Posts tagged Joseph Sterling

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.

Getting Engaged? Thinking Of A Proposal? Top 10 Most Creative Engagement Ideas

Alongside Valentines Day, Christmas is the most popular time of year to get engaged, it is also one of the most popular times of year to get married. 

Picture the scene, the decorations are all up, the family is all gathered, everyone is in a celebratory mood, BANG!! Good to go!!! Well that’s saved a few quid, and if you can use that towards her dream engagement ring, then all the better :)

So now the big question becomes “How” are you going to propose?  Here are my top ten Christmas proposal ideas which may help you decide on the “how”. Let me know your thoughts, or indeed let me know if I’ve missed any out :)

  1. Hire an excellent pilot that can do writing in the sky. Take her to a favorite spot, sit back and relax while the plane fly’s in writing Merry Christmas, will you marry me. Too extravagant?
  2. Stage a treasure hunt. Start by placing “clues” all around the room, or all around the house.  Each clue could lead to a bunch small “gifts” that symbolise fun things you’ve done together, or plan to do together. The final gift will be the ring box that is hidden safely in your pocket! As she follows the clue and pulls it out of your pocket, drop to one knee and say, “Will you marry me?”
  3. See if you can convince your local radio DJ to get in on the proposal. Have them play her favorite song, and then the DJ could call her on the phone and say, so and so loves you and would love to marry you. All this can happen live on the radio.
  4. The wishing well: Find a wishing well somewhere romantic and set up a romantic scenario. Make a nice sign, throw a coin down, reel up the sign just like in the picture. 
  5. Surprise at work?? While she is at work, send her flowers with a card attached professing your love to her. An hour later send a Christmas package to her containing the ring, and be standing outside her door when she opens it, pop around the corner and ask her to marry you.
  6. Dress up as Santa. When you make your grand entrance as Santa Claus, have a bag with “toys” inside. Instead of giving her toys or a candy cane, reach inside and pull out her engagement ring. Santa on bended knee will make great photos!
  7. Take her to see her favorite sports game (or yours). During half time ask the announcer to call out her name telling her how much so and so loves you and would love you to become his wife. This will melt her heart on the spot. And get a good applause from the rest of the stadium.
  8. Take a drive through her favorite part of the country. Stop at a beautiful overlook; tell her how you feel about her and what you want your lives to be like a few years from now. Then pop the question on her.
  9. Wrap yourself up as a present. There are lots of fun ways you could do this. You could hide yourself inside a big box (with air holes) and then surprise the daylights out of her when she opens up the box! Or you could have fun with it and make it obvious that you’re a self-wrapped gift. Let her unwrap you, and when she gets most of the way through all the wrapping, surprise her with the ring.
  10. Finally… Do it the day after Christmas… the reason I say that is because Christmas is already a special day, so you should do it on a day that can be special to the both of you as a couple. A day that doesn’t have anything else attached to it, like a holiday.

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.

How to create a masterpiece of diamond jewellery

Roses aren’t the only beautiful objects which come in pink, gold and sapphires do too, and thats exactly what my latest creation is made using. Let me walk you through it.

(Here we see the components I made for this particular ring and of course the 2.50ct)

The brief was to re-make an engagement ring using the clients original diamond. In this case I am referring to the 2.50ct Asscher cut diamond. She, Helen, had seen a ring elsewhere and wanted me to make the same ring but with some slight alterations to fit her diamonds dimensions. Helen also wanted to use rose gold as she wanted her ring to be unique and different. When using a white diamond in the centre of a ring, I always recommend that the setting be made of a naturally white metal. The only metal conforming to this is platinum. Helen agreed. 

(The ring is now assembled and ready for the stones to be set)

Helen wanted some shoulder stones which would compliment both the diamond in the centre and also the rose gold the shank is made of. After browsing some of my designs on my website, we decided not to use traditional white diamonds pave on the shoulders, but instead pink sapphires. Helen was so excited by this, she instructed me to commence immediately. 

(The finished piece in all it’s glory. A diamond ring with pink sapphire shoulders)

The reaction from Helen when done was brilliant. I couldn’t have hoped for a better one. She loved it really loved it. She couldn’t have been happier. The photo doesn’t really do it justice to the colour of the shank, but I assure you, the pink in the metal with the pink of the stones is stunningly beautiful. Or should I say, a real masterpiece. 

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.

Insurance valuations: What are they and do I need one?

Making sure that you’re jewellery is fully insured can be a lengthy and expensive process. It’s also something that only a handful of people bother to have done. Granted it can be an expensive process, but the truth is it’s all relative to everyones standard of living. Typical costs for having an insurance valuation certificate made out, can range from one to three percent of the total value of your articles.

What is a valuation certificate? The short answer is, it is a certificate produced by an experienced jeweller with knowledge of fine metals and gemmology, who is able to provide an accurate replacement figure for your fine jewellery pieces. 

If you have a good insurance broker, and are with one of the big companies, such as Chubb, Hiscox, AIG, or Sterling for example, (these are typical companies my clients are insured with) then you will find that only articles valued at over £5000 per item typically, will need to be specified on your insurance policy thus listed on a valuation certificate.

However it doesn’t end there. There are different types of valuations. Insurance retail replacement, manufacture replacement value, probate valuation, private sale valuation, and family division valuations for couple going through divorce. 

More often than not in today’s society, when you purchase a new piece of diamond jewellery, the retailer you purchased it from will provide you with a valuation certificate as part of the cost and service, it’s something I offer all my clients. Then all you need to do is pass it on to your insurance company to make sure your new piece of diamond jewellery is put on risk, thus giving you piece of mind. 

We live in a period now where we are finding more and more clients are coming in to have jewellery valued which has been bequest to them by a relative who has now passed on. These typically range from diamond engagement rings, diamond necklaces, diamond brooches, diamond earrings, and I even valued a diamond tiara at one point. A lot of these diamonds are old cuts and rose cuts which are not commonly found in todays retail store, and are from the 1920-1940’s period. They are more likely to be found in antique markets and second hand jewellery shops, so getting the correct value can be a timely process. 

There is a common misconception that diamonds are cheaper in different parts of the world such as South Africa or Canada. Well that’s just not true. The bottom line is that diamonds are priced in dollars worldwide and then converted into the currency of the country you are living in. Once the stone is in the country, then the cost of manufacturing maybe higher and with the profit jewellers add, this makes the ring more expensive. 

With that in mind, the replacement value of your article on a valuation certificate can and does change over the years due to the changes in the exchange rate, particularly the US Dollar to the Pound.

Your insurance broker would recommend you have your certificate updated every 3-4 years. Please make sure you do it as values can change dramatically and I wouldn’t want you to be without the right money to be able to replace your sentimental piece of jewellery.

If you do have any jewellery you would like valued, 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.