London Diamonds’ James Sanders explains the difference between lab grown and naturally mined stones
James Sanders is the founder and managing director of London Diamonds, an online only platform for bespoke jewellery and diamond engagement rings. As such there’s not much he doesn’t know about diamonds and what makes them sell.
James Sanders launched London Diamonds in response to a personal experience when looking around to upgrade his wife’s diamond engagement ring.
James says: “We quickly realised that the only diamond jewellery offered by traditional sellers was over-priced. In fact, we realised that we were paying not for the quality of the diamond itself, but for all of the trappings that go with it.
“High-end jewellers based in the City need to justify their fancy showroom and team of sales staff — and that’s the cost that gets added to the jewellery. As an entrepreneur, I’m always looking for new and better ways to do things — and that’s where the idea for London Diamonds came from.”
London Diamonds is disrupting the sector
Since launching the start-up, initially with an Instagram-only storefront, James Sanders has seen London Diamonds go from strength to strength. He says: “We wanted to be the disruptive innovator in this vast but very traditional sector. And we’re well on our way to achieving this.”
London Diamonds now accounts for a full 1% of the UK’s lucrative engagement ring market and James Sanders is clear that the only way is up. He says: “We’ve found that customers respond really well to our mix of expertise, vast range of different choices and the bespoke nature of the journey.
“At the end of the day, choosing an engagement ring is one of the most important purchases most people will make in their lifetime. There’s no reason why people can’t access the best quality diamonds for their spend, without being overcharged for extraneous stuff. That’s what we’ve done with London Diamonds.”
What’s the difference between lab grown and mined diamonds?
And as someone with plenty of knowledge about diamonds, James Sanders is the ideal person to tell you about lab grown diamonds and whether they’re worth the money.
James Sanders says: “We’re not restricted by targets or a head office sales technique, so all of the London Diamonds team simply gives the best advice to the customer. And this includes the cut, shape or colour of the diamond and also whether they specifically want naturally mined diamonds or lab grown. Many people don’t know the ins and outs of lab grown and assume they’re somehow ‘fake’, which is far from the case.
“In fact, laboratory grown diamonds are grown from a seed that comes from a naturally mined diamond. So they have the exact same structure as a mined diamond, and come with the little flaws and differences that set them apart.
“The lab effectively recreates the natural conditions that formed the diamonds millions of years ago. And the ones that are grown have the same crystal structure and carbon atoms that naturally mined stones do.”
Finding the best diamond for you
James Sanders says that his team regularly gets questions about lab grown diamonds, particularly over their quality and value. He says: “They’re priced in the same way as natural stones in that they’re categorised for colour and any flaws they may have that cause the price to fluctuate.
“But they are cheaper on the whole than natural diamonds. You can expect to get a stone that’s around 50% larger than a naturally mined diamond for the same price — without any compromise in quality. They are still a luxury product, of course, and the tech is getting better all the time, pushing their quality up year on year.”
Another big draw for diamond lovers is the fact that lab grown are more sustainable than mined diamonds. James explains: “Lab grown diamonds are conflict-free and more sustainable than mined diamonds as they aren’t being hollowed out of the earth. Sustainability and social ethics are growing areas of interest for many buyers, and lab grown stones deal with these concerns.”
London Diamonds goes from strength to strength
James Sanders adds: “At the end of the day, we’re helping people choose the right piece of jewellery for their circumstances, budget and needs. That’s what we always aim to do — ensure customers come away from London Diamonds happy with their diamond ring, and also happy that they’ve been charged a fair price.
“Our designs aren’t dictated by trends and the finished product isn’t marked up to cover expensive extras — it’s simply the best quality diamond for the spend. The London Diamonds formula seems to be working well so far, and we’re going to concentrate on doing what we do best and watch our share of the sector continue to increase.”
Find out more on London Diamonds here.