Whether it’s to pop that all-important question, to emphasise your feelings or just to prove the size of your pocket, you know you can never go wrong with a diamond. Thanks to increasing world gold prices, diamond merchants in the UAE are saying the white stone is now more in demand than ever.
“People don’t want to pay so much for gold anymore and are realising diamond jewellery is more affordable,” says Rihen Mehta, the executive director of Rosy Blue, a diamond and jewellery company.
“Almost 70 per cent of jewellery sold in the Middle East recently was diamond, with the remaining 30 per cent being gold. That trend is here to stay.”
But if you are a novice with the stone and are in search of that perfect ring, where do you go? And what should you look for?
According to Tamjid Abdullah, deputy-managing director of UAE-based Damas, investing in diamond jewellery is “not like buying a car or a pair of shoes”.
“You can’t just look, see, understand and buy diamonds,” he says. “It’s an experience and a relationship based on trust. The family jeweller is like the family doctor. So when you want to go to buy a diamond, you have to go to a jeweller with reputation because you need to establish that trust.”
Rosy Blue’s Mehta agrees. “The best jewellers differentiate themselves not on the price, or the goods they sell, but the trust you have in them,” says the 26-year-old gemologist.
While the four characters of a diamond, usually called the four Cs – clarity, colour, cut and carat – are the ultimate criteria when choosing a stone, there are many things consumers have to bear in mind, say the experts.
“Find someone who is ready to impart the right information on the diamond to you. From the grade of the diamond to the weight, he should not hide anything,” says Akshay Kumar Sharma, CEO of Indian-based International Gold Company Group (IGCG).
“Make sure all their diamonds have been certified by a reputed council such as the International Gemological Institute or the International Diamond Laboratories, which is backed by the Government of Dubai.”
Riyazur Rahman, Director of Al Haseena Jewellers, says those hunting for the best diamond jewellery should not step out before doing their research. “When you go, visit a couple of stores, ask about their exchange and return policy and don’t go by the look of the store,” he says.
As the white stone’s popularity continues to rise, events such as the ongoing Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) and Valentine’s Day, are also helping push jewellery sales in the Emirates, say jewellers. DSF organisers recently reported that traders recorded more than Dh240 million in sales in the first week of the festival.
“The spending power of people has gone up and, as a result, more and more people are stocking diamond jewellery,” says Al Haseena’s Rahman, whose company operates 10 shops across the UAE.
While the rise in demand for diamonds could only be good for its retailers, they are also warning the trend could attract unscrupulous dealers out to make a quick buck.
“Diamonds have lately been used for unethical purposes. There are some diamonds that have been illegally mined and procured through suspicious means or cut and traded illegally,” says Sharma of IGCG, which supplies retailers in the UAE.
“There are recognised agencies worldwide who certify the diamond and the consumer should insist on seeing a certificate from these recognised agencies,” he says.
Rosy Blue’s Mehta, however, assures customers in Dubai need not worry about the quality of their stones. “That is one of the good things about Dubai,” he says. “The law in the UAE is so strict on maintaining and setting standards that most jewellers in the Emirates are trustworthy.”
Damas’ Abdullah, however, is not so sure. “Dubai has jewellers from around the world and there is no way to ensure they are all completely honest about their stones. People looking for quick money will always find a way,” says the 46-year-old official. “This is why trust between the consumer and jeweller is of utmost importance. Because giving jewellery is not a gift, it is an emotional investment. It means something.”
-- Go to a jeweller with a good reputation. If you have never bought a diamond before, ask your friends
-- Choose a store that has a return policy and ask for it in writing before you buy your gem
-- Do your homework. Read as much as you can about diamonds and arm yourself with this valuable knowledge. It is your money and you should have some basis to argue with the jeweller
-- Wait for a shopping season or special promotion if possible. Events such as the DSF or Valentine’s Day are good times to buy because shops often have offers
-- Buy a piece of jewellery that is not just a commodity. Let it say something about you. It has to mean something to you
Source: Tamjid Abdullah, Damas
Set your feelings in stone