TRADE SECRETS: FOR DECADES, ONE FAMILY HAS DEALT DISCREETLY IN SOME OF THE WORLD’S MOST EXTRAORDINARY COLORED GEMS.
August 1, 2015
Article by: Jill Newman
Forty years ago, Amir Hadjibay made a generous offer on a mesmerizing, untreated, 206-carat Colombian emerald owned by a collector in Zurich, who flatly declined. Undaunted, Amir told him, “When you are ready to sell, please give me the opportunity to buy it.”
Four decades later, during the Baselworld watch and jewelry show, the stone’s owner approached the Hadjibay family’s showcase unannounced and presented the emerald to Amir’s sons, Moris and Giacomo. The brothers instantly recognized the gem their father had described, and they purchased it without hesitation, knowing they would never come across another example of similar size and beauty. Recent auction sales of top-quality emeralds place this stone’s value at more than $30 million, though members of the Hadjibay family consider it priceless—especially as their ability to acquire it represents a lifelong investment in cultivating the right connections. Long-standing relationships and mutual trust drive deals in the high-end gem world, and Amir has remained one of the most respected dealers for more than 60 years. As a result, he has access to some of the world’s greatest treasures—many of them so rare that they never appear at auctions, changing hands instead among only a few discreet international brokers. “In this business,” says Moris, “your reputation is most important.”