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December 31, 2014

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Distinct diamonds from the heart

GLENN Rothman, founder and CEO of Hearts On Fire, calls Shanghai “the city of the 21st century, the city of the future.”

The diamond retailer is making its first foray into China with a store opening on Nanjing Road soon. The company also plans stores in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province and Hainan Province.

Rothman said Hearts On Fire’s roots go back to 1996, when he met a small diamond manufacturer who had been making super high quality diamonds for a very important customer who had run into financial difficulties.

The manufacturer showed Rothman a diamond, a moment he describes as extraordinary. The first word out of his mouth after seeing the diamond was “wow,” he said.

“I’ve never seen a diamond sparkle like that before, it literally spoke to me,” he said, even though he had been buying, selling and trading diamonds with his wife for 18 years.

The man took the diamond, put it face down on a black disk and put a cylinder over it, asking Rothman to take a look inside.

“I saw eight perfect symmetrical hearts in the diamond,” he said. “Then he said wait, took the diamond and turned it over, and I saw eight firebursts coming out like arrows.”

The manufacturer explained that “when the diamond has perfect proportions, perfect symmetry, perfect alignment and polish, what you see is a natural phenomenon of light.”

Rothman said this is how he learned to differentiate diamonds by quality and the beginning of Hearts On Fire.

“I immediately took this diamond and put it in my pocket and for the first time in 18 years I did not negotiate price,” he said. “I did not negotiate terms, I did not negotiate at all. I just said, ‘bill me’.”

He said you don’t have to be a professional diamond expert to understand the beauty of this diamond.

“Eventually we worked very hard to perfect it. He (the manufacturer) had created to a certain standard, over a two to three-year period we learned how to tailor what he had created and created a formula. We used that formula to contract manufacturers,” Rothman added.

The first word Rothman uses to describe the Hearts On Fire brand is celebration, followed by passion.

“Hearts On Fire is all about celebrating the most perfect moments in people’s lives,” he said. “And it creates a passion for life, a passion for giver and receiver, it’s quite extraordinary because Hearts On Fire is really literally ultimate recognition.”

The company starts with the very best optically pure raw diamonds, less than one tenth of one percent qualify for a Hearts On Fire diamond. And the diamonds are manufactured in 100 magnification and more, 10 times more than the industry standard.

“We use the best materials, the best craftsman and the best technology,” he said.

Rothman said he has very high standards in terms of integrity and achievement.

“Sometimes that does not make me happy because I’m always looking to reach extraordinary goals,” he said. “I call them ‘big hairy audacious goals’.”

The brand is only 18 years old but now sells in over 500 locations in 32 countries around the world.

Rothman’s business roots go back to shortly after he graduated from University of Pennsylvania and sold wallets on the streets of Boston. By the early 1970s, he and his wife, Susan Rothman, opened a fashion business, which they sold in 1978.

After dinner with some friends, including a couple from South Africa, they became intrigued by the diamond business, said Glenn Rothman.

“At this point we already knew how to build a business, we knew how to import and distribute, we knew how to build sales teams. So we thought, ‘why don’t we start a diamond business’,” Rothman recalled.

The couple has now been in the diamond industry for 36 years.

“Hearts On Fire is not just a luxury diamond jewelry brand, it symbolizes the very best in love, positive values and personal relationships,” he said. “It communicates a new world standard that creates and celebrates life’s perfect moments.”


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