Fifty years of diamond trade at Schiphol Airport

Since its inception in 1967, Gassan Schiphol has developed into one of the largest ‘airport diamonds’ in the world. The growth of diamond trade kept pace with the growth of air traffic, the increase in passenger numbers and prosperity. Gassan Schiphol celebrated its fifty-year existence on September 14, 2017.

Gassan started in 1967 with one branch with five employees, fifty years later, the diamond at our national airport has a total of seventeen branches with over two hundred employees. Passenger numbers increased by almost 3.3 million to 63.3 million in the same period.




Top ten
China and the United Kingdom are the absolute headlines when it comes to the purchase of luxury watches, diamonds and jewelry. These nationalities account for a large share of Gassan Schiphol’s revenue. In 2017, a shift will be visible by Brexit: United Kingdom has disappeared from the top three and the United States takes this place. China has been at one since 2011: Chinese people spend an average of eight times more than average air travelers.


The richer Norway became by the oil, the stronger and more stable travelers from the country were represented in the top ten. The population of Norway is very small, yet the Norwegians occupied a permanent place in the top ten of Gassan Schiphol for many years. India and Brazil are on the rise, but do not spend enough time justifying a place in the top 10.

Diamonds purchased at the airport show a sign of the national nature. Americans: the bigger the better. Russians: show pieces, which should be beautiful. Japanese: The higher the quality, the better. Chinese: mainly for ‘heritage’ and renowned quality. The famous Swiss watch brands like Rolex, Omega, Longines and Tissot are very popular with this nationality, as well as a top brand like Cartier. On diamond, the Chinese often chooses the unique Gassan 121, a diamond with 121 facets. The Dutch are modest, usually go for fine white diamonds with a high, almost perfect purity. The English have a clear preference for the more sporty quality brands such as Breitling and Tag Heuer, but Rolex and Omega are also high on their wish list. In diamonds, they often choose the middle of the middle in price / quality ratio.





Business partners for solid growth
“We have been established in the Amsterdam Airport Shopping Center and one of the oldest business partners of Schiphol Airport since 1967,” said Benno Leeser, director of Gassan Diamonds. “In the future, we will continue to work with the airport for further growth, innovation and success. Our joint ambition is to make Schiphol the most welcoming airport of Europe. ”

Schiphol Airport shares in the celebration because the strong growth of Gassan Schiphol could not be done without optimal cooperation. In particular, Gassan Schiphol has not competed at the airport for fifty years. “Gassan can not imagine the offer at the See Buy Fly shopping center. In the fifty years in which Gassan with Schiphol has grown, countless passengers can enjoy the excellent service and special range. Gassan is a beautiful Dutch family company with international allure, which continues to evolve. Like Schiphol, “said Tanja Dik, director of Consumer Products & Services of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.







1967: start with loose diamonds
Gassan began in 1967 at Schiphol only with the sale of loose unseen diamonds. Later, the company employed a goldsmith and made jewelry at the airport at the airport. In 1989 there were three diamond bells and three jewelry stores after the acquisition of the former jeweler at Schiphol by Gassan. Employees regularly ran back and forth between the offices because the goldsmith was in one place. If a passenger had little time, the jewel was brought to the plane.

Anno 2017, Gassan sells not only diamonds but also jewelry and watches of more than 100 different brands. The majority of customers purchase a new watch on Schiphol, twenty percent choose a diamond or jewelry.





Crisis also a factor

In addition to economic developments, crises such as SARS, the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the economic malaise in 2007 (and the following years) had a negative impact on revenue. “From 1999 to 2010, we have to constantly cope with various crises,” said director Benno Leeser. “In such a period, employee loyalty is very important. It’s great to see how we’ve hit us as family business with the support of our staff every time. The employees also feel like family. By staying positive, we retain the commitment of all and the rest, we have come through the crises – ultimately. “
Remarkably, in times of crisis, the stores with diamonds run a lot better than the watches and jewelry. Recently, Gassan received another United Kingdom customer who had no confidence in the banks and, therefore, his heirs wanted to give part of the inheritance in the form of a diamond.

Candy shops and boutiques
The seventeenth settlement of Gassan on Schiphol has recently been opened. In the future, the company wants to make more distinction between the lower and the higher segment. ‘Candy shops’ with items up to five hundred euros and luxury boutiques with products from five hundred euros. “We have something for every budget,” says Leeser. “We expand wherever possible, but we are naturally bound to the number of square meters of Schiphol. The airport can not just expand. “
About Gassan Diamonds
The family company Gassan Diamonds was founded in October 1945 by the Dutch diamond dealer Samuel Gassan, the grandfather of Benno Leeser. The first settlement at Schiphol opened in 1967. Currently, Gassan has seventeen stores at Schiphol, including Gassan Diamonds, Gassan Watches & Jewelry, Swatch stores and boutiques with Rolex, Omega Bvlgari, Montblanc and Espace Cartier. In early 2013, the company became the first winner of the Family Business Award, partly because of their reaction to the recession in 2009. The jeweler and wholesale and retail in diamonds kept calm and saw sales in 2011 and 2012 reach new records . The year saw a record number of visitors in the diamond grinder, more than four hundred thousand, including about thirty percent from Asia.


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