The Rock in the Relationship
Our interview with diamond designer Mihir Mehta.
By Kelly Kempf
Finding the perfect question-popping ring can be a tough undertaking. The very idea makes many people sweat, and lose sleep over whether or not they’ve made the right purchase. We sat down with Mihir Mehta, to talk about his lifelong involvement in the diamond industry, his ideas about designing the perfect ring, and why making money isn’t at the forefront of his business values.
Mihir started by telling us about his beginnings in design work. He recalled, “I originally wanted to go into finance, but I got the opportunity to learn from Rosy Blue. It is the biggest company in the world. It is in Belgium, and I took the opportunity because only a few hand-selected people get asked to come and learn.” Mihir told us that he started working with diamonds at a young age and that he picked up the tools (the eye glass and tweezer) of a diamond dealer at the age of 12.
We asked if his early beginnings had anything to do with his father, Pinal Mehta, who during his legacy, had become one of the most renowned names in the diamond industry. Proudly, he stated, “Yes, it’s third generation jewelry. Hopefully, my kid is going to follow in my footsteps.” We inquired if his childhood interest in diamonds felt like an obligation, due to his father’s business, or if it was something that genuinely captivated him. “When I was child I didn’t have that much interest. The further and deeper I got into the business, the more and more interested I got because I saw more and more aspects to the business. It was more than just selling a diamonda nd it was more than just selling an engagement ring. I saw the whole design process, along with the CAD designs that were done on a computer. I was able to see designs, and mentally visualize the changes I wanted to make, to generate an even better final product.”
From there, we delved into the question of materials. Clearly, Mihir works with diamonds, but we wanted to know if he was preferential to any particular metals. Because they are both popular choices among modern brides and grooms, we asked, specifically, for his opinion on rose gold and platinum. He said, “I’m not preferential to either one and they both almost appear the same to me. But when it comes to rose gold, I do tend to gravitate more towards it. I am actually in love with rose gold. Some of the designs that I’ve done look fantastic in rose gold and some only look good in platinum.” He took this opportunity to emphasize that his preference is not the one that ultimately matters, and that the satisfaction he strives to attain with each presentation of his finished work, comes from knowing that the recipient is happy. “It’s important that when a guy proposes to a girl, it’s not just about her liking the ring. It’s about her falling in love with it, and she has to see the ‘wow’ in it. That’s when you know that it’s the perfect engagement ring for her.” Aside from the selection of precious metal, one of the design elements that couples generally need to consider is the carat size, color and clarity of the diamond. Mihir added that the round cut stone is the most popular cut, next to cushion cut. He reflected, “The whole thing about the diamond is that you’re not just selling a rock. You’re selling somebody something they’re going to possess, and be in love with, for the rest of their life. It’s not just a diamond, whether it’s small or big. It’s special to every individual who is wearing it. Size is not the most important thing. It’s about the person wearing it and being in love with it.”
This begged the question of whether Mihir prefers it when couples come in, together, to work with him on a design. He claimed that, sometimes, the process is easier with a couple, because they both have a say in exactly what they want. He added that there are times when an individual client or couple will come to him, unsure of where to start. “The only thing they know is the shape. The size is sometimes confusing for them because they have a budget in mind, and they expected something for that price. I always try and educate them.” Acknowledging the fact that sometimes inspiration is found after the initial consultation, for those struggling with the details, he suggested a simple solitaire, to leave room for the possibility of a more elaborate design addition.
This brought up talk of retail and market values, and how they can significantly differ from store to store. Ultimately, and not surprisingly, Mihir strives to keep things fair. He has set the bar high for his employees, and for himself. His business practices are akin to the key values of marriage. He is devoted to working with clients in a partnership, and keeping open lines of communication. Mihir claimed that, unlike most business owners, he doesn’t turn his phone off in the evenings. This ensures that his clients can reach him at all times (no matter if he’s in his New York office, Mumbai or Mexico). He exclaims, “Call me up after two years, you’re in New York? Let’s go out for a drink!” Mainly concerned with building client relationships, he explained, “You build your customer base. It’s not just about the money. If you overprice yourself, that word isn’t going to get out. I’m not dying to make money. I’m here to build relationships. When I started my company, my dad said one thing to me; ‘You get a glass of water. Pour it into this hand.’ He holds out his left hand. ‘That’s one glass. You do it in this hand.’ He gestures to his right. ‘That’s two glasses. You work together with somebody.’ He clasps his hands together. ‘That’s three glasses.You’re each getting one and a half then. Everybody benefits.’”
Because so much of his business is getting to know his clients and the love that they trust his art to represent, his interest in the outcome of each piece extends far beyond financial gain or the actual wedding date. When asked if there have been any designs that have stuck with him, because of how much the couple loved the results, he said, “Absolutely. I just did a ring for a couple in Hawaii. He’s going to tag me on Instagram because he came up with this slogan, ‘From start to finish, don’t just buy your future. Build it.’” This is certainly a fitting motto for Mihir, an artisan that uses hopes, dreams, promises, and personal styles as the foundation of his works.
In an industry where value is often placed on the materials used, Mihir has found that the true reward for his work is long-term customer satisfaction. He elaborates, “Money… money comes, money goes. If I see a happy couple it’s more fulfilling than just the money and the financial side of things… because you know what? For the rest of their lives, they’ll be thinking, ‘Mihir did a good job.’ I’m more happy when somebody tells me something like this,” he gestures to his cellphone where the happy client’s Instagram post is displayed, “than just the money side of it.”