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07 november 2022
maxim_selikhov_xx.pngMaxim Selikhov is the founder of the SelikhoV Diamonds brand launched in 2006, and the company manufactures unique handmade jewellery with rare high-quality gemstones.

He is also known as a collector of unique and large-size jewellery stones who considers them a reliable investment tool, among other things.

Maxim Selikhov told R&P about the stones he purchased, recent fine jewellery collections, his participation in auctions and exhibitions, and shared his plans for the future.

Is your “romancing the stone” a romantic hobby? Or it has nothing to do with you personally, as they say, “it’s strictly business”, what’s your comment?

In 2006, due to the unstable global economic situation I decided to invest in precious stones and precious metals. At that time, one-carat diamonds could be bought in Moscow stores for about ten thousand roubles each; four years later, their price increased up to 65,000 roubles. I liked such investments. A similar situation was with gold bars: their cost in Sberbank was 800 roubles per gramme, and the price per one gramme increased to 1,200 roubles in three years. In 2008, I set up my own jewellery brand Selikhov Diamonds taking into account all these factors.

From the very beginning, I started buying rare gemstones. Also in 2008, I purchased some natural green polished diamonds. I bought my first small-size 0.60-carat polished diamond in Moscow, and a year later, I was lucky to purchase an 18-carat vivid green colour diamond mined in Yakutia. Before cutting and polishing, it weighed 61.18 carats - such large-size rough diamonds of this colour have not been recovered in the last hundred years. In 2017, the GIA’s laboratory confirmed the natural colour and no signs of the gemstone treatment. In 2008-2012, I invested most of my money in polished diamonds. Later, in 2016-2019, I got interested in emeralds, mostly of the Colombian origin, and almost all the best emeralds that appeared in Moscow passed through my hands thanks to my acquaintance who often visited Colombia and was an expert in emeralds, he became my consultant. Later on, the price for emeralds rose by three to four times just within four years.

And a few years ago, I bought an auction lot of 17 Paraiba blue tourmalines; these stones had been collected from several mines in Africa for four years. One of the tourmalines was wonderful, it was very large and its weight was 93 carats. After cutting and polishing, it was a 21.42-carat stone of amazing purity and beauty.

The stones I collect are mainly bought at world auctions and I have to chase after them, sometimes for several years, because they are very rare.

The jewellery pieces made from these stones are also a very good investment.


What does the passion for acquiring rare stones is like?

Perhaps, this can be compared to a hunting passion. In my previous interview with R&P, I told how I managed to purchase a rare 46.31-carat spinel of a rare purple-red colour. It was mined back in the 1990s at the Kukhilal (Ruby Mountain) spinel deposit in the Pamirs and initially weighed 174 carats. I had chased after it for about three years, then it was cut and polished in Dubai by the best Russian cutters. Two years after this purchase, a beautiful ring was created.

Creating all this must require an incredibly meticulous and thorough work?

Of course. The designer cutting and polishing required three months and the spinel gemstone got a pear shape and looked like a sakura tree with a bird on it; the colour of the stone was used very correctly and looked beautiful. The Sakura ring with this spinel is adorned with additional 276 pink diamonds, 107 white diamonds and 36 emeralds.

It takes more than ten years to make some jewellery pieces like the Temptation ring with the very dark green diamond mined in Yakutia. This year, my brand won the first place in the ‘Russia is My Soul’ nomination within the framework of the XXI international exhibition InterYuvelir-2022 (InterJeweller 2020) thanks to this jewellery item.

How are jewellery pieces usually made?

It all starts with stones - it is they that give impetus, determine the image and embodiment - in a word, they rule. In December 2021, the Selikhov Diamonds company participated in a closed auction where it purchased four lots of yellow diamonds, about 190 stones, with a total weight of over 100 carats. And immediately we began working on designing their new jewellery pieces with yellow and pink diamonds. So, by March 8, 18 jewelly pieces were manufactured in just two months. The collection was called the Golden Autumn.

When you buy a beautiful stone, you start to think about what can be made out of it, then intensive work begins with our designers, and later on, with our jewellers to manufacture a jewellery item. Sometimes, creating a new piece of jewellery takes up to six months or longer.


Your company often takes part in jewellery exhibitions and competitions. What does this participation give?

Let’s put it this way: my drivers are both commercial aspirations and aesthetic ones. In addition to the PR, I want some recognition, of course. But our participation in various competitions also gives impetus to creativity, achieving new goals, and creating the beauty in various forms. In the Russian Diamond Line competition where our jewellery works became winners, we presented two rings, the Temptation and the Secret of the Empress with a rare Paraiba tourmaline weighing 21.42 carats. Both of our rings were finalists and won the honorary prizes thanks to large-size stones of rare beauty, we mainly focused on them.

The Secret of the Empress ring was created for the Modern Heritage of Russia competition, its theme was The Empress’s Favourite Flowers. We had a choice several designs offered by our jewellers, and manufacturing the ring took about three months. The Secret of the Empress ring made of 18-karat white gold is decorated with 354 natural diamonds, 16 natural untreated sapphires, with a tourmaline as a central stone. The jewellery piece looks like a lake surrounded by small primroses, the favourite flowers of Catherine the Great. After the exhibition in St. Petersburg, this ring was also displayed at the Jewellery Arabia exhibition held in November 2019 in Manama, the capital of Bahrain.

Was a collection with pink diamonds also displayed at that exhibition?

Yes, it was our first pink diamond collection and it was a great success. The jewellery pieces were in great demand as they were rare stones. Before the discovery of the Australian Argyle mine, pink diamonds were extremely rare and jewellers almost never used them.

In 2021, another dream of mine came true as I purchased pink diamonds at world auctions (since 2020, after the closure of the Rio Tinto’s Argyle mines, pink diamond prices have increased by 5-10 times within two years).

Now, the Selikhov Diamonds brand has the largest collection of pink diamonds in Russia, there are about 70 carats of different sizes and colour intensities.

What is your company working on now, what are your plans for the near and long-term future?

This spring, we displayed our collection of pink, yellow and green diamonds, the largest in Russia, at the international jewellery exhibition in Sochi. We demonstrated our exclusive handmade jewellery with the rarest stones at that show. The exhibition was such a success that now, at the invitation of the Moscow Export Center, the Selikhov Diamonds company is preparing a collection for our participation in the Jewellery Salon exhibition Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The new collection will include the jewellery items with pink and yellow diamonds, necklaces with pink diamonds, jewellery pieces with rare emeralds, as well as demantoids and alexandrites of the Russian origin.

What was the impact of the Western sanctions on the manufacture, purchase of stones and their certification?

All stones purchased by our company must be graded at foreign and (or) Russian laboratories. In 2022, the sanctions brought about changes and adversely impacted the Russia’s jewellery industry. This is mainly due to the refuse of the laboratories in the United States and the European Union to certify the Russian manufacturers’ gemstones. But the positive dynamics overshadowed the negative one, I mean that the world jewellery brands left Russia, and a large niche became vacant, which is gradually being occupied by our Russian jewellers and Russian brands.

Galina Semyonova for Rough&Polished