Diamonds a jeweller's joy
THAT famous adage from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes that "diamonds are a girl's best friend" also rings true for one who works with the precious stone every day.
Jeweller and gemmologist Peter Anderson from Andersons Treasure Store in Murwillumbah said of all the stones he has worked with it was diamonds that he preferred.
When asked what sort of diamond Mr Anderson liked he replied with that Cheshire cat-like grin "big ones and lots of 'em".
"You can't go wrong," he said.
"They're bright and shiny… they're dateless.
"Pink diamonds are the big ones in this market and they are rare. I have had the opportunity to work with some pink diamonds in my time.
"They are just so nice. It's the hardest stuff known to man so they are hard to ruin.
"A ruby on its own looks dead, but surround it by diamonds and it looks beautiful."
Mr Anderson's workshop is above the family jewellery store where he has set diamonds for more than 25 years.
Jewellery and precious stones were an ever-present part of his life so it was natural that he started the third-generation in the family business after his father Lawrence, who is a watchmaker.
Mr Anderson's easygoing nature gives him a likeability that he found useful in his career as a jeweller and helped to create something special for his customers.
He is not the sort of jeweller who is only comfortable being bent over his workstation night and day working with precious metals and stones.
"Meeting people is what it's all about," he said.
"I do half of it and show her (a customer), then do a little bit more and show her again.
"They come upstairs… they are part of the making of it. I don't just say, "Come back in four weeks".
"Murwillumbah is a quiet little country town, but for people to come in from a distance to see me or dad is what it's all about.
"You're not just hiding up here away like some of us (jewellers) like to do; we design jewellery to make people happy."
There is always a clear process when Mr Anderson takes on a new project and it often starts by talking to the customer.
The second step is designing the ring on a computer program, CAD, and then the design is carved in wax to show the customer before metal casting.
"If you're not on the CAD wagon you are really going to miss out," he said.
"I have 10 to 15 mates around the Townsville area and sometimes when I do a really nice design I might flick the image up to them for free and they will send me one of their good designs. I will print it out, put it up in the window and, Bob's your uncle, I have a window with all the latest designs."
Most of the diamonds traded around the world are mined in South Africa, Botswana, Australia, Canada and Russia.
"Pink diamonds are Australian; they don't come from South Africa," Mr Anderson said.
"They are 30, 40, 50 times more expensive than normal diamonds.
"The saying goes they will mine a ute tray full of diamonds and the ashtray will be pinks."
Most of the $9 billion a year diamond mining industry is traded through the diamond exchange in Antwerp, Belgium.
"I went and studied gemmology, then once you're a gemmologist you're asked to be a valuer.
"Then I went on to study diamonds. You are always learning in this industry.
"Synthetic rubies are massive at the moment. Something that people buy for five or 10 thousand dollars in Bangkok I'm selling for 10 bucks."
"We source our stones from Antwerp, overseas and other areas."
Mr Anderson's wife has born the brunt of his passion to always create and make modern designs.
"I've changed her engagement ring 11 times and we've been married 15 years," he said. "I get sick of looking at it so I want a new one.
"What we are about here is new stuff; we like to push the boundaries. If we do make stuff for the window then it has gone within a month."
Types of diamonds
All diamonds can be identified by there colours.
- These are found worldwide.
- They are usually clear but can have slight shades of colouring.
- The world's most rare diamond that can only be found in any quantity in Western Australia.
- Pink diamond makes up less than 0.1% of diamonds found in the Argyle mine in Western Australia.
- Colour can vary from soft rose to ruby-like, dark reds.
- These diamonds vary from light yellow to a deep canary yellow.
- These diamonds vary from a light blue to a deep sapphire colour.
- Most of this green colouring is in the shallow layers and is usually very subtle on cut diamonds.
- These are the most varied of colour and graded on colour from light Champagne (C1) to cognac (C7).