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March 18, 2022

Diamonds are forever

We learn a little more about Joel Graham, the creative behind Cape Diamonds, whilst delving into diamond buying in SA, an appreciation for the artform of fine jewellery and a few top tips on how to ‘find the one’.

Joel Graham is the founder and owner of Cape Diamonds. For any lovebirds planning to tie the knot; those looking to invest in a personal piece, or for general know-how on diamond buying – you can consider him your insider guide for all things to consider, how to get the best deal and how to make sure you’re supporting ethical practices the next time you purchase some bling.

Joel grew up in Hogsback, Eastern Cape. His parents were fine artists who paved the way for his creative future in the jewellery and design industry. After completing his degree in Jewellery Design, he headed overseas to gain valuable experience in the United Kingdom, working for some of the world’s most renowned brands alongside other talented goldsmiths, in both Bond Street and Harrod’s fine jewellery room.

After accumulating over twenty years of experience in manufacturing jewellery, he was sponsored by Anglo Platinum to lecture at Stellenbosch University, where he taught students about the different kinds of jewellery techniques and how to work with precious metals. Joel has always had an affinity with diamonds and appreciated their uniqueness and the role they play in peoples’ lives – both as a symbol of unity and as a smart investment.

Joel has an inherent love for nature, incorporating and drawing on his love for South Africa’s natural surroundings in many of his iconic ring designs. Despite the Cape Diamonds team having grown into a large business, Joel remains heavily involved , still liking to get his hands dirty in the creative process, overseeing all design work, custom commissions and the setting of precious stones.

“Diamonds are a great form of portable wealth that not only retain financial worth but also hold sentimental value. The sweet spot in selecting a diamond as an investment would be to combine the best combination of colour and clarity, whilst still being in line with the global demand parameters. Our Cape Diamonds team have found that the most common combination for diamond sales are currently the “D” colour, paired with a “VS1” or “VS2’ clarity. “D” colour diamonds with “SI2” clarity are a great investment, as long as the imperfections cannot be seen with the naked eye”.
Joel Jackson Graham

So for all those planning to propose to a loved one or purchase an ring for yourself, we sit down with the Cape Diamonds founder to learn a few top tips for things to consider before you find ‘the one’.

Size isn’t everything. Remember the 4 Cs!

When choosing a diamond, some key tips will make it a lot easier and ensure you invest wisely. The “four C’s” are here to save the day. Diamond grading works with these four Cs – Carat, Cut, Clarity, and Colour and these categories affect classification and price.

It’s helpful to remember that most diamonds will contain some form of impurity relating to at least one of the four Cs. Flawless diamonds contain no impurities at all but are MUCH more expensive. Cape diamonds recommends ‘eye-clean’ diamonds, which means there are no diamond impurities visible to the naked eye but tend to be more affordable than internally-flawless diamonds.

The details make the design

The design of the engagement ring can be very daunting when you don’t know where to begin. If this is the case for you, Joel always suggests keeping it simple and wearable. Remember, this is not an “occasional” ring. If he/she hasn’t dropped very specific hints, it would be best to go for a classic ring style. Looking for extra brownie points? A small, personal detail engraved on the inside of the ring is always a great idea.

Think of the ‘future fit’

Something that a lot of people tend to overlook when choosing the engravement ring for their loved one is how the engagement ring and wedding band will fit together on the finger. If you want the rings to sit flush (band to band), the shape of the two rings needs to complement each other. Our Fynbos collection has been designed especially to fit a wedding band- take a peek via the Cape Diamonds website for more details and visual examples.

Aesthetics vs Durability

Any diamond ring buyer should think about the ring’s aesthetics vs. its durability. It’s not a good idea to choose a beautiful ring design that won’t last. A diamond may look very beautiful in a revealing setting, but if there’s a high risk of a diamond falling out, no-one will be smiling down the line.

Natural vs man-made and how fits into your budget

Think about this, man-made sapphires were almost as valuable as natural earth-made sapphires back in the 1970s. Nowadays, the price of man-made diamonds is dropping as technology to manufacture methods improve drastically.

These are a great budget-friendly option that are still visually pleasing, sparkling just as much as diamonds. Some jewellers are even calling them eco-friendly alternatives to natural diamonds.

‘Moissanites’ have also become very popular as man-made silicone alternatives – so if you’re on a budget, perhaps look to other stones and man-made options to save some randelas’.


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