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This month, the jewellery world was celebrating an amazing discovery: 15kg of rare and precious Tanzanite. You can read our full article here. This exceptional context allowed us to interview Mr. Tobias Kormind, co-founder and Managing Director of

77 Diamonds is the leading European online diamond jewellery retailer. With unrivalled access to over 80% of the world’s global diamond market, a Luxury showroom in the heart of Mayfair London, and their own workshop with over 100 years of the highest level of craftsmanship, they enable clients to collaborate with on a journey of luxury, design, and expertise.

For LuxuryActivist, Mr. Kormind accepted the exercice of our exclusive interview and we got great insights.

LuxuryActivist (LA): Mr Kormind, As a worldwide expert, can you tell us why this news about the Tanzanian miner is so exceptional? 
Tobias Kormind (TK): It’s quite exceptional as the two tanzanite stones seem to be the largest found for a very long time. Tanzanite was discovered in the 1960s, and since its discovery, we have rarely seen gemstones of such a size. Mining tanzanite is a very messy, abrasive process. Through mine detonations, stones can often be broken into smaller pieces. The miner who discovered these two larger stones became a millionaire overnight due to the sheer rarity of the find. This is great news as he seems to want to distribute his wealth into his own community. 


LA: Why are tanzanite gemstones so valuable? What makes the gemstone unique and precious
TK: The rarer a gemstone, the more valuable it becomes. This is the rule for most gemstones sold in the industry, but the case of tanzanite is slightly more specific and unique. Tanzanite is one of the rarest gemstones in the world as it can only be sourced in North Tanzania, on a 12 square kilometer plot of land just below Mount Kilimanjaro. This is why prices for tanzanite grow exponentially with the size of the stone, as larger tanzanite stones are extremely difficult to come by. Many experts say that in the next 20 to 30 years, these gemstones will disappear entirely. The value of a tanzanite gemstone also depends on other factors such as carat, cut, clarity, and colour

Although all these factors make tanzanite an extremely rare gemstone, they aren’t, surprisingly, as expensive as other more precious gemstones (such as rubies, sapphires, and emeralds). This is because tanzanite isn’t as well-known as other more revered gemstones, lowering the demand. This means the value of tanzanite is in fact lower than some other gemstones. To give you an idea, if you compared the value of a sapphire and a tanzanite gem (or similar quality and carat weight), the latter would be around five times less expensive. 

The reason the two larger stones found by the miner last week were sold for so much is that larger tanzanite pieces are extremely hard to find and unearth. Intact mineral specimens of this size, which have an unbroken surface, are sold for hundreds of thousands of US dollars — much more than if they had been faceted into a cut stone.

LA: From pure jewellery craftsmanship, what would be the best usage of Tanzanite? 
TK: There are a variety of ways in which tanzanite can be used for jewellery, as is the case with many other gemstones. The hardness level of tanzanite is around 6 or 7, this means they are a relatively weaker gemstone than say sapphires or rubies (which have a hardness level of 9). This is not to say that tanzanite cannot be durable: if taken good care of, the brilliance and fire of this type of gem can be kept intact for many years. 

If you are interested in owning a blue coloured gemstone, tanzanite can be a great option to replace the more expensive sapphire. The vivid blue of certain tanzanite stones can be truly superb, as deep and rich as any sapphire. There are many ways to wear tanzanite on jewellery, this really depends on personal preference. Although I would say these types of blue gemstones are especially popular for engagement rings.

LA: If you were to rank a top 5 based on rarity and preciousness, what would be the gemstones you would indicate in this ranking?
TK: As a top five, I would probably rank gemstones as the following:

  1. Rubies
  2. Sapphires 
  3. Emeralds 
  4. Alexandrite
  5. Paraiba Tourmaline

You may be surprised that I do not include tanzanite here. The reason is that a well-graded tanzanite gemstone isn’t (currently) difficult to find compared to sapphires, for example. This might not always be the case though – the value of tanzanite may become much higher in years to come, once the reserves of this gem start to dwindle. 

LA: You have developed true know-how in the world of precious stones. What brought you into this industry? 
TK: I started a career in investment banking initially, but after my sister married into a European diamond-cutting family, I decided to change careers. Along with Vadim Weinig, 77 Diamonds’ co-founder, we created a jewellery company that deals exclusively on the internet. This was back in 2005, so we were very much disruptors in the diamond jewellery industry. Today, we still hold the same identity as a leading jewellery brand. We are very excited to move forward and evolve, all thanks to a great team of professionals who are truly passionate about the craft of fine jewellery creation. Today we have our showrooms in London, Manchester, Frankfurt, and Berlin.


LA: What is unique about your business? 
TK: By producing fine jewellery creations for our customers, we are also telling a story: their story. Diamond and gemstone jewellery hold more symbolism than any other luxury item, and we understand this better than anyone. Whether it is to celebrate an important event, to offer a gift to a true friend, or to make a promise of undying love, our jewellery is the crystallisation of a person’s narrative. This is what drives us as a company: we are always looking to collaborate with our customers to create jewellery unique to their situation, because it’s their vision after all. 

 LA: You have considerably developed Did the internet and social media become a strong touchpoint with customers? What is different from a more traditional jewellery business? 
TK: We are able to access the raw materials directly through the use of advanced technology and with our own workshop we can produce high-quality jewellery very efficiently. In addition, our omni-channel model allows customers to create jewellery on a made-to-order basis, we are able to reduce a significant portion of the traditional costs and pass that on to the customer while enhancing the quality of the craftsmanship and the uniqueness of every piece made.

Our customers have direct access to a global market of diamonds and gemstones which is truly a unique feature that empowers them. They are able to create their own unique jewellery piece, and everything we do here at 77 Diamonds is made to order. This is a significant plus for anyone looking to purchase in fine jewellery design. 

Of course, we have a strong online presence, this means that we often directly connect with our customers via social media. In this sense, I would say that these platforms have become a very strong touchpoint with our clientele. We want to involve them in the jewellery design process and hear their opinions, suggestions and requests. Social media is so valuable to us as it helps create a thriving, collaborative community. 


 LA: How would you describe the current jewellery market? Have the expectations of customers changed over the years?  
TK: The expectations of customers have very much changed over the past 10 years. First, they are a lot more educated and careful about what they purchase. Concerning diamonds and gemstones, for example, they are careful to check the origin of the stones. Credible certificates like GIA and IGI have shifted the power to the consumer where they don’t need to be an expert to compare quality and pricing. This is something that never used to happen when you look back 20 or 30 odd years ago. I personally consider this a good thing, it’s making the diamond and gemstone market much more transparent and it can only get better with time. Customers are always looking to learn more. They want true, expert advice, and this is something we provide at 77 Diamonds. 

Secondly, we notice that our customers also value personalization. They want to have a hand in creating their own pieces of jewellery unique to their own story. On our website, if they are looking for an engagement ring, for example, they are able to personalize their ring from start to finish. They can choose the metal, the ring setting, and the shape of a diamond or gemstone. This means their ring has a lot more value than a simple mass-produced, shop-bought item. This is something the modern luxury consumer values. 


 LA: If you would meet a young entrepreneur, starting his/her jewellery business today, what piece of advice would you give to him/her?
TK: I would advise him or her from the get-go to build a strong team around them; this should always be their number one priority. It’s important when you’re starting out to do some form of introspection. Discover what your own flaws or weaknesses are. This can sometimes be difficult to do, but it will help you understand what kind of help you need from others. Your team is there to fill in those areas of weakness with their own individual strengths. 

The second point I would mention is to continually adapt yourself to your customer’s evolving needs. Listen to your clients and listen to your employees no matter how junior they are, they can sometimes teach you a lot more than you realise. 

Finally, I would say (unfortunately) that it’s going to be harder than you think, but just be ready for it. Of course, you can sometimes get discouraged, but you should always look to build and move on from those feelings. In the end, it’s all worth it. 

LA: What can we wish you for the future?  
TK: Looking forward, we are looking to innovate ever more and push the boundaries on what a jewellery company can offer. This means giving more power of choice to our customers and becoming a platform for education and expert knowledge on all topics diamond and gemstone related.

Alongside this, we are placing more emphasis on our bespoke service to help customers create their dream jewellery item from scratch. Creating bespoke jewellery is a beautifully collaborative process between client and designer. All this ties directly into what consumers are looking for: a bigger say in what kind of jewellery design they are looking to purchase.

In conclusion,
Tobias Kormind has a clear vision of his business and places the needs of customers at the centre of what he does. With several years of know-how, a great team and technology allowing the fulfilment of customers wishes, 77 Diamonds is leading the way.

José Amorim
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