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The Perfect Loose Stone

21 August 20

If you are looking for an engagement ring, you may consider hand-selecting your own diamond. Here, we explore our advice when choosing the diamond to last a lifetime.

A diamond is the rarest material on Earth in part due to the incredible time scale each gemstone takes to form, around 3.3 billion years. In order to understand the process of selecting your perfect diamond, it is important to understand how the value and rarity of diamonds is formed.

This incredible journey began in the 1860s when the first diamond was discovered in Kimberley the capital of Northern Cape provenance in South Africa. The gemstone itself is a mineral composed of pure carbon and remains the hardest naturally occurring substance known. Each diamond is individually sorted according to size, colour, shape and other chemical and physical characteristics. Each stone is then meticulously cut following careful examination. The cutting stages, such as marking, sawing, bruiting and brillianterring, are numerous and can take a considerable amount of hours regardless of the size of the stone itself.

The final value and beauty of a diamond is attained by a combination of the 4 C's or four characteristics which are considered the most important when selecting your stone. These four characteristics are cut, colour, clarity and carat and it is an understanding of how these four features relate to each other which combines to create your, or any diamonds, value.

At Prestons, we acknowledge the significance of each one of our diamonds. Each diamond, hand-chosen by one of our dedicated diamond specialists, is selected based on that particular stone’s unique characteristics, perhaps its brilliance, its natural fire or sparkle. Of course, our showrooms each have decades of experience between them in selecting diamonds we know our clients will love, but also delight in sharing this exceptional process with you. The experience of hand-choosing your own diamond is something that really is quite magical.

Your Initial Consultation 

Your initial consultation is the perfect opportunity for you and a member of our team to discuss the options you would like to further. In many instances, you may have a particular characteristic, perhaps the cut or shape, of the diamond you may wish to explore or would simply like advice and guidance on the diamond grading process.

Our diamond specialists have decades of experience between them and a comprehensive understanding of the four C’s of diamond grading. In most instances, your initial consultation begins with us guiding you through this information to understand what you or your partner may be looking for.

If you are selecting a diamond it is ultimately a very personal choice, it could be that you are attracted to the sophisticated nature of the emerald cut diamond, with its exceptional clarity and natural fire. It may be that you fall in love with the classic round brilliant cut for its numerous facets, timeless style and vivid sparkle. Our showrooms understand the importance of the quality and therefore only showcase diamonds which feature a white colour, between a D-H, and that are a minimum of SI1 in clarity, ensuring no flaws or features are visible to the naked eye.

After we have discussed the specifications or characteristics you are looking for in your diamond, we will then discuss your desired timeframes and any other requirements you may have. It is always important to remember that designing or creating an engagement ring takes a number of weeks and we often advise our clients to allow up to eight weeks from your initial consultation.

It is at this stage that our diamond experts meticulously examine a selection of loose diamonds, hand-selecting gemstones that suit your criteria perfectly as well as meet our own exacting standards. 

Your Viewing in Our Showrooms    

Upon your arrival at the showroom, your diamonds will be prepared and ready for your viewing. In most instances our showrooms display between two and four loose diamonds ensuring that each of your requirements is carefully considered. Our showrooms truly believe each diamond is as unique as its wearer which is why we provide you with a comprehensive explanation of the specification of each gemstone, alongside the certificate that accompanies it. In addition to this we encourage you to view each gemstone through a 10x loop. This unique experience allows you to truly appreciate the characteristics and features of the stone as well as understand in greater detail the importance of cut, colour, clarity and carat.

Throughout most of our viewings, we often hear that particular diamonds can just speak to you. It is often said that certain diamonds can just captivate you with their charm, their sparkle or their own unique personality. Once you feel more confident, or more certain, of your diamond choice then we can discuss mount options.

The mount or setting of a ring is responsible for best showcasing the diamond’s natural beauty but is also responsible for the safety and security of your precious stone. The mount you choose can be hand-crafted in 18ct yellow, white or rose gold as well as platinum to suit you or your partner’s preferences. Here, we have included a small selection of our favourite settings for you to explore.

The most popular setting an engagement ring is a claw style design. An example of this design is the magnolia mount. This mount is the perfect design for those looking for a feminine yet sophisticated style. It is most often seen with a round brilliant cut diamond and is inspired by the magnolia flower featuring perfectly shaped talon claws to ensure the safety and security of your diamond. Alternatively, many of clients chose a setting with a subtle and delicate diamond set bridge or under-bezel. This beautiful setting offers the wearer a subtle addition to a classic solitaire or the ultimate finishing touch to a halo or cluster style.

Fine craftsmanship is a tradition that is still honoured at Prestons and therefore, each of our engagement ring settings are hand-crafted by one of our dedicated jewellers using our 150 years of experience.

Your Engagement Ring 

Once your bespoke engagement ring arrives in our showroom, it is fully inspected by one of our diamond experts to ensure the setting perfectly holds your precious stone safely and that the design will exceed all of your expectations.

The collection of this special piece is another moment for either you or your and your partner to cherish. It may be that you decide to present the engagement ring in one of our champagne lounges or that you are planning a surprise proposal at a later date.

For us, the proposal is a moment we can’t wait to celebrate with you. Each member of our team look forward to welcoming back each of our clients to hear their incredible stories and, if required, measure your partners ring size and arrange any adjustments needed to ensure your ring fits perfectly.

If you require any further information about selecting the perfect diamond, contact us here. Alternatively, visit us at any of our showrooms where our dedicated team can guide you through this incredible journey.



Our Showrooms

Over the years, generations of families have become customers of Prestons, and many have gone on to become friends. Today, our teams look forward to welcoming you to our showrooms in Wilmslow, Guildford, Norwich and Leeds.

Prestons Guildford


Our Guildford showroom, which is now located on the opposite side of the high street, is designed to reflect the architectural merit of the Edwardian building it now occupies. The store features newly extended spaces dedicated to the fine watch houses it showcases, alongside a comfortable lounge to allow our clients to explore our bridal and fine jewellery collections. Explore This Showroom

Prestons Wilmslow


Located in the heart of Wilmslow, this showroom features a selection of spaces dedicated to the fine watch houses it showcases. Of course, the bridal collections Prestons have always been famous for remain a prominent feature of the store and surround the famous Aquarium Bar which sits at its centre. Explore This Showroom

Rolex by Prestons, Leeds


This showroom, located in Victoria Gate, features extensive Rolex showcases alongside a discrete VIP lounge. Every element of the interior design radiates the values of the Rolex crown: excellence, precision and attention to detail from louvre walls in walnut, to the careful calibration of colours and patterns within the fittings and furnishings. Explore This Showroom

Prestons Norwich


Located on the historic Norwich high street, Prestons Norwich has been expanded and redesigned to reflect the character of the building it has occupied for over 150 years. The showroom features collections by Patek Philippe, Rolex and TUDOR alongside our fine jewellery collections. Explore This Showroom
Guildford showroom