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Laura Lee's Guide to Diamonds

Laura's favourite gemstone is a diamond, no questions asked. But why are diamonds so desirable? What makes diamonds so special? And what should you look for in a diamond when searching for that perfect piece of jewellery.

I managed to pin Laura down and ask her a few questions about her favourite precious gem.

But first a little bit of Diamond geekery.

Diamonds are a crystallised form of carbon. Carbon specifically, crystallises in a cubic system which is the strongest and most symmetrical known on Earth; this is why Diamonds are highest on the scale of hardness (the Mohs scale).

grey diamonds on pink background - laura lee jewellery

Diamonds formed million of years ago in the depths of the Earth and first appeared when diamond-bearing ore surfaced due to volcanic eruption. This means a lot of the diamonds we see in jewellery today are over 70 million years old - so I guess thats one reason why Diamonds are so magical!

Laura Lee Jewellery - Laura's guide to Diamonds. Picture Of Laura

- Laura! First up, could you please explain the 'Four C's' of Diamond Grading to us...

Ok so super short explanation! 

1. The Cut. The cut of a diamond is the only characteristic that is not determined by nature - if a diamond is cut badly then the defining 'sparkle' and brilliance will be compromised and you'll be left with a dull diamond. The facets on a diamond and the way they are angled are what dictates how light reflects and exits the diamond - this is also known as 'fire' - if the angle is wrong or the cuts are too shallow, the diamond will not sparkle as much and will look less 'brilliant'. 

Cut also encompasses the shape of the diamond. The most common shape is the round cut, but others include the emerald, the pear, the marquise, the princess, the oval and the heart shape.

laura lee jewellery different cuts of diamond marquise round oval pear emerald princess radiant cushion


2. The Colour - The most valuable and rare colour is white or colourless. Jewellers grade absolutely colourless diamonds with a "D". The scale moves up to "Z"  & these will display subtle coloured tones. Diamonds with a very strong and distinct colour are extremely rare and are called fancies.

Laura Lee Jewellery Diamond Colour Grading Scale

3. The Carat - The weight of a diamond is measured by carat. A carat is equal to 0.2gm, or 200mgm. A carat is divided into 100 smaller units called points. For example, three-quarters of a carat is 75 points.

4. The Clarity - This is the internal and external quality of the stone and ranges from FL (flawless) to I3 (the most inclusions or marks). In order to see these inclusions or 'natures fingerprints' as we like to call them you must look into the diamond with a jewellers loupe (think tiny magnifying glass). These inclusions resemble tiny feathers or clouds when magnified but are usually invisible to the naked eye. Inclusions can affect a diamonds 'fire' but they also make the diamond unique - I actually much prefer diamonds with a little character and a few 'imperfections', so when looking for diamonds to incorporate into jewellery I ensure the diamonds have something interesting about them!

Laura Lee Jewellery Diamond Clarity Grading Scale

What is it about Diamonds that you love & why are they your favourite stone?

I love the mystery and intrigue behind all gemstones. They all have such a sense of history - the secrets these rocks must hold! Somehow Diamonds are the most magical of all because because they're so bright and brilliant. 

Diamonds in particular are some of the most ancient - they're durable and they truly do go with with everything - you can never grow tired of a diamond. 

- When sourcing diamonds what do you look for? 
What sets certain stones apart from others? 

When I'm sourcing stones I don't really have any kind of agenda. I end up buying the ones I fall in love with and that are special in some way. That might be because the diamonds are an unusual colour or have interesting inclusions.

- Do you have a favourite cut or type of setting?

My favourite cut of Diamond is definitely a Cushion Cut, but then an Oval Cut is beautiful too - so many Diamonds treats! In terms of setting I'm really into rub-over at the moment. But the setting really does depend on the stones I have - sometimes you have to show those beauties off with a claw setting! 

Laura Lee Jewellery - Champagne Diamond Gallery Setting Ring. Rub over Setting.


-When designing how do you decide what diamonds should be paired with what metals and what complimentary stones…

I think this is totally down to personal choice. At the moment we love designing with a lot of grey Diamonds and they really lend themselves to White or Rose Gold. Grey diamonds also look wonderful with other blue gemstones such as this enormous Tanzanite. But it is all down to personal choice - usually our customers like my other designs and so trust me to make them a piece they'll love! 

Tanzanite  & Grey Diamonds - Laura Lee JEwellery

- What's the inspiration behind your own Diamond pieces?

I'm a dreamer and just looking at the night sky inspires my Diamond pieces. I try to recreate the essence of the night sky with diamonds, blue gems and opals. All these magical stones are part of the Earth and so it's just like having a little piece of the milky-way with you all the time. Thats why I find gemstones so seductive and why I think humans are so instinctively drawn to gems. They're part of us and they're part of the natural word. We're all made of stars remember!

Laura Lee Jewellery - designing process

- What advice would you give to someone looking to buy a diamond or thinking about having a piece of diamond jewellery made.

It's so important to buy what you absolutely love. Listen to your gut and make sure you buy something that speaks to you - if you spend too much time researching or comparing and contrasting prices and clarity ratings, you get lost in the monetary value of the piece rather than what the piece actually means to you. This is something you'll own for a very long time, so make sure you talk to the gem dealers, the jewellery designers and try everything on. Touch the stones! Hold them and spend some time with them so you know you've got the right piece or stone for you.

Laura Lee Jewellery designing process

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