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“We'll only work with mines and suppliers that can prove full and unquestionable traceability”, assures David Zabinsky, CEO, TRIGEM

06 november 2018

david_zabinsky_xx.pngArmed with a Bachelor of Science in Government & Legal Studies, and Spanish from Bowdoin College (Maine, USA), a multi-faceted professional, David Zabinsky has both international public and private sector experience, most recently managing an initiative to secure inward direct investment from North and South America into the UAE with the Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone.

Prior to this, David worked with IQPC Middle East, directing some of the region’s most reputable trade conferences, including World Stadium Congress in Doha, Qatar and the PPP Investment Forum in Cairo, Egypt.

Almost a polyglot, David speaks English and Spanish fluently and is conversant in Arabic, French, and Portuguese… distinct calibre that have taken him places, literally!

Here, in a Q&A with Rough & Polished, David Zabinsky, CEO, TRIGEM takes you through TRIGEM’s new venture in Dubai, elaborating the future plans of the company as well.

Some excerpts:

Please walk us through TRIGEM’s complete business … sourcing, cutting & polishing, jewellery manufacturing and marketing etc. What type of jewellery will the company manufacture...High-end, mass-produced or both?

At TRIGEM, we're fortunate enough to have the facility and expertise to work in several different business verticals, from sorting and trading to cutting and polishing, to jewellery manufacturing. Instead of focusing on solely one business activity, we plan on participating at different points across the entire value chain. Whether it's selling rough, polishing our own material or that of our clients, creating boutique jewellery pieces, or working on a joint design project with a jeweller, we will work closely with sources, partners, and clients throughout the entire supply chain.

Can you tell us more about the TRIGEM facility in Dubai… perhaps a virtual tour of sorts?

We’ve partitioned our facility so that each section focuses on a specific point in a gemstone or jewellery piece’s lifecycle. We have one division reserved for casting, gold melting, deep boiling, and gemstone cleaning. From there, we have one room for colored stone cutting and polishing (with polishing laps of many different materials), and another for diamond processing. For our diamond polishing vertical, we’ve invested in an automated, state-of-the-art laser cutter, as well as a rough planning machine, a polished diamond scanner, a computerized girdle cutter, and more. From there, we have one room for compression molding, sandblasting, and other jewellery manufacturing activities, as well as an open space section dedicated to stone setting. Finally, we have an office for sorting and analysis, with modern scopes and large LED screens.

What is the reason for establishing TRIGEM’s global operations hub in DMCC Dubai?

DMCC has won Global Free Zone of the year four years in a row, and for good reason. From the onset, Ahmed Bin Sulayem (DMCC Executive Chairman), Gautam Sashital (DMCC CEO), and their team treated us like family, which speaks volumes of the organization's character, as they already have over 15,000 member companies to help grow.

Perhaps more importantly, we've seen Dubai evolve into the third largest diamond trading center in the world, in large part to DMCC's work in creating and fostering the commodities ecosystem here in the UAE. With a stable local currency pegged to the USD, favorable business laws, and easy access to multiple geographies, we look forward to working with DMCC on positioning Dubai as a place where diamonds are not only traded but also cut and polished.

Further, we're excited to help transform Dubai into a colored gemstone capital - with global tenders and modern processing facilities - to help bring structure to what is currently a fragmented market. We’re also eager to work with DMCC to help turn Dubai into a city from where jewellery is both designed and distributed domestically and internationally.

It’s also worth noting that Dubai is an extraordinarily safe jurisdiction. We and our clients are comfortably assured that goods and assets in the facility are under advanced video surveillance 24 hours per day, seven days per week in a city with one of the lowest crime rates on the planet.

As the company will be involved in all aspects of the gems & jewellery business, will you be sourcing your rough colour stone or diamonds from particular mining companies? Or you will source from the open market as per your requirements? How important is legitimate sourcing for TRIGEM?

With regard to sourcing diamonds and colored stones, we'll only work with mines and suppliers that can prove full and unquestionable traceability. We have strong contacts in reputable jurisdictions throughout Africa and South America that will allow us to follow an incredibly unique "mine to mine" model. For the end consumer, everything that has to happen in order to transform a rough gemstone straight from the mine into one's very own ring, necklace, or bracelet can happen under TRIGEM's roof in Dubai - from polishing to gold melting, to stone setting.

We take provenance and transparency extremely seriously and will take pride in allowing our facility and business philosophy to allow us to illustrate traceability across the entire value chain. Our goal is to empower our clients to confidently say their very own jewellery piece went straight from the “mine....to mine” through the TRIGEM system.

If TRIGEM will be into jewellery exports, which countries will be on focus and why?

Interestingly enough, on a per capita basis, the UAE is the biggest consumer of jewellery in the world. Furthermore, if we were to consider the GCC as one country (combining the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar), it would be the third largest jewellery consumer in the world, following China and India and placing ahead of the US. With this in mind, we’re bullish on the UAE and the GCC as a region for jewellery, but naturally, we’re hoping to build new and leverage our existing relationships with jewellers throughout India, China and the Far East, much of Europe, and The Americas.

Does TRIGEM have any distinct visions for the future?

Indeed. Our vision and pledge are to be the most dependable and transparent provider of colored stones, diamonds, and jewellery we can be. In the short term, we strive to offer unparalleled and superior service to our clients on the cutting and polishing side, as well as consistent, high-quality supply to our clients on the trading and jewellery sides.

In the long term, as we already work across different points in the supply chain, we’re always looking at different opportunities at the mining level that would allow us to acquire licenses or sites to enable true, robust vertical integration.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished