Talk Jewellery

How to buy a nice gemstone…

I want a 3ct blue sapphire….

Over the years working in jewellery, one of the most common lines I hear is ‘I want a 1.0ct diamond’. Now, I haven’t titled this blog ‘I want a 1ct diamond’ because the market is flooded with those colourless gems (yes, I know they come in numerous colours). Instead, I’ve gone with a sapphire, my favourite gemstone.

What is wrong with the above statement? Well, ‘ct’ (for gemstones) represents weight, carat weight to be exact. So, when we ask for a 3ct sapphire, we could get an 8 x 6mm, we could get a poor cut 10 x 8mm or we could get a fantastically cut 9.0 x 7.0mm (sizes rounded for the sake of this topic). The problem this causes unfortunately is that sapphires are priced similar to diamonds; by colour, clarity, cut and weight, one big factor being weight. Consumers need to readjust their approach. We can’t see weight properly. We can see spread. In fact, if you have a sapphire that has a high carat weight which is deep, not only will this effect the light performance of the stone (how good it looks to the eye), it will have a small spread therefore looking possibly like a 2.0 or 1.0ct stone. A waste of money.

When we buy, we should focus on what we can see and not what we have been told. If you want a sapphire that has a beautiful vibrant blue colour and has a nice size to it, then ask for exactly that. Keeping it simple in the jewellery industry will give you the best results. There is so much on the internet to read that you will give yourself a headache and wind up more confused compared to when you started.

For more advice on this topic, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

George Ojaimi | F.G.A.A. Gemmologist
Lecturer at the Gemmological Association of Australia
Registered NCJV Valuer V0355
Director Jewellery Valuers Melbourne

Which engagement ring should I get? THE SOLUTION!

The number of times I have seen men walk into a jewellery shop confused. They don’t have the normal look of intrigue and excitement, it’s a sheer look of loss. It’s beautiful at times, in fact, quite funny because the next thing that happens is the salesperson approaches him and to his relief, guidance has arrived. See, the problem with buying an engagement ring is you think to yourself, what style does she like, how much do I spend, what if she doesn’t like it? We get sisters, friends, mothers and future mother in-laws involved just to help make that decision easier, or, lay the blame on if the decision fails.

What if I told you there was a solution?

When time comes to proposing, usually you would have decided on a reasonable budget. $1,000, $5,000, $10,000, $100,000 or more, we usually spend within our means. There remains the problem of what to buy. My advice is to observe, walk around shopping malls, peep into jewellery stores and observe what your future fiancé likes. Does she look at diamonds, sapphires, rubies or other stones? What shape tends to catch her eye? It seems a little complex but it’s not; all you need to do is be attentive, and as a true gentleman should, we need to be listening to our partners. Even if she does not have a big taste in jewellery, she will like something.

If you follow this one paragraph, half of your problems are gone.

Now, style of ring can be hard to choose and we still have that fear that once we propose, she’ll be disappointed with the ring. There are so many designs out there and we need to remember that for the rest of her life, she will be looking at that piece of jewellery. EVERY DAY!

The question I put to you here is, have you thought about proposing with JUST THE STONE? It is an idea that removes almost all your problems. If you propose with the stone, you and her can both go and design the ring and God forbid she doesn’t like it, most reasonable jewellery stores will offer you an exchange. If you were to custom make a piece of jewellery according to the advice of your future sister in law, mother in law or her best friend, there is still a chance she won’t like it. It will be much harder returning something you designed. Proposing with the stone alone will also give you both the journey of designing the engagement ring together. Not only do you reduce risk and stress, you also gain a wonderful time and it makes a stressful time one of the most enjoyable. Sometimes thinking outside the square can not only be the solution, but an added bonus.

Should I Buy Jewellery Second Hand?

We presently live in the world of recycling. Find something old and turn it into something new. We do it with houses and we do it with furniture but how about jewellery? The short answer is yes!

When you walk into a jewellery shop, you automatically know that there were several stages for that piece to come from underground (the stone and the metal) to the jewellery shop. First it gets mined, then the stone gets cut, then the wholesalers buy, then the jewellers buy and finally, it is made into a piece of jewellery; each step includes a mark-up. This is when you the consumer come along and buy that fantastic piece. What about if we can remove all those steps; wouldn’t it save us a fortune? Definitely.

Today I’m going to focus on second-hand jewellery. Where do we buy second-hand jewellery from? Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Pawnbrokers amongst many others. Unfortunately, the reality is we live in a high turnover society; we buy, we get bored and we sell; we need money, we sell; divorce, we sell. This is partly why the second-hand market exists.

In all these situations, there are unbelievable bargains out there.  Why, because everyone of those above-mentioned steps have been removed. There is simply the seller who no longer wants the item and the buyer who is looking for a bargain?

But I’m worried it’s not the real deal

Generally speaking, there are several payment options out there including PayPal which offer buyer protection. If you were to buy using this merchant, you should be covered. You can simply take your piece to an NCJV registered valuer and get them to assess the piece. They will provide you with a written valuation which will either confirm what you purchased or advise you that it is not as described at which point you can return the item.

I found a diamond ring but I don’t like the design.


Jewellery Remodelling, The Journey of a Beloved Piece!

Eleven years ago, Barry met Carrie! They fell in love, Barry proposed and they drove into the sunset. Unfortunately, Barry and Carrie decided it was over. We all told them that no they should work on it but they just wouldn’t listen. Carrie took off her engagement ring, went on Facebook Marketplace and decided to sell it for $2,000, a fraction of the $10,000 she paid all those years ago.

After days on end searching for that beautiful engagement ring, Jim was finding everything out of his budget until he finally found Carrie’s ring. It was a bargain but not the design him and his fiancé Effie wanted. They simply wanted a normal six claw solitaire diamond ring. Any ideas here? Remodel! For a small price, that outdated ring can be remodelled into the piece of your dreams; all for the fraction of the price you may find it elsewhere. And guess what? It will be brand new; you go from the gloom of spending a fortune on an engagement ring to the groom spending more on the honeymoon!

George Ojaimi | Gemmologist
Lecturer at the Gemmological Association of Australia
Registered NCJV Valuer V0355
Director: Jewellery Valuers Melbourne
Director: Premium Jewellery House



Can I have a sapphire instead of a diamond for an engagement ring?

The short answer is YES! But why?

To answer the corundum conundrum, on the MOH’S scale of hardness, the Corundum family (of which sapphire is apart of) is the second hardest naturally occurring material (natural moissanite is harder however the largest ever moissanite discovered was around 0.30ct, so very very small). Leaving us with the corundum family, the question we need to answer is why?

Let’s begin with why sapphire and not diamond?

It’s beautiful and it comes in a large range of colours. It has been popular throughout the ages and most pieces are unique. Diamonds, as beautiful as they can be are unfortunately everywhere; and they look the same; yet, try finding two 3ct Ceylon blue sapphires that look the same! As someone whose task it is to source gemstones, it’s almost impossible! Find two 3ct diamonds that are matching; simple!
We’ve all heard that famous slogan, ‘Diamonds are forever’. Referring to a diamond’s hardness, that statement somewhat makes sense. They last a long time. Sapphires are not as durable however they are still by far hard enough. Think about royalty; we all know that famous princess Di ring with the centrally set royal blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds in a cluster style setting. Durability wasn’t an issue there as it’s been past down to the next generation and it’s in great condition. Let’s look to some of that Georgian jewellery. Our ancestors are no longer around but their sapphires still wonder the planet in great condition.

But everyone gets engaged with a diamond!

Yes, most people who get engagement buy a diamond engagement ring. Why? Great marketing; that’s it! Nothing more and nothing less. That’s not to say a lot of people don’t buy them because they are in love with diamonds but the MAJORITY do so because of excellent HISTORICAL marketing. We are creatures of habit and we go with the flow rather than make our own decisions and its been embedded in our nature to go straight for those sparklers.

After reading this post you may think to yourself; why am I against diamonds as an engagement ring? I am not. There are other options out there that should be considered. If your favourite colour is blue, you can have a blue sapphire, if your favourite colour is pink you can have a pink sapphire, if your favourite colour is green you can have a green sapphire; what I’m trying to say is your options are plenty and you don’t need to be bound to tradition. If however diamonds are your thing, go for it and if you need advice on how to buy, I can help. What I want to achieve through this message is you are not bound by any rules; it is solely your choice!

Jewellery and Diamond Buying Consultancy

  • What do I look for in buying a diamond?
  • What is the real worth of this engagement ring?
  • Is this diamond the real deal or is it a scam?
  • I’m worried it’s not what I want?
  • What do I really need to know before I commit?

These are just some of the many questions that go through our minds when we want to buy a piece of jewellery, especially that all important rock. It ranks as one of the most crucial purchases alongside a house and car because of the big investment; both emotional and financial that goes into it.

Layman’s terms below…

Going right to the basics, it is true, the 4c’s are the most important factors. Is one more important than the other? No. It’s like making a good dinner recipe. You need a healthy balance of all the ingredients. The same applies to buying a diamond.

The first thing you need to decide is how big?

0.5 carats, 1 carat, 1.5 carats, 2 carats or bigger? Don’t get too bogged down into carat. Spread is your friend. We need to remember that carat is only a weight. We want the diamond to look big, not a deep diamond that looks like a telescope because all the weight is in the pavilion. 5mm, 5.1mm 6mm, 6.5mm? These little jumps in numbers may look small on paper but are huge to the eye.

The second?

How much do I want to spend? Usually after this question gets answered we tend to revisit question one…

After settling on these two points we are then free to hesitantly move to question three. Ignore colour grades for a second? Am I happy to go with a slightly yellow tinge or do I want a very bright white diamond? If you’re happy with a slight yellow tinge, G colours and lower are your friends. Strictly want it white, F and higher is your friend. That being said, other factors can impact colour so this is not a strict rule.

Next item to consider is although arguably more important than colour is clarity. Do you want to see a spot or two or three…..or four in your diamond when you are walking down the street and you decide to have a look at your engagement ring instead of your phone? If you can tolerate this then you can visit the I1 grade. If you will be annoyed, stick to a good SI or above.

Finally, cut. This is probably the most important factor. You can have a flawless diamond and D colour but if the stone is cut poorly, you have unfortunately failed yourself. This should probably be ranked as the number one priority however once you have narrowed down your colour, clarity and carat, you can then select the stone with the best cut.