The traditional jewellery industry tends to favour naturally mined diamonds. James Sanders (London Diamonds founder and managing director) is part of the movement towards mass adoption of lab grown diamonds.
A lab grown diamond engagement ring is just as beautiful as one with a natural stone
For James Sanders, there’s no question that the future of the engagement ring market likes in lab grown diamonds.
“Engagement rings are up there among the most important life purchases people make,” says James Sanders. “We launched London Diamonds to make the whole process of buying diamond rings simpler, more accessible and, importantly, always at a fair price.
“Lab grown diamonds allow us to create fine quality bespoke jewellery for clients and ensure they get far greater value for money. And, as people learn more about lab grown diamonds, the market will continue to grow.
London Diamonds team leading the way for change
London Diamonds was actually founded as a direct response to the inherent unfairness of the traditional jewellery industry.
James Sanders explains: “When I realised how much I overpaid for my wife’s engagement ring, it was very quickly apparent that getting a fair price was next to impossible”.
“I could see no reason why there couldn’t be a much more innovative approach to the diamond market, particularly for this kind of diamond jewellery. I’m an active investor in various other alternative asset classes, such as gold, cryptocurrency and art.
“So I created a company and business that cuts out the extraneous inflated prices that come hand in hand with the luxury market.
“The UK is in a cost of living crisis and, while diamonds are of course considered luxury, I wanted to make sure people could get the very best value for the money they have. So many people have jumped on board with the business model at London Diamonds – we’ve done no advertising. Instead, we’ve built our client base from the ground up using Instagram as the main shop platform. Everyone, from our sales staff to designers are bringing the business idea to life – and to success.
“Part of our success lies in the expert advice offered to our customers via our customer service team. It’s a special combination of the human touch and real value, and customers respond really well to this.”
The growth of lab grown versus mined diamonds
There is plenty of statistical evidence to back up James Sanders’ view that lab-made diamonds are growing in popularity for engagement ring purchases.
For example, a survey cited in The Wall Street Journal in April 2023 shows that more than a third of engagement rings bought in 2022 used lab made diamonds.
All kinds of luxury brands, such as Breitling and TAG Heuer are using man-made diamonds, which shows they have gone fully mainstream even in the luxury sector.
James Sanders explains: “As soon as customers become aware that they can select a two-carat lab made diamond for not much more than it would cost for a one carat natural diamond for their diamond engagement ring, there is a shift in attitude and acceptance of lab made.
“The facts are that lab grown are exactly the same as naturally mined stones, just without any of the morally dubious extraction processes and at a cheaper price. They are literally grown in a lab from a seed, which derives from a natural diamond, and as such they are chemically exactly the same.”
Luxury brands are incorporating lab made diamonds more than ever before
It’s not just about a diamond engagement ring, however. Plenty of brands operating in the luxury market are incorporating lab made diamonds into all kinds of accessories.
TAG Heuer, for example, is using them in watches. According to Lusix, the company that grows the diamonds, they’re ideal for complex designs in watches as they can be created into the specific shape necessary for the design.
Other brands, such as Breitling and Gucci are forging ahead with lab made diamonds with the former announcing that all of its watches will be using them by 2024.
James Sanders is a disruptive innovator
It’s perhaps unsurprising that James Sanders is an enthusiastic adopter of this innovative step forwards. His entrepreneurial bent has driven his career from his origins in the City to investor and owner of various forward-thinking companies.
James Sanders says: “I’m always on the look out for something new to invest in. I’m happiest when helping innovative ideas to grow and change, and this was really behind my business idea for London Diamonds too.”
Leading the success of London Diamonds
As managing director of the company, James Sanders very much leads the London Diamonds team in their creation of bespoke jewellery. Every diamond ring is made to the specifications of the client, and the London Diamond team is always happy to give advice to help customers save money.
“It’s kind of like the opposite strategy to that adopted by traditional jewellery sellers,” says James Sanders. “They’re all about the upselling and add-ons – they’re looking to get the most money possible for every diamond ring they sell, whether it is truly a beautiful cut or not.
“We work harder to ensure that our customers really get value for money and the best quality diamond they can afford. The business is thriving and we’ve already captured more than 1% of the massive UK engagement ring market. This is just the start, we are absolutely aiming much higher.”
To find out more about London Diamonds and to browse their jewellery, click here. And for more on James Sanders and his investment in art, gold and other asset classes, click here.