Daniel Christopher Jewellery, an award-winning store in the London diamond district Hatton Garden, reports that the average spend on an engagement ring has increased from between £4,000 to £6,000 in 2021 to £8,000 to £10,000 this year.
Diamond expert Daniel O’Farrell, the owner of Daniel Christopher Jewellery, says the big increase is down to the fact that more couples buy a ring together and that they have spent time online researching their perfect ring before coming into the store to buy.
“Men on their own will tend to be far more cautious in the design that they select, and opt for a safe, classic solitaire ring, whereas couples buying together are led by the recipient and tend to be far more adventurous. Men, unless instructed to do so, tend to opt for the most popular or common diamond shapes like the round brilliant cut and oval. When the recipient of the ring comes into the store and sees the vast variety of options, they will often go for a more personalised shape, such as a marquise, old cut or heart-shaped diamond. When couples are shopping together, the man is more likely to push the boat out to ensure their partner receives their dream ring.”
While many couples will start looking on social media to research prices and styles of diamond engagement rings, O’Farrell warns that not all information is accurate.
“The vast majority of our customers will have done a significant amount of research before coming in. However, not all information online is correct and is sometimes provided by specific retailers to match their own stock and so can be misleading. We offer impartial, unbiased advice and recommend to our customers that they obtain their information on buying diamonds from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) who are fully independent and not for profit.”
The most expensive diamond engagement ring sold by Daniel Christopher this year was for £164,000. The ring was set with a 3 carat D colour, internally flawless diamond with excellent grades for polish, symmetry and cut. “The customer wanted absolute perfection and while he could have opted for a larger stone decided on this significant and perfect diamond,” said O’Farrell.
Nine out of 10 engagement rings sold at Daniel Christopher are bespoke commissions, which have been increasing year on year.
“Through our consultation process, customers realise that there is only a small increase in cost for us to make the ring specifically to order, compared to us making one of our core designs.” Bespoke rings, which are made in Daniel Christopher’s on-site workshop in Hatton Garden, generally take between two and four weeks to make.
Daniel Christopher has also seen an increase in sales this year of laboratory-grown diamonds, which now make up nearly half of all their engagement ring sales. This has been led by customers who are generally looking for a bigger diamond for their budget and are attracted by the ethical and environmentally friendly credentials of lab-grown diamonds. This trend, says O’Farrell, is likely to increase further in 2023.
“We are expecting a continued increase in demand for lab grown diamonds as consumer trends move towards wanting bigger and bigger diamonds, and as awareness of lab-grown diamonds grows. We also expect to sell more unusual engagement rings next year featuring ‘movals’ (elongated oval diamonds), diamonds set east to west horizontally across the finger, and two-stone ‘toi et moi’ rings with contrasting diamond shapes and colours.”