Dan Seller

Diamonds: The Most Influential People Of the Decade.

Diamonds Standards Organization honors the commitment of the professionals around the world whose outstanding work in the last decade contributed to create ethical awareness in the diamond and jewellery sectors and helped promote the entire industry.

Dan Seller is Vice President of the London Diamond Bourse since 2007 and sole trader. His background is in manufacturing and his experience in the sector spans over four decades starting in the heart of London jewellery centre, Hatton Garden. Mr Seller received the Honoray Membership.

Why is ethical sourcing important in a modern society?

For years we had bourse meetings on conflict diamonds (now superseded by synthetic diamonds) I find arguments on the conflict subject fascinating, communities suffered very badly & rapidly as they got caught between the red tape of those trying to sell small quantities of rough to eat and live, and the large organised crime and unofficial militaries doing the same for alarming reasons. On balance not trading in conflict diamonds is great for our industry with all the jobs we support worldwide, therefore our transparency can only be good.

Why informing customers that their purchase conforms to ethical standards has become a necessity?
My view is transparency must become king when trading in the diamond industry, if retailers, wholesalers, merchants, polishers & mines are all transparent on source It’s a good thing. It would seem futile to go against the trend; Knowing origin is almost demanded now, and certainly that’s what I’m asked by my modern younger customers.

What is your background?
For a few years as a young schoolboy I worked at weekends running errands at the jewellery district in Hatton Garden […], I just had the desire to be in the jewellery sector so the day I turned 16yrs old (1976) my career started in London as an apprentice fine diamond mounter. A few years after my apprenticeship I left London to work in the suburbs and established a jewellery workshop business. In 1996 I was asked to join a successful London diamond merchants as an equal share-holding director, […] in 2007 I decided to join the London Diamond Bourse and very quickly got involved in committee work; even today the bourse is a special place, for so many different reasons. The diversity of members always amazes me, hundreds of independently owned businesses & skill-sets, yet we all help each other.

“Knowing the origin is almost demanded now, and certainly that’s what I’m asked by my modern younger customers,,

How would you describe the last ten years?
The challenges were scary as Ii moved from buying, selling and manufacturing for the trade, to becoming a private bespoke jeweller overnight. Another challenge has been my work on bourse committees, not just because its a learning curve accepting group votes & different views, but we have all tirelessly worked against outside influences to protect our premises & members. Year after year it has felt like we are surrounded by sharks.

What can we expect in the next decade?
My expectations are pretty certain, its wind down decade! For the industry I simply can’t make up my mind. Also, I think my age slightly puts me in the range of being more pessimistic than optimistic, maybe as I have seen many recent years become flat for traders & fine jewellery sales. Ignoring all the technical arguments for now, lab grown & synthetic diamonds will continue to expand and dent the natural market, not by people who refuse to buy natural ‘on principal’ but people who don’t want to insure or have the liability. These new synthetics look different to cubic zirconia, yags or moissanite, they are now ‘acceptable’ hard wearing alternatives. I think early in the decade we will see Artificial intelligence active in the diamond business for the use of consumers. Every single piece of data known on polished diamonds is taught to the computer, it will learn, assess, improve, & categorically tell that specific consumer which stone they should buy.

On a more personal note, what is your favourite shape?
I love the elegance of a marquise, the visual on a slender finger is always stunning.

What is your favourite diamond color?
Pink, the rarity and they look so good mounted in rose gold when accompanied by white diamonds in platinum.

What is your favourite gemstone?
Rubies, pigeons’ blood colour.

What is your favourite jewllery brand and why?
I like brands that take the industry by storm with design, like when Theo Fennell came on the scene & Stephen Webster, Elizabeth Gage. Bulgari & Piaget with their respective spinning rings, ingenious at the time, and have stood the test of time. Louis Vuitton are getting a foothold on diamond jewellery. […] Cartier rarely make mistakes; they had the belief to produce volume ranges from oddball idea’s with Panther themes and in later years a ‘Love’ range dominated simply by screw heads! Yet both are now iconic, i have to take my hat off to such brand strength. Tiffany, their silver & glass ranges are magnificent, they surely lead the field.

“Business owners who don’t listen eventually surround themselves with staff who don’t speak ,,

What is your favourite watch brand and what model most attracts you?
Rolex as they are bomb proof […] great movements, quality, material & design, a pleasure to work on. Patek Philippe, they ooze class and have some brilliant timeless designs. Vacheron Constantin […] it appears to me a Vacheron wearer cares little about following the Rolex/Patek trend, they just appreciate the timepiece.