Luxury Jeweller KORLOFF Seeks Partnership to Expand into Canadian Market [Interview]


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Renowned international jewelry brand KORLOFF is looking for an exclusive partner in Canada to open either a standalone boutique or a shop-in-shop model. 

The Behar Group Realty Inc., a real estate brokerage based in Toronto, has been mandated by KORLOFF to find a Canadian partner.

The Paris-based KORLOFF’s story begins with the world’s most mysterious diamond, a unique 200-carat rough black diamond cut into an 88-carat brilliant jewel.

KORLOFF boutique in Hyundai Department Store Pangyo 1F in Seoul (Image: KORLOFF)

In 1978, Maison KORLOFF was founded. Today it has a presence in about 55 countries and has about 40 flagship boutiques around the world, primarily in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Bassam Azakir

Bassam Azakir, Chief Executive Officer of Korloff, said the brand has two options knocking on its door for Canada.

“We have assigned the team at The Behar Group to look at these opportunities. We are looking today more and more to penetrate the market through the networking of Behar,” said Azakir. 

Avi Behar, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of The Behar Group Realty, said “in the spirit of a cosmic theme, the stars would need to properly align in order for us to find the right platform for KORLOFF to penetrate into Canada.”

Avi Behar

“And part of what I mean by that is we’re not just chasing real estate. We’re looking for the right type of partnership – somebody who knows and believes in the brand, and who might have space where we can arrange a store within a store or some alternative joint venture structure,” said Behar.

“And even when we do find that partner, we’re not looking to roll out 10 or 20 stores in Canada. Canada might support two locations, maybe three.

“Our primary focus is to find the right partner, rather than focusing on a real estate search. The most likely partnership will already be in the luxury goods sector, possibly a luxury jewelry business or some other retail application. Ideally, we want one solid partnership that would see the vision and roll with it in Canada.”

Azakir said to penetrate a market from scratch “you need lots of time, passion, and energy and capital.”

“The maximum that we’re looking at is two or three locations in Canada,” he said. 

“Why it’s an interesting project is we are one of the very few affordable luxury businesses.”

According to the brand, the story of Maison KORLOFF is inextricably linked to its eponymous black diamond, made of matter formed in the explosion of a supernova nearly four billion years ago.

“Thrown to earth and expelled from its core in a volcanic eruption, the huge 200-carat nugget was acquired by the Korloff-Sapojnikoff family, members of the Russian nobility. Mysterious and fascinating, endowed with a powerful magnetism, the gem has been passed down like a talisman through the generations,” says the company.

The Black Diamond (Image: KORLOFF)

“With the revolution that took down the tsarist regime, the family sought refuge in Europe, where its members escaped the horrors taking place in their country of origin. 

“The black diamond became synonymous with renewed luck and happiness. Subsequently owned by the famous Krochmal & Lieber – the upper class of diamond traders – the black diamond then cast its spell on French diamond dealer Daniel Paillasseur, who acquired it.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


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