Dr Adriana Traviati – Industry Forum 2024

Dr Adriana Traviati, CEO of Sahpira Diamonds gives her insights into the successes and challenges of 2023 with hopes for the 2024 year.

Written by Jewellery World

Dr Adriana Traviati
CEO, Saphira Diamonds

How do you align your organisation with your vision and mission?

Saphira’s unique approach to the diamond industry is in line with our unique values, vision for the future and mission to deliver for our clients. Simply put, we believe that everybody should have the ability to own a precious diamond. Most diamonds on Earth formed between one and three and a half billion years ago, making them a precious record of Earth’s impressive and extensive history. Saphira has always, and always will sell only natural diamonds, as they represent truly rare and unique treasures that hold value over time, and can be passed down, admired and treasured for generations to come.

Saphira’s core values are transparency, integrity and guidance, which sets the company apart from the greater industry in its education of consumers, creating long-term value for those we work with. We place great emphasis on educating our clients about diamonds far beyond the very over-simplified 4Cs and work with our clients to deliver the very best value and end result. The process is totally custom and we aim to deliver on our client’s unique vision, ensuring that they are fully educated on the rarity, preciousness and uniqueness of their finished pieces, with extraordinary attention to detail and customer service. We also are passionate about creating value for private clients all over the world by offering advice concerning rare coloured diamonds, such as Argyle pink diamonds and other rare fancy-coloured diamonds.

Your extensive knowledge of the diamond industry, from exploration to retail, sets you apart. How does your geologic background influence your approach to sourcing and understanding rare diamonds?

While my background in exploration geophysics is helpful in terms of understanding the upstream mining sector, exploring for new mine sites, and understanding diamond production, it is rather the skills I have learned as a Geoscientist overall, that [assist] my method for sourcing and understanding rare diamonds.

Firstly, I [can] think outside the box, taking into account all data when assessing diamond options, far beyond what is offered by the GIA certification, and I [can] assess many additional data points when selecting my diamonds. The ability to communicate science, and focus on science-backed observations is also one of the unique ways that we equip our clients with the knowledge needed to make an informed purchase. This significant upstream understanding also assists us in educating clients about mine provenance, ethical sourcing and methods being used to trace [the] provenance of a diamond.

Finally, my unique geologic background greatly assists me with my work in Argyle pink diamonds. My in-depth geologic understanding of their formation, their rarity and their value allows me to consult with private clients across the globe, notably Southeast Asia, [to] fully educate them about such precious stones. I also have been tracking Argyle pink diamond pricing, have access to the rarest tender diamonds available globally, and have developed a unique way of pricing Argyle pink diamonds, based on the current market conditions, and market willingness to buy. These combinations of factors assist me in delivering the highest possible yield for my clients and advising my clients as best I can when it comes to working with such rare

Can you discuss your future aspirations for Saphira and your vision for the future of diamond exploration in Australia?

I have many aspirations for Saphira, and the greater diamond industry in future. In October, we opened a new business in Singapore, and in early 2024, we are opening a new office. This is such an exciting development, which allows us to grow into the region. Having grown up in Singapore, with fond memories of such a dynamic and vibrant city, returning to do business in this part of the world is a natural move for me. Saphira International is aimed at supplying Argyle pink diamonds and other rare, fancy-coloured diamonds directly to Southeast Asia, and assisting families across ASEAN countries with securing high-value goods and diversifying their asset portfolios. 

I also have long-term aspirations to become further involved in the upstream mining sector, whether through working closely with large, publicly-listed mining companies, or embarking on my own exploration venture with like-minded and adventurous geoscientists. I would also like to investigate [several] charitable projects. At present, I am currently part of the Young Diamantaires organising committee and have contributed to the further development and expansion of the Renaissance School in Musina, South Africa. However, I have long-term aspirations to establish my own projects and work with others to contribute to the betterment of communities where natural diamonds are mined.  

I believe that after the closure of the Argyle Mine in 2020, Australia is set to move back into being a diamond producer, with exciting developments by Lucapa Diamond Corporation concerning the Northern Territory Merlin Diamond Mine. Moving back to being an active producer will be a welcome development in the Australian diamond space, and I do believe that there is future potential for smaller and mid-size companies to investigate alluvial diamond deposits across Australia, and of course, more conventional Kimberlite and Lamproite plays. With emerging technology focussed on mapping, planning cutting and polishing in one machine, I personally would love to see some of our Australian rough diamonds to be sorted, cut and polished on-shore.

Can you share the key sustainability initiatives and objectives you pursued in 2023 and your aspirations for 2024 in promoting ethical and sustainable practices in the industry?

I am deeply passionate about sustainable luxury. Being a leader in the natural resources industry always requires a dedication to not only advancing business and expansion but also safeguarding and monitoring the industry for its longevity, for the benefit of all. Personally, I dedicate much of my time to the betterment of the industry, which in turn allows me to understand the inner workings, regulations and deep function of the natural diamond industry. I am very proud to be a part of the Kimberley Process Taskforce, which comprises [many] hardworking individuals dedicated to the longevity, monitoring and betterment of the natural diamond industry. 

The Kimberley Process (KP) works with governments, civil society and the wider industry to prevent the trade of ‘conflict diamonds’ and is responsible for kerbing 99.8 percent of the trade of all conflict-related diamonds in the world. Joining the WDC and KPTF, led by our new and inspirational president, Ms. Feriel Zerouki, was a natural step for me to dedicate myself to the ethics and sustainability of this wonderful and beneficial global industry. The new System of Warranties (SoW) was recently implemented to extend the effectiveness of the KP beyond the import/export of rough diamonds and is an example of an ever-evolving, dynamic and conscious industry. Being part of this change, and dedicating my time to the industry’s betterment and evolution is a core part of my personal business ethics and leadership style.

At the time of writing this interview, I am currently in Zimbabwe with the World Diamond Council (WDC) working on the 2023 Kimberley Process Plenary Meeting. Much discussion has occurred surrounding the current geopolitics, the proposed G7 Diamond Protocol and the Final Communique of the KP, which has provided me with a truly in-depth understanding of how the natural diamond industry is monitored and regulated. As part of my continued dedication to the betterment and sustainability of the diamond industry, I look forward to continuing Saphira’s membership with the World Diamond Council and continuing my work in the Kimberley Process Taskforce into 2024—Work which I truly enjoy, and find challenging, and allows me to make an impact on the natural diamond industry. 

As a pioneer for first-generation female scientists and jewellers, what message or advice do you have for other women looking to enter the diamond and jewellery business?

This is a great question. My best advice for anyone looking to break into the diamond industry is to have full faith in yourself that you can do it and to establish a plan. Know that obstacles will arise, but remember to be resilient and know that the only person who knows your true potential is you. I once heard a saying that said that when trying something new, [to] become good at it, you need to be prepared to be bad at it first. Expect to make mistakes, look silly from time to time and be gentle with yourself while you learn an entirely new industry, that can feel like another world at times. Take your time, do your research and always trust your gut and instincts. The best thing you can do is associate yourself with like-minded people who push you to grow and be the best version of yourself.

Surround yourself with kind people and establish a good network. You should never be the smartest person in the room, and if you are, find a new room to stand in. Remember that learning is something that comes from experience, respect those with experience and be open to new experiences along the way. Once you feel you have mastered something, look to master something new and never lose your natural sense of curiosity, or let anyone tell you that your dreams are too big.

Most importantly, enjoy the journey along the way, and don’t forget to look back on your progress and give gratitude for all the days you have made it through, and all of the incredible days ahead of you, yet to be lived.

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