There’s a whisper going around the top echelons of the diamond world that a Swiss luxury brand has achieved what has traditionally been seen as near impossible. Namely, redefining the world’s most precious jewellery. The CEO Magazine was fortunate enough to join a host of gem aficionados in Lugano recently, to find out just how Montluc has succeeded where countless others have failed.
Montluc is the online diamond house which, by employing cutting-edge technology, using ethically sourced gems and, crucially, cutting out the middleman, is offering exclusive access to the top 3% of the world’s most beautiful gems.
Transparency, evolution and revolution
The new generation of diamond buyers are more likely to want the security of transparency in the industry, giving them access to reliable information about the gems they’re buying. For as the public become more informed, they are also becoming more wary.
Educated in both the 4Cs (cut, colour, carat and clarity) and geopolitics, these tech-savvy, socially conscious consumers want the most brilliant diamonds, at the best price. That’s why Montluc’s diamonds are underpinned by uncompromising ethical standards, standards that will soon be guaranteed through a vertically traceable supply chain.
Right sparkler, at the right price
So how did Montluc disrupt the dynamics of the diamond jewellery business? The CEO Magazine spoke with Klas Holm, one of the brand’s three founders, to get the low-down.
“The market was very traditional for decades, with high prices and high margins,” Klas explains. “These are big companies carrying huge marketing, sales and communication costs.”
“However, not only has the quality of the products been decreasing, but it has also been very hard for the consumer to know what they were actually buying. It is not a transparent business. We, at Montluc, are aiming to change this; to become fully transparent and specify exactly what the client is buying – so they know they are getting what they are paying for, and are paying the right price for it.”
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend
As further proof that the times are changing, it appears women aren’t waiting around for men to buy them diamonds anymore. A key growth area in jewellery business is that women are buying it for themselves.
Of these self-gifters, 57% are married women and 43% are single. These days, most of the diamonds sold in Asia are bought by women, a trend that is fast catching on in Europe and the US.
“We are noticing a paradigm shift taking place in the market,” notes Montluc’s COO Sahra Talèn. “Females are self-empowering and are growing more independent. We are aware that the female consumer is soon going to earn more money than their male counterparts, so why should we wait for a man to buy us diamond jewellery? It doesn’t make sense.”
Investing in the dream team
Of course, building something so successful needs investment in a talented team. And that’s just what Stefan Widegren, Montluc’s biggest investor, did when he decided to support the brand’s growth.
“I knew one of the founders, Fredrik Stark, who also lives in Lugano, and was intrigued by this start-up,” explains Stefan, who is Chair of Montluc’s board. “I thought it was very much in line with what is happening around us at this time.
“It’s about transparency, attracting a broader demographic – from women in the midst of their burgeoning careers to young millennials – and offering them something they’d like.
“These values gave the company a unique edge that was worthwhile supporting. First, as a very small investment, and then, with my background as an international entrepreneur – having owned a company with a presence in more than 30 countries – on a much bigger scale, both as an investor and as chair of the board. I like the idea of supporting this young team very much. They are smart and ethical.”
Photography : Cyril Bailleul
Film : Olivier Ronot
Interviews : Vanessa Eriksson