Grand Metropolitan Chairman/CEO Vin Lee walked into DuQuet Jewelers in 1992 to purchase a Rolex President, celebrating the closing of a $50 million deal. He walked out having purchased the company after only a few hours in the Diamond Room. DuQuets had already been established as one of the top regional jewelers in suburban Detroit, MI for over two decades and was owned and operated by a pair of french brothers, Charles and Allan. DuQuets, and it's subsidiary American Jewelry Manufacturers, had at one time two affiliated manufacturing facilities and a cumulative 5 retail showrooms across Southern Michigan. AJM was contracted by many mall-based chain retailers to do their shop work. Vin Lee's goal was to expand outside of the Michigan area and across North America at a time when the Zales Corporation was consuming many of the smaller chains in the country.
From that early introduction in the Diamond Room, Vin Lee was seduced by the jewelry world investing much of his time and fortune in large gemstone acquisitions conducted behind many company brands. His burgeoning inventory of loose diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires would then be consigned throughout a network of jewelers all across the country, the beginnings of what would grow into industry powerhouse The Diamond Standard. This consortium of jewelers then pays 1-1.5% per month to carry this inventory. The first transaction of note was with London based ThaiStone, a gemstone cutting and polishing manufacturer with assets in Thailand and Europe. Vin Lee purchased the failing companies entire $18 million inventory and assets. The original principals of ThaiStone were also responsible for bringing other transactions from around the globe to the attention of Vin Lee. In 1994, private inventory of over 2 million carats of London Blue Topaz became available. ThaiStone London and Wisconstone specialize in managing an inventory of over 70,000 carats of loose diamonds, precious and semi precious stones. They are part of The Diamond Standard, a division of Grand Metropolitan LLC.