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10 Minutes With...Sally Ryder, Founder of RYDER Diamonds

An interview with Sally Ryder, Founder and Director of Jewellery Brand, RYDER Diamonds

Name: Sally Ryder | Occupation: Founder and Director of RYDER Diamonds | Location: Hong Kong

Each week we interview creatives and entrepreneurs from across the city to learn more about their passions and aspirations. This week, we got up and personal with Sally Ryder, Founder and Director of RYDER Diamonds.

Image courtesy of Sally Ryder

The Questions

1) Can you tell us about RYDER Diamonds and how you started the company? Getting into this industry was actually a little by mistake and a little bit of fate. It came about when I was when I was at university in Melbourne and was looking for a part-time job. I applied for a sales job that had been posted on our university website, and with no actual background in sales, found myself selling diamonds at a diamond trading company—that’s how I got my step into the diamond industry.

I came to Hong Kong with a banking job in the early 2000s but my heart was set on founding a jewellery brand. Having already had my foot into the industry, my passion for diamonds never died; I even got a certification in Gemology after graduation and always had an ambition to get back into the diamond industry. I founded RYDER Diamonds in 2005, from the desire to revive the dying art of jewellery craftsmanship and create an unparalleled client experience that informs and inspires. I wanted to create a place that was the “Lexus” of diamonds—in the middle of the two ends of the spectrum in Hong Kong; one where there’s the low-end mass-manufactured jewellery and the other where there are the high-end luxury brand stores, which are super expensive. I found a niche in the market which I wanted to fill, creating luxurious handcrafted diamond jewellery but at a more affordable price.

Image courtesy of Sally Ryder

2) How can someone who is less experienced in fine jewellery become more aware? I host a monthly complimentary Masterclass (both online and in the showroom) that educates and empowers individuals and clients on understanding the diamond buying process. Buying a diamond can be complicated, confusing and various platforms can be misleading. Education is something we take pride in at RYDER Diamonds, as we believe that individuals who are looking to purchase a piece of diamond jewellery should have an understanding of diamonds. We want to ensure that individuals are better informed about smart diamond buying, and to trust valuable resources to obtain quality, ethically sourced diamonds that fit their budget.

3) When did you get your first piece of fine jewellery? The first piece of fine jewellery I bought for myself was from the gold souk in Dubai. I was about 17 years old and went with my dad on one of his work trips with Singapore Airlines. I saved up the money and bought myself a Cartier link style gold bracelet. It was stolen from my apartment years later from a break-in, and although the dollar value wasn’t all that great, it broke my heart to lose it. It was a special piece of jewellery that held memories of that trip.

Image courtesy of Sally Ryder 4) What are your favourite things to do in Hong Kong? My favourite thing to do these days is to spend Sunday mornings going out for a coffee and playing with the kids. It’s the only time of the week I have to truly spend quality time with my family. My new favourite place is INK along the waterfront in TST. It has amazing views of Hong Kong Island. Before kids, I loved sailing with my friends with boats. Hong Kong has so many amazing islands and creates a feeling of being a million miles away from the hustle-bustle of the city. I still get to do this occasionally, but these days, time with the family is a priority.

Image courtesy of Sally Ryder

6) Quote to live by? The secret to having everything is believing you already do.

7) Where are your favourite hotels in Hong Kong? I love The Murray hotel for Popinjays on the rooftop; great outdoor space and open views of the city. Recently, I went to The Rosewood and loved the décor and its plethora of fabulous restaurants.

8) What can a customer expect as a first-timer to visit your showroom? RYDER Diamonds was founded to celebrate the traditions of jewellery-making and as part of this mission, education is an integral part of the RYDER experience. In creating each bespoke piece, our highly experienced in-house team works closely and collaboratively with clients throughout the process. I often say, no two diamonds are the same, and a client’s masterpiece should be just as unique.

From start to finish, we ensure each client is walked through each stage of the creative process. Unlike other jewellers, we start with the design of the piece, as these details are far more important than the diamond itself. The design gives the piece essence and a unique personality that cannot be replicated or purchased off a shelf.

A poorly made or designed setting will make even the most expensive and beautiful diamond look unappealing. On the other hand, you can make an average diamond look amazing in a gorgeous design.

We hand draw each piece to scale during the consultation with clients, later becoming a one-of-a-kind keepsake. Only once both parties are pleased with the final design does crafting begin. The creative process can be rather mysterious for the uninitiated, so clients who are curious about what goes into making a bespoke piece can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the RYDER workshop while their piece is being expertly crafted by the in-house artisan jewellers.

Image courtesy of Sally Ryder

9) What are you most looking forward to next year for 2021?

I look forward to continuing our efforts to connect with our clientele via social media. During the pandemic, we learned that our audience enjoys conversing and transacting with us via social media, and we want to ensure that we are always improving upon the experience we offer them.

We also have a collaboration coming up in the new year, which we cannot announce just yet, but are very excited about and hope to share soon!

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