The Thijs family’s love for diamonds originated in the green, landscaped outskirts of Antwerp called the Kempen. In these small villages, Marc Thijs’ grandfather Paul would sit till the late hours of the night in his small factory behind his family home and polish the most beautiful creations of his time. For generations this tradition has evolved, from Paul’s son Frans to his grandson Marc.
Frans, at 86, is still active today in the family business. He works alongside his son and daughter, Marc and Christine, as well as his grandchildren, Davina and Denis, to sort, sieve and pack orders to ship direct from their Antwerp office. Marc’s a fourth generation diamond polisher and trader, specializing in cutting the world’s smallest diamonds with minute precision.
Think “diamond,” and “Antwerp” pops into mind. Antwerp and diamonds have a long history together, more than 150 years. Most of the traditional methods for polishing and preparing gems for market have not changed during that century and a half. Since its founding in 1948, the Thijs family’s diamond business has remained faithful to its name and values, employing the same methods their ancestors used over the centuries of dynamic change. “Making Antwerp more beautiful – one diamond at a time.”
Although steeped in tradition, Melee-Express is leading the way in the most cutting-edge trends of the 21st century. They understand the needs of today’s jeweler and have developed a model to cater to those precise needs, even before their customer may fully realize them. Like Amazon, their philosophy is to make the ordering process as simple, fast and efficient as possible, providing exactly what the customer needs – nothing less, or more!
Most jewelers, when creating a custom piece, order more diamond melee than they really need. They order a parcel, rather than the exact number of pieces they need. Why? Because suppliers are motivated to sell parcels, often offering a discount, the jeweler decides to “stock up” and buy more than he or she really needs.
In the past, this may have been a good idea, when margins were high. But times have changed. Few independent jewelers can afford the luxury of stocking inventory for which they don’t have an immediate use. What they gain in profit margin from the discount of buying a complete parcel, they lose in cash flow, tying up cash in inventory they may still have at retirement. “Most companies fail, not because of weak profits, but because of weak cash flow.”
The “Melee-Express Evolution” is to so thoroughly understand the needs of today’s jeweler, that they optimize the buying experience. Their website melee-express.com, allows jewelers to, with a few short clicks, purchase exactly the melee they need, in the precise grade and size they want, from .07 mm to 4.2 mm, from one piece to a thousand, and not a stone more. The website is set up for easy ordering. You can be working on a ring on Thursday, order quickly online and have your diamonds on Friday. Most of Melee-Express’ customers are repeat customers. It’s easy to understand why. Their innovative buying system is designed to make them the jeweler’s “new best friend in the diamond business.”
All Melee-Express diamonds are precisely cut and calibrated and ethically sourced from areas including South Africa, Angola, the Congo and Russia. A sample of each parcel is lab tested to protect from the non-disclosure of CVD or lab grown diamonds. Because Melee-Express is based in Antwerp, diamonds are direct from the source, with no middleman, providing affordable pricing. Experienced staff at their offices in NYC provide the top quality support that customers throughout the US have come to know and trust. “What a fabulous way for a jeweler to source diamond melee,” raves David Craig Rotenberg of David Craig Jewelers in Bucks County, PA. Steven Zale of SZ Atelier in Los Angeles is a fan. “Finally, a great idea especially for those who need manufacturing service in all sizes and quality…the way to go!”
Firmly rooted in the tradition of the past, leading the way into the future, Melee-Express provides a model of how a successfully run business can adapt, innovate and thrive. We wish them all success as they continue to flourish in the future!