When savvy industry insiders Steven Boelens and Stefaan Mouradian founded their diamond jewellery brand BAUNAT in 2008, they ripped up the proverbial rule book in the process. Merging their hometown Antwerp’s age-old tradition of jewellery-making with the convenience of online shopping, the duo created an e-commerce site solely dedicated to diamond jewellery, resulting in a speedier, more efficient and more affordable way to buy dazzling jewels without compromising on quality. In doing so, they created the world’s first online-born diamond jewellery brand.
Twelve years later, the BAUNAT team prides itself on specialising in 100 per cent natural and conflict-free diamonds, with each stone carefully inspected to ensure its carat, clarity, colour, cut and radiance is of an exceptional standard. Combining traditional jewellery-making methods with innovative technology, local goldsmiths and diamond setters produce each piece in partnership with BAUNAT’s designers, who specialise in timeless silhouettes. Most famous for its fine diamond solitaire engagement rings, the brand’s elegant tennis bracelets and minimalist earrings are among its best-selling products.
Alongside its core collection, which spans gold, platinum and diamond styles, BAUNAT offers a tailor-made service for customers looking to create their dream jewels. Conducted by in-house goldsmiths and designers, the service allows jewellery lovers to personalise a design or diamond size to suit their taste and style. Following a consultation with the team, their creation is visualised in 3D form before being produced by BAUNAT’s expert artisans in just three weeks.
The secret to BAUNAT’s success, Mouradian says, stems from its digital-first approach. “The greatest luxury with buying diamond jewellery online is simply how fast it is,” he explains. “Clients make their choice, fill in the details and place an order with the click of a mouse. Having a website requires a lot less upkeep compared to physical store, so clients can save up to 50 per cent when buying diamonds online.” By purchasing diamonds at the source, designing, manufacturing and delivering its own product and operating just a few select showrooms across the world, BAUNAT is able to offer exceptional quality diamond jewellery at a competitive price.
Such is BAUNAT’s success that the brand has been able to continue selling throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and adapted quickly to the ‘new normal’. “Because we are digitally native and therefore agile, it was relatively easy for us to make adjustments when the pandemic broke out,” Boelens says. “We started virtual appointments on Zoom, and this has proved to be very successful. We will maintain the offering to our clients even in the future as this adds a personal, yet digital, touch, as well as enhancing our exceptional customer service.”
For those who prefer to see a piece of jewellery in person before committing, there’s good news: the brand has recently unveiled a new boutique on Mayfair’s Brook Street, its first bricks-and-mortar store in the capital. With a global pandemic and the looming threat of Brexit casting a shadow on the UK retail industry, it’s certainly an interesting time to open a new store — but the London showroom has been on the cards for a while, and the founders are not fazed by any political uncertainty. “As a brand you just have to move forward,” Boelens says matter-of-factly.
The by-appointment-only boutique will house BAUNAT’s latest jewellery and watch collections, as well as offering customers the chance to speak to resident diamond experts and try on pieces that catch their eye. The new space joins a growing network of international showrooms in Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich, Dusseldorf and Hong Kong, to name a few. A new location in London felt like the natural next step, Boelens says.
“London has so many inspiring aspects, from culture to history, and we feel allied as a brand,” he explains. “We are looking forward to welcoming our UK clients, existing and new, to our new showroom.”