Behind the Craft: Meet our Diamond Buyer
Ange Hardy is our resident diamond expert at Michael Hill. She’s been with us for over 30 years, joining our manufacturing department just a few years after the company first expanded into Australia from New Zealand.
In the male-dominated industry of diamond buying, Ange has made a name for herself and worked hard to source the beautiful, high-quality diamonds for our jewellery, as well as travelling overseas to secure some of the most amazing, one-off diamonds for special commissions.
1. Did you always want to work in jewellery?
I always had a fascination with minerals and was always looking for agate and quartz in creeks when I was young. As I was always into rocks of some description, I knew I wanted to be in the jewellery industry in some capacity.
2. How did you come to be a Diamond Buyer?
I was lucky to receive a position with a small jewellery manufacturer in Whangarei, New Zealand, where I grew up. I learnt so much about diamonds and gemstones in my 3 years there.
Michael Hill had their manufacturing division and head office in Whangarei, so when I was looking to move to Australia in 1991 they put me in touch with the Brisbane manufacturing department and I was very fortunate there was an opening. I started purchasing diamonds and coloured stones locally for the jewellery we manufactured for our 14 Australian stores. As we opened more stores it became obvious we should source direct from diamond suppliers, so I started travelling overseas to start forming relationships and learn the trade.
3. What’s a day-in-the-life like for you?
That’s a hard one, as every day is different which I love! I can go from Quality Controlling the diamonds that arrive from overseas, to sourcing diamonds for new jewellery ranges, to matching the diamonds for our jewellery pieces. I love the variety and challenges, as there is never a dull moment.
4. What have been some of your biggest wins?
I was super excited to purchase a 5.85 carat round brilliant cut, D colour (colourless), internally flawless diamond which sold for $1.2 million. It was an absolute highlight as I was in Belgium on a buying trip at the time the request came through. To be able to select the diamond in person was a buzz.
5. Travelling is a big part of your job. Where in the world does your role take you?
I travel to India yearly (not this year sadly) to visit my Diamond Vendors. A lot of people are unaware that 90% of the world’s diamonds pass through India, with the rough being cut in Surat and then being graded and sold through the businesses in the Diamond Bourse in Mumbai.
These trips are so important to maintain relationships, look at current market trends, source one-off diamonds, and negotiate great deals for the season. Our Vendors are often family businesses that were established sometimes up to 100 years ago.
6. In your mind, what makes diamonds so special?
Many reasons, but my biggest love is a diamond that has internal inclusions, as every diamond is different. They are both unique and fascinating. No two diamonds are the same.
7. What’s the most amazing diamond you have ever bought in?
Wow, there have been some amazing highlights over the years but the one that stood out the most was a 22.25ct princess cut diamond, which took two days of negotiations to secure. This diamond was a prize for a competition back in 2010, ‘The World’s Greatest Couple’, where the participants had to partake in all kinds of challenges against other couples.
8. What diamond pieces do you wear yourself?
I am quite minimal with my jewellery and wear an engagement ring and two dress rings, one being a tanzanite. I own a lot of earrings which I change out daily and three stacker bracelets for special occasions.
9. An exciting new addition to the jewellery world is laboratory-created diamonds. What are your thoughts on these?
Laboratory-created diamonds are such an exciting new proposition as it gives our customers the opportunity to choose their diamond from this Collection or our natural diamond range. We liken this to the fifth ‘C’, being choice. I personally love them and am about to purchase my first laboratory-created diamond!
10. If you could give young women one piece of career advice, what would it be?
Pursue your dreams as anything is possible. Believe in yourself. I didn’t finish year 12 but my love of the jewellery industry and determination have seen me achieve so many goals and overcome adversity.
This or That: Ange’s jewellery picks…
Silver or (white/ yellow/ rose) gold?
Round brilliant or fancy cut?
Solitaire or halo?
Earrings or necklaces?
Rings or bracelets?
Bold jewellery or fine?
Your favourite Michael Hill piece or Collection?
Shop our Diamond Buyer's favourites: