RAZNY JEWELERS, with four locations throughout the Chicagoland area, is the leading family-owned and operated source for loose diamonds, bespoke jewelry, and Swiss timepieces. In business since 1951, the third generation of this family business is entirely devoted to the future of luxury.
Stan, Ingrid, and Michael Razny were recently invited to the South African nation of Namibia by their direct diamond supplier to experience the country’s beauty. “Razny is one of the very few jewelers to have access to the direct supply of diamonds,” notes Ingrid, “securing our customers the best value by eliminating the middleman.”
Even more important than learning about where their diamonds are sourced, the Raznys gained a greater appreciation for the good that comes from the sale of natural diamonds. “There is no question that the people of Namibia and South Africa benefit from the diamond industry as it is a key component of the economy,” says Ingrid. “This industry has taken great effort to harvest these natural wonders from the land and sea in the most environmentally friendly way. Seeing the process and meeting Africa’s people has given us the ability to tell the story of natural diamonds. We are honored to be the ambassadors for the natural diamond industry.”
The main source of natural-colored diamonds, as well as a majority of the fancy yellow diamonds, Namibia also produces gems of pink and blue. “Many of these stones are retrieved from the sea using a vacuum mining process that leaves little disruption to the ocean floor,” says Ingrid. “We were so lucky to experience this firsthand.”
The Raznys also visited the cutting and polishing facility of their diamond supplier while visiting the country, which gained its independence from South Africa in 1990. Opened in 2008, this facility has grown to include 60 employees, many of whom began as trainees and have since moved into management roles.
In addition to getting a firsthand understanding of the sourcing and processing of diamonds, the Raznys visited a kidney dialysis clinic equipped with machines donated by their direct diamond supplier in collaboration with Razny Jewelers and met children from the Eros Primary School, which has also received substantial support from their supplier.
Before coming home, the Raznys traveled to South Africa where they visited the Nelson Mandela Foundation. There they saw the cell where the Nobel Prize winner was imprisoned for more than 27 years before becoming the nation’s president in 1994. They also went to Soweto, the Johannesburg township whose residents played a key role in the anti-apartheid movement. Kliptown, the oldest township in Soweto and historically important as the place where the 1955 Freedom Charter was adopted, is home to 44,000 people but lacks the most basic needs such as schools, health clinics, electricity, and proper sanitation. The Raznys are committed to supporting such empowering initiatives as the Kliptown Youth Program, an after-school center and mentoring program serving students from first grade through high school. “The Kliptown Youth Program was really amazing,” says Ingrid. “The children looked happy and healthy and we are even more determined to increase our support.” Clearly, what began as a business trip turned out to be much, much more.