The Colorful World of Samuel Sylvio
When it comes to colored gemstones and precious gemstone jewelry, one name stands out—Samuel Sylvio. To learn more about the company, GemScene caught up with its co-founder, Samuel Sulimanov, in his New York office.
Interview conducted by Cynthia Unninayar
Q: Samuel Sylvio is a family business. Can you tell us a bit about how it got started?
A: I have been in the gemstone business for more than 35 years, dealing with precious gems. First, in a partnership with another dealer, and then a few years ago, my wife Sylvia and I continued our passion for color and started Samuel Sylvio. We specialize in precious gems and high quality gemstone jewelry.
Q: What types of loose gems do you carry, and where do you source the gems?
A: While we carry mostly the big three—sapphire, ruby and emerald—we also have an extensive inventory of Paraiba tourmaline. This neon-blue gem is truly one of our favorites. As for sourcing, we have connections around the world, and travel a lot in search of the perfect gemstone, sometimes going directly to the mines in places such as Sri Lanka, Thailand, Madagascar and Brazil, among others.
Q: What type of finished jewelry do you make, and what is its design inspiration?
A: Our jewels are handcrafted in 18K gold or platinum, generally in more classical and timeless styles, although some are quite contemporary. Sylvia and myself are responsible for the designs, which are usually dictated by the center stone itself. We let the stone speak to us, how it can be set to its beauty. We also add fancy-shape diamonds to enhance the setting.
Q: What do you see as today’s most prominent trends in gemstone jewelry in terms of stones and colors, and what are your bestselling gems?
A: The most prominent trend—and our bestselling gem—is definitely Paraiba. Buyers of this bluish-green tourmaline seem to be mostly self-purchasing women, who appreciate the uniqueness and freshness of the gem. I might add, too, that Paraiba is becoming more and more difficult to source, and prices for quality stones are rising. It is also worth mentioning that Paraiba comes in a range of colors, but the neon blue hues are the most prized. Blue sapphires are also quite popular.
Q: Recently, you had the novel idea of offering Bulgari’s Paraiba perfume with purchases of your Paraiba jewelry. What has been the reaction to this marketing endeavor?
A: People simply love it! The perfume is highly appreciated by our customers, and is a special treat for their rare luxury jewelry purchase. The retail stores place the perfume in their showcase next to the Paraiba jewels and give it as a gift with a purchase. It makes the buying experience so much more memorable and unique.
Q: You stated that prices of Paraiba jewelry are rising. What about the global market for high-end gemstones in general?
A: Prices of high-end gemstones in general are going up. This is due to the fact that they are becoming more scarce. Affluent consumers around the world who appreciate gemstones are buying.
Q: Do you also create custom jewelry?
A: Yes. It is not uncommon for a client to request a specific gem and ask us to create a piece around it. We work closely with the customer in this case to understand and manage their desires and expectations. I would like to add, too, that some of our clients purchase high quality gems and jewelry as wearable investments.
Q: Are you and/or the brand involved in community activities?
A: Yes, we are. I am president of the New York Gemstone Association and work with others to help our industry to maintain a good reputation, which includes transparency and proper disclosure. One of our recent campaigns was to warn members and the jewelry industry about fraudulent online activity and wire transfers. We are also involved with local charities. (www.samuelsylvio.com)