Bond Street in London’s Mayfair is one of the top jewellery hotspots in the world. So to help billionaire brides-to-be or dreamers, I decided to dig out the biggest diamond rings Bond Street has to offer. Here’s what I found, and I leave it to you to decide if you think you could pull one off as an engagement ring.
A word of advice: if you are looking for a supersize diamond ring, contact the jewellers in advance as they will fly in their largest rings from wherever they happen to be in the world. We only gave a few days notice so what we found was current stock in the jewellers’ London vaults.
The largest diamond ring we found on Bond Street was at Genevan jeweller de GRISOGONO. How easily many million pounds of diamonds slipped on to my finger in the form of an emerald-cut 22.35-carat D colour diamond ring of VS2 clarity. The top colour grading of D with a clarity of Very Slightly Included 2 (VS2) states that this is not just a very large diamond, but a high-quality example, meaning that the price will be close to that of a London mansion.
Just looking at the clear light beaming out from this elegant emerald cut, with its long facets and green emerald details, is enough to appreciate its exceptional character, without the need to look at its official grading certificate. Of all the rings, this was the one with the most personality thanks to the de GRISOGONO flourishes. It's interesting to know that Melania Trump’s emerald-cut diamond engagement ring given to her by Donald is a mere 15 carats in comparison.
Next stop was the new Sotheby’s Diamonds boutique, tucked away in the corner of the entrance of the auction house. Bijoux in size but brimming with spectacular diamonds, this is a mini temple to diamond perfection. Following the success of Sotheby’s Diamonds in Hong Kong and New York, the London boutique is poised to tempt those wanting superlative diamonds with the Sotheby’s seal of approval without the wait, visibility or uncertainty of bidding in the auction room.
The 20.47-carat emerald-cut Arris ring (above) would make a perfect engagement ring, not just because of the stone’s top-quality D colour coupled with Internally Flawless (IF) clarity, but because of the pretty sprinkling of pink diamonds set into the band. The emerald cut is a smart choice for engagement rings as the top-heavy spread of the large, flat-top plane looks bigger on the hand than a brilliant cut of similar weight.
No engagement ring tour of Bond Street would be complete without a visit to Cartier’s sumptuously appointed townhouse. Here, surrounded by security guards, a Cartier-red leather box opened to reveal a 20.30-carat D colour cushion-cut diamond flanked by two shield-shape diamonds of 2.02 carats and 1.8 carats. Of all the rings we saw, the Cartier was the most impressive in terms of quality, with the diamond’s top D colour coupled with a Flawless clarity grading and, of course, the Cartier touch evident in the clean, simple design in platinum.
Graff, known for its knock-out, celebrity-pleasing diamonds, brought out an 11.10-carat round brilliant diamond in F Colour with a VS2 clarity rating in the most classic style we had seen all day. When you think of diamond solitaires, this is what comes to mind. It’s worth mentioning that a few weeks earlier in Paris, Graff had shown us a 27-carat round-cut diamond ring, so don’t be afraid to ask for a bigger stone should you not see it in the window.
One of Bond Street’s few independent jewellers is David Morris, a destination for the discerning seeking serious gems. Here, we sighed as we took turns trying on a 10.73-carat F colour VS2 clarity cushion-cut diamond ring. To the untrained eye, it is hard to distinguish a D colour from an F colour so wise brides can play with colour, clarity and size options to get the best spend for spread on the finger.
It is near impossible with the naked eye to spot a Flawless from a Very Slightly Included clarity grading. According to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), which invented the whole idea of the Four Cs , ‘Very Slightly Included’ (VS1 and VS2) gradings mean that “inclusions are difficult for a skilled grader to see under 10 x magnification”. So an untrained naked eye stands little chance of picking up on this nuance in a ring, a factor you can play with when weighing up your budget and options. This ring is a good example of a judicious balance of size, colour and clarity. What’s more, at around 10 carats, a diamond starts to be wearable on a daily basis, if a tad flash.
Last but not least, we stopped by Harry Winston to coo at a 10.60-carat D colour round brilliant solitaire (below). A Harry Winston classic with the characteristic claw setting in platinum, this diamond ring would look right at home on the finger of a smart young thing trotting down 5th Avenue.
So dream big and send this article to your beloved, though he can’t be blamed if he runs for the hills or gets a dose of the proverbial cold feet.