There’s not a lot that James Sanders London Diamonds MD and founder doesn’t know about the engagement ring market. He’s been leading London Diamonds in cracking the UK’s diamond engagement ring sector for a number of years.

Launched to disrupt the traditional jewellery industry, London Diamonds is all about bespoke jewellery at a fair price – and specifically for engagement rings.

James Sanders London Diamonds founder shakes up the engagement ring sector

The business idea for London Diamonds arose – as most of the best entrepreneur-led ideas do – when James Sanders encountered a problem replacing the diamond engagement ring he gave to his wife years before.

The London Diamonds founder and managing director says: “When we came to replace and upgrade her diamond ring, it became clear very quickly that the luxury market focuses only on artificially inflating prices in order to pay for the overheads. Everything from property costs of the fancy showroom to ‘expert’ advice from sales staff has to be paid for – and that’s why so many people get hoodwinked into paying over the odds.”

James Sanders says: “As an entrepreneur, my mind immediately wanted to find a better way for customers to search for and find a beautiful cut diamond ring without being dictated to by market trends or paying far too much money for the brand selling it.

“We found so many ways to act as a disruptive innovator within a market that has been led by luxury brands for too long. Our success lies in giving customers the other option. They can still expect the human touch and support from our experts, for example, but the best thing for them is that the focus is on the diamond itself. It’s about the art of designing the perfect jewellery in a responsible way that doesn’t force people to spend over the odds”

How the London Diamonds team differs from the norm

The idea for London Diamonds has certainly seen the entrepreneur achieving early success with his business model. As an active investor James, as the managing director of a firm that is challenging the traditional jewellery industry, is able to offer clients real value from his start-up.

James says: “We don’t have a fancy London-based flagship store to pay for, and we don’t try to force clients to pay for stones they don’t really want as a sales technique. Our company wants to work harder than those that have become used to overcharging and under servicing.

“Every person who arrives at our online storefront gets advice from experts – we understand that choosing diamonds for an engagement ring is an important life decision. We also offer real art with bespoke jewellery designs created by skilled staff. Customers respond really well to the company and, as a business, we’re slowly taking on more and more of the UK engagement ring sector.”

James Sanders on market growth

Since the start-up launched with James as managing director, London Diamonds has cornered 1% of the market for diamond engagement rings in the UK.

London Diamonds James Sanders says: “As a start-up business in a crowded field, we’ve found new ways to get the best for our clients. It’s fantastic to have done so well so far in the UK and London Diamonds plan to continue going from strength to strength.”

Ask the expert

As an expert in diamonds, James Sanders is a great person to ask about the difference between naturally mined and lab grown diamonds.

James Sanders says: “There is still some confusion out there about the quality and value of lab grown stones. The only difference between them and mined diamonds is that they are grown from a seeded diamond rather than being directly extracted via mining.

“This is why lab grown diamonds look exactly the same as those mined from the earth. Because the lab replicates the exact conditions that formed diamonds millions of years ago, they still contain the same lattice crystal structure and carbon atoms that you find in naturally mined stones.”

FAQs about lab grown stones

Typical questions that the team is often asked about lab grown, according to James Sanders include those about the quality of the gems.

James Sanders says: “Lab grown stones have the same kinds of imperfections and slight variations that natural stones do. And that’s why they’re not all one uniform price – they are priced according to grade and quality.

“This means that every single gem used by our team is carefully selected, whether it’s natural or lab grown. And while lab grown are generally cheaper than natural stones, they are still a luxury product. ”

Sustainable and socially ethical

James Sanders continues: “In fact, as a hi-tech luxury product, they represent a stunning use of technology and art. Therefore, their price reflects this – mined diamonds still cost 4 to 5 times more than the identical lab grown equivalent.

“We also get asked whether lab grown means ‘fake’ and it’s important to distinguish that this absolutely isn’t the case. Fakes include stones like cubic zirconia – and it’s very easy to tell that this isn’t a real diamond, even to the naked eye. Rather, lab grown stones are real diamonds with the bonus of being a sustainable product.

“Sustainability is increasingly important to customers around the world, and with lab grown, they’re safe in the knowledge that the gem hasn’t been extracted from the ground. Naturally mined diamonds are obviously direct from a mining operation, and this can come with complications. For this reason, lab grown are also always conflict-free and are completely socially ethical.”

Offering customers a different way to buy their engagement rings

In James Sanders’ experience, the most important thing that his London based business can offer clients is the opportunity to choose the jewellery that’s right for them.

James Sanders adds: “This is one of the most important life purchases that most people make. We want them to be completely happy with their choice, whether it’s an oval cut or whether they want light sparkling off every surface.

“We ensure that their design choices aren’t limited by an over-reliance on the traditional and we make sure that their purchase is fairly priced. Our formula seems to be doing well so far, and we intend to grow into one of the major retailers of diamond jewellery in the world. Watch this space!”

Find out more on London Diamonds here.