These days, there are some savvy buyers out there, picking up readymade pieces that get worn for a few years, then relegated to the back of jewellery boxes, then sold on without hesitation for something sparkly and new. Equally, loose stones can be made into a custom piece to reflect individual tastes. The final price tag can add up to more than you’d pay for a readymade piece, but the appraised value of custom-made with a well-sourced stone often exceeds the cost of having it made.
And, while it’s nice to say you bought a ring at an established jewellery house, sometimes you can avoid paying retail overheads or middle-men by going direct to a dealer who purchases the stone for you. Like independent diamond dealer Danielle Hayes, who owns Diamonds by Danielle. She guides you through the certification of diamonds, and the pricing of the stones, demystifying the language that often surrounds the process.
“I look after all the steps, the certification and the settings,” she explains. “I use four different jewellery houses in London, who design the settings.” She deals with Villamarts, one of the biggest loose diamond wholesalers in the industry, based in London. “Recently, I had a client who was looking for an eight carat, emerald cut stone. They are so transparent; the stone has to be absolutely clean, so I contacted Villamarts, who were able to get me twelve different options to show the client.”
Greefire necklace with seven cusion cut Columbian emeralds, totalling 46.20 carats, surrounded by 17.38 carats of round brilliant cut diamonds, set in platinum. Price on request at Boodles.
The four Cs – colour, clarity, cut and carat, are well known to anyone who knows anything about buying diamonds – they’re the universal method set by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) for assessing the quality of a diamond and determining the correct value of it anywhere in the world. But equally as important these days, with so much fraudulance in the industry, is the fifth C – the cert.
Often with diamonds, there is more than meets the eye. Even with a cert that states all the specification of a stone, it doesn’t always translate to an excellent looking, premium cut, white and eye- clean-looking diamond. Hayes agrees: “I can sit in a lab with a bag of stones and look at them for hours, regardless of the cert. I never let a cert influence me. I take the stones aside, go through them individually, and decide which ones are the very best.”
Top 5 tips to buying fine jewellery
1. Know what you like: Know yourself, your personality, what works with your wardrobe, and think realistically about what you wear every day.
2. Know your finances. Buy what you can afford and know your exact budget and what you can stretch to, before you even set foot inside a jewellers.
3. Take your time. Experience pieces, try them on, then try them again. Do your homework and ask plenty of questions.
4. Check the quality. Always opt for the best stones and quality you can afford.
5. Fall in love. It should make your heart melt the minute you set eyes on it.