As the old joke goes, the definition of mixed emotions is seeing your mother in law drive YOUR prized Aston Martin off a cliff...
Well let’s look at the same bag of mixed emotions, yet this time the setting for the story is your engagement.
You are super excited as you’ve just got engaged, it’s an emotional time. The proposal was as romantic as you dreamt it to be, the flash mob sung out your favourite song, and the task in hand now is to go shopping for that all important engagement ring. You’ve suddenly been thrust into adulthood. For most of us, this is probably the third highest purchase we will make in a lifetime, behind a car and a property. It’s now time to go to the local jewellers, be it in a small town centre, shopping centre, or even stroll the jewellery quarter of London which is Hatton Garden. Although first stop will always be to search online.
This is when the other emotions start to kick in. When the questions arise and when, for some, tears start to flow, and that’s just the men!
Let’s use Hatton Garden as an example. I know it well it’s where my office is. Try to picture the scene. You get off the tube at either Farringdon or Chancery Lane, and suddenly you are confronted with over 80 different retails stores all side by side, and most of them selling around 80 percent of what their neighbour is selling. This is the theme all down the road. To start with you are delighted and excited. Slowly after the fourth or fifth shop you start to get tired, you start to wonder why what seems to be the same ring in the previous four shops has so many different prices. You start to wonder why one retailer tells you one thing yet the next retailer contradicts what the previous one said. You stress, panic and decide to leave it for today. You get home with your fiancé and look online and you’re bombarded with even more information, yet this time you don’t just have the independent retailer to contend with, you have the whole of the world wide web too.
The man starts to wonder if he would have been better off purchasing something then surprising his then girlfriend with a ring to avoid all the stress and pressure, and the lady thinks she should have gone with her instinct and purchased from the first shop they went into.
Now then, let’s see if I can help you make things go a little easier. I am going to give you some essential tips I believe will help remove the fear factor when looking for your dream engagement ring and what you can expect from me Lewis Malka, a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). If you haven’t heard of the LDB then click here to find out who they are.
There are lots of "lists" online from different websites showing you lots of diamonds which on the face of it look cheaper on a like for like basis. I wish it was that simple. There are so many other characteristics and factors to take into consideration when buying a diamond, you can’t just rely on the 4c’s anymore. One factor with these websites is that the list price doesn’t include VAT. Another is that if the company is outside of the UK, then you will probably also have import duty to pay. You see to really understand a diamond and to see why one is more expensive than another, you need to view it. You need to see where in the stone the inclusions are. You need to have a 3D look at the diamond. This is something you can’t tell from the certificate. How much "life" is the diamond giving off. What is its lustre like? Only by handling the diamond can you see this and only then will you understand why one diamond is higher priced than another on a like for like basis.
Ask to see comparable stones for the same budget you have. Try to see if they all have a similar thickness to the stone. You don’t want one too thick and you also don’t want one too shallow. If so the light is not dispersed correctly. You want to be able to see a nice kaleidoscope of colours. The optimum spread for a one carat round diamond is 6.5mm in diameter.
Ask if this stone comes with a GIA certificate. GIA are considered the Rolls Royce of diamond graders in the world. Ask to use a loop (jewellers eyeglass) to see your potential stone and don’t be embarrassed to ask where the inclusion is if you can’t find it.
Most importantly, don’t allow yourself to feel pressured into buying a diamond from that supplier there and then. At Joseph Sterling we are always prepared to put it aside for you and let you take a day or two to consider it. After all I would want that option, and I believe in treating my clients how I would like to be treated.
So you’ve picked your diamond, you are happy and now comes the phase of designing the ring. Ideally you want to speak with someone who will be making your ring themselves. Too often jewellers say they do this, yet outsource to another workshop. This has two pitfalls. Firstly you don’t get to speak to the person making your ring, and therefore if the diamond dealer forgets to convey one small point about some detailing you want, the ring will go back and forth. And second you are paying more to have your ring made as the dealer more often than not will add some commission for himself. At Joseph Sterling all the jewellery we make for our clients is made in house in our own workshops which we are more than happy to show our clients.
So the question I would like to leave you with is this. When would you like to come in for an appointment?