Diamonds & Jewels Amsterdam by Joyce Felicia
Our business name and what we do:
The Online Jewelry Store Diamonds & Jewels Amsterdam is a division of Diamond Factory Koh-I-Noor. Our Diamond Factory was founded in 1980 and named after the famous diamond Koh-I-Noor, which was re-polished in Amsterdam in 1852. Legend says that it can only be worn by female rulers and so it was placed in the British Royal Crown to be worn by Queens only.
At our Diamond Factory we performed the entire process of sawing, cutting and polishing our raw diamonds in various beautiful shapes. In the beginning we traded loose polished diamonds, to both companies and private individuals. Nowadays we control the whole process of creating diamond jewelry for private customers, by setting precious diamonds in gorgeous golden rings, earrings, bracelets and pendants. Our website, Diamonds & Jewels Amsterdam, is our latest project to expand the company service to our customers.
The biggest part of our collection comes from our own workshop. In that way we can provide our customers, not only unique jewelry, but also the best prices, because there is no need for expensive traders in between. That’s where our slogan comes from: From the mine to your finger!
It all started as a romantic adventure! From the De Jordaan district, in the center of Amsterdam, to the wilderness of Central-Africa, and straight back to our roots: the historical center of Amsterdam.
Dirk, now 82 years young, is the founder of our family business. Born and raised in the working-class neighborhood De Jordaan in Amsterdam. His great-grandfather was, at the end of the 17th century, a diamond polisher. In those days a diamond jewel was very luxurious and not available to everyone. That is why, when there was no work for him as a diamond polisher, he also earned a living as a coachman with the Amsterdam horse taxi. Nevertheless… the love for the eternal brilliance of diamonds ran in his blood and he has passed it on to his descendants.
Dirk was only 17 years old when he started as an apprentice polisher. At the age of 31, after his education in Antwerp, he became a buyer of rough diamonds in Central Africa. His wife Ien and their two sons, Nick and Mark, also moved to Africa a few years later, to a place where caucasian children were not common visitors. It was a beautiful and life changing experience for the whole family.
African children were meeting and sharing with white children for the first time in their lives. Mark’s blond hair was hilarious to them. And the two young boys loved to partake in the simple, yet profound daily comings and goings of the town. Exploring and learning new things with their newly made friends, while their father gained experience in buying raw diamonds.
The local population sold the rough diamonds they found in the riverbed, using the natural method by sieving. Small independent entrepreneurs sold their diamonds for a fair price. It was an old-fashioned way of doing business you rarely see nowadays.
Unfortunately the move was short-lived, because the asthma of the eldest son Nick, caused significant health issues, and the family had to move back to the Netherlands. That’s when Dirk decided to open the diamond factory and start trading his precious diamonds.
Now, almost a century and a half after the first diamond expert in the family, we have grown into today’s family business. Over the years Nick and Mark expanded the business by selling ready made jewelry to private customers. The two brothers still manage the diamond trade as well, and their sons, Jari and Yoeri, work as goldsmiths. Mark’s daughter Noa works in sales, Nick’s wife Joyce manages the webstore and they hope the two youngest children will also follow in the family footsteps.
The challenges the business is facing:
Educate your customers, so you can help them make a conscious choice! Often we hear our customers ask two questions: Where do the diamonds come from? and What is the difference between lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds?
After the release of the movie Blood Diamond, customers were afraid that their precious stones would finance war. What the greater audience didn’t know, is that the diamond industry since 20 years before, was already aware of the many abuses of the trade and had difficulties getting everything organized on the bigger markets. Because of a few large companies trading diamonds, without regard for the social aspect of human respect, smaller companies had difficulties with the negative publicity that had arisen.
It was a giant step forward when the diamond industry started to collaborate with the United Nations and Non-Profit Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s). The goal was to achieve transparency about the diamonds origins, and to trade only “conflict free diamonds”. The goal was already achieved by 2003, before the release of the movie, in the form of the “Kimberley Process”. Nowadays we can proudly say that the Diamond Trade is one of the most controlled trades of raw materials worldwide. And of course, the origin of all our diamonds are carefully selected.
So what about the lab-grown diamonds?
Experts are still arguing if it’s a sustainable solution. Some say it is, and some say it isn’t, because it takes an extreme lot of energy to make them. Customers often fall for it because of the lower price, in comparison to natural diamonds. We meet many people who think they have found a good offer while not realizing that they were offered lab grown diamonds. The price of lab grown diamonds will never increase because they are still man-made and therefore artificial. That is why we advise people to study the small print on a diamond certificate very carefully, or ask if the diamonds are natural or artificial. Sometimes it is even mentioned in an abbreviation. So again, if it’s way too cheap, it’s probably too good to be true!
With the uncertain money exchange rates today, people are trying to find alternative ways to invest their money. Gold and natural diamonds, which are raw materials, give a more constant price increase. In conclusion, a natural diamond jewel is not only a luxury gift to express the way we feel to our loved ones, but also a literal investment in each other. On top of that, a diamond will eternally keep its original brilliance, so it’s also a beautiful heritage to pass down to the future generations.
We have seen that, a few years after its launch, the value of lab-grown diamonds dropped 50% within 12 months. Natural diamonds have only increased in price since we’ve worked with them. That’s why experts see the purchase of gold and diamonds as an excellent investment. By informing our customers about this important fact, we have an extra opportunity to sell our precious goods to customers with a different point of view.
Stay true to your heart and try to make a living of what you love doing! The freedom of making beautiful jewelry in our own way, gives us loads of pleasure. And it’s great to sit with our customers, discuss their desires, and create a jewel together step by step. From choosing a diamond, to creating the chosen designed jewelry, whether it’s a big or a smaller assignment. The love for diamonds is printed in our genes and we can’t get enough joy talking about it, our customers sense it, and our love for creating diamond jewelry is contagious.
Sometimes we meet people who lost or broke their precious jewelry, and in the case of heirlooms, their stories can be heartbreaking. After they leave our store happy and relieved, their joy stays with us and lingers through the rest of the day in our minds. It gives a good feeling to help solve somebody else’s problems and the bonus of being appreciated gives great energy.
So our view is: Always try to do what you love the most, spread that vibe, work hard, and the rest will come!
1017 CK Amsterdam