The diamond industry is facing a period of consolidation, but one upstart jeweler is steadily carving out a reputation for himself in a sector that's becoming less dominated by major jewelry producers.
In 2012, Zameer Kassam, a former McKinsey analyst with a family background in jewelry, made the leap from the business world into jewelry design. Armed with a Harvard MBA, Kassam told CNBC his business model is "the complete opposite of opposite of everything in the industry," and hinges on millenials — currently the hottest demographic in business.
"There's been a seismic shift in how millennials think about diamonds and rings," the 37-year-old jeweler said in a recent interview. "They don't want something that everyone has. They don't place the same value in traditional brands across hotels, vehicles. It has to be personal."
After a tenure at De Beers Louis Vuitton and Angara, Kassam decided to commit his life to jewelry. His brand was born out of his passion for designing rings as well as working with clients, something he found difficult to do in a traditional luxury environment.
Personalizing jewelry is exactly what Kassam is looking to do with his eponymous brand, Zameer Kassam Fine Jewelry. His own efforts coincide with a broad push by the diamond industry to spur diamond sales among millennials in a bid to revamp its image. Advertising to the demographic is less focused on traditional ideas, and more on the emotional bond represented by the gem.