What is the best way to clean my diamond jewellery?

I’m sure if all of us were to ask our mother “What’s the best way to clean my diamond jewellery?” She would tell us do take our diamond ring or earrings and pour out a shot of vodka or gin and soak the jewellery in there for a few hours, then hey presto.

Why would we question that? Seems perfectly normal that anything our mother tells us is correct. Right? 


Well I can remember growing up that my mum would do that, however it wasn’t until I started in the jewellery industry at sixteen years old, that I realised that this was just a waste of perfectly good vodka or gin. When I queried it with my new work colleagues they laughed at me. 

Yes, alcohol is used as a disinfectant and yes it is a base for certain detergents, however just plonking your diamond ring in a glass of alcohol won’t really clean it.

In my workshop, and all professional jewellery workshops, we use an ultrasonic machine and the detergent is an ammonia based fluid. This needs to be warmed up to near boiling temperature in order to be effective. 

So, my advice for you to be able to clean your ring at home, is to use warm water and fairy liquid. Remove your ring from your finger and hold it between your thumb and forefinger, then using an old toothbrush, tap away at the underside of the setting, then dry it with some kitchen roll. Don’t dry it with tissues as the fibres tend to get left behind in the setting. And don’t pour boiling hot water straight from the kettle over the diamond as this could shock the stone and cause it to fracture! 


The main cause of the dirt behind your diamond is dry soapy water which gets left behind after washing your hands. Other causes include hand lotions and creams as well as cooking ingredients. 

So next time you ask your mum “What’s the best way to clean my diamond engagement ring?” and her reply is “vodka or gin”, pour the alcohol in a glass and drink it, then show her this 😉

If you would like an appointment, then please do call for a free consultation in our central London Hatton Garden office and we would be glad to try and help you. Our details are on the main page of the Joseph Sterling website.

Lewis Malka is a recognized expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). You can follow him daily on Facebook - Twitter - and Instagram.
If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit his website. 

This is the best way to propose on Valentine’s day, yet still keep the ring a surprise.

This is one of my favourite topics. Maybe because it brings out the romantic in me, but I have to say, over the years, this has always been top of the list for me when it comes to proposing. Perhaps even the way I would do it should I get engaged again. 

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I’m talking about proposing with a diamond. You may be thinking that that was obvious, and yes it is. However I’m not talking about proposing with a diamond ring, just a loose diamond. My logic for this is simple. We all know that proposing is one of the most stressful things ever! Well those of us who’ve been through it do. And if you are about to embark on that journey, then you are about to join that club. Statistics show that around 10% of marriage proposals happen on Valentine’s day and that accounts for a large amount of people looking to be original. 

Let’s not forget too that this is probably your third largest purchase you are likely to make behind a car and a house. The pressure to get it right is enormous. The added pressure of getting the design correct as well as the timing is even bigger. So here is my suggestion or recommendation.

Enlist the help of her closet friend and try to find out what her favourite shape diamond is. Once you have done this then determine a budget. Once you have your budget you should go about doing some research on diamonds and find out about the four C’s to help you better understand what you are about to purchase. After all, knowledge is power. The more you understand, the better the deal you will get. 

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Most of the hard part is coming up with a style, a design of how you think her perfect diamond engagement ring will look. The last thing you want to do is to excite her with the proposal yet not have her like the ring you chose. Here is my way to make sure you get each step spot on. 

If you decide to propose with a diamond, nothing else but a loose diamond, this can be supplied in a nice perspex presentation box, that way it a) still gives her the element of surprise and b) gives you both the opportunity to come into a design studio such as mine, and design her the perfect ring together. That is what I call romantic. 

If you would like an appointment, then please do call for a free consultation in our central London Hatton Garden office and we would be glad to try and help you. Our details are on the main page of the Joseph Sterling website.

Lewis Malka is a recognized expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). You can follow him daily on Facebook - Twitter - and Instagram.
If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit his website.

What questions should you ask when buying a ring, and what can you expect from Joseph Sterling?

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!


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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 Joseph Sterling, 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. 


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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? 

If you would like an appointment, then please do call for a free consultation in our central London Hatton Garden office and we would be glad to try and help you. Our details are on the main page of the Joseph Sterling website.

Lewis Malka is a recognized expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). You can follow him daily on Facebook - Twitter - and Instagram.
If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit his website.

Diamonds and Cocktails the perfect combination.

Last Thursday evening the scene was set. Myself and fifty women were in the loft of the lovely venue which is The Hospital Club. The theme for the evening was diamonds and cocktails and I was invited along to give my knowledge and experience in the diamond world to the select invited  ladies as part of the Morrison and Foerster networking evening for their employees and clients. 


It was a glamourous evening arranged by Marie Carey. She is in charge of the company’s marketing department here in the UK, and what a good job she did. 

On tap there was plenty of champagne and cocktails which flowed all night and  everyone was dressed up and was wearing their most glamourous jewels. 

Arrival time was set for 7pm and I was on stage around 7:45. In my brief with Marie, she asked how long I wanted to speak for and how long she thought would be reasonable to speak for. We both decided around 20-30 minutes would be perfect. Now that’s all well and good when someone is preparing a PowerPoint presentation or just “giving a talk”. However that wasn’t the case this evening and it’s not really how I do things. I like to engage. I like to make the audience feel included and I like to make everyone feel like I’m talking just to them. So here’s how it went.

So I started off with around 6-7 minutes with a brief but detailed bio of myself, what I do, how I got into the business, and how I add value to the industry, then invite questions. This is when things start to become interactive and people start to feel included. We had some serious questions like: 
Where do I see the future of the diamond industry? 
How do I get the best value for money diamond?
Is it worth investing in diamonds? 
How do I avoid buying a blood diamond?

All the way through to:
What’s the best way to sell my old diamond jewellery?
How can you spot a fake from a real diamond? 
How can I get a man to spend more than three months salary on my engagement ring?
What’s the best way to insure my jewellery?


So as you can see there was a lot of variety during the evening. I glanced at Marie a few times expecting her to tell me to wrap it up, however she kept gesticulating to continue. All in all I was discussing the fascinating world of diamonds for an hour and a half, and we could have kept going all night. 

I want to publicly thank Marie for her efforts and for asking me to talk. It was my pleasure. I look forward to seeing you again soon. 

If you would like to hear me speak at one of your events, then please be in touch. You never know, it could be the sparkle your evening desires.

Lewis Malka is a recognized expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). You can follow him daily on Facebook and Twitter
If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit his website.

When a marriage or engagement ends, who should keep the ring?

Well I’ve never been one to shy away from a bit of controversy, so why stop here. It hasn’t happened often, but it is something thats come up every now and again. Who gets to keep the diamond ring once a wedding or engagement is over? Hang on a second! Why does this all come back to me? Why does it have to be me who answers this question? Either way I can’t win.

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The truth is there isn’t a right answer and there isn’t a wrong answer, and that’s not me sitting on the fence, that’s me being 100% honest. One point of view for the man is that he spent three months salary on the diamond piece and should be entitled to try and reclaim some money back. Yet on the other hand the argument for the lady is that the ring was given to her, it is now hers, and she should be able to do with it as she pleases. There is also the feeling that from her point of view it is a bad memory and a bad luck charm and she may well want to return it.

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Is there a correct answer?

Well a lot of the time a marriage has broken down there is bad feeling and the last thing the lady wants to do is return the ring, yet the first thing on the guys mind is to get money back from the ring, so he demands it back. I believe that the right thing to do is whatever seems to be the right thing at the time. Every situation is different and there isn’t a black or white answer. Of course the best thing to do is not get in to this situation in the first place and make the relationship work so this isn’t an issue. If the thought and the love was there in the beginning then it’s a relationship worth working on. However that’s a different blog altogether for a different person to discus. I’m not a marriage councillor, I’m a jeweller.

Lewis Malka is a recognized expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). You can follow him daily on Facebook and Twitter.
If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit his website.

Mining through the fields of selling your diamond jewellery

This week alone I’ve seen six people who wanted to sell me their unwanted diamond jewellery, and a number of these were diamond engagement rings. I’d like to share one client’s particular circumstance with you here to highlight the pitfalls you may encounter when the time comes to sell your unwanted jewellery.

Let me tell you the story…

This particular client came to see me to sell her jewellery after reading my blog post "How Do I Sell My Diamond Ring and Other Diamond Jewellery" on my website. In there I explain some methods of how to sell your diamonds, and also which methods to avoid.

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She had a 1.50ct round diamond engagement ring with a diamond grading certificate and a valuation report and wanted to sell it for personal reasons.

Correctly Valuing a Stones Worth

The stone was originally purchased for £9000. It was grossly over valued for insurance at £21,000.  The lady in question, said she was expecting to receive close to the valuation mark - sadly completely unrealistic considering the true value of the stone.   

The diamond had a certificate from an independent lab, however it wasn’t from a reputable company that is widely recognised within the trade. After comparing it to certified diamonds from the GIA, who are world renowned, it was evident that this was not what was suggested on the report. 

The outcome

The diamond was determined by myself and another colleague in the London Diamond Bourse as being lower by two grades in both the colour and clarity and the stone had a terrible spread which wasn’t even mentioned in the report.  All these factors lead to the diamonds true worth being just one third of what was paid originally by the client to the retailer they purchased the ring from. In the end, the client settled for a third of the original price paid.  

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Lessons to learn from this story

Firstly, to accurately secure the value of your stone always get it certified by a world renowned diamond certification body.  Joseph Sterling prides itself in selling and trading GIA certified diamonds.

Secondly, have it accurately valued for insurance regularly so that if and when you do want to sell back your jewellery you have a much more realistic idea of what it is worth.  Joseph Sterling offers accurate valuation services for all your jewellery.  Jewellery should be re-valued every three years.  

Making sure you are aware of these potential pitfalls will hopefully result in less disappointment when the time comes to sell on your unwanted jewellery.

If you do have any diamonds or other jewellery to sell, then please do call us for a free consultation in our central London office and we would be glad to help you. Our details are on the main page of the Joseph Sterling website.

Lewis Malka is a recognized expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). You can follow him daily on Facebook and Twitter
If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit his website.

For love… or money. Why do we buy diamonds?

Diamonds are eternally fascinating. They can also be a good investment if you know how to cut the right deal, says jewellery expert Lewis Malka.

 

Have you ever wondered why there is no way to buy diamonds on the stock market? You can buy almost anything else – sugar, gold, orange juice, part of a football club – but you can’t buy diamonds anywhere.

There is a reason. If you are thinking of buying a diamond, you have to examine it carefully. The first thing you’re assessing is The Four Cs: cut, carat, clarity and colour. Each of these is vital. Take clarity, for example. The diamond’s internal characteristics include features such as clouds, cavities, graining, laser lines and much else. These are often known as ‘inclusions’. Which inclusions a diamond has, and where, makes a big difference to the price. You also have to consider the symmetry, fluorescence, proportions and much else. An impossible task without carefully viewing it in person.

People increasingly ask me about purchasing diamonds as an investment. Their first question is usually, “Will I get a better return than I do on cash in the bank?” The short answer is no. If you buy a significant diamond ring from any high street jeweller, it will probably take you 25-30 years to make your money back on it.

The only sensible way to purchase diamonds as an investment is to go to a reputable diamond trader, who might sell you a diamond at the wholesale price. We all know about the dangers of using past performance as a guide to the future, but the wholesale price of diamonds has increased by between 5% and 15% every year since records began in the 1970s. My advice is that it’s probably better to spend your budget on one larger stone than two or three smaller ones. The larger a diamond, the rarer it is. As with most things, rarity makes for a better investment.

Coloured diamonds are rarer still, and we have seen yellows, browns, greens and reds coming onto the market recently. These will command an even higher price and should make a profit more quickly. Our records show that these have gone up in recent times by as much as 30% year on year.

24.78ct natural pink diamond. Amazing!! 

Pink diamonds are the rarest of all. In November 2010, Laurence Graff bought a 24.78 carat rectangular pink diamond at auction for £29million. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that this was the most ever paid for a diamond. When he was asked why he paid so much, Mr Graff replied: “To reduce my tax bill this year.” Diamonds can be almost magically beautiful, but investing in them remains a hard-headed decision.

 

 

Lewis Malka is a recognized expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). You can follow him daily on Facebook and Twitter
If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit his website.

www.joseph-sterling.com | lewis@Joseph-sterling.com

Pulling teeth has never been better

Dental refining is a service I didn’t think I’d get asked about. It all came about a few weeks ago in my BNI group. We have a dentist there and she asked me about wedding rings. Whilst we were talking I asked her who refines all the old teeth they pull out from patients, naturally I’m only interested in the ones filled with precious metals as it’s part of my industry too. She said that someone takes hers every few years and the yield wasn’t very high. I asked if she was ready to melt again and could she give me the opportunity to organise the melt for her to which she agreed. Needless to say she was delighted with more than double what the last company paid her out, and she has gone on to refer me to her colleagues in the practise and others in the industry who she knows. 

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As a result of this, I am now offering a service to dentists who would like to have their scrap metal refined. I concentrate on recovering gold, silver, platinum, palladium and other precious metals. I am based in London, so naturally I am looking for clients in this area, and I am happy to offer a collection service. A report will be given along with the money after the smelt and a fast service is guaranteed with a turnaround time of a few days at most. 

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So which dentist do you know who could benefit from my new service. Finding a company you can trust is very difficult in this day and age. As a jeweller, a member of the London Diamond Bourse and someone who has been brought up for the last 22 years in the industry, I understand how valuable integrity and trust is and it’s with this that I offer my services to everyone. Please do ask me for more details if you are interested and would like to arrange a trial service. You can reach me on the office number which is 020 7404 4022. Thank you. 

Lewis Malka is a recognized expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). You can follow him daily on Facebook and Twitter
If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit his website.

I believe this is the right time to invest in physical gold bullion

Wow!! What a rocky few weeks we’ve had at the start of 2013.

What with currency doing a song and dance, and gold going up and down, I believe this is the perfect time to boost your physical gold holdings.

Are you nervous? Are you worried? Do you think that possibly the currency we use today may soon come to an end? Well you aren’t alone. Now I’m not saying this is the case, but looking at the habits of some of my clients, it seems they are stock pilling physical gold. They are taking the view that now the UK has been downgraded from a AAA to a Aa1 rated economy (I think thats correct), that the safest form of currency, one which can easily been transported internationally, and one that can be kept secure in a locked safety deposit box in a bank for a relatively small annual fee, and still the safest way to keep “cash”, is to buy gold investment ingots, coins and/or bars.

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Now I am not a financial advisor, however looking at the facts, and having spoken to Sarah Bowles, who is a highly regarded IFA (independent financial advisor) for MAC financial in London, We can see that there is a trend happening and we would recommend people buy physical gold now. Look at the facts. It seems we are a nation of sheep. When one person shouts to do something we all follow. Back in the summer of 2011 our economy was doing terribly and the price of gold was rising. People panicked and started buying gold. This led to the price increasing and as a result we hit an all time high. As I mentioned, we have been downgraded, gold is priced lower at the moment, I believe the price can only increase medium to long term. Do I believe gold is a bargain? Yes. Do I recommend you should buy some and put it away? Yes.

I have written in the past a few blogs on the topic of gold, here they are should you want to dip your toe in. Topics include making gold investment simpleThe benefits of gold and why buy it, and another is what are typical gold bullion bars? As always should you want to purchase any physical gold, then please contact me. And should you want any financial advice from a registered IFA, then please contact Sarah, she would be delighted to meet up with you and assist. Of course let’s not forget that one of the main attractions of physical investment gold bullion bars is the fact there is no VAT to pay. 

This image is of a client’s purchase last week. In case you didn’t know, there is no VAT on investment bullion. image

Facts

  • The size of the ingots for its worth is very small. 
  • You are purchasing a weight of gold, not a size of ingot. Different manufacurers shape their ingots differently. 
  • All bars weighing 250 grams and over have an individual serial number.
  • All ingots are in a sealed plastic casing to avoid the bar being rubbed down and thus lose weight. 
  • You only need the smallest safe deposit box for storing these. 
  • The purity of an investment ingot bullion bar is 999.9% gold. 
Lewis Malka is a recognised expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). You can follow him daily on Facebook and Twitter
If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit 
his website. 
For more information and to have a chat with Lewis, please call him on 020 7404 4022

 

When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Jeweller

One of the most common questions I get asked, other than “Where did you get your good looks from?” is “Have you always wanted to be a jeweller?”

The short answer is no. However how I did become a jeweller and how this happened was a bit by chance. 

Traditionally most jewellers in Hatton Garden, the jewellery centre of the UK, are in the business because it has been in the family for a few generations. The tradition of bringing your children into your business is something which happened quiet a lot years ago. Not so much anymore. As in most industries, things are getting harder and harder.

My son at work with me in the London Diamond Bourse:

I was 16 years old when I was first introduced to the back end of the jewellery industry. A friend of my parents was a manufacturing jeweller, and wanted to know if I was interested in helping out for a few weeks in the summer holidays. I was intrigued by the offer and accepted. I was fascinated by what I saw. The attention to detail and the intricate work involved was mesmerising for me. Working with some of the most precious gemstones and metals on earth was something I wanted to do. My mind was set. This was for me. 

After 2 weeks of what can only be described as a great summer job, I looked into starting a course in jewellery making, and found one which was starting that term at Sir John Cass School of Arts. It was an apprenticeship course and they assisted in finding me work placement too. I loved it. Learning everything I could. From soldering to sawing, filing to buffing, polishing to setting, casting to bending. All my friends were doing A level exams and then off for a gap year. Not me. This was it. 

I was fortunate for the college to find me a guy called Laurence who, with his father, ran a wholesale company making 18ct and platinum ring mounts, as well as bespoke pieces by hand. I spent a total of 9 years with Laurence, the person I owe a lot to for my career path, then decided to move on and go on my own. 

Some shots of procedures used in making jewellery in my workshop:

In the year 2000 I founded and started Joseph Sterling Bespoke Jewellers, and focused my business on creating bespoke pieces for private clients. The best way, and in my opinion the only way, to do this is to create a network of people who can, and will, happily refer clients to me. I joined BNI and have been a member ever since. 

In 1999 I took a gemmology course and passed. Learnt so much that all it did was fill me with a desire to learn more. Diamonds are one of those things I am fascinated by. The fact that something so small has such beauty and lustre to command such a high price is extraordinary.

I joined the London Diamond Bourse in 2007 and a few years later was invited onto the board, and to this day I proudly sit as a board member as part of an 11 person strong committee. The fact that I have a say in the future of the diamond industry and can make suggestions to improve and evolve with society excites me. 

If you do have any jewellery ideas you would like made bespoke, then please do call for a consultation in our central London office and we would be glad to try and help you. Our details are on the main page of the Joseph Sterling website.

Lewis Malka is a recognized expert in making diamond rings as well as being a famous jeweller to the stars. All his blogs are his own opinions. He is a member of the London Diamond Bourse (LDB). You can follow him daily on Facebook and Twitter
If you would like any bespoke jewellery made, then please visit his website.