KNOWLEDGE IS BEAUTIFUL
Like all good relationships my love affair with diamonds has developed over time. Both my mother and grandmother wore diamond jewellery which made an impression on me as a child. As part of my training in Germany I learned how to assess diamonds objectively. I learned about colour, clarity, inclusion and polishing grades. My love affair with diamonds feels like it started just yesterday but actually happened in Antwerp in the early 1970’s. I held a 0.20 carat diamond in my hand surrounded by Jewish diamond merchants. They spoke a language I didn’t understand and carried diamonds worth millions in special pockets sewn into the hems of their coats. This was all in the background because the only thing that meant anything to me was how the diamond shone and reflected the light with every turn of the wrist. This small gemstone was the door to a new and fascinating universe where I still travel to as often as I can.
There are several reasons why diamonds mean so much to me. Diamonds have always had a powerful effect on people and have created such rich human histories. Pope Clement VII ate 14 spoons of diamonds on his deathbed, completely convinced of their healing powers. When Richard Burton bought the famous diamond for Elisabeth Taylor he was determined to purchase it whatever the price. He stood in the lobby of an English hotel screaming down the phone to his agent “I don’t care how much it is, just go and buy it”.
Another aspect that fascinates me is the pure science of the diamond, they are a geological paradox. They are composed of carbon, the fourth most common element in the universe. But this element is transformed my incredible pressure over incredible time into a crystal with unique characteristics. The most important reason for the diamond’s appeal is simply it’s beauty. The diamond has a unique ability to split light, the complete colour spectrum in a shaft of sunlight. Even those not visible to the naked eye become apparent when seen through a diamond. We can appreciate all the colours of the universe through something so small. This is what makes a diamond unique and special.
This is why it is always beauty that I am looking for in a diamond. It has to captivate and seduce me. When I am purchasing diamonds I will assess several hundred in a single day. It is a kind of ‘speed dating’, if a diamond does not appeal to me emotionally than I put it to one side. I strive to communicate beauty through my jewellery. If I do not see the beauty in a diamond, then I cannot expect my customers to see it either.
A knowledge of diamonds is profound and not something that a few hours of research on the internet can replace. I have personally studied several hundred thousand diamonds over 40 years and I am still learning. My knowledge is my greatest tool in ensuring that I can deliver on my most important promise to my customers. They can always be sure that they will receive exactly what they have pay for.
I have always been fascinated by the colours and aesthetics of gemstones as much as their financial value
The first piece of jewellery I bought was a silver ring with a turquoise. It was not particularly pretty or valuable but I was excited about how it could both complement and complete an outfit. An amethyst is not a valuable stone but it has a deep purple colour that continues to have a special attraction for me.
I realised early that It is worthless to work in this industry without gaining a deep and incisive knowledge. When I decided to follow in my father’s footsteps I chose to study gemology. It was then that my relationship with gemstones began and key to this was rarity.
It takes an extremely special set of circumstances to create a gemstone. It is not solely about which rare minerals and trace elements are present, but which ones have to be absent.
There are very few areas in the world where rubys can be mined and it takes enormous resources to find them. Even if you find the right location then the majority of the stones would be small, clouded, flawed and the wrong colour. It takes just the right amount of chrome to create that perfect ruby red colour. In addition, you need millions of years and an unfathomable amount of elements coming together in exactly the right place.
I always try to impress on my clients the privilege of being able to create a piece of jewellery with some of the rarest and most precious materials the earth can provide. I never try to sell a piece of jewellery but act as a guide and sometimes mentor for those who want to join me on a unique journey of discovery.
As a gemologist, I have an extensive knowledge of coloured gemstones but I am still fascinated by the ethereal beauty of the diamond. My father has a rare and unique expertise in this area and we work continuously pass this knowledge from father to son. I accompany him when he travels to assess diamonds in Antwerp, a centre for the International diamond trade. I often select the diamonds that I consider he would have chosen and we compare and discuss these choices. My father is incredibly dedicated and thorough and we both accept that in the jewellery profession you never stop learning. I just feel incredibly lucky to have the worlds best private tutor at my disposal.