The Royal Jewellers S01 ep12 : Piranesi Jewellers [New York]
Interview with Sami Habijay
NEW YORK - Sami Habijay - Piranesi Jewellers 20 to 30 years ago there was a room for a lot of people to make money, the guys buying the rough from the mine, selling it in Bangkok, dealers going to Bangkok buying the stones and bringing them in and selling to the other dealers, these people selling to the manufacturer, the manufacturer selling it to the retail store. A piece that came from the mines at $1,000.00 per carat, by the time it would reach the customer it would be $5,000.00. Now there is no middle man, he has gone. Now you are talking to manufacturers and they are buying direct from the source, trying to go to the retail stores and direct to the private customer.
KM: What is Piranesi?
It is a third generation jeweller - my father started in Russia, then we went to
Iran and we were serving all the royal family.
KM: What was your reaction when you first arrived in America?
The colour didn't matter. The ruby could have been purplish or dark red, and
the sapphire could have been dark, but no inclusions, and emeralds they were
buying the Zambians that were clean, but he colour... but the European were
buying with some inclusions, but more beautiful colours, like a pigeon blood
ruby and the sapphire should be cornflower blue.
In the 70's I started a business and the amount of clients, that came from the
far east, that came from Asia, Americans, Europeans, it was like packed. The
Italians couldn't produce enough and slowly, slowly what happened was that
people opened up offices in Bangkok, Hong Kong and they learnt the
craftsmanship from the Italians,
20 to 30 years ago there was a room for a lot of people to make money. The
guys buying the rough from the mine, selling it in Bangkok, dealers going to
Bangkok buying the stones and bringing them in, on selling to the other
dealers, these people selling to the manufacturer, the manufacturer selling it to
the retail store. By the time a piece that came from the mines, let us say a
$1,000.00 per carat, by the time it would reach the customer it would be
$5,000.00. Now there is no middleman, he has gone, now you are talking
manufacturers, they are buying direct from the source, trying to go to the retail
stores and direct to the private customer.
KM: Where did you find your clients and how did they find you?
We do shows in Staddt and St.Moritz...
KM: You still have to do that these days?
Yes that is the only way if you want to get private customers.
KM: When you look at jewellery yourself, what are you trying to achieve, what
is the meaning of jewellery to you?
You have two types of jewellery - one is mass production, that is made just for
the sake of making money, and the other is that you collect very unusual
stones, very unusual cuts, and very unusual designs that you make a beautiful,
object that is artistic, and that is unique.
I had a client that had a pink and blue diamond, and he said I want a green of
2 carat plus. I looked all over, but I did say don't put the call out over the
market because once more than three people are enquiring it will push the
price sky high. Let me look around for you. I was looking and could not find the
right stone, finally one guy called and said there is a stone at the GIA and I
want to show you and decide right away. He bought it to my office, it was such
a gorgeous stone, it weighed 2.04 no certificate. I bought it as intense and we
cut the stone. We gave it to GIA and it takes a long time before you get an
answer - the stone was actually classed as straight vivid. We got a letter from
the GIA to say that it was the biggest green diamond ever tested by the GIA,
and the biggest was 6 months prior sold at Sotherby's for $650,000. So .80
point to 2 carats is a big difference, we ended up selling the stone, for a very
large profit, and even with that reward, I felt sorry that I sold it.
If you don't have the personality, if you don't have the touch of contact with the
people to charm them to have.... it comes as a package, it is not only about
knowledge and you want to buy it. It is about being respected and when the
people cut the rough the first stop is that they come to you, they like you as a
person and you are the first to see what they have got and can choose and
pick what you like and that is how you are able to make most of your money.
I had a client and she is 45 and her husband is 70 years old. She fell in love
with a necklace that was $750,000 and she says my husband won't buy it. I
said why not. Take the necklace, put it on with your nightgown and open up
your robe and say honey this is what I want. She looked at me and was silent,
and then said you know what I like that idea, let me try it. She took it and
believe it or not after four days she called and said I did it, and my husband he
wants to buy the necklace.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Piranesi Jewellers