From the country that eats waffles, drinks bear and gloats on diamonds to a country which eats vada pao drinks sugarcane juice and gloats on Bollywood is quite a switch. She’s always been traditional at heart and progressive by mind. Solitaire diamonds are her passion, space for creativity, and innovative channel which in Rudyard Kipling’s words applied to the diamonds industry is “the universal man’s burden”. Every man once in a lifetime will buy a solitaire diamond for his woman, but to aspire to invest in a diamond is burdensome when you are unaware and creates a struggle to be a consumer who understands the value in the investment. We are in conversation with Rittika Karvat solitaire diamond expert coming from the heart of diamonds Antwerp, for whom leaving behind her heritage is impossible so she brings back with her a little bit of Belgium to Mumbai.
Being a retailer creates a sense of uniformity with other retailers and her aspirations where to be conspicuous! She seized the opportunity to create a niche experience within the retail sector, for travelers hungry to consume. Her boutique in Brussels was within the space of retail tourism, going beyond the transaction of selling and further transforming your consumer from a mere traveler to an empowered consumer of Belgium’s famous solitaire diamonds. This retail tourism involvement, gave rise to a strong entrepreneurial depth as well as great exposure in handling clientele from worldwide. Today when she looks back she appreciates the interpersonal skills that she learned passively and how the project taught her to be a good leader who adapts to all situations.
In a place like India weddings thrive on glamour, for such a country with a population that can never let wedding planers go out of business, purchasing something for their big day with a lot they can see but nothing of which they know is quite a dilemma. This is exactly where Rittika feels the need to fill the gap! Solitaire diamonds are always symbolic to relationships. We stay in a people’s currency so its essential that your solitaire on your big day suits you! While Kim Kardashian from California prefers fancy shapes and owned one 15 carat cushion cut costing 1.3million and a 20 carat emerald cut costing 4 million usd; actress Asin from South India where they typically prefer classic shapes owns a 20 carat round. Not only is it something we cannot have time to plan for its something that is quite a mystery to most of us. Diamonds are always seen as style icons as something which reflects class and nobody goes beyond to understand how to buy a solitaire diamond that suits your hand and pocket. To create more clarity we are in conversation with founder of Rittika Karvat Diamond Solutions and solitaire diamond expert Rittika Karvat. She has her own customized bespoke solitaire diamond jewelry services and also runs workshops to empower consumers as a way of giving back to the industry.
*How do you know which solitaire diamond will suit you?
She says “the knowledge is hard to find, but once you know its very simple and empowers any individual to make a long term good investment rather than a long-term poor investment”. The diamond pipeline is starting from manufacturer- wholesaler- trader- private agent- retailer to consumer. Between the source and the consumer the wide variety of options in solitaire diamonds reduces drastically as it reaches the retail channel. The reason for the unawareness is because the trend is to customize the jewel and not to customize the solitaire, which is the bigger part of investment.
To customize the solitaire you need to have a fair idea about your spending plan, range of possibilities to choose within that amount and how it looks on your finger. Fingers are a funny part because most of the times you may have large knuckles and skinny fingers or prominent fingers and subtle knuckles. To help you decide you must keep in mind three factors long fingers can proportionately carry a bigger carat size, and large knuckles need to accordingly buy long shapes such as emerald, pear and marquise. The side ring design needs to also be complimenting, so a thin finger can take a broader band a thicker finger should get a tapered band.
*What are most frequently asked questions which consumers struggle with?
Rittika helps us bust some basic myths on discount, authenticity and criteria. Discounts are what most customers ask when it comes to diamonds, actually a discount at the retail end is just a small compensation. The real discount happens when the manufacturer produces mass quantities such as 2500 solitaires per week and that’s how they get a discount on that combination as a result of economies of scale. B2B sales are always in high quantities so the discounted price should carry forward at retail level too! Beware a good quality with a good discount is a good deal a poor quality with a good discount is a good deal for the seller alone.
Authenticity is another criteria to ensure that what you buy is what it really is. Ensuring that your 4C’s are reliable which is diamond cut, carat, color and clarity in this order of importance you need to make sure your fifth C for Certification is internationally recognized. Internationally acclaimed certificates are GIA, HRD and IGI which also can be retrieved online. Criteria while customizing your solitaire diamond are in two parts one from the parameters of the solitaire diamond such as cut, carat and no visual drawbacks and the other from the parameters of the shape, size and length of your hand and fingers.
Carat size is very appropriate to cost, with price boundaries for size a 0.90 carat is 30% more reasonable than 1 carat while the difference in size is only 0.09 cents. Cut remains the one prominent factor for lustre and shine and cannot be compromised so one must always buy very good or excellent cut and ideally the triple excellent cut. Visual drawbacks include where the inclusion is placed on the solitaire diamond i.e. center of table, side towards the girdle or bottom at the culet; most of the times if its not a black inclusion and on the side its tolerable but consumer must be aware that its not hidden behind any prongs that hold a ring together.
*How do diamonds epitomize style?
Diamonds have a balancing effect on any attire for any occasion, especially a nice pair of solitaire diamond earring, pendant or ring. Most shopaholics and fashionistas enjoy experimenting with colors, tones and hues and still like wearing a bold accessory where diamonds perfectly fit the bill as they not only compliment, but enhance and glorify the look. Solitaires give the freedom to experiment by styling up using design or styling up using size, shape and setting. Designer solitaire jewelry is well done when it enhances the solitaire at the same time differentiates that diamond from similar ones through its unique design. Other ways of being subtle and loud at the same time are to capitalize on size which is mostly the choice made by celebrity buyers, some prefer classic round brilliant and others prefer fancy shapes most popular ones are cushion, princess, pear, oval and emerald. The way you set your solitaire is also seen as a fashion statement, prongs are the classic way, bezel, tension, gypsy and bar settings are also desirable to consumers.
*What is the forte at Rittika Karvat Diamond Solutions?
The conceptualization of my own channel of work at Rittika Karvat Diamond Solutions was an accidental promotion. When I moved to India I did not come with a plan, it was my husband’s business that brought me back to mine. While travelling with him for work, meeting embassies of the world as he procures fruit from worldwide I ended up helping someone for their wedding anniversary gift. That triggered the rest as the consulate I sold the solitaire diamond ring to was very happy to have become a well-informed consumer who may independently purchase solitaires in the in the future and buy good value for money. For the first time ever I was requested to conduct a seminar with the same communication on how to buy solitaire diamonds and consulates, embassies and esteemed communities all queued up. I transformed from a diamond expert to a diamond educator. The method of communication with clients was to firstly make them aware of the product, range and variety of combinations, secondly make them understand the pros and cons as well as ensure they eliminate risk through guarantee on authenticity and finally provide pricing for the product which allows high value for their money. My strong foundation in the manufacturing side of the business due to my family background back in Belgium, helped me gradually associate myself with all the production houses in Surat. I source the diamonds straight from Production to Person as my working strategy. I think my strength lies in customization at mass pricing, I can provide a large range in various qualities, and tailor-make solitaires to a person’s taste and further design the jewel that will hold it. Providing the complete solution which transforms the consumer and makes them a well informed buyer.
*What is your choice of diamonds for your wardrobe?
My choice of diamonds are all multi-utility solitaires, they are a significant size for my petite frame and can be inserted into a design when the occasion demands it. G-H colour and VS1 clarity is a good premier economy to business class range. Chandelier earrings are my favorite to style up any attire and the only exception when my design value is higher than my solitaire size. My engagement ring which is the highest emotional value is a princess cut diamond, I am not a classic when it comes to solitaires so I find rounds quite cliché and I prefer geometric shapes.
*What is your tip for diamond lovers?
Diamonds are a lifetime style statement so taking very small sizes and only focusing on design may not be something which may be long-term use. Whether it’s a fad to propose with a diamond that culture doesn’t seem to loose its charm so investing in good quality of diamonds that are solitaires which means a 0.40 carat minimum and up they are better value for money and multi-purpose which can be revamped with changing fashion trends.