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Interview Series - US based Yasamine Company

swaye2010

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
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Can you tell us more about the Yasamine name and what it stands for?

Yasamine is my middle name! It has a very feminine sound to it, and I always knew it would be the name of my business. I actually created the brand and logo long before I started “Yasamine Co.”.

You have an online presence but do you also have a storefront in the Bay Area?

At this time, it is in the best interest of the business to operate 100% online to reduce overhead costs. I keep overhead low so I can offer competitive prices, and focus on customer service, rather than running a store.

There has been a shift in engagement rings over the last few years. We have seen a lot more moissanite, lab diamond and gemstone rings. Do you think this is mostly due to cost, social responsibility or the influence from celebrity culture and the Royal family?

Historically, colored gemstones were the most coveted, but thanks to the aggressive Debeers marketing campaigns, diamonds were considered “symbol of engagement”. Sadly, there is still a social construct around a diamond being the official stone for an engagement ring, and some people feel uncomfortable opting for a colored gem or anything not diamond. I am happy to see this new generation of couples expanding their options and prioritizing other milestones, like buying a home, and opting for moissanite instead.

The round on a simple solitaire used to be the symbol of engagement. If someone contacts you and they have no idea of what they want or what their SO might want, do you typically recommend a solitaire because it is ‘safe’?

Interestingly enough, every customer has had some idea of what they want, or at least a list of shapes they like best. I have actually never outright recommended something without some sort of direction from the customer, and I think this is because most couples discuss the ring ahead of time, which is great!

I believe a couple decades ago round solitaires were the standard, and people were less likely to step outside that comfort zone for a fancy shape, or discuss the ring ahead of time, so perhaps the man or woman just assumed a round was the safe choice. Nowadays, fancy shapes are more plentiful and each person has their own preference of what best represents them.

How often do women contact you about ordering an engagement ring for themselves?

All. The. Time. It is not always clear if they are buying it as an engagement ring, but I can tell you that the majority of inquiries I receive are from women. These days women are becoming more and more involved in the decision making for their ring. It is a joint decision, and couples discuss budget, timing and style together. Some women gather information to hand off to their SO, and some women take it all the way through purchase and production. Not everyone is buying an engagement ring however; I have received a lot of inquiries from women who are looking for an upgrade, a travel ring, or something to swap out for fun.

Why did you choose to go with your own branded moissanites instead of carrying one of the major brands?

I saw there was an opportunity to offer a new, unique brand of moissanite, and fill some gaps in the market. I have created my own brand and focus on fancy shapes and custom cut dimensions. I try and fulfill the customers needs, and if someone wants a custom cut stone, I will work hard to make that happen. I noticed that not a lot of other brands were offering this option, and a good crushed ice cut was very hard to find at a good price.

Can someone request a custom cut? Where is the best place to see videos and comparisons of your moissanites and lab diamonds?

Yes! One size does not fit all. We can cut to custom dimensions, depending on your preference. For fancy shapes, it is important to determine which ratio you prefer. Some people prefer something more square, others prefer more elongated, chunky or skinny, and I am happy to work with you to determine the perfect dimensions for your ring size. We post videos on our Instagram (@yasamineco) and Vimeo channel (www.vimeo.com/yasamineco)

What do you find the biggest misconception about moissanite's and lab diamonds to be?

There are actually two main misconceptions that I encounter often:

1) The most common is that moissanite is “not real”. The concept of “real” is a social construct. Moissanites are real gemstones, and are unique in their own right. And lab diamonds are real diamonds! Who cares where they came from? A trained gemologist cannot even tell the difference without the help of a specialized lab, like GIA. Couples are turning to moissanite and lab diamonds as an ethical, affordable decision, and should not waste a second listening to this nonsense.

2) The second most common misconception is that moissanite can be “cloudy” or “hazy” or “milky”. Poorly cut moissanite from a low quality rough material can definitely be cloudy. And that is why we have quality control. Every stone is cut to order, and goes through quality control, with myself as the last inspection.

What is the best way to properly clean moissanite’s or lab diamond jewelry?

I recommend using warm water, dish soap and a soft baby toothbrush. You can also pick up an ultrasonic cleaner off Amazon, or a jewelry cleaning kit from a store like Target or Walmart.

We see a lot of people interested in colored moissanite or lab diamonds. Are there any colors that you offer?

Yes! We offer canary yellow, emerald green, gray and teal-blue.

People choose moissanite for many different reasons. I am sure you get this question a lot about ‘which is the most diamond like moissanite’. What do you say to those customers?

This is the most common question I receive! I find the round brilliant to be the closest resemblance to a round brilliant diamond. After this, I would say that the crushed ice cut (cushion, oval, radiant) will be the second most similar to a crushed ice diamond, and the step cuts (emerald, asscher) are on the same level as well.

I will tell you that on two separate occasions I was sitting next to a woman with a large center stone, and was able to get a really good look at it. One was an emerald, and the other was an oval. I was not able to determine if the stone was a diamond or a moissanite, and I handle these stones every day! When the ring is on someone's hand it is really hard to determine if it is a diamond or not, so I really urge customers to not worry about this when making a purchase because most people are going to assume it is a diamond.

Another question we see a lot is ‘at what size does a moissanite start looking fake’. Most people recommend not going over 2.5 carats. Do you think that is a good guideline or is it specific to each cut?

If you are wanting your moissanite to pass as a diamond, I recommend you choose a size that fits your lifestyle, and probably not go over a 2.75-3ct equivalent. If you would otherwise choose a 2ct diamond but don’t feel the need to waste your hard earned money (yeah girl), then go for a 2-2.5ct equivalent moissanite. If you would normally buy a 1.5ct diamond, then go for a 1.5-2ct equivalent moissanite.

If you just think moissanite is beautiful and want a huge rock (yeah girl) then you should buy whatever size you want! Large moissanite stones are beautiful and you can still get a really nice, clear, sparkly stone.

What is your personal favorite moissanite cut?

My favorite cut has to be crushed ice. I love a crushed ice cut diamond, so naturally it was important for me to perfect the crushed ice cut moissanite as well. The step cuts (emerald and asscher) are also very stunning and elegant.

Very thin pave rings with larger center stones have been very popular lately. When a customer asks for a thin pave ring, what is the thinnest you are willing to go? At what point would you say the band will warp and you will loose pave diamonds?

The thinner the band, the more likely you are going to experience warp and damage. We manufacture our settings to be strong and sturdy, and I can’t sell something I don’t stand behind.

For a very small center stone I might agree to go to 1.5-1.6mm at a minimum, but I will always recommend something wider. For larger center stones, I recommend at least a 1.7-2mm band width. The wider you go, the more strength and durability you will get, and there is more metal for your melee stones to be secured.

I will never go below 1.5-1.6mm because that just makes your ring vulnerable to damage and loss of melee stones.

Yasamine Co.’s mission is to provide customers with a cherished piece of jewelry they will wear forever, and my hope is that your piece will be passed down as an heirloom, so durability and craftsmanship is of the utmost importance.

Will you be adding more settings to your ring collections? Will you be adding other jewelry pieces or is your core business focused on engagement rings?

Yes! I am working on some new engagement ring designs, and will be adding a collection of earrings to our site in the near future. We are a bespoke service, so customers can always email me with photos for inspiration and we can create something custom for you.

If someone wants a flush sitting band, what style do you typically recommend for them or do all your settings allow for a flush fit?

All of our settings, aside from the Zahra and Teresa, will allow a wedding band to sit flush. I actually like the look of a small gap, so I hope people start to consider this option as well!

How do you feel about the durability of very small moissanite melee? If a customer asks, do you typically steer them towards lab diamonds because of the added long term durability and Moh’s hardness?

By default, we create all our settings with lab diamond melee. One could use moissanite melee to save a couple bucks, but I do think that the lab diamond melee is more durable and sparkles slightly more on the band because the size is so miniscule. Furthermore, the setters have been working with diamond melee for far longer, and because the work is so detailed, they prefer to work with lab diamonds to ensure the melee is set securely in the band.

2mm+ size moissanite is fine for an eternity band, however, and the sparkle factor will be the same as a lab diamond. If you are wanting a 2.5mm eternity band for example, I might actually recommend moissanite stones to make it more affordable and it will sparkle just as much lab diamonds.

Do you think that lab diamonds will eventually phase out moissanites or is there a place for both?

There is most definitely a place for both. Lab diamonds can still be quite expensive in larger sizes and fancy shapes, so the affordability of moissanite can’t be beat. The notion that lab diamond prices are going to plummet does not make much logical sense to me. Small carat lab diamonds and round shapes may drop in price significantly because they are more plentiful, but fancy shapes and large carat sizes will continue to maintain a certain price per carat. It is still difficult to cut high-quality, large fancy shapes, so due to supply and demand, there will be less of them, and they will be more valuable.

Rough lab diamond material is predominantly grown in China and Russia, so they can maintain a certain price per carat because they control the market for rough material. Just like earth mined diamonds, lab diamonds have a similar supply chain and change hands many times before they are sold to the consumer. Each step of the supply chain adds cost to the loose diamond, so the final inventory holder has a minimum cost they must cover.

Lab diamond prices are still more affordable than earth mined diamonds, and we will see how the prices fare, but I personally don’t expect the prices to plummet to moissanite prices.Many customers will still have a $1000-$4000 budget for engagement rings and that price point is where moissanite becomes the best option.

Lightbox is scheduled to open their Portland location in early 2020 with the price at $800/carat. Do you think this will drive down the lab diamond prices?

Nope! As long as Lightbox continues to focus on small (less than 1ct) rounds and fashion jewelry, I don’t think that they will drive down the price of lab diamonds in larger sizes and fancy shapes. If Lightbox (Debeers) decides to cannibalize themselves and start offering larger, fancy shaped lab diamond options, then it is possible.

Can you tell us about your concierge lab diamond services?

Customers interested in lab diamonds can contact us through the website and submit their requirements range. We will search for diamonds in that range, and present a list of options via email. Customers will be able to see the diamond specs, certificate and video, to narrow down their choice. I source lab diamonds from the main databases that are also used by Brilliant Earth and Clean Origin. Many times I have found diamonds that are for sale on Brilliant Earth, and I am able to offer a lower price.

Do you take custom orders or does the customer have to choose one of your stock settings?

We are a bespoke service, so customers are always welcome to email us to discuss a custom creation. Stock settings are customizable, so we can bring any vision to life.

What popular trend do you hope never goes away?

Stacking! I love the ring stack trend, and with moissanite and lab diamonds, you can easily stack different shapes and metals together for additional bling.

What trend are you happy to see go away?

Definitely the super thin bands. The difference between a 1.5mm band and a 1.8mm band seems very minimal, but the added stability it gives your ring makes it the smarter choice.

Second would be obsessing about moissanite looking exactly like a diamond. I hope people start to appreciate moissanite for what it is, because it is a truly beautiful stone.

What kind of after sales services do you offer? Do the stones have a warranty?

We offer at cost repairs and maintenance, such as resizing, yearly cleaning and polishing, prong tightening, etc. Customers can contact us anytime for an after sale service.

Our stones and settings are all protected under our manufacturing warranty, so any issues that arise as a result of manufacturing will be covered. Your stone should never turn colors or become cloudy, and your setting should not bend or break. I am very transparent about these things and if you ever run into issues, please reach out to me.

How long does a customer usually have to wait at the point of making contact to the point where their order is complete?

Production time is between 6-8 weeks. This is counting from the day you submit your order until the day of delivery. Every piece is made to order so I like to give a realistic timeline that allows us to take the time that is necessary to produce a high-quality product. It is recommended that you allow for this timeframe when you are planning your proposal.

I will always update a customer at these progress points:
1. When their stone is finished cutting
2. When their CAD design is ready
3. When their ring is in the final stages and I know the date it will be finished
4. When their ring is ready and in my hand

I find the design process one of the most rewarding. For most people, they find it to be a very frustrating process. What advice do you give those people?
My advice would be to trust the process and remember that you have final say on the CAD; nothing will move forward until you approve it. The benefit of working with a US based company and with myself is that I operate like a private jeweler and am accessible to customers throughout the process, plus, the design details will all be ironed out before we move into final production. I strive to meet every customer’s expectations and we always have a return policy to fall back on.

Now that the holidays are behind us, is there ever a quiet season in the jewelry business that you look forward to?

I prefer the times that are busy! It keeps me on my toes and I work better when things are fast paced. However, I am sure my husband looks forward to quiet seasons when I am not constantly online and responding to customers.

If you weren’t doing this, what else could you see yourself doing?

I would love to have my own bakery/patisserie because I absolutely love to bake.

Anything else you would like to tell us about your products and services?

I would like everyone to know that when you are contacting Yasamine Co. you are contacting me. I choose to handle all customer inquiries and work with each and every customer from purchase to production to ensure excellent customer service. I am a real person, accessible via email at anytime, and here as your private jeweler.

Production is done by an extremely skilled team of goldsmiths and setters, and my primary concern is producing high quality, sturdy settings that will stand the test of time. I hope that these engagement rings will be worn by customers for the rest of their lives, and perhaps even be passed down to the next generation.

At the end of the day, my name is attached to this business, so it is important that every aspect of the business is handled with professionalism and each customer is happy.
 
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