“Everyone is born with different capacity and talent. If you use it you will not live with regret.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Igal Dahan, a fifth-generation, French jewelry designer who is affectionately called The James Bond of Jewelry. He’s a chic jet-setter who has lived in five countries (France, Belgium, Thailand, Israel, USA), designs jewelry lines including The Saturnalia Collection of fine-art, pink and blue sapphire pieces (Price points between $27,860 and $47,860) and has a tender approach to his artistry with a sophisticated eye for beauty. Celebs including Elton John, Kim Kardashian, The Hilton Sisters and Matt Damon have worn his pieces, and his previous Cuffs of Love line has been distributed in 26 countries.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I remember when I was three years old and, each time my father would design a new jewelry piece, he would bring it home to show my mother. At this very young age I was paying attention and learning. I loved jewelry and knew that I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps. I attended L’Ecole du Louvre / Institut de Gemmologie in Paris. While in school I was working at Rue Du Temple in Paris as a stone setter. Once completing L’Ecole du Louvre I moved to Antwerp, Belgium to study and later receive the HRD Diamond Expert Certification. I specialized in buying and selling precious stones to Graff Diamonds, David Morris, Boucheron, Chaumet, and Van Cleef and Arpels. I moved to Bangkok, Thailand, with my family. It was there where I came up with a design of an interchangeable ring, making it possible to change the center stone of the ring. In Bangkok, my father formed a factory and the interchangeable ring was created. Once I moved to Los Angeles, California, where I created i.d x-change Cuffs of Love. This jewelry line is worn by many celebrities and sold in over 26 countries worldwide. In 2017, I went back to my love for precious stones and created IGAL DAHAN fine jewelry. My dream was always to be Me and now my dream has become reality.
We know that it is not always easy for a foreigner to do business in China. Can you share an interesting story about a challenge that you faced, and how you overcame it?
I am used to international business and different cultures. The Chinese people are extremely smart in business so it is more of a pleasure to do business with them, than a challenge.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
My newest collection is called The Winder of Love. I decided upon this name because of the winder of a watch. Instead of winding your watch, you are winding your love. This collection is a luxurious play on form and materiality. With elegant screws and gears adorned by precious metals and gems, each style of the collection is named after one of The Twelve Horai, daughters of Khronos and goddesses of the hours of the day, who guide the path of the sun as it journeys across the sky.
What advice would you give to other business owners who do business in China, to help their employees to thrive?
Recognizing your mistakes doesn’t make you inferior. That’s how you become stronger and better. The mistakes teach you how to be better. Learn from everyone.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My father has absolutely helped me to be where I am today. Whenever I came to him with a complicated design he has always came up with the technology to execute the jewelry piece. I still love working with him to this day and I am forever grateful.
We keep hearing about the “Trade War”. What are your thoughts about it? Given the unknowns, how do you plan to pivot?
For now, most of the items that have been effected by the new tariffs are industrial goods rather than consumer products, and most of my raw supplies come from other parts of the world, so the tariffs have not impacted my business, so far.
What are your “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Do Business In China.” (Please share a story or example for each.)
- You have to be transparent.
- You have to be sure you understand perfectly what your client wants.
- You must have everything in writing.
- You cannot be delayed on delivery.
- Always provide more details so there are no questions.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Everyone is born with different capacity and talent. If you use it you will not live with regret.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
My advice to everyone is that first you must find out what you want to do. Once you find out what you want to do think about where it will bring you in 10 years. If you like what you foresee then start to execute it.