Where Do Diamonds Come From?

Every year approximately 133 million carats of diamonds are bought and sold. 30% of these stones enter the jewellery market where they represent eternity, love and beauty. The remaining 70% of diamonds go to industrial applications. All together these stones provide jobs for about 10 million people around the world.Where do diamonds come fromDiamonds play an important part in our personal lives and in the world around us, but where do all these diamonds come from?

Diamonds are made from carbon, heat and pressure

Carbon is everywhere. Scientists have found it in the atmosphere and the ocean, in every rock and handful of soil, as well as in our bodies. The majority of this carbon will never become diamonds, because it isn’t exposed to enough heat and pressure.

The only place carbon is transformed into diamonds is in the earth’s mantle which lies 160 kilometers beneath our feet. The mantle is composed of solid rock and is rich in magnesium, iron and carbon. The earth’s core beneath the mantle is made of molten metals. It’s intense heat keeps the mantle at temperatures well above 1,000o C and causes the carbon atoms to form chemical bonds with each other.

Once they have bonded, carbon atoms need to undergo about 50 kilograms of pressure per square centimeter to make them into crystals with rigid, unbreakable bonds. Only a few natural occurrences, including the cataclysmic movement of earth’s tectonic plates and the impact of meteorites, can cause this type of pressure on the earth’s mantle and they happened many years ago.

After carbon has been made into diamonds, the precious stones remain hidden in rock until volcanic activity brings them nearer to the earth’s surface.

Which countries have diamond reserves?

Diamonds have been found in more than 30 different countries located in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, but only 10 of these countries stand out for the volume of diamonds that they produce. Here is a list of these countries and the approximate amount of diamonds that they produce every year:

  1. Russia – 38 million carats of diamonds
  2. Botswana  – 23 million carats of diamonds
  3. Congo  – 16 million carats of diamonds
  4. Australia – 12 million carats of diamonds
  5. Canada – 11 million carats of diamonds
  6. Zimbabwe – 10 million carats of diamonds
  7. Angola – 9 million carats of diamonds
  8. South Africa – 8 million carats of diamonds
  9. Namibia – 2 million carats of diamonds
  10. Sierra Leone – 609 thousand carats of diamonds

Diamond origin

The list above rates the world’s largest diamond-producing countries by the volume that they produce every year. Now we are going list the same countries and rate them according to value of the diamonds that they produce.

  1. Namibia – US$805.00 per carat
  2. Sierra Leone – US$302.00 per carat
  3. Canada – US$180.00 per carat
  4. Botswana – US$156.00 per carat
  5. South Africa – US$145.00 per carat
  6. Angola – US$136.00 per carat
  7. Russia – US$ 82.00 per carat
  8. Zimbabwe – US$51.00 per carat
  9. Australia – US$32.00 per carat
  10. Congo – US$8.00 per carat

Interestingly, Namibia and Sierra Leone produce the least amount of diamonds every year, but the few that they produce have the highest value in the world. Remember that diamonds with a higher quality and value always enter the jewellery market, while diamonds with lesser value are used in industry.

How did diamond mining begin?

Historians have found evidence of villagers in India finding diamonds in rivers and using them in trade as far back as 400 B.C. India’s diamonds were the only diamonds known in the world until the 1700s when diamonds were found in Brazil.

History of diamond mining

In the 1700s, Brazil was enjoying a gold rush and as the gold miners panned rivers, they also found a few diamonds.  These South American beauties quickly became popular among the ruling classes and dominated the world diamond market for about 150 years.

By 1867, diamonds were becoming scarce in Brazil. At this same time, a teenager named Erasmus Jacobs found South Africa’s first diamond in a river running through his father’s farm. The Jacobs family continued to find more diamonds near the river on their farm and soon after diamonds were also discovered laying loose in the topsoil of nearby land. Within two years of Erasmus’ discovery, South African diamond hunters who spent their days sifting soil in hopes of finding the precious stones discovered that the layer of rock beneath the soil also had diamonds.

Between 1870 and 1890, a few diamond mining towns were built in Cape Colony, South Africa. The minors who lived in these towns worked long, hard hours breaking and crushing bedrock so that the diamonds in it could be sifted out. Diamond mining had officially begun! 

How does diamond mining actually work?

The first step in diamond mining is for a prospector to find a diamond deposit. Diamond prospectors travel the world testing samples of soil to identify minerals and other rocks which are usually found with diamonds. Prospectors also look for secondary diamond sources that they can trace back to a primary deposit. Once a prospector finds a diamond deposit, mining begins.

Most diamond deposits are found on land, but there are also a few in the ocean floor. No matter where the diamonds are mined from, approximately 250 tonnes of soil, sand and rock must be blasted, crushed and processed to yield a single carat of rough diamond.

Most modern diamond mines are highly mechanized. Controlled explosions break up layers of soil and rock which can be more than 600 meters deep. Tractors and trucks then transport the soil, sand and rock to processing plants where conveyor belts carry it through machines that extract the diamonds.

Modern diamond mine

There are some diamond mines, though, that have not modernized with the times. These mines, which are found primarily in Africa, are worked solely by local villagers. Most of these men and women are born and raised in the diamond mine. They go through their lives using basic equipment to dig up soil, crush rock and sift out diamonds that they sell to support their families.

Blood diamonds and the importance of choosing ethical diamonds

Many African countries, including Sierra Leone, Congo and Angola, have frequent tribal wars and political conflicts. In the 1990s, the tribes and political parties involved in these conflicts began to take control of African diamond mines.

They used the local miners as slaves, forcing them to work and then confiscating the diamonds that they found to finance their wars and political ambitions. Thousands of these enslaved men, women and children worked under inhumane conditions in the diamond mines and were not even given the basic necessities of food, clothes, medical care and education. A great number of these miners gave their lives to find diamonds that were used to finance bloodshed in their own country.

Blood diamond

In July 2000, the World Diamond Congress which was held in Antwerp took a firm stand against the sale of blood diamonds. They passed a resolution to create an international certification system that would regulate the trade of rough diamonds and make it possible to block the trade of blood diamonds. The World Diamond Congress also decided to ban any individual or company found trading blood diamonds and requested all diamond-producing countries to impose criminal charges on anyone involved with blood diamonds.

Following the World Diamond Congress, several diamond-producing states in Kimberley, South Africa worked together to establish the Kimberley Process. The Kimberley Process tracks diamonds from their mine of origin to the diamond market.

Kimberley process certificate

The Kimberley Process distinguishes between blood diamonds and ethical diamonds, which come from mines that invest in their miners safety and well-being, and works to reduce the trade of blood diamonds. Thanks to the Kimberley Process most of the diamonds that are bought and sold today have internationally recognized certificates that they are ethical diamonds. 

What are the largest, ethical diamond mining companies in the world?

The world diamond market is currently supplied by numerous diamond mining companies. These companies vary in the volume and value of the diamonds that they produce, as well as in the type of mines that they operate. Some of them only work with basic pit or alluvial mines, while others also invest in coastal and deep sea mining. Here is a closer look at the top 3 ethical diamond mining companies in the world:

  1. De Beers Group – De Beers currently ranks as the largest diamond mining company in the world and controls about 35% of the raw diamonds on the market. De Beers operates a variety of diamond mines in the ocean floor, as well as in 35 different countries, including Botswana, South Africa and Canada. Along with mining, the De Beer Group is also active in diamond retail and they popularized the slogan “A Diamond is Forever” in 1947.De Beers Mine
  2. Alrosa – The Russian diamond mining company Alrosa focuses most of their attention on 30 different diamond deposits in Russia, but they are also active in Africa. Alrosa produces about 27% of all the raw diamonds on the market and are known for finding pink diamonds. The largest pink diamond that they have found so far weighs an amazing 25.68 carats.
  3. Rio Tinto – Rio Tinto is a multinational corporation that mines diamonds, as well as metals, such as iron, copper and aluminum.  Rio Tinto operates three diamond mines which are located in Australia, Canada and Zimbabwe and produces 20% of the world’s rough diamonds.

Each of these diamond mining companies are jointly owned by private companies and also countries. For instance: 85% of De Beers is owned by Anglo American plc and the remaining 15% is owned by the government of Botswana. There are other smaller diamond mines, such as Endiama in Angola, which belong solely to countries.

Diamond cutting in the country of origin

For many years, rough diamonds were taken from their country of origin to be cut in diamond centers around the world, including Antwerp, Tel Aviv and New York. Under this system, countries of origin received only a small amount of profit from the diamonds that they mined, because they were exported in their rough state.

In order to increase their profits, many diamond-producing countries now require a certain percentage of their rough diamonds to be cut in the country before they are exported. De Beers, as well as other mining companies, understand the importance of investing in the countries where they mine and willingly supply rough diamonds to local diamond cutting and polishing businesses in order to create job opportunities and encourage economic development within the country.

After being mined, rough diamonds spend several months going through the cutting process, which includes:

  1. Planning how to bring out the beauty in each rough stone.
  2. Cleaving to break larger diamond crystals into smaller stones.
  3. Bruting to give the diamond a specific cut that will maximize the light that it reflects.
  4. Polishing to give the gem a silky finish and remove any external blemishes.
  5. Evaluation to establish the gem’s value.

Once they are cut, diamonds are ready to be sold to jewellery manufacturers and other retailers. At this point, the diamonds are also available to diamond brokers such as Beldiamond. We work closely with our clients to help them find their perfect diamond, as well as to create custom engagement and wedding rings.

The History of Engagement Rings: From Iron to Diamonds

Engagement rings have a long and interesting history. They first appear in historical writings and archeological findings dating back to 2,000 years ago. Although the appearance of engagements rings and the customs surrounding them have evolved over the years, their purpose of joining two hearts for a lifetime has continued unchanged.

Early engagement rings

History suggests that Egyptian and Greek couples exchanged rings during betrothal ceremonies, but the earliest clear evidence that we have of engagement rings comes from the Roman Empire and the Visigoth Kingdom.

  • Roman Engagement Rings (27 BC – 1453 AD) – Roman emperors ruled the majority of the known world for 1,426 years. Their empire stretched from the United Kingdom and all across Europe to the Middle East.Roman engagement ringDuring this time, Roman brides were given two rings to announce their engagement and marriage. The middle and lower class women often received one simple band of iron and one of gold. The woman would wear the iron ring while attending to household duties and the gold ring when she went out into society.The higher class women, especially those who were marrying men in the Roman government, received more elaborate rings to wear in public. These rings often had a wider band of gold and were sometimes adorned with engravings, carved ivory or small, unpolished precious stones.
  • Visigoth Engagement Rings (418 – c. 720 AD) – In 410 AD, Visigoth King Alaric and his armies rose up against the Roman emperor. They famously sacked Rome and over the next 8 years pushed the Roman armies almost completely out of the Iberian Peninsula.Within the Visigoth Kingdom, the craftsmanship of gold reached new heights. Their currency included gold coins engraved with words and depictions of people. Visigoth kings wore ornate gold crowns set with precious stones and religious figures carried gold crosses and other religious symbols.Visigoth King AlaricVisigoth women owned gold earrings with settings of precious stones and their engagement rings showed the advancements of their times. Visigoth engagement rings had elaborate settings, some of which resemble the cathedral setting that is popular today, which held roughly polished stones or glass, along with engravings and designs on their bands.Visigothic gold and silver ringBy the end of the Visigoth Kingdom, engagements were officially recognized by the government and according to the Visigoth Code, once an engagement ring was given and accepted the commitment to marry could not be broken under any circumstances.

Diamond Engagement Rings

A few years after the Roman empire and the Visigoths had faded from the scene, Maximilian the 1st, Archduke of Austria, proposed to Mary of Burgundy with an engagement ring set with a diamond. He changed Mary’s life with that ring and also unknowingly influenced the course of the engagement ring.

Mary Of Burgundy Engagement RingEngagement rings continued to play an important part in marriage contracts during the Renaissance, but diamonds were rare, so only those with considerable wealth could afford a diamond engagement ring.

In the middle of the Victorian Era, miners discovered diamonds in South Africa and soon mines were selling millions of diamonds every years. Suddenly diamond engagement rings were accessible to everyone and then just 40 years later the practice of giving engagement rings began to disappear.

Four decades after diamonds flooded the jewellery market, political unrest and economic instability began in Europe and slowly spread to Asia, the United Kingdom and the Americas. As men marched off to fight in the World Wars, couples all around the globe began to purchase only simple wedding bands, instead of engagement rings and wedding bands in an effort to save their hard earned money.

De Beers, one of the world’s leading diamond companies, noticed that jewellery in general was not selling and the diamond market was about to collapse, so they developed a marketing plan that would bring diamond engagement rings back into the spotlight for good.

A diamond is forever“A Diamond is Forever” became the catch phrase in all of De Beers’ advertisements and those 4 words are appropriate. For centuries, engagement rings had been uniting the  hearts of two people for a lifetime and now coupled with a diamond, they would also symbolize that love is forever.

The De Beers’ marketing campaign quickly doubled the number of diamonds sold in the United States alone and made diamond engagement rings an important symbol of love and marriage.

Modern Engagement Rings

Diamonds continue to play an important part in engagement rings, but other gemstones are now also being included. These additional gemstones add beauty, value and meaning. Here are a few of the gems that can be used in engagement rings:

  • Sapphires – Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, were both engaged with the same ring containing an oval blue sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds. Sapphires represent wisdom, charm and fidelity.Kate Middleton and Princess Diana Engagement rings
  • Rubies – English fashion designer and businesswoman, Victoria Beckham, has 14 engagement rings all given to her by her husband of 20 years, David Beckham. One of these includes an oval cut ruby surrounded by white diamonds. Rubies represent wealth and protection.Victoria Beckham Ring
  • Emeralds – Years ago Jacqueline Kennedy, an eternal fashion icon, was engaged with a ring that sported a 2.8 carat emerald and a slightly larger diamond. More recently Olivia Wilde said yes to Jason Sudeikis and received a ring with a diamond set in a halo of emeralds. Emeralds represent wit, eloquence and foresight.Olivia Wilde Engagement Ring

Choosing an Engagement Ring

Planning the perfect proposal includes choosing a sentimental location and deciding whether to have friends and family present, as well as deciding how to ask “Will you marry me?”.

Choosing an engagement ring can also be broken down into three basic steps:

  1. Decide which metal. We offer yellow, white and rose gold, as well as platinum.
  2. Choose the setting. There are more than 10 different settings for the stones in engagement rings. Some of the most popular settings are: Solitaire, Bezel and Halo.
  3. Pick the gemstones. We offer diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds.

If you have any questions as you choose an engagement ring, get in touch with us. We will be happy to answer your questions and make sure that you receive the engagement ring of your dreams for a competitive price.

The 5 Most Extraordinary Diamond Heists (Spot the fake one)

Diamond heists are intriguing. Compared to other crimes, they involve a higher level of prowess, more intricate planning and carefully refined skills which leaves many of them unsolved for decades. Below you will find 5 extraordinary diamond heists. Four of them are true and one is fictional. Read them, use your detective skills to identify the fake one and then cast your vote in our poll.

  1. November 26, 1983 in London, United Kingdom

A gunshot rang out and Brian Perry slumped lifeless to the ground. He and more than 20 other people died from what some people call the “Curse of Brinks-Mat”.

The curse began when Anthony Black a security guard for Brinks-Mat Security Company conspired with several other men to   at a Brinks-Mat warehouse. The heist was simple. Anthony opened the door for his gang, they tied up the other security guards and loaded a van with $36 million dollars’ worth of diamonds, cash and gold bullion.

Brink's MAT robbery

In the following months, the police arrested several of the men and recovered part of the gold. The curse then began to take effect. Over the next two decades many of   were killed. Their murderers were never found and the diamonds, cash and almost $14 million dollars’ worth of gold were never recovered.

  1. February 16, 2003 in Antwerp, Belgium

It was a cold Sunday morning. Snow crunched under the policemen’s feet as they hurried to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre. Inside ringing alarms and broken locks informed them that the Centre’s vault had been the scene of the century’s largest diamond heist.

Everything was normal in the months leading up to the heist. An Italian diamond broker rented an office on an upper floor at the Centre, but he seemed respectable. No one suspected that he was planning to outsmart the intricate security sensors and locks that protected the vault in the basement. From February 15-16th, he and several accomplices executed their plans flawlessly and made off with diamonds and other gems valued at more than $100 million dollars.

Authorities eventually uncovered DNA linking Leonardo Notarbartolo, the Italian diamond broker, to the heist, but his accomplices and the diamonds were never found.

  1. March 5, 2004 in Tokyo, Japan

She was beautiful.  , well-dressed and  , she was just the type of woman that you would expect to wear diamonds – even the exquisite 116 diamond Comtesse de Vendôme necklace.

In reality, though, she was in Tokyo’s Le Supre-Diamant Couture de Maki jewellery boutique not to buy diamonds, but to memorize the layout of the store and help steal them. Days later she kept watch while her two Serbian counterparts entered the store in broad daylight, immobilized the staff and less than a minute later left with the Comtesse de Vendôme which is worth $31 million dollars.

Tokyo police partnered with Interpol and after a long investigation caught the criminals. Evidence suggests that they were part of an international   theft ring called the Pink Panthers. The Comtesse was never found. Most likely its diamonds, including the 125-carat center diamond, were re-cut and sold.

  1. August 15, 1995 in Las Vegas, United States

Marc Mayner slipped his revolver into its holster. A former policeman, he now worked as a security guard and courier for Leigh’s, one of the finest jewellery stores in Las Vegas.

On August 15th, Marc’s task was to take 62 pear-shaped diamonds to a partner store in Los Angeles where they would be crafted into a custom-designed necklace worth over $5 million dollars.

According to the police report, Marc carried the diamonds in a security briefcase secured by a key lock and numerical code. He boarded a chartered jet to Los Angeles and placed the briefcase in the overhead compartment across from his seat. Marc stated that he never left his seat and no one opened the compartment during the flight.

Upon arriving at the Los Angeles store, Marc discovered that the diamonds had been taken and replaced with 64 smooth pebbles that matched the weight of the original gems. Forensics found a partial fingerprint inside the briefcase and traced it to Maria Ammon, but she nor the diamonds were ever found.

  1. July 28, 2013 in Cannes, France

In May 2013 the Film Festival enlivened the city of Cannes. Film directors and musicians, as well as actors and actresses walked the red carpet at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès. Many of them wore diamonds.

All too soon the festival ended, but the brilliance and fire was not gone from the city for long. Two months later the Carlton Intercontinental hotel hosted an exhibition of stunning diamonds organized by the distinguished Leviev diamond manufacturers. The exhibition received many visitors, including a thief who arrived in the middle of the day.  With his face concealed by a scarf, the thief used a handgun to dominate the guards and then left with 72 pieces of diamond jewellery valued at $127 million dollars.

via GIPHY
A few days later, the insurer offered a reward for information leading to the whereabouts of the jewellery. The police also did their part to solve the crime by organizing an intensive manhunt, but the thief and the diamonds were never found. Local rumors suggested that Milan Poparic, a renown jewellery thief who had recently escaped from prison was the perpetrator, but this was never proven.

Advances in Security Technology

Every time a diamond heist takes place, security companies take the opportunity to study it and improve their own technology. Here are four important security advances that are keeping diamonds safer than ever:

  • Biometric Safes – These state-of-the-art safes can only be opened with fingerprint recognition. This makes them especially secure and convenient, since there’s no need to carry a key orremember a combination.
  • Relocking Devices – As if sophisticated locks weren’t enough, the best security companies are also building more sensitive relocking devices into their safes. These mechanisms relock the safe at the slightest hint of danger.
  • Ultra-Sensitive Sensors – Vaults often include infrared and ultrasonic motion detectors, as well as seismic sensors which measure vibrations in the vault and its environment. As technology progresses, these sensors are able to detect abnormalities more quickly and alert the security centre or owner faster.
  • Wireless Technology – Years ago, thieves could break into a safe or vault by simply cutting the right wires. Modern security systems with their surveillance cameras and sensors are usually wireless. This makes it harder for them to be tampered with and allows them to be controlled and monitored from a security centre, personal computer or even a smartphone.

Security advances such as these go a long way towards preventing diamond heists nowadays.

Now before you go, place your vote for the fake heist on our poll!

Prince Harry’s choice of Engagement Ring for Meghan Markle

Meghan Markle Engagement Ring

Meghan Markle Engagement Ring

The engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle is one of those moments that has excited people all over the world. Apart from the fact that Prince harry is a royal and the son of one of the most beloved women in recent history Princess Diana, the world always wondered who the lucky woman would be when he would pop the question. The stunning cushion cut diamond engagement ring he custom designed for her looks fantastic. The yellow gold ring is a perfect reminder that classic metals and shapes will stand the test of time for an engagement ring.

Meghan Markles Engagement Ring

Interestingly the proposal also highlights how times have changed too. Almost to the week 81 years ago King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry the woman he loved. Today the 6th in line to the throne announced his engagement to a divorcée African American. This is probably one of the most important moments for the royal family and how it has evolved with the times for the better. It also highlights changing attitudes toward marriage and what age is appropriate. Meghan in this instance is 3 years senior to Harry, but the great thing is that they connect on the bigger values in life which is what marriage is all about. We couldn’t be happier for them and think it is a great moment in history to see ever evolving attitudes toward marriage and love.

The Proposal

The proposal took place a few weeks ago at their home. They had already been dating for 16 months and Clarence house, the official PR department for the Royals confirmed the news. Prince Harry had also invited Meghan to Botswana earlier this year. This has previously been a key indicator of popping the question as Prince William did the same with Kate in Kenya having carried his mother’s engagement ring in his backpack for three weeks.

In his most recent interview they spoke about how Harry after dinner one night Harry simply wanted to pop the question and plucked up the courage to ask. Meghan before he even finished asking replied, “Can I say yes now!” I mean who wouldn’t? It is one of the most special moments in a person’s life. It was such a sweet and personal proposal and we love the idea that both of them were totally besotted with each other.

Botswana mines mapThe Ring Origin

The diamond came from Botswana. A region that is close to Harrys heart. Africa has played an important role for the whole royal family and Prince Harry is also a partron of the Rhino conservationin Botswana. He hand selected the diamond and what most people don’t realise is that he was literally in the heart of the diamond sector for this important task!

Botswana and Diamonds

Botswana is still the largest producer of gem quality diamonds. Diamonds account for 76% of the exports for the country and about 40% of its revenues. This is important as it has allowed the country to pull its populace out of poverty. People forget that since independence Botswana has had the highest average economic growth in the world. It remains a key centre for diamonds and some of the most incredible stones have come out of Africa, in particular Botswana.

Botswana diamond mines

The Design

The design of the ring is a rather simple but elegant three stone concept or Trilogy as it is also known. It is designed to have three stones laid out in an east west fashion.

The important thing to note about three stone rings is that either the stones can be the same size or the central one can be larger and in this case, it is. We think it is a wonderful example of how three stone rings which can seem demure in an age of Halos and Solitaires still have significant symbolic meaning. The three stones represent the Past, Present and Future. The present being the central stone and thus the largest.

Prince Harry Engagement Ring

Key Features

Yellow Gold Shank

When looking at the style it is apparent that the metal used for the shank is yellow gold. This is great news as it highlights yellow gold still has a place in traditionalists hearts and we continue to see a revival of the metal as it is the original precious metal. The one that has stood the test of time and the one that most people saw on their grandmothers and mothers fingers. It is warmer than whiter metal and also wears well too. The ring is most likely in 18 carat yellow gold as this provides both the colour and also the stability for wear and tear. More refined gold would be too soft for a lifetime of wear.

Prince Harry engagement ring

Double Claws

The claws look like double claws on the central Cushion cut and these are predominantly used for security and to also use thinner claws to not draw as much attention away from the diamond itself. It does have the effect of squaring off the edges of the cushion cut however almost making it look like a radiant cut.Cushion cut ring

Platinum Collet

Interestingly the diamonds are cased in a platinum collet (basket type shape that holds the diamonds) which is ideal. Not only will the white metal keep the diamonds looking white and bright it is also structurally a more sound metal and we traditionally tell our customers to consider doing this with yellow gold rings too. Unless the main diamond is a warmer yellow or fancy colour, one should always consider using white for claws and the collet.

Custom Designed

The ring was naturally a custom design and rightly so. Only custom design can give you the true creativity and freedom to have the ring exactly as you want it. Although there are many ready-made rings on the market that will look similar, here there must be special details that were added to make it totally unique in its design. Things like a private engraving can also be incredibly personal for couples and add the surprise and secret element. With custom design you can also change certain details and choose the shape of diamonds and size proportions too.

Diamonds Used

Prince harry ring

The focal point of any engagement ring is the diamond itself. It is the star of show. In this case we have three diamonds. The main diamond is a Cushion cut. Interestingly, cushion cut diamonds are called fancy shaped diamonds in the industry. This is because the diamond can come in varying shapes and cut styles. There are square cushion cuts, rectangular cushion cuts, modified cushion cuts, vintage cushion cuts and the list goes on. The shape is called cushion, as it actually looks like a cushion. Not as expensive as a round and not as edgy as a princess cut, it sits in a happy medium. Softer edges give it its optical look of a cushion and it suits many styles. It has been gaining more traction and we have definitely seen more people request more rings in cushion cuts.

Main Diamond

The main diamond is a cushion cut with a 1.1 or possibly 1.2 ratio. This is to do with the length and width of the diamond. Usually a 1:1 ratio means both the length and width are equal. As the ratio changes from 1, 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 the diamond looks longer and more rectangular

cushion ratios

The style of the diamond is probably a traditional cushion cut as they are the main style of cuts on the market. Although some variance does exist on this as each cutting facility has its own requirements and style too. However, these are hard to notice unless the diamond is quite significant.

The side stones and Diana

The side stones are round cut diamonds probably a brilliant cut and possibly around about 0.7-0.9 carats each. As round diamonds traditionally look larger than cushion cuts, even a round diamond which is 20-30% smaller can look as big as a cushion in terms of width. In this case the diamonds have come from a jewellery piece from the late Princess Diana.

Meghan Markle Ring on hand

Harry said he wanted her to be a part of this crazy journey together. We are seeing more and more people incorporate their own stones into jewellery too. It is a wonderful thing and gives people the ability to design a ring around an heirloom diamond or precious stone they may have.

Cost

Diamonds have so many variables that give them their value. In this instance reports have varied from £50,000 to £150,000 but again this is to do with the colour and clarity of the diamond. We recently checked, such a ring with a 3 carat D colour Internally flawless diamond would come in at 105.000 EUR excluding tax. The same ring with a diamond at a lower colour and clarity for instance a 3 Carat H colour VS1 came in at around 40.000 EUR. So, as you can see there is a significant difference in price for the main diamond.

Meghan Markle Engagement Ring

Meghan Markle Engagement Ring in 1 Carat

The great thing about a three stone ring or Trilogy is that there are a lot of variations one can have. We suggest you consider having something custom made as it will give you the best option in terms of selecting the balance of the side stones matched to the main stone.

Meghan Markle Ring in 1 carat on hand

A one carat ring would come in at around 7.500 EUR for the ring. The diamonds would vary from colour D to H, and clarity VS.

On a Budget

For someone looking to get a similar look without breaking the bank, we suggest picking a three-stone trilogy with round diamonds as it will aesthetically look pleasing and relatively close to the look Meghan’s ring. However, you could also consider a three-stone princess cut ring and work on the side stone sizes to get the look. This is the lowest priced option as princess cuts are traditionally well priced too. Stay in the G/H colour range and VS1/VS2 clarity ensuring the central diamond is graded by a reputable body like the GIA.

Get in touch with an expert to talk about designing your own Trilogy Engagement Ring.

Contact us

Where Do Precious Gemstones Come From?

We source many precious and semi-precious stones for our quality jewellery pieces and they come from all over the world. Gemstones are defined by the World Jewellery Confederation as “natural inorganic material” and, with the exception of pearls, they come from very specific locations.

gemstone map

Gemstones from Africa

Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique sit on a wealth of gemstones including rubies, sapphires, tanzanite, alexandrite, aquamarine, rhodolite, Tsavorite garnet and tourmaline. Often gemstones reflect their source, for example Tanzanite comes from Tanzania and Tsavorite comes from Kenya’s Tsavo National Park.

Madagascar is the large island off the southeast coast of Africa. It is a leading supplier of sapphires along with aquamarine, quartz, morganite, tourmaline, tsavorite, demantoid garnet and labradorite.

Madagascar sapphire

Gemstones from Asia

Myanmar (Burma) produces 90% of the world’s rubies as well as spinel, peridot, garnet, iolite and imperial jade (which is mainly exported to china).

India’s mines produce mainly moonstone, iolite, aquamarine and garnet

Sri Lanka, nicknamed the “Treasure box of the Indian Ocean” is awash with garnet, zircon, tourmaline, beryl, topaz and quartz, particularly around Ratanpura. Many gemstones are found in old riverbeds where they have been washed down and then covered by river deposits; they are only now being discovered.

River deposit

Gemstones from the Americas

Brazil is home to a spectrum of colourful gemstones including tourmaline, amethyst, topaz, beryl, morganite, aquamarine and quartz. Unfortunately, the mines of Paraiba tourmaline are almost depleted, hence its high value today.

Chile is a top producer of beautiful blue lapis lazuli.

Gemstones from Australia

Australia is the main source of opals which come in an array of colours from white and blue to black, the most fiery and colourful of all.

Gemstones from Europe

Russia has vast mineral reserves including dermatoid garnet and alexandrite.

What’s the difference between precious and semi-precious gemstones?

Traditionally there are four gemstones that are considered “precious” and these are diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Historically, they were deemed precious as they were the rarest, with extraordinary clarity and colour, and were therefore the most expensive.

Semi-precious gemstones must be hard and durable as well as having the characteristics of brilliance, clarity and colour. These include stones from the quartz family such as amethyst, citrine, ametrine, rose quartz, topaz and garnets along with turquoise, tanzanite, spinel, alexandrite, peridot and tourmaline. Other precious stones include pearls, moonstones and opals.

The distinction between precious and semi-precious gemstones was only devised in the 19th century, but times have changed and perhaps those classifications are in need of an update! For example, tons of amethyst deposits were discovered in Brazil and Uruguay in the early 19th century and suddenly this “rare” gemstone was not so rare and valuable after all! Similarly, tons of South African diamonds discovered in 1870 threatened to flood the market and devalue their value, until DeBeers stepped in. This powerful cartel now controls the quality and quantity of diamond production to ensure it remains the most precious gemstone of all.

Diamond mine

When it comes to price, the finest quality semi-precious stones can command as high a price as traditional precious stones, especially if they are rare, such as Paraiba tourmaline, rhodolite and peridot.

How to choose a precious gemstone

As this quick round-up shows, precious and semi-precious gemstones come from every corner of the globe. They are mined, cut and polished to meet the market demand for precious gems used in significant pieces of jewellery that become treasured family heirlooms.

The best way to choose a gemstone is to choose something that appeals to you or your loved one in colour, brightness or symbolic significance, such as a birthstone. That way it will always retain its emotional value and will be loved and treasured forever.

How to Tell the Difference Between Natural and Synthetic Diamonds

Diamonds are one of the most expensive natural materials in the world, and like all expensive things, mankind constantly seeks to clone a cheaper, mass-produced version. The first synthetic diamond was produced in the 1950s in Stockholm, Sweden. Known by the unromantic term “diamond grit”, synthetic diamonds are largely created for industrial purposes such as drill bits, cutting blades and heat sinks in electronics.

Loose diamonds

Synthetic diamonds are a far cry from natural diamonds, which are the most valuable precious gemstones on earth and are virtually indestructible. Diamonds are traditionally given in an engagement ring, fulfilling the promise that “diamonds are forever”.

How are Natural Diamonds Created?

Natural diamonds are made of carbon, a chemical element which becomes an intensely hard and lustrous stone when put under intense pressure and heat for 1 to 3.3 billion years. Rare and precious, it’s no wonder that the best quality diamonds command the highest prices. When expertly cut with facets, diamonds flash with a bright intensity of light from their inner core, giving them their radiant natural beauty.

How are Synthetic Diamonds Made?

In comparison, synthetic or cultivated diamonds are manufactured in laboratories using artificial processes. The high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) process attempts to replicate the natural formation of diamonds in a much speedier 10 to 12-week process. This method takes a tiny chip of natural diamond and bathes it in graphite and a metal-based catalyst, causing it to grow.

Synthetic Diamond Hydraulic Press

The second method for making synthetic diamonds is the equally unromantic chemical vapour deposition process (CVD). This again submits a tiny diamond “seed” to a chemical process in a vacuum with hydrogen gas and methane.

Both these processes produce synthetic diamonds that are cheaper but inferior in size and quality to natural diamonds. This is acceptable for manufacturing and technology, but the integrity, romance, value and uniqueness of a natural diamond can never be recreated in a chemical process.

How do Synthetic and Natural Diamonds Compare?

Due to their identical composition, it can be hard even for diamond experts to tell the difference between the best synthetic diamonds and natural diamonds without scientific testing. However, synthetic diamonds have a lower density than real diamonds and they have double refraction, separating the beam of light that passes through, while natural diamonds are singly refractive.

Diamond comparaison

Other differences are the size of diamond. The largest synthetic diamonds are just three carats, but most are two carats. Once cut, they become a single carat. This doesn’t even come close to the largest cut diamonds in the world – the Star of Africa I at 530 carats, or the Star of Africa II at 317 carats.

Why Natural Diamonds are the Best

Many artificial diamonds have a yellow or brown hue due to the irradiation process, the intensity of heat and the use of boron. Natural diamonds are graded according to cut, colour, clarity and carat (size) with the highest quality diamonds being colourless.

Every natural diamond is unique due to tiny inclusions or characteristics which can only be seen under high magnification while synthetic diamonds are perfect. The thought that every natural diamond is a one-of-a-kind creation from Mother Nature gives it special significance.

All these facts are the reason why we only sell natural diamonds. We believe that when you choose a piece of jewellery for a loved one to treasure forever, it should be the very best. While a synthetic diamond may be 20-40% cheaper than a “real” diamond, the saving is hardly offset by what it lacks.

A natural diamond will always be a precious rare gemstone; it will never decrease in value and will always be a wonderful natural creation that took billions of years in the making. When it comes to giving a ring that symbolises your love, a synthetic diamond will never match the real thing.

What Jewellery Gifts to Offer for Special Occasions

The most important milestones in life are traditionally marked by precious jewellery gifts, particularly the giving of rings to mark weddings, engagements and anniversaries.  A jewellery gift lasts forever, becoming a family heirloom and providing future generations with a tangible link to treasure. Having a bespoke piece of jewellery designed is the ultimate personal gift. Instead of losing value, jewellery gifts are likely to appreciate in value, so here are some suggestions for jewellery gifts to mark special events in your life.

Jewellery Gifts for New Baby

Perhaps the most joyful time for a family is when a tiny new-born bundle of joy is delivered safely into the world. Of course you want to celebrate with a suitable gift for a baby girl or boy!

jewellery new born

When it comes to the christening or naming ceremony, celebrate with a special heirloom gift of jewellery. Baby bracelets in sterling silver or gold are appropriate for a baby girl and can be personalised with a suitable engraving noting the baby’s name, date and time of birth, for example. A pearl necklace or gold charm for a bracelet are thoughtful gifts for a baby girl and may be incorporated into a specially commissioned piece of jewellery when she is older.

Push Presents for New Mothers

Push presents are a relatively new idea, as proud dads spoil and appreciate the mother with a gorgeous jewellery gift after she has given birth. What could be more appropriate than a custom-designed piece of jewellery inscribed with the baby’s name, or perhaps their birthstone set in an exquisite solid gold setting for mum to treasure forever?

push present

Traditional birthstones are as follows:

  • January – garnet
  • February – amethyst
  • March – aquamarine
  • April – diamond
  • May – emerald
  • June – pearl or alexandrite
  • July – ruby
  • August – peridot
  • September – sapphire
  • October – tourmaline or opal
  • November – topaz or citrine
  • December – tanzanite or zircon

A dog-tag necklace could also be personalised with the initials of the parents alongside the child’s name. Such unique jewellery gifts are sure to be treasured forever. Although push presents are traditionally from the father to the new mother, there’s nothing to say that the gift cannot be reciprocated with an engraved ring for dad too!

 Perfect Anniversary GiftsAnniversary gift

The first anniversary of love or marriage is definitely a time to celebrate with a jewellery gift. For her, a simple gold necklace or bracelet may be the start of a lifetime collection of pendants or charms that can be added as the years go by. For him, gold cufflinks, a ring, tie pin, money clip or a chain bracelet would be ideal and can be engraved to mark this significant occasion.

Anniversaries are traditionally marked with a specific gemstone, making any ring or necklace particularly significant. The first anniversary is gold, but if the budget is stretched it can be simple stud earrings for her and a useful gold-plated bookmark or gold-nibbed pen for him.

Milestone Anniversary Gifts for Him and Her

The second anniversary is traditionally marked with a garnet, the third with pearls – or perhaps choose mother-of-pearl for a more unusual anniversary gift. Blue topaz, sapphire, amethyst, onyx, tourmaline and lapis lazuli follow in succession until the 10th anniversary gift, which should be a diamond. Subtle diamond studs (for her and him!), a solitaire diamond dress ring or a diamond tennis bracelet would also be suitable.

The next milestone anniversary gifts of special significance are well known. Sterling silver for the 25th anniversary could be in the form of a collectible coin, key ring, silver photo frame, cufflinks or a silver dollar money clip for him, while a silver bangle or specially commissioned piece of jewellery in silver would please any wife.

Pearl jewellery gifts again mark the 30th anniversary, and pearls come in a range of iridescent colours including green, gold, blue-grey and black pearls (which are actually grey!). Rubies make beautiful rings for him or her for a 40th anniversary gift while gold marks the ultimate 50th golden anniversary gift.

Giving an enduring gift of jewellery for a special anniversary, achievement or the arrival of a new baby is the perfect way to mark that special once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Choosing gold, silver, platinum and precious gemstones shows your loved one that only the very best will do.

Infographic: How to buy an engagement ring online

Since an engagement ring is a sentimental piece and often a sizable monetary purchase, you need to make sure you’re getting exactly what you pay for. Here are some of our thoughts about shopping online for an engagement ring.
How to buy an engagement ring online

How technology is changing the jewellery industry

The jewellery industry is slowly adapting to technological advancements that have revolutionized other sectors. 3D printing, augmented reality and computer-aided design (CAD) are now an exciting reality. One, which presents a whole new way to design, produce and shop for jewellery. And it seems that more and more online stores will need to adopt these technologies if they want to stay competitive.

Augmented reality

This new trend holds great potential for jewellery distributors, designers and shoppers alike. Now, clients can completely customize their own design and try out the finished product virtually. And the benefits for manufacturers are substantial as well. Cheaper and more versatile production and quicker shipment, to name a few. It seems that technology is truly the next frontier in the jewellery sector.

The Shopping Revolution

Augmented realityOnline shopping has always had one major drawback – customers not able trying out their jewellery before buying it. Luckily, this can now become a thing of the past. Now, augmented reality (AR) transcends the virtual realm to deliver a lifelike feel when shopping online. This solves a few of the challenges that have kept the jewellery industry from transitioning to digital trade. As the focus in retail is on the customer experience – augmented reality is the next logical step.

Face recognition software proved to be a hit with the makeup and hair styling industries. Now, augmented reality allows clients to try out rings, bracelets and necklaces without leaving their home. And all they need is a webcam. This makes browsing and shopping for jewellery online easier. Not to mention adding a fun social component to the process. This is a big step away from catalogue-style e-shopping while retaining a much closer to a real high street shopping experience.

3D Printed Jewellery – The next Logical Step

The combination of computer-aided design (CAD) software and a 3D printer is becoming more and more mainstream. The benefits to designers are many and easy to spot – faster production times, easy corrections and amazing amount of detailing. Jewellery in gold, silver, bronze, copper and brass is created thanks to Lost-Wax Printing and Casting. This technology expands on modern 3D printing technology as well as traditional metal casting. The end result are pieces – far more versatile, complex and customized.

When we talk about the benefits of 3D printing in jewellery, it is clear that the cost and labor savings are phenomenal for both buyer and seller. Not to mention making clients a real part of the making of the pieces in real-time. For the first time, customers can participate at every stage of the design and creation of the jewellery they’ve chosen. Without a doubt, this makes the shopping experience more personal and exciting.

3D printing

The whole process starts with a prospective buyer selecting one of several metal options (platinum? 18K white gold?), side stones (sapphire? aquamarine? emerald?) to enhance the diamond of his or her choice. This means that the customer has literally hundreds of designs and combinations to choose from.

What are the benefits of this technology?

After the customization process, things get more technical but equally interesting. The CAD/CAM software platform outputs a digital file that’s perfectly proportional. This takes out human error out of the equation. A 3D printed model of the piece of jewellery is then made of thermoplastic wax. The customer’s chosen metal is poured into the digitally-designed mold. Afterwards the gemstones are added and set by an expert jeweler based on exact online specifications.

It is clear how this process cuts out most of the traditional labor that goes into jewellery-making. In essence, this translates to quicker production times as well as cheaper price. This new and rather ingenious design method is reshaping the traditional industry in a truly spectacular way.

CAD

Today, buying jewellery is much more about the experience. Individual pieces are a status symbol and clients love to leave their personal mark on what they buy. The combination of 3D printing and augmented reality makes it possible to divert from mainstream designs. As a result, clients can customize pieces to their own specifications. The use of virtual inventory is doing so much more than empowering consumers. It is removing all physical frontiers from the design and crafting process to allow for light, unique and affordable pieces.

How to make the perfect proposal

Asking for a woman’s hand in marriage is one of the most important things a man will do in his lifetime. Therefore, a good deal of planning should be put into the setting and timing of this event. If you are certain that she is the one you want to spend your life with, it’s time to do a bit of research on how to make the perfect proposal.

Perfect proposal

Coming up with the right way to ask those four special words (“Will you marry me?”) can be a challenge even for guys who are in touch with their romantic side. You’re probably thinking it has to be unique and over-the-top as we’re used to seeing in Hollywood movies – something that will sweep her off her feet and she’ll never forget. But the truth is, as long as it’s heartfelt and sincere – there’s no way you can go wrong. Having said that, let’s look at a few great ideas to help make your proposal even more unforgettable.

Pick a sentimental location

Proposal eiffel towerEvery couple has a story, and making the proposal part of the narrative of your own is delightfully romantic and meaningful. It could be that restaurant, where you shared a meal after talking for hours on your first date or the park bench, where you first realized you wanted to spend your lives together – there are plenty of emotionally-charged spots all over the town you live in, which would make the perfect setting for the next chapter in your relationship. When you’re wondering how to make the perfect proposal, remember, that often – less is more. Not all women want elaborate planning and flamboyant setting to be asked a question they so want to hear. Keeping it simple, familiar and sincere is a beautiful way to show you care and you’ll be there for her ‘through thick and thin’.

Make your friends and loved ones a part of it

Happy people instinctively want to share their joy with the rest of the world. But instead of screaming that you just got engaged off the rooftops of buildings, why not share it with the people who love you? Popping the question at a family gathering or holiday dinner with friends creates a sense of belonging to a larger community of people that care about you. It’s intimate yet at the same time – cosy and comfortable. And as the stream of hugs and congratulations starts pouring in after she says ‘yes’, there is no greater feeling than the one of support as you take the next step as a couple. You can even make your friends and family part of the proposal as you have them wear T-shirts or hold balloons with different letters. Then, at a certain time during the gathering they can arrange to spell out the question you want to ask her.

Write it Out in Flowers

Order a surprise proposal bouquet and arrange floral décor at the site you have chosen. You can customize the number and arrangement of the flowers you use to symbolize the number of years you’ve been together or anything else you wish. You can always spell out ‘Will you marry me?’ in her favourite flowers or even balloons for a more exciting way to pop the question. Use the season to add a touch of whimsy to your proposal with arranging the fallen leaves or freshly picked flowers in a pattern of your choice. In Winter you can spell your question in the snow and in Summer you can take a trip to the beach and write it on the sand.

Do It the Old-fashioned Way

If you know and regularly talk to her parents, a simple yet incredibly powerful and sentimental moment will be asking her father for her hand in marriage. This is quite proper and gallant of a man to do and both the bride-to-be and your future father-in-law will be touched and pleased by your thoughtfulness and respect. This is a simple way of showing your intentions are serious without going over-the-top with some elaborate design and time-setting. It can be done over casual dinner with the future in-laws and she’ll love both the meaningful gesture and being the center of attention.

Make it Public

There is a variety of ways in which you can make a proposal that is truly special, fun and exciting. From flashmobs that can spell out ‘Will you marry me?’ to having it written across the sky with a plane; installing a billboard on a route she frequently uses or taking her to an aquarium and having one of the divers hold up a sign with the four words underwater. There is no limit to how many ways you can come up with to pop the question in public. However, you have to be absolutely sure that she’s the type of person who enjoys surprises and being put in the spotlight as for some this can be a bit too intense of an experience.

marriage proposale on the beach

Whisk Her Away on a Romantic Getaway

An oldie but goodie that many men swear by is planning a weekend getaway at a quiet destination. It can be in the countryside, at the seaside or up in the mountains – choose a place you know she loves. Spend a day sightseeing at a local town or attraction, simply enjoying each other’s company. Finish the night with an intimate dinner for two at a secluded restaurant and have the room filled with roses and champagne when you return for the grand finale. You can even hide the ring in the dessert or inside an album with pictures of your happiest moments as a couple with the sparkling diamond on the last page under the words ‘Will You Marry Me?’ She will surely love the way how you’ve introduced the next chapter in your love story in such a romantic way.

Romantic getaway

Now that you’ve figured out how to make the perfect proposal, it’s time to pick out a ring that will sweep her off her feet without spoiling the surprise. Why not read through How to Find Out Her Ring Size without Her Finding Out for a few good ideas on style recommendations, proven methods for selecting the right ring and jewelers’ best tips and techniques. When you’re ready, drop a hint for your partner and see if she likes your choice! And remember, the recipe for the perfect proposal is actually the same as the one to a happy and fulfilling relationship: love, communication and looking in the same direction. It really is that simple!