In November, the industry saw the debut of yet another lab-grown diamond company: Diamond Foundry. This one is noteworthy for being backed by Blood Diamond star Leonardo DiCaprio as well as a group of Silicon Valley billionaires including the founder of Twitter. Head of commercial relations Alon Ben-Shoshan discussed the company with JCK via email.
JCK: Unlike other lab-grown diamond companies, you are not offering diamonds, but diamond jewelry. How does that model work?
Ben-Shoshan: When an order is placed on DiamondFoundry.com, we ship the diamond to the jewelry designer who crafts the final piece and ships it to the customer. The designer receives 100 percent of the revenue on their semi-mount (minus the same credit card fee that we pay). The relationship with the customer around the jewelry is managed by the designer. This model allows designers to treat our customers as they would their own, offering resizing and other services directly.
We see this as an opportunity to encourage the extraordinary design and creativity that exists in the industry. It’s just so difficult for these artists to build their own micro brand in the face of downward pressure on prices and increased demand for consigned goods. They do not have the same time and money to market themselves as well as the bigger players do, while they tend to offer better quality and value to the end consumer.
This model only works because we grow the diamonds ourselves and offer them directly to consumers.
JCK: How did you get involved with DiCaprio? Will he be a spokesman?
Ben-Shoshan: DiCaprio’s team heard about us through the grapevine and reached out to us. He is a part owner and will engage in social media on specific occasions. But he’s a busy man and not ready to be a full-time spokesperson.
JCK: How does the price of your diamonds compare with that of naturals?
Ben-Shoshan: We are positioning our diamonds as a premium product and not going down the route of others that primarily differentiate based on price. As you will see on our site, our pricing is higher than industrially mined ones for the smaller diamonds and somewhat lower for the largest sizes. We want to increase the total size of the diamond market and bring back folks that would otherwise be “noncustomers” of this product. Our Foundry diamonds are bringing people back to the diamond jewelry industry.