This May, Jewellery World Magazine attended the International Colombian Emerald Conference at the DMCC in Dubai which discussed market trends and the future of emerald certification.
Based in London’s Hatton Garden, London DE is the UK’s leading supplier of certified diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and other coloured gemstones. The company only deals in ethically sourced gems, and supplies loose stones and creates bespoke jewellery utilising local businesses in order to maintain a low carbon footprint and support the local community.
Please tell us the story and aims of the London DE company, why it was formed and where you hope the journey will take you?
Philip Spencer founded London DE in 2013 with a desire to build an ethical and sustainable business revolving around his love for gemstones and jewellery. Since then, his team has expanded significantly both internationally and in terms of third-party delivery partners. In 2020, we opened our Colombian subsidiary, London DE SAS, in the heart of the emerald district of Bogota to ensure we’re buying our stones and materials from the top of the supply chain and that we know exactly where our materials are sourced from. This provides transparency of our mine-to-market chain and cuts out any middlemen.
In January 2022, we opened our DMCC (Dubai MultiCommodities Centre) office in the United Arab Emirates, giving us direct access and insight into one of the fastest growing luxury retail markets in the world. We hope to become a renown trader in Colombian emeralds and luxury fine jewellery, providing exquisite pieces for close to trade value; both ethically and responsibly, always.
Since the founding of the company, Phil has strived for a clean and responsible business. He ensures all of our stones are supplied from trustworthy sources, high up in the supply chain, which are within our small circle of handpicked suppliers.
Throughout the whole pipeline, Phil inspects the working environments to ensure every employer who works under us is being paid and treated fairly, along with the correct health and safety standards. He ensures we give back to the communities which we work in or alongside, and only picks the finest stones to include in our collections of jewellery which we can trace directly back to source. Where possible we remain environmentally conscious by using a paper-less office and keeping our carbon footprint to a minimum.
How important is traceability and sustainability in your business model?
Traceability and sustainability is at the heart of all we do. Due to our lean business model, our Colombian emeralds can be traced back directly to their source. We visit the mines we source from yearly to check on our miners, as well as our suppliers who work directly with these mines and its owners. From here we source our stones which we pass through CDTEC gemmological laboratories to be certified, and then those stones are set into our jewellery. A clean and lean supply chain.
Not all jewellery and gemstone traders go to physically see the mines they are sourcing from. Here at LDE we think it’s important that we understand the heritage and environments of where our stones come from, get to know the miners and their families, see Colombia and its beauty for what it really is.
We work with one of the only government regulated Colombian Emerald mines in Muzo and within the country, alongside the only government regulated gemmological laboratory in Colombia; this means that we can 100 per cent guarantee the authenticity of our stones and their origin, providing transparent sourcing and proof of its responsible extraction.
Colombian emeralds can be difficult to pinpoint – they’re not readily available within the market unlike other gemstones and when they are it isn’t very clear as to where they have come from or how they have been extracted. LDE chooses the finest stones which come direct from our mines, those which have no oil or minor oil, with the most vibrant of colours. We also stock trapiche emeralds, a rarity on the market which can be difficult to come by within fine jewellery, found only within the Colombian mines. We strive for transparency with our customers and business partners, ensuring that our stones are those which have a short supply chain and certified within Colombia itself. It’s a unique business model that we believe is important within the industry.