ALROSA unearths a yellow 17.4 ct diamond at its new Verkhne-Munskoye deposit

ALROSA has recovered a 17.44-carat diamond at the Verkhne-Munskoye deposit for the first time since the beginning of its operations.

21 february 2020

Star Diamond provides update regarding option to JV with Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc.

Star Diamond Corporation announced that, following a review conducted by Star Diamond’s special committee with assistance from the special committee’s independent legal counsel, Star Diamond has notified Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. (RTEC)...

21 february 2020

Sergey Eroshkin appointed new CEO of Bourevestnik

Sergey Eroshkin will become the new CEO of the Bourevestnik Innovation Center, ALROSA subsidiary, effective from February 15, 2020.

21 february 2020

Star Rays aspires to become India’s first carbon-neutral diamond company

Indian diamond manufacturer Star Rays may be the first India’s first carbon-neutral diamond company in the country, because of its commitment to sustainable business practices.

21 february 2020

Young Indians embrace platinum as a symbol of modern love and self-expression

While traditionally a market for gold jewellery, India has developed a strong appetite for platinum over the past decade.

21 february 2020

“We believe in the superior craftsmanship of our Belgian Master Cutters”

02 march 2015

jean_claude_muller_xx.jpgS. Muller & Sons founded in 1955 is now a world-renowned diamond manufacturer managed by the third generation of diamantaires led by Jean Claude Muller, the company’s CEO. S. Muller & Sons has an in-house diamond factory, one of the few that still remain in Antwerp, which is producing the now famous Hearts & Arrows Diamonds. The company’s involvement in Hearts & Arrows initiated with its relationship with Mr. Takanori Tamura, the inventor of the Eight-Star Diamond. S. Muller & Sons started to manufacture this perfect diamond for him and eventually went on to manufacture its derivative, the Hearts & Arrows. S. Muller & Sons is still the only company endorsed by him to manufacture the Eight-Star Diamond and continues to be his only manufacturer. While attending the Antwerp Diamond Trade Fair last February, our correspondents – helped by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre and S. Muller & Sons - took an opportunity to visit the company’s diamond factory, which resulted in the interview with Jean Claude Muller below.

Could you say a few words about your company? What is the market segment you target your polished production on?

S. Muller & Sons is active in Antwerp’s diamond business for over 60 years and has established itself as one of the city’s premier diamond factories. Even today, when most diamond factories are not working in Antwerp anymore, we continue to polish all our diamonds locally since we believe in the superior craftsmanship of our Belgian Master Cutters.

We are fully transparent with our clients and we can even issue Certificates of Origin attesting where the rough came from and who polished each and every stone cut by us.

We focus on supplying clients looking for ideal cut Hearts & Arrows and exceptional fancy shapes.

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In your view, were there any new features at the Antwerp Diamond Trade Fair this year?

The fair organized tours into IGI’s laboratories, which are located in the same building where we are. We thought this was a great initiative and we hope to expand this idea next year and create a tour inside our diamond factory for all the fair’s visitors.

You are known to manufacture Eight-Star Diamonds, as well as Hearts & Arrows. What are the processing subtleties associated with this work?

It takes much more time and craftsmanship to polish a perfectly symmetrical diamond like the Hearts & Arrows and Eight-Star. In the USA, many companies market this as “superior cut”, “super ideal cut” or other terms, but our clients simply call this the “Muller make”.

Our Hearts & Arrows always have the same proportions – same table size, same diameter and same pavilion angles. When we cut a Hearts & Arrows diamond, we don’t cut corners or play with the accepted measurements. We will finish the stone for perfection – no extra facets, no naturals. That’s the Muller Make.

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Where do you source your rough to make such diamonds?

We source them from the local rough market. Antwerp is the biggest rough diamond market in the world today, and we take advantage of being here and always look for the very best rough available.

Professional diamond cutters sometimes say that a perfect girdle is the very foundation of a well cut stone. What is the equipment you use to achieve this task and many others to produce a true piece of art as it is stated on your website?

This is a manual process that we have perfected over the years. Our polishers are the most experienced in the industry – some have been polishing with us for over 40 years – and we have established our standards that we use in every ideal cut diamond coming out of our factory. For instance, while some cutters try to minimize the amount of facets in the girdle, we always cut the girdles with a specific amount of facets even if that takes more time.

The key is not the equipment but the hands that take care of the diamond. Our Master Cutters are the artists.

Diamond manufacturers often complain about low margins in their segment of the diamond pipeline. What is your take on this?

This is a chronic problem today in the manufacturing industry and we suffer from it, too. Unfortunately, it can be more profitable today to buy and sell polished than manufacturing a diamond, since we have to pay top dollar for the high quality rough, while polished buyers have more favorable conditions. It defies logic, but that’s the reality in the market for the past year.

We are patient and we hope the market conditions will change in the favor of diamond manufacturers. After all, the real artist is the Master Cutter but if there’s no profit margin, their job is at stake, too.

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Were Muller’s sales rising or falling over the past few years?

I would say stable. We strive to increase sales year-on-year but that has been difficult in the past year, however we are happy to have been able to maintain our client base and our regular sales.

In your opinion, what was the most famous Muller diamond ever cut by your company?

A few years ago we invested in a diamond mine in South Africa and that mine brought us a rough diamond of over 100cts, that we polished into a 20ct Round and another 21ct Emerald cut diamond. This was an outstanding rough diamond.

This year we are proud to have added to our stock a new Heart Shape close to 30cts that is also unique: D flawless type IIa, the largest heart shape in the market today.

Having a 60-year-long history in diamond cutting under your belt, do you remember some striking story in the work of your company to share with our readers?

One story that I would like to share is from the time I was learning how to polish diamonds in our factory. As the polisher next to me started to cut a new diamond, this particular stone started to make a loud noise as it was being polished – much more noise than usual. So I asked the polisher “is something wrong? Why is the stone making such sound?” he quickly answered “don’t worry, the diamond is singing”. This simple story, in my opinion, sums up how we look at our work as diamond polishers – craftsmanship, transparency and unwavering quality.

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What is your outlook for 2015 regarding the polished market?

We have been in this industry for over 60 years and we have always managed to overcome all challenges are rise to the occasion. We expect much more demand in 2015, especially if you consider that 2014 had weaker demand than usual for diamonds. So we are sure now it will only improve.

Alexander Shaburkin, Rough&Polished, from Antwerp