Established in 2015, ZCOVA Jewellery has been making waves in the jewellery business with its industry-disrupting business model. Selling diamonds online is a relatively new concept for jewellery lovers and first-time buyers, but it seems to have caught on with the younger generation with ZCOVA’s 360˚ diamond viewing videos, personalised virtual consultations, virtual try-ons using augmented reality and its dual diamond certification.
Having just launched its latest Affirmation Jewellery Collection, the company believes in nurturing its customers’ well-being. Empowering words for self-love get embedded into our subconscious mind, which plants the seeds to manifest into reality.
The new collection comprises nine gold pendants in 14k or 18k gold engraved with different positive symbols that reflect the essence of empowering words, help the wearer change their mindset or overcome limiting beliefs to realise their true potential and become the best version of themselves. Further customisation of these pendants is also possible with engravings of words or images on the back.
Founded by two brothers, Low Ziwei and Low Ziyin, all of ZCOVA’s jewellery is custom-made, which means anyone who wishes to buy a piece of jewellery from them will co-create their own design with expert advice from a ZCOVA curator.
From engagement rings and wedding bands to fine jewellery, their handcrafted jewellery with conflict-free and ethically-sourced diamonds and other gemstones ensures that there will always be transparency and reliability in their jewellery purchase.
Luxurious Magazine: Tell us about ZCOVA and why you started the company.
ZCOVA: The inspiration behind the brand’s inception is truly a personal one. When Ziwei was planning to propose to his then-girlfriend, he realised that he had purchased an engagement ring at an inflated price. Ziwei sought the advice of his brother Ziyin, a professional gemologist. Ziyin’s career journey led him to immerse himself in Beirut, Lebanon’s diamond industry, where he honed his skills as an appraiser, rough diamond grader, and designer.
Ziwei: As a result of my disappointing experience with buying a diamond ring, it was clear to me that a pain point needed to be addressed. I found the process of buying a diamond ring to be frustrating, overwhelming, and even deceitful at times. Too many intermediaries were involved, leading to high mark-ups and making it difficult for consumers to know exactly what they were paying for.
That is why Ziyin and I started ZCOVA. We saw an opportunity to evolve the diamond industry. We wanted to introduce an online diamond buying experience that is centred around the customer, transparent, and priced competitively. By cutting out the middlemen and working directly with diamond suppliers, we can offer high-quality diamonds at a fair price.
We also place a strong emphasis on educating our customers about diamonds before they buy. We believe that it is important for customers to have a clear understanding so that they can make an informed decision. That’s why we offer a wealth of educational resources covering everything from 4Cs to gemstones.
On top of that, customers can create something truly unique and special through our customisable options. We believe in giving our customers the power to design their rings and select their preferred diamond shape, cut, clarity, and colour to ensure that every piece is tailored to their specific tastes and style.
LM: Why did you decide to sell diamonds and jewellery online?
ZCOVA: We wanted to make the process of buying a diamond as enjoyable as possible. That’s why we created an online platform that allows customers to choose or design their own engagement rings and other fine jewellery pieces while offering the most competitive prices. By incorporating ZCOVA’s AR Try-On technology, customers are also able to try on rings at any place and time.
More importantly, we want customers to have an unbiased buying experience by affording them the luxury of selecting diamonds without undue pressure. Through our online platform, customers also have the added convenience of communicating with our Curators at any time to understand their diamond selection better. All these factors challenge the notion that purchasing diamonds must be done in person.
LM: What kinds of jewellery do you specialise in, and what is your target market?
ZCOVA: Our expertise lies in sourcing the finest diamonds, gemstones, and jewellery. We take pride in our engagement rings, wedding rings, and other bespoke pieces, collaborating closely with our in-house designers and customers who wish to participate in the creative process. We cater to anyone looking to purchase diamonds, regardless of age or gender.
LM: Do you just specialise in diamonds, or do you also sell other gemstones?
Ziyin: We can source any rare diamonds or gemstones imaginable. From Imperial Jade, Pink Conch Pearl to Red Diamonds. These are just the tip of the iceberg of what we could source for our customers. To assure our customers that the gemstones they are getting are genuine, all our gemstones are graded by reputable laboratories that specialise in Gemstones (Ruby, Sapphire Jade etc.)
These gemstones are certified to provide an assurance that the gemstones purchased are from their particular origin because each gemstone’s origin produces gemstones with different hues and saturations. For example, ruby – the most sought-after ruby is from Burma (Myanmar), which has a vivid red hue and saturation, whereas a Mozambique ruby’s vivid red has a slightly darker hue compared to Burma (Myanmar).
LM: Can you explain a little about your business model and why you chose this particular model?
Ziyin: It was very new for us to start a business in the jewellery line, but we came in with a very fresh idea. We want to bring the actual value of the diamond to our customers, and we want to do it online. We’re different not just in the fact that we’re online; our jewellery is custom-made and available at a reasonable price.
Ziwei: The industry norm is for retailers to have high mark-ups for diamonds, leading to the misconception that they are exclusive goods when in fact, they have become a commodity like oil or gold. What retailers do is that they try to sell their inventory because that is all they have (at that moment). Being an online enterprise, ZCOVA can provide competitive pricing for all our diamonds and gemstones.
Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, we do not maintain physical inventory. Instead, we are connected to our suppliers’ online inventories, which gives us access to over 150,000 diamonds.
LM: So far, what has been the biggest challenge to your business?
Ziyin: Our main challenge in growing the business is educating the consumers on how to buy a diamond and how buying diamonds online is safe and easy.
This concept of purchasing diamonds online is still very new to Southeast Asia, and shopping for a diamond can be overwhelming as you’re faced with a paralysing number of choices.
You need to figure out the desired shape, colour, clarity, cut quality, the size of the diamond and the type of certificate that the diamond carries.
Educating our customers is crucial in helping them make informed decisions when purchasing diamonds. Providing ample education requires us to constantly adapt and improve our communication strategies, ensuring that we deliver clear, concise and easily understandable information.
We have overcome this challenge by investing in our customer service and communication channels, which have helped us to build stronger relationships with our customers and provide them with a more personalised experience.
Ziwei: Operating online poses various challenges, with customer trust being the foremost concern. ZCOVA tackles this issue by guaranteeing the authenticity of our diamonds through GIA certification. This means that each purchase is accompanied by an independent, accurate and detailed report about the diamond’s unique qualities.
Ziyin: If customers ask us how we guarantee that our diamonds are genuine, we tell them that if the laser inscription on the diamond does not match the certificate, we will refund them whatever amount they’re satisfied with – that’s how confident we are with our products.
LM: What item has been your most popular or best seller?
ZCOVA: The Lia Cathedral Engagement Ring is a clear customer favourite and the top-selling diamond engagement ring. Its popularity is attributed to its elegant and simplistic design, which appeals to customers who like some brilliance.
From the top, it looks like a classic solitaire ring, but the secret is revealed when you tilt the ring to its side! The name Lia, derived from the Greek language, translates to “bearer of good news,” making it the perfect representation for an engagement ring. This design boasts a pave doughnut and a crown sitting on top, creating a striking and distinctive piece.
LM: Do you think bespoke or custom-designed jewellery is the future of the industry?
Ziyin: Custom-designed jewellery is becoming increasingly popular as people seek pieces that reflect their unique identities and personal style. Advances in technology have made it easier and more affordable to create bespoke jewellery, allowing designers to produce highly detailed and intricate designs with 3D printing and other digital tools.
This process also allows customers to be involved in the design process, creating a stronger emotional connection to the piece. The trend towards custom-designed jewellery is expected to continue growing in popularity.
LM: What are your expansion plans in the future?
ZCOVA: We’re continuously looking for opportunities to expand our reach and meet the evolving needs of our customers. As part of our growth strategy, we’re excited to announce that we have plans to launch our showroom in Australia, Ipoh, and Sabah.
LM: Are you just selling to Malaysians right now, or do you also sell internationally?
ZCOVA: Currently, our main focus is on the Malaysian market. However, we do have plans to expand our business to international markets in the future. We are constantly growing our customer base and building relationships with clients worldwide.
There is a significant opportunity for us to expand our business globally, and we’re excited about the potential this holds for our brand.
LM: How do you think jewellery empowers women?
Ziwei: At ZCOVA, we believe in the power of self-expression and confidence. Our designs are created to make women feel empowered and beautiful. We understand that jewellery is more than just adornment; it is a statement of who you are and what you stand for.
For women, jewellery can serve as a statement of one’s values and personal style and can also symbolise personal achievements or milestones, reminding women of their strength and resilience. Wearing jewellery can give women a sense of confidence and empowerment that can translate into all aspects of their lives.
LM: In celebration of International Women’s Day, how do you think ZCOVA jewellery reflects the changing role of women in society today?
Ziwei: We are constantly inspiring women to feel confident in their own skin, embrace their uniqueness, and celebrate their achievements. Our brand reflects the changing role of women in society today by offering a range of high-quality and customisable pieces that allow women to express themselves and own their distinctive style.
By acknowledging the growing trend of financial independence and self-sufficiency among women, we strongly empower women to make their purchases independently without feeling pressure or obligation from anyone else. We are committed to supporting women in their individuality and celebrating their unique qualities within the community.
LM: Can you explain the rationale behind your Affirmation Jewellery line?
ZCOVA: We’ve designed the Affirmation Jewellery – a selection of powerful, wearable reminders that are more than just a fashion piece; they are a tool of empowerment. Our pendants feature empowering messages engraved beautifully, with the intention of inspiring women to believe in their abilities, potential, and aspirations.
In addition to being a meaningful accessory, the affirmation jewellery also makes for an ideal gift to give to someone who could use an extra boost of confidence or motivation.
LM: The jewellery industry has a long history of being male-dominated. What do you think male leaders within this industry can do to contribute towards securing a gender-equal future?
Ziwei: At ZCOVA, we firmly believe in the importance of women’s empowerment and the fundamental respect for human rights. Our brand is committed to advancing equality as it aligns with our core values. We embrace women’s empowerment and celebrate the philosophy of love, respect, and honour towards women that lies at the heart of our brand.
We are proud to have a talented team of female designers, photographers, managers, and marketers who are an integral part of the ZCOVA family. It is important for us to have diverse voices in our business and strive to provide equal opportunities for all.
For further information about ZCOVA and its Affirmative Jewellery Collection, please visit https://zcova.com.
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