James Sanders London Diamonds Founder On The Enduring Appeal Of The Oval Cut

James Sanders heads up London Diamonds, a specialist bespoke jewellery business that aims to be a disruptive innovator within the established world of fine jewellery.

London Diamonds – a disruptive innovator shaking up the industry

London Diamonds is no ordinary jewellers. Founded by James Sanders, who is also the managing director, the business idea came from frustration with the diamond jewellery industry.

For James, the story starts when he and his wife wanted to upgrade her engagement ring.

He says: “I originally purchased the ring from a world-famous boutique with a truly impressive reputation for marketing and diamonds. However, when they offered me so little for it, even when I was planning on spending more with them, it became clear that it was about their margins. I foolishly thought that the diamonds they sold were special and simply better than the ones sold elsewhere – I was wrong”

The message? “The real value of a diamond engagement ring is about the quality of the diamonds, not the store or brand selling it,” says James Sanders.

And this is why London Diamonds was created.

Managing Director James Sanders heads innovative bespoke jewellers

So, what makes London Diamonds different?

According to James Sanders, customers respond to the company’s personal service, huge choice and transparency.

By stripping away the cost of overly ornate showrooms and associated property costs, and schmoozing sales staff by offering every couple champagne (more likely Prosecco), London Diamonds has found a formula that offers clients the chance to level the playing field.

Already a successful entrepreneur, prior to launching the company, James Sanders used his eye for a deal, expert knowledge of the sector and a thorough understanding of what people want from their experience to build London Diamonds. The 120,000 Instagram followers the company enjoys are a testament to this.

Creating opportunities for people to buy the best diamonds they can afford

Buying a beautiful diamond engagement ring should make people happy. The fact is that being open to an entrepreneur mindset has allowed James Sanders to provide this opportunity.

Today, James Sanders says that the company is proud to design and make 1% of all engagement rings sold in the UK: “We do things differently and as such improve the experience in so many ways”.

“We don’t have a showroom and we’re not led by trends. Clients don’t necessarily want you to be the cheapest in the market, they just want super responsive customer service and fantastic craftsmanship without any pressure or sales pushiness. We can always improve and while our share of the engagement ring market is great, I definitely have my eye on the remaining 99%!”

Bespoke design and no pressure to spend on inflated prices

And while James Sanders is based in the City, London Diamonds serves clients in over 20 countries.

The no-pressure vibe and support from the team for people who are looking for a piece of jewellery they will only choose once in their lives appears to fulfil a role the industry badly needed.

The company prides itself on its services and its development of a different future for any person looking for great design, the human touch and bespoke jewellery.

“As head of LD I knew I wanted a strong company offering that differentiates itself from a crowded market, ” says James. “And, as with most entrepreneurial, disruptive visions, LD was created to solve a problem. My wife and I wanted to replace the most important piece of jewellery we owned, and felt we were being ripped off and pressurised along the way”.

“There seemed no reason to be so limited and to miss out on a whole new way of giving expert support and making the market more open. At the moment, we’re in a great place and as for the future, we are absolutely looking to build on the success.”

James on the best selling engagement ring from London Diamond

“The best selling and most popular diamond cut is the oval,” says James. “The number of enquiries received for this cut outweighs everything else right now. And it’s not surprising. It’s a beautiful cut and while similar to the round brilliant, it’s far more elongated, which makes it look larger than it actually is.”

Diamonds cut as ovals have long been very popular for engagement rings. When choosing an oval, the ratio changes the look. For example, for a longer oval shape the ratio will be larger, and vice versa.

The history of the oval cut diamond

As managing director of a company that employs expert jewellery designers to support people’s choices, James has picked up a lot of knowledge about the history and development of diamonds.

James explains: “The oval is the oldest known cut. It’s basically a relatively simple enhancement of the rough original refined and modified over the years. The first recorded mention of ‘oval cut’ came in 1304.

“If you look at Renaissance or even Medieval art, you will see that the oval cut is worn often. However, they were much darker and since then cutters have evolved their technique to increase the brightness and clarity.

“Probably the most famous example of this cut is the Koh-i-Noor. The name comes from the Persian for ‘mountain of light’, and this beautiful stone spent many hundreds of years passing from one royal family to another around the world.”

A gem fit for royalty

The Koh-i-Noor was first put on display in 1851 as part of the Great Exhibition and today is part of the Crown Jewels, set into the Queen Mother’s crown. It weighs 105.602 carats (that’s 21.12g!) and is one of the biggest cut diamonds in the world.

It’s thought that the Koh-i-Noor was mined in the Kollur Mine in India and had a starting weight of 191 carats or 38.2g. Bought by Delhi Sultan Alauddin Khalji, the gem eventually became part of the Mughal Peacock Throne.

Arriving in Britain due to the annexation of the Punjab in 1849, the Koh-i-Noor became the property of Queen Victoria. It was re-cut at the Queen’s request by Coster Diamonds to make it brighter and more glowing. You can see it for yourself as it’s now displayed in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.

Adds James: “As you can see, the oval cut has a very long history and, thanks to its radiant shine and superior beauty, found its way into the jewellery collections of the Royal family. Perhaps that’s why it’s among our best-sellers – people don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to express their love and mark a life event with a diamond that will last a lifetime.”

For more information about London Diamonds, head to their Instagram. Live chat, fast quotes, contact details and expert advice can be found there, as well as sneak peeks at the kind of custom rings they make.

Written in partnership with Tedfuel