Sarah, who joined the Lister Horsfall team in October 2018, is a diamond specialist with a passion for the jewellery sector. We caught up with Sarah following her recent diamond grading training, with the International Gemological Institute (IGI) in Antwerp, to talk diamonds.
Sarah, tell us a bit about where you were before you joined Lister Horsfall?
I joined Lister Horsfall in 2018 from Goldsmiths, where I ran, and doubled the size of, the diamond department. That’s when I fell in love with the world of diamonds and it’s been a passion ever since.
You’ve just been on a diamond grading course as part of your training with Lister Horsfall. What did that entail and what’s the difference between that and the diamond training you’ve done before?
With the exception of visiting one of our suppliers, all my training has been theory work through the JET qualification and e-learning. However, the training at IGI was both theory and practical. We learnt how to grade stones and what qualities to look for – it’s extended my experience and knowledge of diamonds, so it was a rewarding course as I can use it day-to-day in my role.
We also got the chance to see some rough diamonds, which after 14 years in the trade was a dream come true! It was fascinating to see a rough diamond in its natural form. I find it so magical how something that is formed in the earth can be cut and polished into such beautiful stones.
With all your experience, what would you advise people to look for in a diamond?
I would always advise customers to get a nice white clear stone, one that reflects light well so that you can get that all important sparkle we have all grown to love.
A diamond is an emotional purchase, and I always advise my clients that you buy a diamond on how it makes you feel. There’s no better feeling than seeing a woman put a diamond ring on her finger and seeing her fall in love all over again.
If a customer is unsure of what to buy, how do you help them?
I will ask them questions to get a better understanding of their style preferences, lifestyle and their needs, what they do day-to-day or for hobbies, as it helps me in suggesting different styles.
For example, a gentleman came in on Saturday looking to buy an engagement ring, he didn’t know what style to go for, or what stone shape his partner would like. From talking to him, I soon discovered she didn’t wear much jewellery and was very understated, so I brought out some classic solitaire’s with plain shoulders, he was instinctively drawn to one, and decided to take it as he knew that it was the perfect style for her.
Do you have a preferred cut and why?
I love the round brilliant cut, it’s such a timeless design. There are so many other cuts that I think are lovely but have the potential to “go out of fashion”, whereas a round brilliant cut is timeless and will never date. If you get an excellent cut, a round brilliant stone’s reflection of light is simply stunning.
Do you have a memorable moment in your career from selling a customer a ring?
After being in the trade for 14 years, it’s hard to pin-point one occasion as there are so many, I love being part of people’s special occasions such as engagement, weddings and births, it’s such an honour.
One of my most memorable, and favourite, moments was selling a 1ct solitaire to an elderly gentleman who had been with his wife for 65 years. She had always wanted a 1ct solitaire, but they were never in a financial position to get one. He had been saving up for it out of his pension without her knowing. We had champagne and flowers waiting for her when they came to collect it. It was such a beautiful moment in time, she was in tears of joy when she opened the box – as was I!
If you’d like any diamond advice from Sarah, you can meet her in our Halifax showroom.