Carrying the Torch: The Making of a Sixth-Generation Jeweler

When I come home from work, the first thing that I do is to show my beautiful wife the jewelry designs that I created that day. As soon as I unveil the pieces, my 11-month-old daughter Victoria moves as quick as she can to get in on the action. It amazes me to see how interested she is in jewelry and how she simply gravitates toward it.

I am a fifth-generation precious-gemstone jeweler. And when I look into my daughter’s big, curious eyes, I know in my heart that I am looking into the eyes of the sixth-generation. Even though there will be no pressure put on her, I see it in her heart and soul the same way I felt it in mine. This is the career path for her as five generations before her have chosen. I see in her both the future and the past at the same time.

I remember as far back to when I was only 3-years-old when, each time my father would design a new jewelry piece, he would bring it home to show my mother. She was his toughest critic, but also his biggest supporter. At this very young age, I was already paying close attention and learning each detail. I would listen to how he would tell her about the mechanics behind the actual design and how he came to his inspiration. I would pay close attention to her comments and critiques. Together they made a beautiful team and still do to this day. Seeing their loving relationship and their bond through jewelry made me realize that I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps. I knew that it would be tough, but since my father was my mentor he prepared me well and I was ready for the challenge.

I knew that I always loved jewelry and was certain that I wanted to become the fifth-generation Dahan (family) jeweler. My father began working for Cartier jewelry in Paris when he was only 16-years-old. By the time I was old enough to understand jewelry, my father had made a strong name for himself in the jewelry industry. I was fortunate to have been able to learn from the very best. Once I was old enough to work, at about 14, I became an assistant to some of the biggest jewelers in Paris. Even though I was only running errands, I was immersed in this industry and learning so much. My love for jewelry, precious stones, and design grew stronger.

After completing high school, my father urged me to continue my education and pursue the jewelry industry in deeper detail. I attended L’Ecole du Louvre / Institut de Gemmologie in Paris. While in school, I was working as a stone setter. After graduation, I moved to Antwerp, Belgium, to study and later receive the HRD Diamond Expert Certification. I specialized in buying and selling precious stones to some of the world’s best jewel houses including Graff Diamonds, David Morris, Boucheron, Chaumet, and Van Cleef and Arpels.

I later realized that I didn’t want to be only a stone-seller, but rather a designer. I moved to Bangkok, Thailand with my family. It was there where I created the concept of an interchangeable ring, making it possible to change the center stone of the ring. My father saw the merit of the concept. We established a factory and the interchangeable ring was created.

Many years later, I moved to Los Angeles and created i.d x-change Cuffs of Love. Cuffs of Love became a highly-successful line that has been sold in more than 25 countries and worn by celebrities including Kim Kardashian, The Hilton Sisters, Matt Damon and Elton John.

But, after some time, the sparkle that I now see in my daughter’s eyes had been missing in my own until last year when I returned to my true love. Precious stones. In 2017, I created IGAL DAHAN fine jewelry.

My dream was always to be Me. And every night when I look into my daughter’s eyes, I see a reflection of my own dream. And the dreams of five generations before her reflected in the eyes of a bright little girl whose brilliance will someday put her own mark on our tradition.

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