Judging by a recent increase in the purchase of diamonds, they’re not just a girl’s best friend, says Seamus Fahy, founder of Voltaire Diamonds, who has offices in Dublin and London.
“Without a doubt, we have seen an increase in sales this year, a sign that the economy is picking up.” He says spend is up by 15 per cent in some cases. “Most of our market comprises of people buying engagement rings. The average spend is anything between €1000 and €4500, with most people going for engagement rings within the €2,500 to €3,500 mark.”
Fahy set up the company in 2006 in order to sell diamonds at competitive prices. “I thought that people would be able to get cheaper deals if we cut out the middle man- in this case, the store. It means the overheads are lower so customers get more diamond for their money. I did a lot of research before I opened a business and studied gemology at the Gemological Institute of America,” he says.
There are 22,000 weddings a year in Ireland, so there’s always a market for diamond engagement rings and very often people use diamonds in their wedding rings too. “People first come to us when they get engaged. Then they come back to us when they want to buy eternity rings later on or special rings for when their first baby is born. What we have realised this year is that discretionary spend has increased, where a few years ago no one was spending money on pendants, earrings, bracelets and such items.”
Fahy says men who are looking to propose to their girlfriends are often intimidated by shops, so having offices near St. Stephens Green in the heart of Dublin where people can look at rings in a comfortable environment is preferable to many of them.”
Wesley Quirke, Rosanna Davison’s now husband bought her diamond engagement ring at Voltaire Diamonds.
“Wes designed the ring and we made it for him. It’s a cushion cut diamond engagement ring with diamond-set shoulders,” he said. Clearly Rosanna loved the €40,000 ring and she was photographed with it in numerous leading Irish newspapers. TV star Karen Koster also bought her engagement ring at Voltaire diamonds.
“We do advise people to shop around, see what they like and then come back to us. We will then be able to offer a cheaper price. We even suggest they take photos so we know what they want. Our experienced craftspeople create an extensive range of engagement rings and diamond jewellery to suit all requirements and budgets. We also create unique bespoke designs. If you have a design in mind then we will work closely with you and liaise with our craftsmen to produce the ring of your dreams.”
Voltaire buy all our diamonds from Antwerp, where diamond sales have also increased this year. Some of the biggest diamond traders reported profits up to 35 per cent for the first six months of the year. All diamonds are ethically originally sourced in South Africa, Australia, Canada and Russia.
“We supply loose diamonds in various shapes, sizes and colours. Many customers like the option of purchasing a loose diamond and bringing it to a jeweler of their choice to be set. We are very happy to source that special diamond for you and guide you through this process,” he says.
Fahy also owns Merrion Vaults in Dublin. “We have over 2,500 safes, where people can leave their valuables for as little as €200 a year. They not only buy themselves piece of mind, but it’s cheaper than if they insure their valuables on their contents insurance. “Average contents in safes are worth between €70,000 to €80,000, so the saving are considerable.” They are not just useful for jewelry, he says. “Personal items, deeds, medals and things close to people’s hearts are left in the vaults, as many of these can’t be replaced.” People no longer trust the banks and aggravated burglaries have increased, so a safe is by all accounts a safe option.
He has also recently launched Merrion Gold, also based in Dublin. “There has been a particular interest in coins this past year. Gold coins are big sellers as they are manageable and more reliable than shares. Gold never really loses its value.”
For more information visit www.voltairediamonds.ie or call Dublin: (01) 677 8449 or London: 020 7404 7524.