|9 April 2024

We’ve been told diamonds are expensive, that they are good investments, and that they are a fantastic heirloom to pass down to future generations. They are synonymous with wealth and luxury, and we’ve been conditioned ever since childhood to think of them as valuable. Think of those stories of pirates’ booty filled with gemstones or how shocked we were when Rose launched that shining gem into the sea. Maybe no one ever explicitly told us so, but we all know that diamonds equal value. But have you ever tried to sell a diamond? Taken that ring you got from Ernest Jones or H. Samuel, down to your local jewellers to swap for something with a little more sparkle, only realise you’re getting half of what you paid. The old boy behind the counter offers you scrap on the gold and says that if the diamonds were just a little bigger, a little clearer, with a little more shine, he could give you a little more.

‘But,’ he says, ‘they’re not. So, this is the best I can do.’

Brilliant, so that’s diamonds. As soon as you walk out the shop door, 50% of that value is gone.

Is that it? Diamonds are worthless so we should all put our cash into vintage Pokemon cards and crypto. Well, not quite. Diamonds are a part of our culture and our heritage. They are rare and fascinating chunks of super-heated carbon that have been lusted after since the first caveman found them in the mud. We, as humans, cannot deny the indescribable allure of these precious gems. You’ve just not been told the whole truth.


‘A gemstone is the ultimate luxury product. It has no material use. Men and women desire to have diamonds not for what they can do, but for what they desire.’

Nicky Oppenheimer, De Beers

De Beers Big Names


Let’s go back to the 19th Century. Only two countries, India and Brazil, were producing diamonds until 1867, when an untapped seam was discovered in South Africa. It was the gold rush returned, supply exploded, and miners clambered over themselves to stake claims and start digging holes. Committees were formed to settle disputes, and one man found a way to rise to the top.

Cecil Rhodes began his takeover by renting mining and water-pumping equipment, using this monopoly to buy up claims and by the end of 1887, had formed the De Beers Mining Company, which held exclusive rights

to almost every diamond in the dirt of South Africa. Diamonds were so abundant that rows of miners were crawling across the ground with cans around their necks, picking them up off the floor. Apparently, you could hear the plink of a new discovery every second or so. Rhodes took full advantage of his new position. By using a cabal of merchants and distributors, De Beers maintained an iron grip over the supply of diamonds, keeping prices high and quantity low, storing diamonds, and dishing them out for their pleasure.

Fast forward three decades, and through shady business practices, exploitation and a frankly excessive amount of money, Ernest Oppenheimer (no relation to the fella Cillian Murphy played) gained a seat on De Beers board, toppled old Cecil, and almost singlehandedly created the diamond trade we know today. De Beers had already hoarded diamonds and artificially inflated prices, but Oppenheimer turned the syndicate of sellers into the Central Selling Organisation (CSO). Oh, you want some diamonds? You have to go through the CSO, which only offers the chance to buy 10 times a year, invite-only, and what they give you, you get. Any haggling, negotiation, or refusal and it looks like you're not going to be invited back. At its peak, over 80% of the world’s diamonds were traded through the CSO, and this was a fraction of the overall supply to keep that price high. At one point, before the outbreak of

WWII, De Beers had so many diamonds in storage that they considered dumping over 10 tons of precious gems into the North Sea just to keep up this artificial scarcity.

They hired N.W. Ayer and Son, a marketing agency, to inject ideas of wealth and diamond ownership into the minds of the common people, flooding popular culture with a kind of dazzling madness that soon took over the middle class. Eternity rings for wedding anniversaries, the tennis bracelet so you too can look like Chris Everty, and possibly the single greatest feat of marketing ever achieved: the engagement ring. Costing a minimum of three months’ salary and a must-have for any man daring to pop the question, the engagement ring became a staple. The bigger the diamond, the more you love her because, as we all know, ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’.

And so it continued to late into the 20th century. Diamonds are lauded as the pinnacle of luxury, the rarest gem in our minds (when in reality they are maybe only second or third). It’s the consumer who loses out; we’re sold an investment, something intrinsically valuable, something unique and rare, only to have the rug pulled out from under us, and that value stripped away when we try and use it for ourselves. De Beers eventually lost its monopoly through a combination of public uproar about their dealings in ‘blood’ diamonds and governmental sanctions due to their frankly illegal business practice. Forced to pay millions in fines, and through new mines and competition in Canada and Russia, the industry has righted itself, with market share being more evenly spread and competition rising into a fair(er) market


So, what does this mean for consumers? It means we need to be careful about where we buy and what we buy. The market is still skewed, and high street jewellers are still going add at least a 50% markup, and it’s unlikely your gems will appreciate. Second-hand, pre-owned and pre-loved is the smart choice; and the ethical one. There are enough diamonds already out for the ground to put an engagement ring on every finger of every person on the planet. There’s no need to dig up any more just to destroy the environment, release toxic chemicals, and then overcharge. By buying pre-owned, you are buying the history of a generation past, getting a fair and reasonable price, and doing your bit to help the future.

Take our latest engagement ring. A Rectangle and Heart Diamond Engagement ring with over 260 diamonds totalling 6.58 carats. Beautiful brilliant and heart-shaped cuts, delicate and intricate craftsmanship and (as far as we’ve verified) over 50 years of history behind it. A ring that demands attention, that dazzles and maybe the only piece that can show your significant other just how much they mean to you, just how committed you are to live out the rest of your days with them. Our independent evaluation and diamond reports give us an NRV (new replacement value) of £72,000, but that’s based on old-fashioned and bloated industry standards.



Our price? £26,500 and not a penny more.


 £26,500, and you can place one of the most beautiful rings we have ever seen on the finger of the person you love most in this world. 18ct White Gold, 6.58 ct of dazzling GIA-certified diamonds, and independent evaluation so you know exactly what you’re getting and that you’re getting it at a fair price, all wrapped up in our eco-friendly, ethically sourced business practices. What could be better?

Are diamonds worthless? Definitely not. Is the industry a bit skewed? Maybe a little.

If you want a smart investment and an ethical choice, buy pre-owned. Better for the environment and better for you.


Back to blog

Our recent blogs