diamonds have in place a system of providing assurance and integrity to its customers in terms of demonstrate its ethical behaviour?

At 77 Diamonds we guarantee that on our website we provide the full details for every single diamond in our stock with its precise specification and the source of its certificate. Diamond certificates detail the specifications of a diamond and are an assurance of diamond quality. We further guarantee that each diamond we sell comes with a certificate from one of the five most trusted independent laboratories in the world – the GIA, AGS, HRD, IGI or EGL. Whereas some of our competitors produce their own certificates, we only offer diamonds with certificates from the strictest and most recognised grading laboratories in the industry.

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What does the future hold for 77 Diamonds and its position within the luxury jewellery industry?

We’re continually working on improving our offering; our bespoke service is becoming increasingly popular for those wanting that extra special piece and we’re looking to expand our offering of coloured diamonds and precious gemstones. We look forward to welcoming more customers to our showroom too; despite being primarily an online business, we pride ourselves on personal service which remains a key part of our business outlook. Early in the New Year, we will be re-launching our website. The new site is really exciting and will include even more information on what our customers should look for when purchasing diamonds, as in the “7 C’s”, and will explain the origin of the precious metals (platinum and gold) used to create our beautiful jewellery.

The company is growing at such an exciting rate. However, we remain committed to offering high-end, luxury jewellery that is ethically sourced at the best prices.

77 Diamonds have kindly offered readers of Lawfully Chic a discount on online purchases – please quote the following code: LAWFULLYCHIC