London Diamonds founder James Sanders on the benefits of an innovative approach to diamond sales
James Sanders founded innovative disruptor London Diamonds in response to discovering the enormous margins traditional retailers slap on their gems. Having decided to find a better way, James Sanders created a truly unique and much fairer way for consumers to buy diamonds and bespoke jewellery pieces.
For James Sanders, the approach taken by traditional high end luxury brands and boutiques to selling diamonds is unfair to the consumer. When he overpaid for his wife’s engagement ring, James was faced with the realities of an ancient and industry that takes advantage of gaps in clients knowledge.
James says: “The experience really brought home to me just how over the odds people are paying for diamonds and jewellery, all because of ‘traditional’ sellers that prioritise margins over everything else. I assumed that the best diamonds were only sold by the best known brands but I slowly realised it was all marketing designed to make you feel a diamond is truly rare and unrepeatable”
London Diamonds takes an innovative approach
“Of course, London Diamonds is a business, and we want to make money,” says James Sanders. “But it’s how we make money that makes the difference. We have got rid of all of the trappings that come with the traditional approach and streamlined the process to make it much fairer to the consumer.”
As an example, James points out that London Diamonds, while based in London, has no expensive showroom to maintain. He says: “The whole approach in boutique showrooms tends to emphasise ‘perceived’ luxury. So that champagne (more likely to be Prosecco) and commission based sales people all gets charged to the customer’.
“While they may think they’re paying thousands for the diamond itself, they’re actually paying for all of the frills that go with the sales process. We’ve eliminated all of this in favour of a sales and communications platform on Instagram. This allows our experts and designers to talk directly with the customer, and at the same time we offer the same quality gems that the brands do — just at a fairer price.”
Offering fair prices to consumers
Breaking into such an established market can’t have been easy. James says: “Because we’re doing it a different way we’re sure that no-one can offer the combination of services that we can. This puts us in a great position, and it’s already paying off.”
London Diamonds is responsible for 1% of the massive UK engagement ring market already. And, as James Sanders is clear, they have their eye on the remaining 99%: “Because we will wait for the perfect stone, and we will listen to people’s budgets and work out how to get them the best deal, we’re here to stay. The challenge is to keep innovating at the same rate’.
“Above all, our experience is user-friendly. We don’t pressurise people to buy something that they’re not sure about. We don’t make claims about diamonds that aren’t true, and we always give the best advice available. The truth is that diamonds are not a unique, scarce commodity — there will always be another beautiful stone so our advice is always to wait until you find the perfect combination of design and quality.”
Expertise plus excellent service is the winning formula
Expertise is essential for people to get true value for their money when it comes to buying diamonds and fine jewellery. James says: “It’s not widely understood, but the truth is retailers will generally choose to use the lower quality stones. This is because the difference between medium and high quality diamonds isn’t immediately obvious to the customer without magnification.
“So, to make the best profit, they’re going to use the lowest quality at the highest price. We don’t do this. Because we source diamonds from 17,000 different dealers, we are able to ensure we get the best quality and pass on the same to the consumer. We can cherry pick those stones that will work best at a lower cost as we’re seen as bulk buyers.”
James is also keen that customers have all of the advice they need at no cost. He says: “There are certain tips for choosing the right diamond and piece for you, and with something like an engagement ring, we know just how important it is. People are welcome to ask us for advice and will never be pressured into buying something.”
An ethical and sustainable approach for London Diamonds
London Diamonds is all about the ethical and the sustainable. And this filters through from the diamonds they buy to the prices they charge. James explains: “We never use conflict diamonds and we think that lab grown diamonds are the future of the diamond business without doubt’.. .
“This approach allows LD to provide a service and quality of jewellery that I don’t think can be beaten. We might not be the cheapest, but combined with our service and reputation for quality and attentive aftersales, I believe we offer the best solution to anyone about to get engaged.There was always going to be a better way than the very stiff, traditional retailing of fine jewellery and we’ve found it.”
Over the last five years, LD has established contacts with more than 17,000 diamond dealers based all around the world. “We will only buy from dealers that have good credentials. Most are family-owned and have been supplying the most well-known and well regarded brands for decades. Because we’re a different kind of seller to the traditional, we can cherry pick the best stones for the best prices.”
Offering the best diamonds at the best prices
Instagram is the only sales platform that London Diamonds uses, and this is key to the whole ethos of the brand. James says: “We don’t have over-priced showrooms, we don’t ply customers with cheap champagne and charge them for it by stealth and we don’t put pressure on anyone to buy before they’re ready.
So far, London Diamonds has cornered 1% of the lucrative and growing UK engagement ring market, and has designs on the rest. James says: “We absolutely want to keep growing and eventually account for much more of the market available.
“We have all the expertise, design skills and knowledge of the diamond market that any big brand has — but we offer it all at a non-inflated price. Coupled with honest, open advice, this is proving a winning formula for us and our buyers.
Find out more about London Diamonds at their Insta @londondiamondsofficial