A FANCY DIAMOND GIRL
It is said about the people like Ulrike Anna Antonie a person-holiday. Bright, cheerful, practical and purposeful… She challenges grey everyday life and turns an ordinary day into a diamond, shining with its versatility and a storm of emotions. Model, Diamond Broker, Founder of the Queen Bee Diamonds, loving mother and wife is just the beginning of her story of success. Our conversation with Ulrike turned on to a number of interesting and vital issues of diamond business, creativity, inspiring quotations, the art of luxury lifestyle and much more.
Ulrike Anna Antonie: “Eat Diamonds and Glitter for Breakfast and Shine all Day”.
Ulrike, you studied Fashion Design and Management, has built a brilliant career as a model and you are also a Diamond Broker, perhaps, the only Diamond Broker-woman. Please tell us how you started the coloured Fancy Diamond business?
The fact that I became a Diamond Broker for Fancy Diamond is a little Cinderella story. It was like something out of a fairy tale. When I came back from a fashion event in Paris, I was approached by my future Diamond Dealer from Antwerp with the offer for a modeling job for his Rainbow campaign. A week later I was invited to the Hotel Costes for a casting and I got the modeling job. We talked and hit it off right away. When the Diamond Dealer realized what a top class acquaintanceship I had in the international jet set, he offered me a considerable commission on every diamond sold. That’s how it all started.
Your company, Queen Bee Diamonds, is growing with Dubai and Monaco fascinating destinations introducing the exclusive gemstones from Antwerp. Please tell us about the latest circumstances that influenced the coloured diamonds to become one of the best and most reliable means of investment with permanently increasing price.
There are several factors why Fancy Diamonds in very rare colours and that of the highest quality are the best investment at the moment. Firstly, the dramatic price increases. For example, an aunt of one of my friend bought a Fancy Intense Purplish Pink Diamond of 11 carat for 2.7 million Euros in 2010, today its market value is 11 million Euros. I have the same quality diamond of 4 carat in my portfolio, which estimated 2.7 million Euros. The market is floating around, and in the hard times of inflation, pandemic and war, as well as uncertain stock markets, people want something stable that they can easily put in their pockets in a pinch.
What are your short-term aims regarding your company? How do you see its ways of development?
I strongly hope that my well-thought further actions will result in the gradual but permanent expansion of the company. We will have regular customers. People’s awareness will grow and the understanding of the importance of good quality will get around. Diamond sales, design and modeling go hand in hand.
How is the triangle of Seller, Broker and Customer set up? What are its fundamental factors to have a successful deal?
Of course, I don’t carry the diamonds with me. I have an exclusive selection of photos with GIA Certificates. I present them to a potential customer. If he is interested in buying, my Diamond Dealer needs a copy of his Identity Card and a Bank Letter or a confirmation from the customer’s bank that he is able to pay the purchase price. After that, an appointment to eye the diamond in person is made at the Diamond Dealer’s office. He also presents other interesting gemstones there. If desired, I can, certainly, accompany the customer. If he does not want to travel to Antwerp personally, he indeed can send someone he trusts. The customer is a King. After everything is well and in order, the gemstone is taken to Brinx and is no longer in the Diamond Dealer’s possession as soon as the purchase price is credited to the Diamond Dealer’s account within 48 hours. Once the payment is made, the customer can pick it up personally or have Brinx send it insured to wherever he wants. After receipt of the purchase price, I get my commission. It’s really quite simple.
You are going to participate in the magnificent and inspiring photo shoot beautifully presenting pink, yellow, blue diamonds, so called the Rainbow collection. It has been planned to hold this year, however, because of the world situation, it has been postponed till the next year. What is its message?
Yes, the photo shoot will take place next year and we are going to hold that either in Paris or in Venice. It will be a very glamorous one. After the last two years of the pandemic, people are addicted to glamour luxury, beauty and enjoyment of life. You can see that very clearly in current fashion at the moment too. The message of the photo shoot is quite straightforward: to lay a red carpet for glamour and sparkle.
You are working on the other campaign as well, which will be completed next year. What is it about?
I have two big projects for next year that aren’t quite ready yet. I can only say that an exclusive jewellery line is planned to be released, and definitely it also means that once a customer buys a gemstone from me, I can create the design on his request. Having background in Fashion Design, I can match the clients’ moods and express their desires in the jewellery concept and, of course, I myself can offer creative ideas. The second project is my little secret; I don’t like to talk about that as it is beautifully said “Don’t cross your bridges before you come to them!” I can only mention that it will be pure glamour, luxury and enchantment.
What portion belongs to creativity, inventiveness, intuition, and emotionality in running business for you?
Selling diamonds is a very emotional job, not comparable to a real estate agent’s activity. It also has a lot of things to do with psychology and sensitivity for people. Of course, it touches creativity and a feeling for beauty too. Not every diamond suits every customer. A Fancy Blue Vivienne or Blue Intense appeals to a completely different type of a woman than a Fancy Pink Diamond. Most often, when it comes to diamonds, blondes prefer pink and brunettes prefer blue. The most creative part of my company is, of course, modeling and design, I love both of them with all my heart and they have been my absolute passion since my earliest youth. I live for fashion. Surely, Fancy Diamonds are one of them. My husband, who has been a successful entrepreneur in the real estate sector for over 40 years, long before I was born, takes over the business part of my company.
“Leave Your Sparkle Wherever You Go”, “Eat Diamonds and Glitter for Breakfast and Shine all Day”- these are the frequently used mottos of yours. What do they mean to you?
To me, “Eat Diamonds and Glitter for Breakfast and Shine all Day” means always shine, even in the unpleasant situations and make the best of everything. I do my perfect make-up, put on one of my beautiful dresses, smile and the world looks completely different. “Leave Your Sparkle Wherever You Go” – it’s simple. Sparkle, smile at people, shine and the world will shine back.
A truly great mentor is hard to find, difficult to part with, and impossible to forget. Who were your mentors or just people who influenced your worldview?
My greatest mentor is undoubtedly my husband, to whom I owe the person I am today. I was also greatly influenced by my aunt, from whom I inherited my love of fashion and sports, as well as my merciless ambitions. She ran the family fashion business with my uncle for decades. One of my mentors is my best friend, Samuel, who is the most talented person in fashion and social media that I have ever known. He also has the most incredible network, I learnt a lot from him about social media. There are still many people with a good heart whom I love very much.
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Meeting nice people is one of the things that make you happy. What gifts are you grateful to fate for?
I am grateful for so many things in my life, for what a privileged life I am allowed to lead, to be born in a peaceful country like Germany, where women have all rights. For having lovely people around me who treat me so well, for my son, my appearance, for being what I am and for being able to live my dreams. I am simply grateful for my whole life.
You are blessed to have a son. What do you learn from him and with him? How does he surprise you?
I definitely learnt from my son that I didn’t grow up as much as it seemed to me before his birth and probably I never will, sometimes we are like siblings. He always makes me admire how smart he is. He is a passionate fan of computer, technology, as well as that of Math freak, simultaneously he is a very artistic gifted person and has an amazing eye for photography. He takes some photos for Instagram of mine and they are so professional. I am very proud of my little Big mouse and love him very much!
What was your biggest discovery in recent times?
My biggest recent discovery was that I’m the happiest in my home country and Munich. After living in different places like Dubai, Paris and Monaco, I found out that I can’t live abroad permanently. Munich is a very luxurious and international city, however it is still a very conservative and traditional one, exactly like me.
What are your favoured travel spots?
It is always interesting to me to visit London, Venice and Munich. All of them have a very special, unique atmosphere that reigns only there.
Your images are as bright as your personality. They fully reflect the awe-inspiring inner world of yours. What are your guidelines for creating images? Do you have favourite designers or brands?
My favourite designers are Hermès for handbags, Christian Louboutin for shoes. It was a great deal of honour to meet Christian Louboutin in person two years ago in Paris, he is simply an icon! Currently I love the clothes from Balmain, Alexandre Vauthier and David Koma. Their garments are very glamorous and sexy.
DRESS BY @PRETTYYOUMONACO
How do you like to enjoy your leisure time at the seldom moments when you have it?
I enjoy my free time by going to sleep early. This is the best for me, not traveling or having lots of time for beautiful photos and or on my makeup. However I should confess that I love makeup and, of course, shopping, as well as going to church. I’m Catholic and very religious.
Diamond business, fashion, modeling, attendance of the most prestigious international high life and charity events, travel… You lead luxury lifestyle and you are a luxury person with refined taste in every detail. We would like to know what the art of luxury living means to you personally?
Material luxury is very important to me, however the greatest luxury in life for me is freedom, to be free, to live independently.
PHOTOGRAPHER: DEJAN MILICEVIC
PROJECT SUPERVISOR: IVANA ILIC-LABIA
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