The Royal Jewellers S01 ep8 : Sabbadini Jewellery [Milan]
Interview with Piero Sabbadini
MILAN- Piero Sabadini - Next generation of a Milanese housewhich specialises in the biggest & most colorful diamonds.
The first time I had a fancy pink diamond in my hand 5 or 6 carat heart shape and it had a value of maybe 200,000 $ per carat I was 23 years old. I remember I called my father in Italy and I said I had known that he had seen them before but I was holding something that at the time was worth one million dollars. When you put something like that in your hand it gives you a push to study and to go on and see what else there is.
Sabadini is a family firm, and I am the fourth generation as far as stone
dealers, but my father started designing jewellery when he was 24.
We started as a wholesale business, we started by selling jewellery just to
stores and mainly in Europe and then about 15 -16 years ago we opened an
office in New York and now it is 90% jewellery just selling to privates with
I worked for Sotheby's for 3 years in New York in the jewellery department,
which was probably the best schooling I could have had in this kind of
business. I saw every kind of stone every kind of piece of jewellery one can
see in this world.
Since I was maybe 12 or 13 every school break that I had I was with my father
at trade shows. He never showed me this is this or this is that, he just let me
be free to appreciate things by myself. The love for the business and the
desire to be in it clicked in at Sotheby's.
The first time I had a fancy pink diamond in my hand 5 or 6 carat heart shape
and it had a value of maybe 200,000 dollars per carat I was 23 years old. I
remember I caught my father directly in Italy and I said I had known that he
had seen them before but I was holding that stone, I was holding something
that at the time was worth 1million dollars. When you put something like that in
your hand it gives you a push to study and to go on and see what else there is.
The next time that it happened was when I held in my hand a fancy orange
diamond very, very small stone. That stone again was worth, I can not
remember exactly but maybe around $500,000 a carat - it was a 96 point
stone. It definitely taught me something different, that there is a whole new
world of diamonds behind the white and fancy yellows and then it also showed
me how rare and how incredible nature can work.
I was offered a job at Sotheby's, and I asked myself what to do with my life,
and I decided to come and work with my family. My father gave me one of the
largest spaces in the business you can ask for
KM: So this is your business, this is your part of the empire.
This is my part of the empire. To be 32 years old, to have a shop like this in via
Montenapoleone, and to sell this kind of jewellery is one of the greatest
honours I think a young man can have.
When a piece comes from the laboratory if I like it I take it and if I don't like it I
leave it upstairs.
KM: Where is the laboratory, as you put it.
The laboratory is upstairs with the showroom.
KM: Oh there is a workshop as well.
There is a workshop upstairs where everything is made, where everything you
see here is made.
I like to deal with stones more than the actual piece of jewellery but because
there is that rarity to the stone and not as much as to the piece of jewellery.
KM: Any famous stones come through your hands?
Most of the stones actually were all in my hands, because there was a period,
where I am sure you have met before Mr. Fatani bought those stones.
KM He was always fighting Robert in the auctions.
And it was the time that I was a Sotheby's.
We've had so many clients that have walked into our office, especially the year
with the Rob Report. They would say this is worth this much, why should I pay
more. Then you have to explain to them the value of the stone. The value
doesn't just have VVS1F. You might not like the D colour, internal flawless
stone - it might have a terrible cut and you don't like it.
KM: So you are saying the stones have personality?
The stones definitely have personality. Coloured stones when you hold them in
your hand it is very personal, for me it is worth 10,000 for my father it is worth
15,000 - I might like the colour, he may not like the colour. I mean coloured
stones have a life of their own: they speak to you.
KM: Piero you strike me as a non-anal retentive jewellery type and you know
exactly what I mean. What is it about this business that creates, such, such
I think it is the competition.
KM: Is it?
Yeah, the competition just on this street, for us is enormous. You will have a
client that walks in and asks for a specific piece and they will say o.k. I'll see
you in a half-hour. And you know that in that half-hour this person will have
done the whole street and have seen every other type of earring or whatever
he is looking for and will have asked a price for everything. Lucky enough we
have had a lot of returns.
KM: Really So you mean to tell me that the jewellers lot is dictated that he lives
in the fear that he lives in constant rejection?
KM: Really so he has to brave the face that it does not matter to him?
You have to explain to your client, that what he is looking at has something
specific that he will not find in another place. You have to convince him of the
price, because that is the most important thing, and you have to convince him
of the piece. That the piece is unique, that the piece was made for him or her
and it is supposed to out with that client - it is supposed to walk out of the store
KM: And how good are you at doing that?
I think lately fairly well.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Sabbadini Jewellery