Growing up in Antwerp, Belgium, co-founder of luxury jewelry company 77 Diamonds Vadim Weinig remembers visiting the diamond mines of South Africa as a child. From an early age, these trips not only inspired his appreciation for transformation and beauty, but also set in motion a desire to be a part of a diamond industry that is ethical and transparent — graces that have been historically ignored by the diamond industry who source from South Africa, whose practices are typically exploitive to indigenous communities and are environmentally harmful.
Alongside Weinig is co-founder Tobias Kormind, an online luxury industry aficionado, who through his experience, understands the “emotional significance and symbolism” of the jewelry that 77 Diamonds makes. Based out of London, 77 Diamonds has 5 showrooms all over Europe and works so that everyone near and far has access to timeless symbols of love, success and beauty in the form of diamond jewelry.
Recently, there has been a blowout in the demand for diamonds sourced from South Africa following the standstill of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kormind explains that this may in fact be due to “an interest in luxury goods as people have been unable to spend on experience and travel.” But, as 3,000 miners descended upon the mines of KwaZulu-Natal, a coastal South African province, what was found there did not turn out to be diamonds, but natural quartz.
“Discovering a diamond mine would have provided much-needed jobs for those in the area,” Kormind said in an interview with GRAZIA. “The recent South African diamond rush demonstrates how such sources are remain a rarity – and even if a new mine was found, it can take up to eight years to begin to produce a large quantity of diamonds.”
While the supply and demand for diamonds is going through what Kormind calls an “imbalance,” due to depleted resources and lack of new sources, another aspect of the diamond industry is changing as well; the customer demographic. The diamond jewelry industry for a long time has followed the tradition of gifting timeless pieces to someone in order to create a physical link and to create a sense of love and dedication for events like weddings, engagements and general life celebrations. Now, as independent women in the 21st century now have more purchasing power and seek to acquire luxury items on their own terms, the market is shifting.
“There are more wealthy women with significant disposable incomes, interested in buying luxury items,” Kormind said. “Women purchasing jewelry for themselves now represents up to half of global sales, and this has started to influence diamond sales, too, as they represent far more than engagement rings.”
Kormind said that this purchasing power helps move the market in a direction where the focus is on women rewarding themselves and looking for pieces that represent their personal success.
While the diamond industry may be a constant ebb and flow of market changes and resourcing, one aspect of the 77 Diamonds company mission has stayed concrete — an ethical and equitable approach to their industry. The Responsible Jewellery Council, which is the world’s leading standard-setting organization for the jewelry industry, oversees the ethics of sourcing, worker’s right and sustainability within the global jewelry industry. 77 Diamonds works alongside The Responsible Jewellery Council in order to set the company’s ethical, social and environmental practices.
“These steps help to reduce the prevalence of unethical diamonds, which are often mined in conflict zones,” Kormind said. “Ethical mining includes upholding human rights, treating workers and their communities with respect, encouraging a diverse workforce and providing a safe working environment.”
Additional parts of these guidelines include working with artisanal and small scale miners, as well as protecting biodiversity and reducing pollution.
Not a fan of diamonds but still looking to shop 77 Diamonds? Don’t worry, the company offers three additional gemstones on top of its diamond portfolio. 77 Diamonds includes collections in sapphire, ruby and emerald, to please any taste and storyline. Kormind said that these gemstones are loved not only for their vibrant colors, but also because they symbolize unique personality traits, making them more individual and characterful.
“Rubies are associated with courage and passion, emeralds are linked to love and rebirth and sapphires suggest wisdom and good fortune,” Kormind said. “These gems are timeless and durable, so they can be worn on an everyday basis but their rarity enables them to be passed down as family heirlooms.”
Whatever you’re looking for in the realm of luxury jewelry, that is sourced ethically and with contemporary tastes in mind, 77 Diamonds provides a diverse and expansive registry of collections that fit any celebration big or small, collaborative or independent. Taking inspiration from customers, 77 Diamonds creates pieces that represent innovation, pride, balance and artistry within the modern jewelry landscape.