Diamonds are one of our favourite gemstones here at Alexis Dove. With it being April’s birthstone, we thought what better time to celebrate this beautiful natural creation than quizzing Alexis herself on her favourite unusual diamonds. The diamonds we use are perfect if you’re searching for an unusual diamond engagement ring. We use non-traditional, unusual diamonds in our designs. Our resident jeweller, Poppy Hayward, asked Alexis to tell us about the best type of diamonds for your unusual diamond engagement ring, so find out below!
What is your favourite type of diamond?
Alexis Dove: I love an unusual diamond, as I find modern diamonds unexciting due to the perfection and standardisation of the cut. I love to find stones which are imperfect with unusual inclusions, colours and shapes. Rose cuts have long been one of my favourites for their subtle beauty and sheer variation. I also love salt and pepper diamonds and my current favourites are old mine cuts, which I source from old pieces of antique jewellery. Each unusual diamond is cut by hand (unlike modern brilliant cuts, that are often cut by machine) so that each stone varies. The shape, number of facets and dimensions were each decided by the cutter. These diamonds have a subtle sparkle and beauty.
How would you describe the way you use diamonds within your collections?
AD: I love to use diamonds in my designs and use them mostly in my bridal collections focusing on unique and unusual diamonds for these pieces. I also like to put diamonds into the silver collections with many of the animals having tiny diamond eyes. I also have a collection of sacred heart pendants which are set with unusual diamonds in the centre of the heart. These are very popular with customers looking for a touch of luxury within everyday jewellery.
What are the diamonds you use within your unusual diamond engagement rings?
Old mine cut diamonds
These are antique stones which are re-cycled and are truly the most romantic diamonds I use, as they already have a story from the previous wearer.
Rose cut diamonds
These are so varied and come in a wide range of colours. These include clear white, cinnamon, champagne, grey, charcoal, chocolate, opaque and translucent. I only select rose cut diamonds which are unique and beautifully cut. Some are very raw and others are delicate and pretty. When a customer selects one of these diamonds it will be completely unique to them, their style and personality.
Salt and pepper diamonds
These are usually cut in a brilliant style, although you can get rose cut salt and pepper diamonds too. I use these to create classic designs with a twist, as each diamond is full of a blizzard of snowflake-like crystals. I call these snowflake diamonds as each snowflake is unique and so are each of these diamonds.
These are great when a customer wants a modern white brilliant cut. These stones are fully traceable and are an excellent choice for those looking for a modern ethical diamond.
More information about our unusual diamonds is available here.
Why are diamonds so commonly used in engagement rings?
AD: The main reason is that they are the hardest stone available and so are suited to everyday wear. There is also the subtlety of diamond colours, although you can get bright green and blue, most diamonds are softer in colour including white, grey, cinnamon, pink and pale yellow. This means that they will potentially match anything you wear. There is also a romance attached to diamonds as a symbol of love that lasts forever.
What is an alternative engagement ring?
AD: Most of my customers are looking for something unique when they are shopping for an engagement ring. An unusual diamond is the perfect thing for this! This means turning away from the mass production on the high street and finding a ring which they love that reflects the story of their partnership. A better alternative than looking for a ring purely in terms of the size and value of the stone. My customers want a ring which they feel compliments their style and personality. They don’t want a ring just like everyone else’s they want to be unique in their choice.
Do the four C’s matter?
AD: In my opinion the four C’s lack romance and creativity. They measure the quality and value of a stone without taking into account the most important factors. These to me include whether the stone is beautiful and whether you love the diamond, traceability and ethics. I encourage my customers to choose the diamond that they love the most rather than the most valuable stone. Sometimes the most imperfect diamond is the most beautiful.
What are you favourite characteristics in an unusual diamond?
AD: A diamond will always sparkle and shine, no matter the cut, in a way that only a diamond can. They have a natural beauty that is completely unique and even the smallest stones sparkle and shine out from the jewellery. Due to their hardness diamonds are suitable to be used in the most delicate of designs. This makes them fantastic to work with, as many other gemstones have limited design applications due to their nature.
You use ethical diamonds in your collections, what is an ethical engagement ring?
AD: I mainly use re-cycled old mine cut diamonds which are more eco-friendly than mining for new gemstones. I also use Canadian fully traceable diamonds which are mined, cut and polished in Canada and Australian rose cut diamonds. I always ask my suppliers where the diamonds are from and I have a few very trusted dealers who I have known for many years. But I am always looking for new sources of ethical stones. I recently travelled to Sri Lanka to learn more about sapphire mining and cutting. It was fascinating to see the traditional mining techniques, where fields are returned to paddy fields in the wet season. Child labour is not used in either mining or cutting, which is extremely important. Sri Lankans are very proud of the next generation and believe in education and in preserving the environment.
What are the most common myths about diamonds?
Diamonds are rare!
The most common myth is that diamonds are rare. This is not true with there being a large number of diamonds in the earth. If you want a more unique diamond then choose something with unique colour, cut or unusual inclusions, rather than a classic white diamond, which are very plentiful.
An engagement ring has to be set with a diamond
Another is that an engagement ring has to be set with a diamond. This is not true as there are many other beautiful gemstones, including sapphire which comes in an array of unusual colours. These include peach, green, yellow, pink, teal and lilac to name a few. Ruby and spinel also make lovely engagement rings due to their vibrant colour and lasting hardness. We use a variety of beautiful gemstones in our precious jewellery, so find out more here.
The four C’s are the most important factor when buying a diamond
The four C’s are not the most important measure of a diamond, you should always look for a stone which has “life” which means sparkle. Some diamonds which rate very high on the four C’s scale have no life or sparkle, a lesser graded diamond may be more beautiful. Or you may choose a very unusual opaque rose cut diamond, which the four C’s have no relevance to. This does not make the diamond any less beautiful.
Diamonds are indestructible
Also, diamonds are not indestructible and still need to be treated with care. However they are much harder than other gemstones, as they measure as a 10 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
You must get a diamond certificate
Lastly, a diamond certificate is not always necessary, a simple receipt with details of your ring is all that you need for most diamonds. It is a guarantee of what you have bought and certificated diamonds are usually more expensive. A receipt will give you all the details you need for insurance in most cases.