Meet: Misfit Diamonds
We spoke to Ashkan Asgari, founder and owner of Misfit Diamonds, a loose diamond supplier based in Vancouver. We work closely with Misfit to source many of the gemstones found in our engagement rings (you can see a selection here). Not only does Ashkan have an eye for out-of-the-ordinary stones, but he's also dedicated to making changes in the industry.
How did you get into diamonds?
I grew up in the industry and, depending on the day; my dad will tell you he's either a third- or fifth-generation goldsmith. So it's been in our family for a while.
I grew up around the retail and wholesale side, and, like the child of any entrepreneur, I remember going to the shop or office on the weekends and holidays as a kid.
After a break, I got back into it in 2007 and have been in loose diamond wholesale for 11 years now.
Why did you start Misfit Diamonds?
It was early-2012. I was working with a company, and I remember telling my mentor, "It's an honour to earn a living selling shiny rocks, but it'd be cool if we did something positive with this privilege." That's when I first started to try and find more transparency in our sourcing and the origins of our products.
Fast-forward to the end of 2018. I'd split with that company and decided to create the diamond company I'd been trying to build.
So, I started with a focus on salt and pepper diamonds and odd or irregular stones that aren't your usual traditional material.
But what we're trying to build at Misfit isn't just about salt and pepper diamonds. We're trying to create a company that can swim upstream in the diamond supply chain. To work directly with buying and cutters so that we can start creating transparency from rough to polished stones.
From there, we want to see if we can utilize our position to give back to the communities where the mining is happening to create infrastructure and jobs. Because it's a real privilege to make a living selling shiny rocks. I love what I do, but the guiding vision for Misfit is something slightly bigger, to try to move the industry forward and create progress where we can.
Are there any projects you're particularly excited about at the moment?
Gahcho Kué Mine
Step one for me has always been, "How do we ensure transparency from rough to polished [gem] with the data points to validate it? "I've had a lot of conversations with people in the trade about sourcing and last summer I was chatting with a manufacturer, and he told me, I think I know someone who can help you.
In November 2020, I got a message saying, "We've got these diamonds from the Gahcho Kué Mine in Canada, we're going to do x-type of cut, are you interested?" And I said, "I'll take anything I can get my hands on!"
So, right now we're laying the groundwork for what I hope can be a specific supply of rough materials. Materials of which we know the origin and documentation from the get-go. For me, it's one of the most exciting things to have happened. It's probably a small step in a much longer journey. But right now, it feels like a dream come true!
When you're not staring at diamonds, what's the one activity you do to relax/unwind?
Covid-19 took a lot of my favourite activities away, like travelling! But being out in B.C during the pandemic has been great, being in nature, going on hikes and hanging out with my kids.