RD: I initially started out in the market about five years ago, having been trading for quite some time in various commodities. I found a job at a company that dealt with fancy diamonds as an investment, and I quickly established myself as the face of the company. I dealt with presentations, meeting various clients, traveling and really started to excel. As my influence began to grow, I began to realize my comfort within the market; it became evident to me that this industry was one that I could potentially step into as an entity, and after sourcing rare gems for various clients I decided to set up Dhillon Prestige. The approach of the company is to offer a bespoke jewelry service centered on rare gems, including fancy diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies, whilst offering traditional services like bespoke engagement rings. The company is accessible to all types of individuals and requirements.
DIN: I'd like to talk a little about how you source your diamonds. To start off, how did you gain the rights to sell pink diamonds from Rio Tinto's (ASX:RIO,NYSE:RIO,LSE:RIO) Argyle mine?RD: That opportunity came from a very close contact of mine who approached me last year. She liked what we were setting up and mentioned that she is close to the Rio Tinto Group and is a supplier to various sellers; she said she would be happy to be our point of contact and the rest, as they say, is history. We have a very strong relationship, and it is exciting to know that there is only one person between the Rio Tinto Group and ourselves. Generally stones are passed through various different hands before they reach the end buyer, which is absolutely not the case for us. That means that if we source an Argyle stone, we're going to be considerably cheaper compared to some our competitors. DIN: Where else do you source your diamonds from? RD: I travel out to India quite frequently, so I've got strong ties in places such as Surat and Gujarat. We work with European dealers as well, typically Antwerp, though I try not to get involved in Antwerp too much because it's a very commercial hub, and generally overpriced. Africa is another source of supply for us. I traveled out to Sierra Leone a couple of years back, which was a fantastic experience for me; it brought back some very strong ties. Too many individuals have a bad perception of Sierra Leone, but it was the British that intervened in their civil war, so naturally they hold a lot of respect and get on very well with the British, making my relationship building easier. Even so, it is a very stable country now with no real conflicts going on.
And then you've got Canada as well, and various parts of Australia. Also Israel, but like Antwerp, Israel can be fairly overpriced. Canada, India and Africa are probably the most key for us in terms of sourcing rare gems.DIN: Transparency seems to be important to you — why is that so key today? And on the same note, is there anything you're doing differently than other companies to increase/ensure transparency? RD: First, not everyone is educated in jewelry and gems; people tend to know more about traditional white diamonds. So we go to great lengths to educate our clients about the market. We invite our clients over to our offices or our showroom, maybe even our workshop, and we go through all the facts. We like to give them a thorough presentation and let them see exactly what we do, why we do it and how we do it. Like any industry, you have your good and bad points, and that's the reason I was very keen to set up Diamond Insights, an online portal presented by Dhillon Prestige that discusses the world of jewelry and gems. It touches on subjects such as conflict stones all the way through to stones that are seen as potential investments. We cut no corners, and transparency is absolutely key for us. DIN: I read that towards the end of last year, your company merged with a European jewelry workshop; even more recently you announced that Dhillon Prestige will be offering a bespoke jewelry creation service to clients. How do those pieces of news tie together? RD: The evolution of our bespoke jewelry service would not have been possible had it not been for the merger with the workshop. It is that platform that has enabled Dhillon Prestige to combine the services and offer customers something unique when they are looking at purchasing rare gems and creating special pieces. We firmly believe this is the way forward, and the partnership has played a pivotal role in Dhillon Prestige emerging as a respected, modern-day jeweler within the industry. DIN: Your jewelry creation service will include wedding and engagement rings, which I imagine most people will want to keep for a long time. Do you anticipate that you'll be selling more to people who want a unique piece of jewelry or more to investors who want to sell for a profit down the road? RD: That is a very good question. In a very short amount of time we have dealt with customers asking for different services, from bespoke engagement rings to unique jewelry creation and sourcing rare gems. We often get asked about certain stones, including fancy colored diamonds, because they have a reputation of becoming a strong asset. It's hard to pinpoint a majority, but we do anticipate juggling different services. DIN: For the type of buyer who's looking to buy at a low price and realize gains fairly quickly, what color of diamond would you recommend? RD: Red diamonds are elusive, blue diamonds are exclusive and pink diamonds are in limited supply, so any one of these stones can represent some form of wealth strategy. The Argyle mine in Australia produce 95 percent of the pink diamonds that reach the global market, and with its closure due in 2020, the markets have been flooded with requests for these limited gems, with demand outstripping supply. DIN: And what color of diamond is currently most popular? RD : It depends on what way you look at it. Pink diamonds are breaking records at auction houses, and we are told they are a good investment right now because of the deflating confidence in stocks and shares. However, Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) has the biggest marketing campaign for promoting and selling yellow diamonds and its reach has expanded into Asia, with countries such as India and China buying yellow diamond rings instead of traditional white diamond rings. And, as mentioned before, red and blue stones are so rare that many dealers will be lucky to ever even see one. The rarity of fancy diamonds makes most colors appealing.
DIN: Is there anything you'd like to add?RD: We are working very hard to build the Dhillon Prestige franchise, and a key component of that will be a set of monthly novellas centered around a diamond dealer and collector who gets involved in a host of different adventures surrounding rare gems and jewels. The books will be fiction based around facts, so they should have an exciting appeal to readers. The idea is to not only expand the presence of Dhillon Prestige, but to also give gems a wider appeal to various different generations and hopefully bring the romance back into collecting gems. The trailer should be available on Google by the end of this month with an eBook release scheduled for mid to end March. Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence. Related reading: Colored Diamonds 101 Rio Tinto Takes Argyle Underground, Steps Up Efforts to Sell Mines Rav Dhillon Talks Colored Diamond Sourcing, Investing and Jewelry from Diamond Investing News