Posts tagged Joseph Sterling

Propose with a diamond

One of the hardest tasks when dealing with clients who want to surprise their other halves with an engagement proposal, is to come up with a design for a ring which she will love, decide on a diamond shape she will cherish and most of all keep the proposal romantic. 

It’s not always possible to manage all three things at the same time, which is why I have come up with a solution which is slowly becoming a practical answer to an age old problem. 

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My suggestion is to propose with a diamond. This means that the only hard part really, is to try and work out which shape diamond she loves. This can be done very subtly indeed and more often than not involves the assistance and secrecy of her best mate. The task is made easier if you happen not to be the first ones in your circle getting engaged. Normally when one gets engaged everyone else has an opinion on that ring and the line “well if that was my ring I’d have…..”.

In order for me to make your experience more memorable and successful I recommend you come in for an appointment and we go through some loose diamonds. After I have explained the different characteristics and qualities of the diamonds and you’ve decided on a stone, I will then packet the diamond in a secure box and away you go. It’s that easy. 

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Once you have popped the question you are both free to come in and we can go through the designs together, and either pick one from the Joseph Sterling Collection, or have something completely bespoke made up. Either way you are a winner. You’ve managed to contain the most important elements of one the most memorable milestones in your life. That of romance and surprise. What could be better. 

However if you have come across this blog having already proposed with a ring, and her feeling now is “I hate my engagement ring now what?" Then the answer to that question is in my previous blog. 

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.

My top 5 tips and advice to help you buy coloured diamonds and what to look out for.

It’s a topic that’s in the press more and more these days and the BBC ran a feature on it a few weeks ago. I’m talking about boiler room salesmen conning people into parting with their hard earned money for not a lot back in return. In these instances I’m referring to diamonds. 

Boiler Room definition as on Wikipedia 

In business, the term boiler room refers to an outbound call centre selling questionable investments by telephone. It typically refers to a room where salesmen work using unfair, dishonest sales tactics, sometimes selling penny shares, private placements or committing outright share fraud. The term carries a negative connotation, and is often used to imply high-pressure sales tactics and, sometimes, poor working conditions.

In the last few months, I have had a numerous amount of people calling me to sell me their diamonds. Their sad story usually goes like this. “Hi Lewis, I came across your blog on the internet regarding selling my diamonds and wondered if I could see you. I have some diamonds to sell.” We make an appointment to meet up and I look at what the client has on offer. At first all I’m usually asked is to give a valuation for the fancy coloured diamond/s which the client has purchased. After a conversation along the lines of where the diamonds were purchased and how long have you owned them, I discover that they’ve only been in possession for a few months and that they paid anywhere between 500-1000% the cost price. Yes, this is not a typo, as high as that.

It’s people like this who are giving my trade a bad name. It’s easy to say well they should have known better, but when you’re in a position like they are at the end of the phone with a professional con-man at the end of the line, it’s difficult to say no. 

Do I think coloured diamonds are a good long term investment? Yes. Do I think there is any value buying off someone who pressure sells? No. Have diamonds gone up over the last 40 years? Yes. Well when I say yes, I mean as a whole they have, but let’s not forget there are over 12,000 different characteristics which make the fixed price of a diamond impossible to know. This is the reason why diamonds aren’t listed on the stock market. A few of the smaller diamonds have had a roller coaster ride, however, all stones over 1.50ct have continued to grow year after year. The only way you will get value for money is if you can buy from a wholesaler like me.

Here are my tips for getting the best for your money. 

1) Only trade with someone in who is a member of the London Diamond Bourse and/or the World Federation of Diamond Bourses.

2) Never buy from salesmen on the phone who will guarantee a return pretty much over night. It will never happen. 

3) Always put all your money into one diamond at a time. The value of larger stones is greater than that of three smaller ones at the same purchase price. 

4) Only buy from someone who is happy for you to come in and view the diamond prior to purchasing it.

5) Make sure the diamond has an accompanying certificate from a recognisable gem laboratory such as the GIA

If you would like an appointment, or you would like Lewis to speak at your event, 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 happens to my jewellery during a divorce?

It’s tough enough that a chapter in your life is ending and things will be getting worse before they get better.  Speaking as someone who has been through this, I can assure you it does get better.  The day the lady in the relationship decides to stop wearing her wedding and engagement ring is a landmark moment and what happens now and what you are meant to do with your jewellery, is something that comes up time and time again.  However, what you decide has no bearing on what must be done in the eyes of the law. 

In some cases when there either aren’t many articles or indeed the jewellery in question isn’t worth very much, they are forgotten about, but in a lot of cases where people have lots of jewellery and/or have spent a lot of money on big pieces, these could cause and most likely do cause points of conflict. 

When filling in the paperwork during the divorce process there’s a form called a “Form E” which is a disclosure form for all assets.  This requires you to give a breakdown of what you have and what each article is worth.  When a joint decision can’t be made the court requires that both parties get an independent valuation from a jeweller, not on the insurance replacement price, but on the resell value of what the items are worth today as this has a bearing on the financial settlement which you are both fighting for. 

It’s natural for the parties to try and have the jewellery over or under valued so as to effect the financial settlement in their favour, however the true value is not what the valuation says it’s worth or indeed the receipt, but what the resell value of the article is. 

It’s like when a car is the asset.  The new price when I bought it from the dealership was £35,000 yet after I owned it for a few years and kept up the servicing on it, the “book” price is now around the £18,000 and if I tried to sell it I may not get offered more than £15,000.  Well it’s the same with jewellery.

When dealing with diamonds, we do use an equivalent to a book price when working out valuations be it for insurance replacement or for second hand values, and no one in the trade will pay more to you for you your jewellery than they would pay a supplier, so this is really what determines the correct “value” of your jewellery. 

If you would like anymore information, or indeed if you need a valuation done for your Form E, then please feel free to get in touch with me. I don’t charge for a consultation, I only charge once you instruct me to act for you.  And as I said earlier, I’ve been through the process and understand it from both ends.  My role is to help make things go a lot smoother for you. 

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.

I hate my engagement ring, what now?

What!!! You hate your engagement ring? Well I have news for you if this is the case you are not alone. Statistics show, and I don’t have any to hand, that not everyone loves their engagement ring once they set eyes on it. The reason for this is simple and it’s probably to do with the fact that he chose it based on what he thought you’d like. Or worse still, and this is true, he asked your best friend.

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Now if you’re wondering why you wouldn’t like it after your best friend was consulted, then let me explain. It could well be a jealousy thing or it could be that she feels that as best friends you have the same taste in everything.  I’ve had it before with a few clients. The best friend gets carried away and feels that because she would want a princess cut diamond you would too. And because she likes modern, she feels thats what you want too. To be fair, it is difficult to pick out the exact correct ring if it’s all being kept a secret, however sometimes ladies, dropping a few hints would do you the world of good. And men, pay attention to the hints. After all it’s your money and you would want to get it right. Yet with that said, even the best laid plans can go wrong. If the ring hasn’t been tried on, it could well be a case of the ring is perfect but it just doesn’t suit her hand. 

So now what? What are the solutions to having the ring of your dreams? Well I’ve heard it said that you only really need to “wear” it until you are married and then it is your perogoative to have it changed. There is also no one saying that you have to wear it all the time. You can pick and chose and swap and change between the wedding and the engagement ring. Some guys think that you should just wear it and be grateful.  I don’t go along with that. I believe jewellery is meant to be worn and enjoyed.

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If you decide to keep quiet about it then perhaps the opportune moment to have it changed is when you go to pick your wedding bands. When you are with the jeweller you can ask for a style of ring that you want and if it doesn’t fit in with the engagement ring than perhaps the engagement ring can be altered or amended in such a way so as not to upset the guy. The bottom line is that the way you deal with this scenario will forge your relationship for years to come. He has probably spent a lot more time on this than you think, and from what I have witnessed over the years, spent a little more than he thought he would. Be sensitive to his emotions. Diplomacy is key and yes I believe you should tell him, just not during the proposal. 

If you have been the fortunate recipient of an engagement ring that you unfortunately don’t like then please get in touch with me.  A fair bit of my work as a bespoke jeweller is remaking and remodelling rings. I have my own workshop and create all pieces by hand.  You can view a selection of my work by clicking the links below. I would be delighted to sit down with you both and run through some options. The most expensive part of the engagement ring is the diamond. It is also the most sentimental part. Over time the ring will and does wear down and would need to be remade. There is no saying that time can’t be now. 

If you would like an appointment, or you would like Lewis to speak at your event, 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, are they really as valuable as we think they are, or we the victims of the best marketing campaign in history?

In my latest blog I try to unravel the mysteries of how a diamond has become such a necessity to modern life. This is perhaps a result of the greatest advertising and marketing campaign ever!! I hope you enjoy my latest installation to my Blog About Diamonds. 

Let’s be honest, it took a brilliant collaboration of minds to come up with the notion that diamonds are valuable and are essential in wealthy circles to the upper echelons of society. Let’s not forget either that it was only in the late 19th century that diamonds were properly discovered. Prior to this they were only discovered in few riverbeds in India and the jungles of Brazil that amounted to only a few pounds in weight a year. Towards the end of that century however is when the boom happened. Huge diamond mines were discovered near Orange River in South Africa and miners came from all around the globe to be part of the latest rush where diamonds were being scooped out by the ton. Suddenly the market was flooded.

It was the British who had been financing and organising the South African mines and they soon realised that their investment was in danger. After all, the entire diamond price relied solely on the fact that they were rare and scarce. The financiers were rightly worried that with new mines popping up, the value of their diamonds would be reduced as competitors offered the same goods at cheaper prices. One day all the major investors held a meeting the conclusion was that in order for the diamond mines to succeed they had to join together. They had to unite and become one. They had to merge their interests into a single entity and become powerful enough to control production and preserve the illusion that diamonds were scarce. The creation became known as De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd. As De Beers took control of all aspects of the worlds diamonds, it assumed many forms in order to protect its investment and growth on the world stage. It is claimed that at its height, which was most of the twentieth century, it controlled more that 95% of the world’s diamonds.

De Beers proved to be the most successful cartel arrangement in the chronicles of modern history. All other commodities such as gold, silver, wheat, copper, and property fluctuated wildly in response to economic times and have gone up as well as down, diamonds have continued with few exceptions to continue to advance upwards in price every year since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, it got to a point in the late 1970’s that even speculators began buying diamonds as security against inflation and recession.

So here we have a tiny crystal of carbon and De Beers have to introduce this to the world in such a way that the price will increase year on year. They had to find the best way create and market them so that people would never want to resell them. They needed to instil in us that diamonds are valuable and that we should never part with them. We all know what the end result was, however how they went about it was fascinating. They decide to market diamonds as a token of wealth, power and romance. To achieve this they had control the supply and the demand. The message had to be sent out to men and women. The message was that diamonds symbolise love and are an inseparable part of courtship and married life. To stabilise the market De Beers had to endow these stones with a sentiment that would prevent the public from ever reselling them. They had to create an illusion that diamonds were forever. And when they say “forever” they meant in the sense that they should never be sold.

Bloody brilliant. It’s a genius idea that has seen the rise and rise of diamond prices over the decades. This is when the advertising and marketing campaign began. It was a campaign so powerful that it was to change the way diamonds were perceived forever.

The year was 1938 and Harry Oppenheimer was recommended by his bank to travel from Johannesburg in South Africa, to New York City to meet with the then president of a leading advertising agency. Oppenheimer’s bankers called a meeting, as they were concerned about the declining price of diamonds, which were affecting the market worldwide. In countries like England and France diamonds were still considered to be jewels for only the very wealthy, such as the Royal Family and aristocrats.  In countries such as Austria, Italy Spain and Germany the idea of giving a diamond ring had never really taken off. So all that seemed to remain was the Untied States as the only real market for De Beers. As a matter of fact, in 1938 three quarters of the cartels diamonds were sold as engagement rings in the United States. However, as it turned out most of these stones were smaller and of lower quality than the ones which were sold in Europe and had an average price of around $75-$85 apiece. With this in mind, Oppenheimer and the bankers believed that a well orchestrated advertising campaign could persuade Americans to buy more expensive diamonds, and an introduction by the bankers to Gerold Lauck, president of N.W. Ayer, one of Americas leading advertising companies, took place.

Oppenheimer suggested to Lauck that his agency set out a plan for creating a new image for diamonds among Americans. He assure Lauck that De Beers had not called any other agency, and they had exclusive free range to come up with what they felt would best suit De Beers. If their proposals met with his fathers’ approval, then N. W. Ayer would be the exclusive marketing and advertising agents in the United States. Oppenheimer was happy to underwrite all the costs necessary for the research of the campaign. Lauck accepted his offer there and then.

It’s pretty interesting what sort of things you uncover when you start to dig deep and research things. Once N. W. Ayer really started to sink their teeth into the American diamond market they found that since the end of World War 1, in 1919, the total amount of diamonds sold in America measured in carats, had declined by around 50%. At the same time though the quality of the diamonds measured in dollar value, had declined almost by 100%. A memo that was circulated by Ayer concluded that the state of the diamond market was “the result of the economy, changes in social attitudes and the promotion of competitive luxuries”. It was further deduced that since “young men buy over 90% of all engagement rings” it would be crucial to inspire them with the idea that diamonds are actually not only a great gift of love, but the only true gift of love. And of course with this comes the added phrase the larger the diamond, the more you love her. Similarly though, women had to be educated to accept that diamonds really are the only true gesture of love and an integral part of any relationship.

The scene was set. The brief was delivered and now the hard work began. Since the plan was to romanticise diamonds, and this would require subtly altering the publics perception on the way men go about wooing a woman, N. W. Ayer strongly suggested exploiting the relatively new medium of using motion pictures. Film stars, these were they new icons of the world. The way we all saw things happening on the big screen was they way to go. Everyone saw himself or herself as a Clark Gable or Marilyn Monroe. These icons would be given diamonds to use as the symbols of indestructible love. In addition the agency suggested offering diamonds to Hollywood’s heroes to be used in photo shoots and publicity shots that would then be published worldwide. Movie stars turning up at premiers would be draped in De Beers diamonds and the sent to all the newspapers and magazines around the world. This would reinforce the story between romance and diamonds. Fashion designers would talk on the radio about the “trends towards diamonds”. The advertising company N. W. Ayer also planned to use the British Royal family to help increase the publics awareness of how beautiful owning a diamond can be. A memo said “since Great Britain has such an important interest in the diamond industry, the royal couple could be of tremendous assistance to this British industry by wearing diamonds rather than other jewels.” A few years later, Queen Elizabeth later went on a well publicised trip to several South African diamond mines, and she happily accepted a diamond from Oppenheimer.

By 1941, the advertising agency had reported to its client that it had already achieved impressive results. The sale of diamonds had increased some 55% in the US since 1938 and sales were increasing upwards. Another brainstorming session was pencilled in and it was noted at the meeting that its campaign had required “the conception of a new form of advertising. There was no brand name to be impressed on the public. There was simply an idea.” It further claimed that “ a new type of art was devised and a new colour, diamond blue, was created and used in these campaigns.”

It wasn’t until 1947 however in its strategy plan that the advertising agency strongly emphasised that they wanted a physiological approach. They stated “we are dealing with a problem in mass psychology. We seek to strengthen the tradition of the diamond engagement ring. To make it a psychological necessity, we must be capable of competing successfully at the retail level with utilities, goods and services”. They had defined as their target audience “some 70 million people 15 years and older whose opinion we hope to influence in support of our objectives”.  They were to arrange for lectures to visit high schools across the country and give talks revolving around the diamond engagement ring. They were to reach out to thousands of girls in their assemblies, classes and after school social activities. It really was a ruthless way to achieve their objectives. Let’s not forget that back then people got engaged much younger than they do today. A few months later and the agency explained in a memo to De Beers that they had organised a weekly slot called “Hollywood Personalities”. They were to provide all the leading publications across the United States with the descriptions of the diamonds worn by movie stars and focus on certain celebrities that week. They were to continue their efforts to encourage all the news agencies to celebrities wearing diamond rings as symbols of love.

By now they needed to come up with a slogan. One that they tried but failed at was “I wish I had what she has”. De Beers weren’t too happy with this and asked them to try again. They needed something that can be related to by everyone. It didn’t matter if you were the accountant in the city or the mechanic’s wife. They wanted something that would express romance and timelessness. Late one evening a copywriter for N. W. Ayer came up with the caption “A Diamond Is Forever”, which was scribbled on the bottom of a picture of two young lovers on honeymoon. Of course the irony is remarkable. After all you can in fact chip a diamond. You can discolour a diamond. A diamond can shatter. We can even incinerate a diamond to ash. However it was the concept of eternity, which perfectly captured all the qualities that the advertising agency wanted to ascribe to a diamond. Within a year, “A Diamond Is Forever” became the official motto of De Beers.

So there you have it. From that day to this, the slogan, which has transformed the value of some small meaningless piece of carbon into arguably, the most precious and valuable commodity in the world was born. However it didn’t end there. The key to the success of the advertisers and DeBeers was consistency. They knew they needed to keep diamonds associated with luxury and superiority if they were to maintain their public awareness campaign, not only in the States, but around the world too. 

In America, which remained the most important market for most of De Beer’s diamonds, N. W. Ayer recognized the need to create a new demand for diamonds among long-married couples. “Chocolates come, flowers come, furs come,” but such momentary gifts fail to satisfy a woman’s psychological craving for “a renewal of the romance,” N. W. Ayer said in a report. An advertising campaign could instil the idea that the gift of a second diamond, in the later years of marriage, would be accepted as a sign of “ever-growing love.” In 1962, N. W. Ayer asked for authorisation to “begin the long-term process of setting the diamond aside as the only appropriate gift for those later-in-life occasions where sentiment is to be expressed.” De Beers immediately approved the campaign. This is when the diamond eternity ring was born, but that’s a story for another blog

So what can we learn from this? Well to my mind a few things. Firstly if Mr. Oppenheimer hadn’t come along and decided, with a few other minds to take control of the diamond market, instead of leaving each site finder to fight for their own business, then would we still find diamonds as fascinating? I doubt they would be as expensive as they are. Would they still be as demanding? Probably not. It makes you wonder though, what would we be using as an alternative to propose with?

I suppose a lesson to be had, and something we can implement in our own business is that you can take an object, plant an idea about it in someone’s head and repeat it often enough, the public will believe what they hear. And I suppose here ends the lesson. I do hope you found that as interesting as I did. 

If you would like an appointment, or you would like Lewis to speak at your event, 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.

Thanks to Edward Jay Epstein for some of the facts included here. 

Three alternatives to the traditional single stone diamond engagement ring.

Many years ago when diamonds became a token of love, a symbol of betrothal, people wanted to show their love by proposing marriage with a single stone diamond engagement ring. Set in a claw setting with either six or eight claws depending on the size of the diamond, and placed on a tapered knife edge shank, this is what was meant by a traditional engagement ring. Like a classic pair of earrings, the ring goes with everything and is worn all the time.

Today we are slightly more adventurous when it comes to picking out our engagement ring. It’s not unusual for a lady to want her ring redesigned for a wedding anniversary a few tears down the line. Oops, yes that was a typo, I meant years. So if you don’t want to go traditional then what are the alternatives? We’ll let me give you my three. 

It seems that a modern take on the “Diana” ring which of course the Duchess of Cambridge now wears, Princess Kate, is the halo design. This has a central diamond, and I believe an elongated cushion shape or a rectangular radiant cut is best, with pavé diamonds around the stone complimented by pavé diamonds on the shoulders. Set in platinum this looks exquisite and works particularly well on ladies with long slender fingers. 

Next for me would be the trilogy ring. This works well on a number of levels. First if your budget won’t get you the desired single stone ring you’re after then why not use that money to spread across three stones. You may be thinking this will be more expensive, but I promise you you’ll get more for your money with the trilogy. The main reason is that the price per carat is lower on small stones than on larger stones. Also I’d pick a shape which moves away from tradition. Perhaps three princess cuts, or three radiant cuts. In fact you could even mix it up and have an emerald cut centre and round outsides like what I made for this client. And there’s nothing saying you have to have three diamonds either. 

And my final alternative to the solitaire engagement ring is a nice bespoke creation. Take a look at this piece. I made this for a client who didn’t want a run of the mill engagement ring but wanted something that expressed his and her passion for Motorsport. So the concept behind this design is the exhaust pipes and the theme was the trilogy. This is what I came up with and created. Needless to say the ring was exactly what the couple were looking for. The benefits are that the client dictates the budget and they decide on design. Most importantly she got what she asked for. 

I hope this gives you a bit more creativity to help you find your dream engagement ring. I would be delighted to sit down with you and discuss designing your perfect ring. Thank you. 

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.

Pushing presents. What are they and how do I get one?

Sorry gents, only the ladies qualify for this one, and with good reason too. This is a funny one if you’re British and reading this, and possibly wondering what on earth I’m talking about. Whilst if you are American you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those who aren’t sure, the term pushing present is used in America and refers to a present which is given to a woman, by her man, after she has had a baby, normally his baby. Hence the term pushing present. 

So now we all know what one is, and when we get one, what is it we are traditionally getting? Well let me tell you. Diamonds! That’s what it’s all about, diamonds. Why diamonds? Well, you’ve just had a new born baby and you’ve had to carry the baby for around nine months. You’ve worked hard, you’ve deserve only the best. You’ve earned it. What better present could you want beyond diamonds? After all, they are the biggest gesture to show how much you really love her.

Every woman at one stage of her marriage will be expecting an eternity ring, and this I don’t believe is unreasonable. If she doesn’t have one by now then this would be a great opportunity to get her one. However any piece of diamond jewellery would be acceptable. 

If you are going to get an eternity ring then let me explain the differences between the more popular styles. Firstly there are two types of eternity rings, a full and a half. The half eternity ring traditionally has seven diamonds and the full eternity ring has as many stones that will go around the finger, and this depends on the finger size and the diamond size. 


For those of you ladies who are married, there is no written rule to say that the eternity ring has to be worn on the wedding finger. A lot of my clients prefer to receive a different style to the wedding and engagement ring that they already have. No surprise really as styles and fashions change through the years. Go with what makes you happy.

However it doesn’t have to be an eternity ring. It could be a pair of earrings, just make sure she has her ears pierced before you purchase them. I have had guys buy earrings in the past and then come back as their partner didn’t have her ears pierced. Awkward! Or you may want to give a diamond pendant or tennis bracelet. The options are endless. 

Now you know what a pushing present is, feel free to pass this around to all your friends who are either pregnant or expecting a baby, I’m sure their husbands won’t 😊

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 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.