David Gotlib is one of Antwerp’s foremost diamantaires. It was only natural for the closet cufflink-obsessive to turn his head toward design.
David hails from a family that has worked in the Antwerp diamond industry – the oldest in Europe – for two generations before him. He is also the Vice President of the Antwerp Diamond Bourse, and more recently decided to launch his own line of cufflinks, targeting those who appreciate style, exclusivity and wearing the world’ finest gems. The Oh My Got line of cufflinks offers three collections: Classic, Smart and for the less discreet: Dare. All are inspired, designed and exquisitely hand-crafted in Antwerp.
What is it about cufflinks? Have you always liked them?
Twenty-five years ago, I was on holiday in Switzerland with my parents. They were looking for a very special gift for my grandfather’s birthday. After a long search, they stumbled upon a beautiful pair of cufflinks. These cufflinks were absolutely stunning.
Two years ago, my son celebrated his Bar Mitzvah on his thirteenth birthday. By this time my grandfather had passed away and the day before my son’s celebration, my grandmother came to me and gave me those very same cufflinks my parents had bought [for him] twenty-five years earlier. She wanted me to have them, and to wear them during my son’s Bar Mitzvah.
I was moved by her gesture and felt so happy to wear them. I realised cufflinks were a great present – extremely poetic.
I believe I have always liked them; cufflinks fascinate me and I am proud to wear them now.
When did you finally make the leap into design?
I guess everything started more than a year ago. Having worked for the diamond industry for so long, I developed a taste for beautiful things and designs. I have learned to work with the best craftsmen. I have been advising clients for many years already, my leap into design and into cufflinks came naturally.
You’ve been in the diamond industry for three generations and are no doubt an expert; what fascinates you about them?
My grandfather was originally a diamond cutter. He started his own business and it was a real success in Antwerp back in the days! My father followed and started his own diamond business forty years ago. My grandfather and my father worked closely together for many years. I joined my father’s business fifteen years ago and seven years ago I became partner. Thanks to good fortune and our joint efforts our business has grown. We became active players in Antwerp for rough and polished diamonds.
Diamonds are the rarest and strongest stones in the world. When you start working for the business, you fall in love with it and you become passionate about it very easily. I have been extremely lucky. Usually you receive or you offer one or two diamonds in your life. I am working with them on a daily basis and it is captivating.
Where do you source your diamonds?
We are mainly sourcing our diamonds from Siberian mines, which operate with ethical practices. We are working with the Russian group of diamond mining companies: Alrosa. They are engaged in the exploration, mining, manufacturing and sale of diamonds. Mining also takes place in Western Yakutia, Russia and in the Arkhangelsk region.
Do you design all of your cufflinks yourself in Antwerp?
Everything is designed in Antwerp. I am actually running a team of two designers who are helping me to produce the inspiration of the moment. I am meeting my designers almost every day. We sit together and brainstorm about new ideas. Inspiration is everywhere. A walk along the beach, a visit to a museum, a walk through a busy urban space, flicking through a fashion magazine, or even watching people from a terrace. Our next design idea could have a delightful story. Since I am always travelling for business, I am discovering new stuff everywhere; I enter an art gallery and discover new objects, which will be a source of inspiration for my future designs.
How important is Antwerp to your design process?
Everything is possible in Antwerp! Antwerp is the heart of the global diamond industry. Every day, tens of thousands of diamonds are shipped from Antwerp to all corners of the globe. Today, there is a huge business in rough diamonds traded through Antwerp. The world’s large rough-mining entities are represented here. Antwerp has the finest diamond traders, craftsmen and laboratories in the world, and the finest diamonds. People who are in Antwerp have often travelled elsewhere before and have a unique background, which enables them to be open to so many different sectors.
What message do you want your cufflinks to convey to both a wearer and an admirer?
The message I’d like cufflinks to convey would be associated to general good taste. Cufflinks are subtle, and so special. They are elegant without being tacky or vulgar. A wearer will enjoy the fact that cufflinks will always raise the attention of an admirer. Cufflinks will always be spotted. No one will ever be indifferent.
Why is a pair of cufflinks important to an ensemble?
Cufflinks definitely seal men’s style. It also redefines men’s fashion with extraordinary accessories. Proud to show their cuffs, men are now able to claim their originality with detail. And everybody knows how details are extremely important in fashion.
We love the warning on your website: Oh My Got cufflinks may be mood altering, could affect your feelings and will empower you. Please shoot your cuffs with caution––have you had any Oh My Got customer cufflink situations that have gotten out of hand?
Situations have gotten out of hand in a romantic way! I have been told by a customer that he wore Oh My Got cufflinks on his first date. The young lady in front of him was fascinated by his cufflinks and their first fruitful conversation was around cufflinks. How they are men’s best friends and how women would love to wear them too! He was wearing the Feathery Charm. They are now engaged and cherish those cufflinks as much as I do.
Who would you most like to see wearing a pair of Oh My Got cufflinks? Any celebrities that fit your vision?
Each man who believes he stands out because of his good taste is a potential Oh My Got customer. I would be flattered if any celebrity was wearing our cufflinks, but I truly believe any man will feel like he is different – probably as different and influential as if he was a celebrity when he’s wearing cufflinks.
What is your go-to pair from each of the three collections: Classic, Smart and Dare?
In the Classic collection I would say the Moonstones as they are the first pair I designed. I remember the feeling when I saw them for the first time; it was an eye-opener.
In the Smart collection, the Feathery Charm represents a real jewellery item. They feature a special light and are extremely original. Finally in the Dare collection I would go for the Eternal Kiss, because I would love to know what it would look like. These cufflinks remind me of my wife 😉
Where is your largest market?
At the moment, our largest market is in New York, but we are definitely willing to raise our figures in Europe too. Europe is where I get my inspiration from and it should be at least as successful as it is in New York. I hope London will be next. I’d love London to be inspired and seduced by our cufflinks.
Where can Candid readers buy your cufflinks?
All collections are available online. We are always happy to assist indecisive customers. We are in touch with a couple of department stores in London and we will keep you posted.
Any exciting plans for the brand this year or next?
We are working on plenty of new and exclusive designs that we will promote in the coming months. We are also working on various advertisement campaigns so we intend to be seen everywhere.