I belong to a public speaking club in Central London. In September after a meeting, one of the members of the club (an accountant) came up to me and asked me if I could help him out with his wedding rings.
I said that I would be honoured to make his wedding rings. He mentioned that it took him and his fiancée ages to get their engagement rings. I asked him why. He said because he felt a bit intimidated. Firstly, they didn’t know exactly what they were looking for. Secondly, they of course wanted the ‘best rings’ they could get but didn’t know how to even talk about rings. All he knew that he had to get some sort of diamond ring.
So it was easy to put off, all the while it was getting more and more pressing.
I asked him: “When you got the rings did they explain the 4Cs?”
He said a little bit. That was good. He knew what I was talking about. I accidentally put him on the spot and asked to tell what they were, but he couldn’t remember. Something about ‘cut’. I promised him that I would explain it to him when he visited my studio to sort out the wedding rings with his fiancée.
A few days later they came to the studio. His fiancée asked about the diamonds and the 4Cs and if I thought it was a good engagement ring. I loved her pre-loved vintage miners cut diamond gold ring I told her.
“Do you like it?” I asked. She said she loved it.
“Well, it’s the right, best diamond for you”. Then she said what about the 4Cs. Aren’t they important?
Yes, they are, to a certain extent.
I explained what the 4 C’s were.
In the jewellery trade, they say are the 4 important characteristics of buying a diamond: cut, colour, clarity and carat.
But what about the other two Cs – certification and curiosity?
A diamond certificate, also called a diamond grading report, is a report created by a team of gemologists. The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) established the Diamond 4Cs and the International Diamond Grading System. The GIA is not only a global authority but the world’s trusted source for an unbiased assessment. As a Goldsmith, I work with the client and use GIA certificated diamonds. GIA reports represent the highest standard of trustworthiness, consistency, and integrity. The diamond is evaluated, measured and examined using trained eyes and gemological tools. A completed certificate includes an analysis of the diamond’s dimensions, clarity, cut, colour, polish, symmetry, and other characteristics.
The most significant benefit of having diamonds GIA certified is for the client to confidently know what type of diamond that they are buying. A diamond certificate describes and grades the diamond whereas an appraisal values the diamond according to the current market value. The certificate is used to help appraisers determine the insurance or replacement value of a diamond and obtaining a certificate often means that the stone will be given a higher value.
The GIA takes about a month to issue a diamond report. The GIA only grades loose stones, and if you plan to certify your diamond set in a ring or some other jewellery through its gemological laboratory, then you need to first get the stone removed before sending it to the GIA. I usually source GIA certified diamonds for my clients, to save the time and cost.
When you buy a certified diamond you’re also buying the certificate, which should stay with the diamond for life.
Keep it in a safe place just in case you will need it to appraise, insure or sell the stone.
Are you curious to know where your diamonds come from? I think the modern day person wants to have a positive impact on the world and is more likely to be ethically-minded. The GIA diamond certificate only assesses the diamond’s physical attributes, not its origins.
I always offer my clients an ethical option when they choose their wedding or engagement ring. For example precious metal that can be recycled gold or Fairtrade gold.
Are you curious to know the origins of your diamonds? For a lot of diamonds, we don’t know where they come from before the diamonds are cut. This is where the trust comes in. It’s where asking the right questions to the gemstone merchant or jewellery supplier and asking them if their gems come from conflict-free zones area. Technically most diamonds supplied in the UK are supposed to go through the Kimberly process.
‘The Kimberley Process is an international certification scheme that regulates trade in rough diamonds. It aims to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds while helping to protect legitimate trade in rough diamonds. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) outlines the rules that govern the trade in rough diamonds. The KPCS has developed a set of minimum requirements that each participant must meet’ ( Source- http://www.kimberleyprocess.com).
But you might be thinking ethically, this might not be good enough.
Are you curious to know more about ethical diamonds? It is really hard even to this day to know how ethical gemstones are unless you go overseas directly to the gemstone mine itself to see how the gemstones are mined and to see if the gemstones are cut onsite.
The jewellery trade is built on trust. I have built some relationships with family-run gemstone merchants and owners of small-scale gemstone mines overseas where profits are invested back into local communities and there are fair working conditions with artisan miners. Like with many ethical products you are paying for the traceable audit trail and peace of mind.
Admittedly, right now being ethical in the jewellery industry costs slightly more but that price will come down if more people decide to buy ethical and so more ethical stones and metal are supplied.
There are some ethical options if you are curious to get more ethical gemstones:
1. Using recycled diamonds from old/pre-loved jewellery.
2. Using diamonds from conflict-free zones: Russian or Canadian diamonds in your bespoke jewellery.
3. Using laboratory created diamonds.
If you are curious, I will find an ethical option for you within your budget.
After explaining the 4C’s and ethical options to the engaged couple. They said that they wished they had known all this information when they were looking around for the engagement ring.
They unloaded on how intimidating it can be going around Hatton Gardens looking for an engagement ring. They said that people didn’t take the time to explain things to them like how I did. The couple decided to make their wedding rings out of recycled gold. They are tying the knot in Ireland next month.
If you would like something specially designed for you in time for Christmas? Hurry, I only have the capacity for 3 slots left.
It’s good to talk.
Hackney Downs Studios
17 Amhurst Terrace