Founded in 2001, Russian-based World of Diamonds Group was founded by Mr. Boris Ivanov. Little is known about Mr. Ivanov, however, his nephew who spearheads some of the Group’s initiatives is the successor of the family business.
World of Diamonds’ Karan Tilani has few equals when it comes to unleashing the power of diamonds. The rise of the experiential travel is challenging the brightest minds to up their game. They are producing some of the most innovative and exciting food, drink, and travel experiences. Earlier this year, the diamond behemoth worked in partnership with a Texas-based travel agency for a US$14 Million vacation. Last year, World of Diamonds Group made big waves with a Jane Seymour Ring announcement (read our covering of this amazing ring and the events surrounding the launch). The celebrity ring adorned with a Fancy Vivid blue diamond is changing the world in this very moment as it is at the center of the world’s most expensive dining experience, bought from World of Diamonds Group by cryptocurrency specialist Ville Oehman. Mr. Oehman is the founder of V Diamonds, an ultra-luxury company specialized in blue diamonds and handcrafted jewelry from Geneva. The fantastic offerings included in the US$2 Million Dinner are now capturing diners’ imaginations all over the world with a fractional ownership model which is using blockchain technology.
After buying the US$2 Million Dinner from World of Diamonds Group, V Diamonds is relaunching this dinner, making the experience accessible to everyone through an initial coin offering (ICO).This is among the world’s first ICOs that is asset-backed, by an asset such as blue diamonds which continually are appreciating in value.
Dear Karan Tilani, 2LUXURY2 is honored to meet you. Your expertise in the diamond business is a valuable resource of information for our audience. World of Diamonds Group has attained a reputation for its dazzling and fancy colored diamonds, and as one of the largest privately held diamond corporations globally. Now, World of Diamonds Group, its partners, and V Diamonds are elevating luxury experiential travel and diamonds ownership to the next level.
#Can you give us the details of this innovative asset-backed ICO? Basically, anyone around the world can buy a part of The Jane Seymour ring? Why did World of Diamonds Group decide on Ville Oehman as the ideal buyer for the US$2 Million Dinner, and is this the first time that your Group is involved in this ICO industry?
Karan Tilani: An ICO (initial coin offering) is a fund-raising mechanism for a company to increase its capital, and it works like an IPO (initial public offering) where companies get listed to increase their capital, and shares are issued in the process. In an ICO, a digital currency is launched and investors can trade traditional currencies in exchange for this digital currency. For example, you can purchase Bitcoin, which is a form of digital currency, using USD or euros. Ville Oehman bought the US$2 million dinner which World of Diamonds Group launched in 2016, and through his diamond brand V Diamonds, he is launching an ICO.
However, this ICO is not a fund-raising mechanism for Ville or V Diamonds, but rather an opportunity to create a fractional ownership structure for blue diamonds. Private planes and high-end real estate have such mechanisms where people can own a part of the asset, perhaps even utilizing it in a time-sharing service.
The ICO which V Diamonds is creating would basically generate a digital currency. This digital currency is backed by The Jane Seymour blue diamond ring. It makes sense because the ring is already appreciating in value by the day. The 2.08 carat, VS1 Fancy Vivid blue diamond set in 18-karat rose-gold-plated platinum with floral motifs, embodies the beauty, grace, and talent of Hollywood actress, Jane Seymour.
The Jane Seymour ring is the first and only jewelry named after the former Bond girl, celebrating her illustrious career. The Emmy and Golden Globe award winner designs her own ‘Open Hearts’ collection and is the brand ambassador of Signet Jewelers, the world’s largest jeweler with nearly 3,600 stores in the US, UK, and Canada. However, none of those jewelry pieces bear her name.
Through V Diamonds’ ICO, 1 million tokens will be created. Each token represents a part of The Jane Seymour ring, so when people purchase a token, they own a part of the ring on paper. People can buy as many tokens as they like, to increase their ownership share in the ring. Each token will be priced from US $2 to US$3. The tokens can also be traded in the secondary market, through a platform which V Diamonds will introduce. This move increases the liquidity for blue diamonds since the masses could get invested in an asset traditionally reserved only for the ultra-wealthy. Having received applications from people who value the exclusivity of the ring and the dinner experience, World of Diamonds Group faced the dilemma of concluding on a single buyer. We embraced Ville Oehman’s concept of opening up the highly exclusive blue diamond market to a fractional ownership model by using blockchain technology.
Even after the ICO is completed (it will be completed when all the 1 million tokens are purchased from V Diamonds), the Jane Seymour ring will be owned by all the collective investors of the ring. However, it will be kept and stored by V Diamonds. The ring will still be available for sale to a single buyer or through an auction house, and the proceeds of the sale will be distributed to all the owners of the ring when the eventual sale takes place. All the investors will be able to decide if and when it goes to auction or gets sold to a single buyer – there will be an online voting system for all the investors to participate in, periodically. Just like a public company has an AGM organized annually for its shareholders. World of Diamonds Group is not involved in this ICO. We are involved in the dinner experience; having sold the US$2 million dinner to Ville Oehman, we are organizing the whole experience of the dinner in conjunction with the various partners involved. In essence, Ville is giving away the dinner which he purchased. The Jane Seymour ring which is part of the dinner is being separated as the investment opportunity in the ICO, while the dinner is being away to a random shareholder of the ring.
# So, investing in The Jane Seymour ring offers you a chance of winning the ultimate dinner experience for two. What royal treatment the winners will enjoy?
Karan Tilani: Yes, each token or share of the ring purchased, from US$2 a share, entitles the shareholder 1 chance to win the ultimate dinner experience. It is technically not called the US$2 million dinner anymore, because the ring (which was included in the dinner) has been separated from the dinner by V Diamonds, and V Diamonds has relaunched the whole concept in line with its brand. The diamond jewelry retailer has a gallery at the private CIP (commercially important people) terminal at Singapore’s Changi Airport, so they wanted the dinner to be in line with the airport theme. Hence, instead of the original CÉ LA VI Singapore, the ultimate dinner will now take place on a private jet, relating to V Diamonds’ gallery at the private airport terminal.
The ultimate dinner is for the winner and his/her partner. It includes a 3-hour pre-dinner luxury yacht cruise, a Rolls-Royce chauffeured journey to and from the dinner, and Chef Kirk Westaway from Michelin-starred JAAN, one of the finest restaurants in the world, who will prepare a feast. This feast is an 18-course cuisine which will be served on board a US$30 million private jet on a 4-hour flight, which specially departs from and arrives back in Singapore. The winner and his/her partner will be able to enjoy all these, along with dining with two pairs of gold-plated chopsticks worth US$34,000 and which are set with 84 diamonds (nearly 8.5 carat of high-quality colorless diamonds) in total, personalized with their names. The chopsticks are for them to keep after the dinner, for a lifetime memory. The dinner will be served with vintage wines, 10,000 roses that are presented progressively, and it ends with a fireworks display.
Even though the dinner is taking place on a private jet, the winner and his/her partner will have to be in Singapore to enjoy the experience, as the jet departs from and arrives back in Singapore (the flight takes place specially for the culinary journey). And as this contest is open to anyone around the world, the winner and his/her partner will be offered 4 days 3 nights all-expenses paid trip for 2 to Singapore, to enjoy this dinner. The hospitality includes first-class return flights to Singapore from anywhere in the world, exclusive usage of the CIP private terminal, welcome drinks and private viewing of rare blue diamonds at the V Diamonds gallery, a 3 night stay in the presidential suite of a five-star hotel (the presidential suites of Swissotel The Stamford or Fairmont Singapore for the winner to choose from), a chauffeured Rolls-Royce for their entire trip, additional complimentary Michelin-starred meals and VIP hospitality at renowned clubs and spas.
# Where you can find more details of the ICO and the chance to win “the experience of a lifetime”? When can people take part in this ICO?
Karan Tilani: Anyone from around the world can take part in the ICO and stand a chance to win this ultimate dinner and the experience surrounding it. The ICO is being launched by V Diamonds in late 2017 or within the first two months of 2018. Interested individuals who wish to take part can currently register their interest on www.thejaneseymour.com and they will be notified when the ICO commences.
#What is your favorite part of The Ultimate Dinner?
Karan Tilani: Billionaires, celebrities and royalty travel the world in their own planes. But none of these personalities would have ever enjoyed an 18-course feast of this standard in the air, even if they had a whole Boeing 747 to themselves.
#What were the challenges you were facing in making the extraordinary a reality? Who are your partners?
Karan Tilani: Some challenges faced are coordinating the logistics so that this is an unforgettable experience for the winners of the dinner, and researching the flavor profiles of various cuisines as the human palette reacts very differently at 36,000 feet and at 800 kilometers an hour.
The main partners for this dinner experience include Jaan (a Michelin-starred restaurant and one of the world’s best), One15 Marina Club Singapore, Singapore Air Charter (which lists royalty, heads of state and major corporations amongst its clientele), Simpson Marine (Asia’s leading yacht dealer), Swissotel The Stamford and Fairmont Singapore (both hotels are under AccorHotels), and World of Diamonds Group. We have several other partners who are engaged in other aspects, from the florists who will prepare the 10,000 fresh roses to specialists who will execute the fireworks display.
#Can you tell us when you started working in the diamond and jewelry industry? Why did you choose to work in this industry?
Karan Tilani: It has been over 4 years for me in the diamond industry and with World of Diamonds Group. From young, I have always been fascinated with the sparkle and intricacies of a diamond and this gradually developed into my passion. The trade has also been a family business and I wanted to pursue the continuity of our heritage. World of Diamonds Group has always been behind some of the finest diamonds and jewelry pieces. Through joint ventures with artisans in Europe and the Americas, we are almost fully integrated in diamond mining, polishing, high jewelry creation and distribution to leading houses of the world.
#How did you become interested? What is compelling about this industry?
Karan Tilani: I have been appreciating diamonds since the age of 14. Born into a family of prestige, I had the privilege of bringing the valuable gemstone to school for show-and-tell sessions. As a connoisseur of extraordinary diamonds, my aunt has been attending auctions to secure important pieces; she married a diamond mogul and was eventually in the trade. Being exposed to the family business in my early teens, I was captivated by the tiny, brilliant stones which command sky-high prices. The fact that it takes immense patience and skill to release the beauty of a diamond evoked my interest.
#What are three main challenges in your work?
Karan Tilani: Due to our widespread market reach, we have colleagues and partners based in almost every part of the world. I often experience situations where some of our partners are uncomfortable in making decisions in certain countries because of varying cultures and working styles.
A second challenge I face being associated with one of the world’s largest privately held diamond corporations is meeting the unique demands of the mega-rich. I’ve personally recommended many of the high-fliers whom have approached us to shop at some of the luxury brands as we rarely cater to individual requests. We do not engage in the retail scene as it’s a conflict of interest, since we already work with several upscale jewelers.
To the discerning few whom we cater to directly and who embrace the epitome of luxury, we have had requests for a diamond encrusted Spirit of Ecstasy (the bonnet ornament on Rolls-Royce automobiles), diamond chandeliers and even diamond shoelaces. For the wives of billionaires and members of royal families, catering to their every whim involves extraordinary diamonds, hours of intensive labor undertaken with painstaking excellence and exceptional designs.
Lastly, thefts, robberies and kidnappings are pertinent in the diamond industry. It’s a life-threatening danger that lurks behind every important member of the trade. Our Group has a strong foothold globally and I’ve had to accept overseas travel with bodyguards, as much as I despise the additional attention. Often this challenge could be part of a larger, more complex scenario such as sabotage. They can be competitor-motivated or politically-motivated and can extend to the cyberspace. For example, we had our website and data compromised in 2017, and an entity leveraged on that to defame our Group. In such cases we work strongly with law enforcement agencies including the courts to seek for damages, and web authorities such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook to penalize the culprits.
#Diamonds are an investment vehicle. This is one of the big themes in the diamond business right now. What are the most important advice you have for a potential buyer of such rarities like colored diamonds?
Karan Tilani: Look at blue diamonds in particular. They are appreciating at an insane rate, and it is not a bubble by any means because they are incredibly rare and are the world’s most portable wealth. However, most people who want to buy a blue diamond would likely not be able to get access to one. Only one blue diamond can be found on the market for every 100 Picasso paintings up at auction.
#What are the demographics who typically spend money on diamonds right now?
Karan Tilani: They are the people that the world doesn’t always talk or hear about. The ultra-wealthy tend to observe a lower-profile, and among our top private clients are from Russia and the Middle East. We notice that the Chinese are also emerging as connoisseurs of rare fancy colored diamonds.
#What personalities from the artistic world would you love to name a ring after?
Karan Tilani: Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson and Picasso.
#Can you point to some trends in the industry? Buying a single impressive diamond or a small portfolio of rare stones? What color and clarity grades do you recommend to your HNWI customers?
Karan Tilani: The pattern of the wealthy would usually be to acquire large colorless or yellow diamonds, and then gradually move toward premium fancy colors such as pinks, and when they are ultra-wealthy, they look at blue, green, orange and red. Green, orange and red diamonds are extremely rare but they are harder to sell as compared to blues, because blue diamonds are very appealing in hue. It is the color of the sky and the oceans. Clarity grades do not matter as much in fancy colored diamonds, as long as durability of the stone is not compromised by heavy inclusions. The inclusions should also not be very prominent, although the color of the diamond (if it is of a strong saturation) usually conceals the diamond’s impurities. I always recommend exotic colored diamonds of a desirable saturation and a decent clarity grade (it does not even have to be VVS or VS), as such diamonds are phenomenally rare to begin with.
# Why Fancy Intense, Vivid, and Deep blue diamonds are the most desirable and considered to be the best diamonds in the world?
Karan Tilani: Blue diamonds are extremely rare, but the rarest of the rarest are Fancy Intense, Vivid and Deep blue diamonds as they command desirable saturation levels. There are blue diamonds which feature a secondary color such as gray, and such diamonds are also not as valuable as blue diamonds with no inferior secondary color.
# What is your favorite diamond saying & quote?
Karan Tilani: You are not fully dressed until you sparkle.
# Do you have a personal mission?
Karan Tilani: Philanthropy is meaningful and fulfilling. Both myself and World of Diamonds Group have supported non-profit initiatives including the Sarah-Grace Sarcoma Foundation which raises funds for research in pediatric tumors, CRIB which supports women entrepreneurs, Say No to the Oppression of Women – a UN initiative, Women on a Mission – a programme to help underprivileged women and girls from specialized residential homes in Singapore, the Red Cross, Mission to the Seafarers and Riding For The Disabled Association which saw HRH Princess Anne (Queen Elizabeth’s only daughter) in attendance.
World of Diamonds Group has organized a jewelry design competition to promote innovation and creativity among young students and generously rewarded the winners; we have contributed to the Amber Lounge charity which raises funds for the Special Olympics, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Sergio Pérez Foundation, while also being involved in numerous other fundraisers of varying scales. The vacation which we launched this year for US$14 million has an “experiential giving” component where we plan on distributing 2,500 bicycles to rural children in Cambodia so they can make their journey to school, as well as providing drinking water for 50,000 kids in the Philippines. It makes no sense to please the most discerning of clientele without extending kindness that delivers higher levels of fulfillment to humanity.
# Can you share with us some of your plans for the company? What do you expect from 2018?
Karan Tilani: World of Diamonds Group will continue to be behind the world’s most expensive (and lavish) creations, and we will continue such collaborations in 2018 and beyond.
# And the last question – a tradition for our interviews – what is “LUXURY” for Karan Tilani?
Karan Tilani: Luxury is living it up.