MANILA - Jeweller to the stars Drake Dustin Ibay has found out that even amid the pandemic, diamonds are still a girl’s best friend.
The irony is not lost on Ibay who has collaborated with a wide array of artists, beauty queens and designers ranging from Catriona Gray, Vice Ganda, and Bela Padilla to Patricia Magtanong, RB Chanco and Nadine Lustre among others.
Ibay’s line, LVNA by Drake Dustin, particularly its diamond earrings series, was notably used by Rabiya Mateo in the last Miss Universe pageant.
"Actually, due to our online presence, mas nag-boom during the pandemic because diamonds and gold are global investments that have risen tremendously in value," Ibay told ABS-CBN News, citing engagement rings as one of the main propellers of jewelry sales.
It’s also proof that through the seasons and whatever the upheavals, love, beauty and romance still prevail.
His current top muse now is Ivana Alawi, who helps boost his sales.
“She is so much in demand. Nung pumasok siya, it’s like a match made in heaven. Her online presence helped us. Dumami orders and dumami ang market ng mga lalaki ko, looking for engagement rings,” Ibay recounted.
“She’s very versatile kasi in her imaging. Kahit mga madam na clients siya ang hinahanap kung ano suot nya, saan daw ang sultry Ivana?”
The uptrend in sales is good news for Ibay’s employees who continue crafting new jewelry designs in his workshop in Bulacan.
"It’s fulfilling dahil maraming natutulungan this pandemic," said Ibay who has also set up a protective environment for his workers with the mandatory wearing of PPEs and compliance to other health protocols.
Ibay has also helped his chosen charities. “Part of the proceeds ng sales namin, itinutulong at idino-donate sa LGBTQ community, different hospitals for COVID patients," he said.
Ibay credits his success to his colorful, albeit difficult journey.
Almost a decade ago he was runner-up in the MEGA Fashion Crew artists reality show. Thereafter, he worked as a fashion photographer in the United States and art dealer.
Five years ago, Ibay had his epiphany. “I became an art dealer, I was selling paintings and then du’n nagsimula ‘yung diamond business. 'Yung clients ko since alam nila na mahilig ako sa crystals, jewelries, nagpahanap na sila sa akin ng jewelries," he related.
"Yun ang pinaka-point na ito puwedeng business dahil ito ang gusto ko na gawin.”
After Mateo, Ibay is setting his sights on his possible new muses -- Maureen Wroblewitz and Kisses Delavin, two of the front runners in the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 pageant.
He is also eyeing Anne Curtis for a a proposed collaboration.
Ultimately he is focusing his sights on putting LVNA on the international market.