London Diamonds’ James Sanders on the retro cut that’s making a comeback

James Sanders London
4 min readMay 13, 2022
Princess Cut Diamond

James Sanders has always had an entrepreneurial focus, so when he and his wife encountered a problem upgrading an engagement ring, he launched London Diamonds.

“When the very exclusive and highly rated luxury brand refused to give me any type of credit even though I was hoping to upgrade and spend more money with them, I realised I’d been over charged — I appreciated that every business needs to make a profit, but their margins were crazy,” explains James Sanders. “I could see no reason why much of the padding and associated costs couldn’t be removed from the whole process so that the client always gets a fairer deal.”

And so London Diamonds was created.

A non-traditional approach to buying an engagement ring

London Diamonds is not a traditional jewellers and James believes that’s the secret of its success so far.

London Diamonds is not a traditional jewellers and James believes that’s the secret of its success so far.

“Right now, we account for around 1% of the UK’s entire engagement ring spend,” says James. “For a start-up that has dispensed with the trappings of luxury sales in order to cut costs for the customer that’s exceptionally positive.”

Because London Diamonds doesn’t pay for celeb endorsements and doesn’t have the cost of a fancy showroom filled with old rings they need to then sell on, no sales staff on a sales commission or the cost of champagne bribes, they’re able to make the entire process more efficient, especially compared to extremely highly regarded brands and boutiques who rely on the perceived ‘quality’ via ‘exclusive’ marketing campaigns.

This is combined with a modern approach to design and a true desire to work in partnership with the customer to create their dream bespoke engagement ring.

“By simply cutting out all of the old school trappings associated with buying diamonds, we’ve managed to reduce the price but not the quality of the gems we offer,” explains James Sanders. “We’ve found this formula ensures that the customer gets the clarity and quality they want, without limiting their taste due to overinflated prices.”

Traditional or modern? The choice is very personal

Choosing an engagement ring is often one of the most important jewellery purchases of a client’s life. It’s essential it’s neither rushed nor pressured by upselling, believes James: “Our service is based on designing and crafting the absolute highest quality ring.

“The only limits are the customer’s imagination. I would always advise having a look through trends and traditional favourites before making design decisions. Trends do matter, and we certainly seem them ebb and flow, but there are lots of individual adjustments that can be made to ensure the ring is as unique as its recipient.

For London Diamonds, the oval shape is generally the most popular diamond, but there’s a solid place for other styles and cuts.

Regarding the 90s stalwart princess cut diamond (aka the ‘square one’), James sees a bit of a renaissance on the cards: “That’s not to say it hasn’t always been relatively popular since it appeared in the 60s,” he says. “The princess cut sometimes gets a bad rap for being dated, but it’s an absolutely beautiful way of showing off the brilliance of a diamond.”

One thing you’ll never have when working with us is pressure. We’ll never pester you or use sales ‘tactics’ to sell our product. We’d rather you were 100% comfortable than have you feel even 1% of pressure. Diamonds are not rare and there is never any time pressure — jewellers use this tactic to push sales, but it’s totally bogus’, says James.

Designing the perfect bespoke engagement ring for customers

James Sanders goes on to explain: “The shape is defined by sharp corners and brilliant faceting. It’s essentially a square version of the round brilliant and can be adapted and modified in loads of different ways. Whether it’s totally square or slightly rectangular, the princess cut always has a large centre that reflects a lot of light.

“There are so many ways to make this cut your own. For example, adding a halo of diamonds around the centre. This sort of softens the look of the ring. At LD we love this cut, and find it more in demand now there’s a 90s resurgence in other areas.”

In the 90s heyday of princess cut engagement rings there were lots of three stone designs. James says: “We’re more than happy to stick with the original traditional square cut or we can modernise it. What’s most important is that the buyer goes with their heart and sticks to what they truly want. It’s always possible, and with our excellent designers ready to work with the client, there’s little we can’t do.”

James Sanders tells customers: Don’t stick to tradition for traditions sake

James credits the design team at London Diamonds with much of the company’s success so far. He says: “We don’t want people to feel limited by traditional only choices. Of course, some people want that and that’s fine, but there are endless ways to customise the most traditional cut of gem to make it your own.

“Making a princess cut more edgy and modern can be as simple as shifting it to a kite setting. Instantly this makes it different and keeps away from a dated feel. This kind of angular design choice can then be added to with smaller diamonds or other stones.”

To see the bespoke rings that London Diamonds has already created head to their Instagram.

--

--