Objects made from precious materials such as gold and diamonds have long been prized as denoting power, status, wealth or love.
Damas, the largest jeweller in the Middle East, has a network of 180 stores in seven countries, representing both international brands from Europe, Japan and India while also its own in-house brands, from their own stable of designers.
Luc Perramond, Chairman and CEO at Damas Jewellery, says that the needs of customers are changing. “The values of luxury have changed, especially with the new generation of customers. Price, which used to be the main attribute of luxury, is no longer the most important one. The main attributes today are craftsmanship, design, but also sustainability.”
How will Damas change to reflect these new customer drivers? Perramond has bold plans for the future.
“Innovation is key. At Damas, we try to be disruptive. We try to bring a lot of innovation in order to show our customers that we can always be at the edge. We can be bringing them new experiences, new products, new ways of wearing jewellery and new materials. So it's very important to surprise your customers and to bring them something very new all the time.”
The ultimate ambition is to reinvent the company and make it the go-to destination for jewellery design in the Middle East. “Our mission is to create an unparalleled customer experience. Integrating storytelling with design is key because you want to create an emotional connection with your customer and bring them into the world of Damas. It was very important for us to incorporate in-house designs and move away from generic designs because we want to build the DNA of Damas. Therefore, we had to create a team of internal designers that really understand our brand.”
Perramond has been the driver behind the use of lab-grown diamonds that are the signature stone in the Gaia collection. This innovative material is taking Damas further towards sustainability, ethical practice, and more eco-friendly jewellery.
“The Gaia collection is very important to us, which is for the first time introducing man-made diamonds to our customers,” says Perramond. “Gaia is a Greek goddess of earth. And it has a great significance because manmade diamonds are sustainable.”
Damas’s existing relationships with European and international brands such as Graff, Roberto Coin and True Love, enable the company to demonstrate leadership and expertise in their market. Moving forward, however, Perramond is keen to showcase local talent.
“We wanted Bayt Damas to be a platform to help young and local designers exhibit their work. There is an exhibition space at Bayt Damas, where they can bring their creations. We invite our clients so that there is a platform where new talent can really emerge.”
Branding is proving to be essential for the jewellery sector, driven by large international groups in luxury, but Perramond believes there is a need for independent brands. “A distinctive personality identity can bring innovation. I believe those brands will be successful in the future, so we work hard every day to maintain our leadership in this industry, in the region by attracting and retaining the top talents in the industry, whether it's designer, product people, market people. It's very important to have the top talent. This helps us to be innovative, creative, which is another way to lead by being innovative every day.”