Selling diamonds online has been one of the big successstories 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 ofquality, colour, clarity, cut and size. Seventy Seven Diamonds, a young, dynamiconline diamond jeweller, aims to rebalance the equation, offering the bestpossible value while preserving some of the allure and mystique ofdiamonds, along with the thrill and luxury of the fine jewelleryexperience.
It was founded in 2005 by two friends, Vadim Weinig, aSouth African third-generationdiamond merchant, and Tobias Kormind, a former Morgan Stanley investmentbanker who had left banking to focus on online marketing, working with majorluxury brands. Spotting a gap in themarket, and understanding both online retailing and diamonds, together theylaunched a website in 2007, aiming, says Kormind, to be “atrustworthy and affordable alternative to the local family jeweller, and with amuch bigger selection”. By 2008 the company’s turnover had rocketed 600 per cent andit 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 luxuryservice and experience with a low-cost internet model that delivers top quality andexceptional 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 Londonworkshops, so that customers can choose their metal (white, yellow or rose goldor platinum), and juggle size, colour, clarity, cut and weight to suit theirbudget, although Kormind is at pains to say they are “not an Excel spreadsheetof diamonds”.
They have a showroom in London’s West End, where clients,especially those looking for higher-priced diamonds and jewels tend to go andview. The finish on the jewellery is good, if a bit on the light side, but thevalue for money seems unbeatable, and with their new website “softened andluxurised”, and with much more of a design-driven flavour and a focus onpersonal service, this is an online diamond jeweller that delivers above andbeyond.