Amir Hadjibay was only 13 years old when he began to travel between Iran and India. He established a strong reputation for himself as a precious stones trader, unconsciously laying what would become the foundation to a remarkable family business. Hadjibay subsequently moved to Milan, Italy, where his reputation in the jewellery trade preceded him. Raised in Italy, Hadjibay’s sons Moris and Giacomo were confronted with their father’s business from the cradle. Moris and Giacomo Hadjibay now represent the second generation of the family business their father Amir so carefully built. Additionally, Moris’ two sons Marco and Manuel joined forces with their father and uncle and are every bit as enthusiastic about the family trade.
In 1981, when Giacomo Hadjibay joined the family business, he was sent to New York to establish another chapter of the group. Bayco, the family’s first retail brand, was born in New York effectively inaugurating the Hadjibays inclusion in the high-end jewellery sector. “We are very proud,” says Giacomo whilst smiling humbly. “We now have the third generation actively involved and motivating us to grow globally. To have Marco and Manuel in the business rejuvenates us, and their ambitions set our goals even higher than before. They are adding wonderful new ideas to our business.”
The compact grouping of family members involved in the Bayco brand and their relatively close relationships have been of great advantage. “When we want to make a decision, it’s done within five minutes,” explains Moris. “This is one of the biggest strengths of the company, especially in a business like ours where if an opportunity comes along we have to react quickly and seize it. It makes us very competitive as we can buy and sell at a moment’s notice,” Marco adds to his father’s thoughts. “Opportunities are rare and may never come again.”
In both active generations of the Bayco business, the dynamics between brothers plays a great role. “I feel any two people working together, regardless if they are family or not, have to complement each other in their personality and in the way they think. Each one should bring his or her talents to the table,” offers Marco whilst looking thoughtfully at his brother Manuel. “If everybody’s willing to seize what they’re good at and go forward with that, instead of trying to do everything at the same time, it works very smoothly. I trust my brother with my eyes closed. It is an advantage that cannot be replicated.”
Much like Giacomo emphasises that it was his father who built a solid foundation for his and Moris’ success, the third generation is aware that their careers are built on what their father, uncle and grandfather prepared for them. Manuel clearly states, “Everything was ready for us; the tools to just come in and try to build the next part of our story. We are fortunate to have a generation with such foresight preceding us.” In many ways the third generation has brought the brand and the family business to the foreground. “It’s a different world and they are showing it to us,” Moris says. His two daughters are now also displaying an increasing interest in joining the family business.
Giacomo leans back into his seat and sighs happily. “It is a great happiness to work with such a family. We are very blessed with the mutual respect and the unity we experience every day,” he professes. Manuel adds enthusiastically, “I think this is due to the fact that our father and uncle never forced us into the business and greatly encouraged us to do whatever we wanted. We couldn’t think of a better place to work at than Bayco.” Marco, who has been with the family business for over five years, remembers his first day at work very well: “My grandfather took me into his office and closed the door. ‘I need to talk to you,’ he said. ‘I’ve worked on my name and my reputation for decades. And your father and your uncle, they took that name and built on that reputation making it even bigger. Don’t you dare ever do anything to make our efforts in vain or bring our name in disrepute.’”
As a result, Bayco jewellery is ravishingly beautiful. Every stone is carefully selected by members of the family which allows every piece sold to be so unique that it is essentially priceless. “We put our blood, sweat and tears into this,” explains Giacomo. “We don’t have anybody who does it for us.” In New York, where the Hadjibays are now based, the Bayco headquarters are spread across three different ateliers. “New York provides us with craftsmen from all over the world,” explains Giacomo. Because so much love goes into every piece, the family often finds it hard to let go of their own creations. “You know, we may keep it in the back of our safe. And one day, if the right person comes along, we take it out and show it to them.”
The Hadjibay family has recently acquired one of the world’s largest gem stones. The Imperial Emerald is no less than 206 carats and of a breathtaking quality. When we ask Moris what it is worth, he smiles mysteriously. “There are some things in life that have no price.”
Tharawat Magazine, Issue 19, 2013