Published On: Wed, Aug 28th, 2019

77 DIAMONDS: Affordable luxury jeweller plans new gemstone ranges and showroom expansion | City & Business | Finance

Managing director and co-founder Tobias Kormind is eyeing moves into the fashionable, coloured gemstones and non-bridal, precious jewellery sectors with his multi-channel operation that is forecast to have a £30 million turnover this year. Based in Mayfair, London where it manufactures, the business “has turned the fine jewellery business model on its head with the largest selection of diamonds and custom-made pieces delivered within two to five weeks,” he explains. After launching its own website and design options powered by bespoke technology in 2008, 77 Diamonds cuts out the middlemen, reducing prices by up to 76 percent.

The appeal was to the emerging Tinder generation and initially recession-hit customers looking for better value. 

“The industry back then was a technology laggard. But as confidence in making high value purchases online took hold, our customer base has widened,” says Kormind.

“Today we trade in 72 countries and our engagement rings sell from £450 up to £5 million. An engagement ring counts more than having experiences among millennials and has been amplified by social media.” 

More recent trends are sales of boldly-styled mengagement rings for male couples and clients treating themselves.

The introduction of standardised quality gradings in the industry, mainly through the Gemological Institute of America, has also enabled consumers to master diamond skills and discern quality for themselves.

“Certification that way, rather than self-certification that disguises extra mark-ups, is more transparent. We sacrificed margins to go down that route, but it has boosted our credibility,” adds Kormind.   

The company then learned quality and imaginative design counted as much as price for its clientele. 

It responded by hiring the best creative teams and craftspeople, and took over a workshop that had been making for the trade’s finest.

“Moving to Mayfair positioned the brand as luxury and aspirational, establishing our own workshop gave us control, the chance to scale and become an omni-retailer,” adds Kormind who now employs 64 and has opened showrooms in London, Manchester and Frankfurt.

The ex-banker and marketing expert had his gem of an idea after seeing a clutch of friends tie the knot and he broke into the secretive world of diamonds through family ties to source directly from cutters and polishers.

“But being a manufacturer with a fragmented supply chain and just-in-time model adds far more complexity and requires constant flexibility,” he says. 

The ambition now is to become a “European fine jewellery powerhouse” and double in size by 2023.

The latest investment will boost the company’s profile in Germany while celebrities and royals continue to do their bit influencing choices.  

“Many top jewellers spend a lot on marketing, where the value is actually in the diamond itself,” observes Kormind. “Consumers are wising up to this.”

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