Her exceptional knowledge and love for diamonds makes Lisa Levinson as rare as the diamonds she works with. I met Lisa during a talk she gave at the GIA’s London campus. Ever since then, I have followed her on social media and continued to learn about the diamond industry through the stories and facts she shares. The palette goes from the impact of laboratory-grown diamonds on the market to the social and economic effects of the industry on different communities.
Lisa Levinson is currently the UK Head of Marketing and communications for the Natural Diamond Council (NDC). Her career began in South Africa where she learned about rough diamonds before joining the De Beers Group. She is well-known to be the woman, who launched the diamond jewellery brand Forevermark in the UK.
F: If you could give a TED Talk, what topic would you speak about?
L: I would share my story of how I got into the diamond industry – what made me change my career. My story is deeply connected with other people as there is always a special story of connection behind diamonds.
I lived in Sweden, and my then Australian boyfriend was offered a job in South Africa. He said, he would only accept if I joined him. How romantic?! Long story short, I decided to go on a sabbatical from my job working as a ManagementConsultant and packed my bags. When I arrived, my boyfriend decided to give me a “real South African welcome gift”. I thought it would be a zebra print pillow or a t-shirt with a giraffe on it, but to my surprise he had bought me a pair of beautiful diamond stud earrings which I loved!
I got interested in diamonds and signed up for a diamond course in Johannesburg where I learned how to grade rough diamonds. I had so much fun that I could see a future for myself in diamonds. I was hooked. I knew I wanted to work for a diamond company, so I sent my resume to DeBeers Group. I applied ten times with no response, so I tried an unconventional method and introduced myself via social media. I was then invited to an interview and when I arrived at their office, I felt so intimidated by the interior design. I was convinced the interview went badly after having been grilled by five people for 2.5 hours.
Just a week later I have found myself working with diamonds. I had a rocky start on my first day and dropped a diamond which could have marked the end to my shiny new career. I had no idea at the time that the stone I dropped had a value of $5 million.
To summarise, those stud earrings were a sign of faith, a new career and tons of love for diamonds. I still wear them every day! They launched me on a new journey which has taken me travelling around the world.
F: What do you know about diamonds that other people find hard to believe or completely insane?
L: When people say that “There are so many diamonds in the world.” On the contrary! I enjoy sharing informationabout the actual rarity and uniqueness of a diamond. I have spent time with a diamond mining company where I got to witness the processes, see exactly the amount produced and worked on real diamond production numbers. They are incredibly rare! We produce a tiny amount of diamonds each year and most of them aren’t gem quality. Furthermore, the larger sizes are even rarer, with the total number of +5 carat stones making up less than the volume of a basketball.
Topping that up with the fancy colours, yellow diamonds for example, are super rare. The pinks are even rarer. The Argyle Mine, which produces 90% of the world’s pink diamonds, will close this year. We are talking about an extremely small number of pink diamonds being produced, with all the worlds pink stones able to fit into a champagne flute. When you walk up and down New Bond Street, you may say to yourself “Oh my, what a lovely 15 ct. pear shaped blue diamond, and a 15 ct. pink one too!” What you do not realise is that these stones would have been painstakingly collected over the years. Take red diamonds for example, you must be incredibly lucky to see one! There are about 60-70 red diamonds larger than 1 ct in the world and most of them I’d assume are in vaults.
F: If you would have a gigantic billboard anywhere, what would it say?
I would put on it a couple of my beloved diamonds quotes:
💎1. ‘’There are 3 things that are extremely hard: steel, diamonds and knowing yourself!’’
💎2. ‘’Everyone wants to shine like a diamond, but only a few people want to be cut!’’
F: What’s a fun fact about yourself?
L: I like to buy unusual and diamond-related domain names.
Written by www.frankassparklers.com
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