5 things we learnt in the City of Diamonds
by Zoe Dickens
This weekend (9-10 May 2015) the World Superyacht Awards took place in Amsterdam. Aside from being the capital of one of the greatest superyacht-building nations in the world, for the past four hundred years it has also been known as the City of Diamonds. As part of the event we were lucky enough to have fine jeweller Gassan on board as the sponsor of the Value and Quality award and they treated every guest to a tour of their stunning Amsterdam factory. Here’s what we learnt:
1. Gassan has one seriously brave founder
The Gassan business was founded in 1945 by Samuel Gassan, a former diamond cutter who learnt his trade in pre-war Holland. As a Jew, Gassan fled to Switzerland to escape persecution by the Nazis, taking a huge risk by smuggling a number of diamonds across the border in his shoes. When the war was over, Gassan returned to Amsterdam and set up shop as a retailer and wholesaler, starting with the diamonds he had been hiding throughout the war. The company is still run by the Gassan family to this day.
2. It is a huge tourist attraction
The ever-enterprising Samuel Gassan noticed that customers were more likely to buy from him if he explained the diamond grinding and craft process to them. With this in mind, the company began formalised tours of its factory in 1955 and they have been a huge success ever since, with over 1,000 tourists visiting the company’s Uilenburg island factory in Amsterdam city centre every day.
3. The diamond industry is more international than ever
The staff at Gassan speak a total of 26 languages to meet the needs of their international client base. With a huge portion of luxury clients now coming from the Far East, Gassan even entertains its Chinese and Japanese clients on different floors so as to be sensitive to their different cultures, material sensibilities and retail needs.
4. It’s all about bespoke
Fine jewellery houses may employ some of the best designers in the world but few and far between are the companies that will stop you taking to the drawing board yourself. Gassan makes the process easy with their online bespoke ring creator, allowing you to customise the diamond size, cut and clarity, as well as the base metal, on a range of basic ring designs to help create the perfect piece for every occasion. To make your gem extra special Gassan are also able to laser engrave a name or message on to each individual diamond.
5. Shop around to find the diamond you really want
It may sounds obvious but the diamond really is the star in every piece of jewellery so it’s important to get the one you really want. Most jewellers will offer the usual brilliant, princess, oval and marquise cuts but for something a little more unique you’ll need to do some research. Gassan, for example, is the only jeweller to offer the Gassan 121 cut – so named for its 121 facets (as compared to the traditional 57 on a brilliant cut).