The perfect way to say I love you

by Holyrood PR

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

Scotsman report

Alistir Tait, Scotland’s foremost gemmologist and jewellery historian, said love struck couples were still happy to splash out substantial sums of money for the perfect love token.

He is celebrating his 25th year in business in Edinburgh and says his shop in Rose Street, is seeing a higher than ever demand for diamond engagement rings, with customers of all ages willing to pay for individual pieces.

Mr Tait, who was the youngest ever Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (FGA), said: “I’d say it is still true that most people look to pay around about a month’s salary for a ring.

“We usually associate engagement rings with people in their 20s and those we see are generally prepared to pay around £1500 to £2000. However we also see a number of people who have far greater resources and are willing to pay a great deal more for the right ring.

“Of course, the rise of celebrities wearing diamond jewellery has also led to wider demand and diamonds are now more popular than ever. The truth is that we can source stones to suit most pockets.”

He says the simple, elegant diamond solitaire is still the classic engagement ring and at his own shop he has the “perfect” diamond ring when measured against the four Cs of cut, clarity, colour and carat.

The stone, set in a platinum band is a perfect round brilliant cut, perfect D-flawless clarity, perfectly white in colour and the perfect, most sought-after one carat size.

However it has the perfect price tag to match, coming in at £16,000 and Mr Tait added: “There are only ever a very small number of these ‘perfect’ diamonds on the market at any time and the price reflects that.”

Another trend Mr Tait has seen is for customers to look for something uniquely Scottish – and native Scottish sapphires from the Isle of Harris are popular, though pricey at £3300 per carat.


He has a ring with a flawless 0.94 carat Scottish sapphire with a diamond nestling on either side, with a price tag of £3150. He also has an extensive collection Harris sapphires, collected before source dried up because the site became protected.

He added: “Ultimately people will pay what they can afford and when it comes to something as important as an engagement ring the might push the boat out even further.

“But nobody has to be disappointed because there are so many different kinds of precious and semi-precious stones, that with a bit of thought and care, a respectable jeweller can come up with a one-off piece to meet most budgets.”


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