Private equity firm buys Diamonds Direct

SouthPark location at 4521 Sharon Road
SouthPark location at 4521 Sharon Road Charlotte

Charlotte-based jewelry retailer and precious stone importer Diamonds Direct has been bought by a private equity firm, the company said Monday.

The company was founded in 1995, and relies on a direct importation business model with diamonds from Israel sold to customers in the U.S.

In addition to online sales, the company has retail locations in SouthPark; Raleigh; Richmond, Va.; Austin, Texas; and Birmingham, Ala., and is opening new stores in Oklahoma City and Charleston. Blackstone, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, bought the company earlier this month.

“This is a very exciting day for Diamonds Direct,” said CEO Itay Berger, in a statement. “Diamonds Direct’s partnership with Blackstone will enable us to continue to deliver unparalleled service and unbeatable prices. We are thrilled to begin a new chapter for our employees and customers with Blackstone as we enter a new phase of growth.”

The company said the transaction has already closed. Diamonds Direct did not disclose the price Blackstone paid. The company was advised by James McElroy & Diehl, a Charlotte law firm, and Peal Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz.

“Blackstone is extremely excited to partner with Itay and the existing management team to accelerate the Company’s growth,” said Jasvinder Khaira, managing director of Blackstone Tactical Opportunities.

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo