Selling diamonds online has been one of the big success stories of e-tailing – demystifying this complex, often daunting subject, educating and empowering the buyer – but it has also rather commoditised diamonds, paring the purchase down to price per carat and permutations of quality, colour, clarity, cut and size. Seventy Seven Diamonds, a young, dynamic online diamond jeweller, aims to rebalance the equation, offering the best possible value while preserving some of the allure and mystique of diamonds, along with the thrill and luxury of the fine jewellery experience.
It was founded in 2005 by two friends, Vadim Weinig, a South African third-generation diamond merchant, and Tobias Kormind, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker who had left banking to focus on online marketing, working with major luxury brands. Spotting a gap in the market, and understanding both online retailing and diamonds, together they launched a website in 2007, aiming, says Kormind, to be “a trustworthy and affordable alternative to the local family jeweller, and with a much bigger selection”. By 2008 the company’s turnover had rocketed 600 per cent and it is still growing steadily, defying market trends. Today, Kormind says, their aim is to represent a new kind of jeweller, one that crosses high-end luxury service and experience with a low-cost internet model that delivers top quality and exceptional value.
They sell both loose diamonds, with some 300,000 certified stones on the site, and diamond jewellery. The range encompasses modern classics, such as the large Vogue micro-pavé hoop earrings with nearly a half-carat of diamonds (from £1,674), and fashionable, wearable designs, including chandelier earrings (first picture, from £3,368) and vintage and art-deco styles (from £1,100). There are also key pendants (the Clover key in gold is £638, second picture) and a rather charming, quirky safety-pin pendant in gold with pavé diamonds (£544).
There’s expert help at hand, at any stage, and each jewel is shown modelled in a 360° video. While engagement rings (from £506 for the contemporary classic single-stone 1477 model) inevitably make up its core business, and eternity rings (from £428 – a snip, wear them stacked in different coloured golds) are bestsellers, they are hoping to move into more decorative, designed pieces, such as cocktail rings – appealing to women buying for themselves. Kormind claims their prices are 60 per cent below those on the high street, and to back this up, he offers a best-price guarantee, explaining that they are able to compete at this level as they have direct access to some 80 per cent of the world’s best, conflict-free diamonds, grabbing them at source, from rough-diamond dealers, before they enter the market.
Every jewel is made to order in its own London workshops, so that customers can choose their metal (white, yellow or rose gold or platinum), and juggle size, colour, clarity, cut and weight to suit their budget, although Kormind is at pains to say they are “not an Excel spreadsheet of diamonds”.
They have a showroom in London’s West End, where clients, especially those looking for higher-priced diamonds and jewels tend to go and view. The finish on the jewellery is good, if a bit on the light side, but the value for money seems unbeatable, and with their new website “softened and luxurised”, and with much more of a design-driven flavour and a focus on personal service, this is an online diamond jeweller that delivers above and beyond.