Diamond Design Studios (DDS) (formerly known as Direct Diamond Sales Co.) have been crafting jewellery in Adelaide since 1972, and have this year been given the honour of receiving the 2015 ABIA Award. While founder Bruno Moser learnt his art in Switzerland, he moved back to Adelaide to continue his craft and has passed the company on through his family. Currently in the hands of Richard Moser, all the rings at DDS have been designed personally by him as he currently holds 150 different designs. However, DDS actually specialise in designing jewellery with the customer and, as they sell at wholesale prices, you can have your jewellery made cheaper than what you would pay for cast pieces found in a typical jewellery store.
The Adelaidian recently caught up with Richard to talk all things shiny and sparkly, and got some priceless tips on how to pick an amazing diamond when we’re lucky enough to buy one.
DDS recently won the ABIA Award for ‘Best Manufacturer in Australia’. What does winning this award mean to you?
Quality of product, quality of service, attitude of staff and value for money are all categories assessed for the ABIA award. You need to enter four years in a row to qualify for the award, and the last four years we’ve entered we’ve received just over 99%. We were up against jewellers from all over the country, and we managed to win it this year. It means a lot to us because it’s not just a piece of jewellery we’ve entered, it’s the overall customer satisfaction of our store.
Why do you specialise in diamonds over every other kind of stone?
People in Australia mostly look to buy diamonds rather than other stones. We’ve experimented with coloured stones which we used to sell in Japan for fifteen years, and it was a lot of fun to make unusual jewellery. We do have another company in Adelaide called Coloured Stones Australia which we established so people looking for coloured stones have a specific place to go, however in Australia diamonds are really what makes a successful jewellery company.
What should we be looking for when buying a diamond?
It all depends on the budget. When you’re wearing a diamond you shouldn’t be able to see anything in it, you don’t want to be seeing any inclusions, so that when you’re looking at it, it looks nice and clean and there’s no little specks. If there’s a speck in there, you’ll start focusing on that speck and it gets bigger, despite this being an illusion. The diamond has to be clean and the cut has to be nice as well.
When it comes to buying diamonds, it’s important to keep in mind the four Cs; carat, colour, clarity, cut. Carat is the size of the diamond, which varies depending on the budget.
When it comes to colour D is the best, and it ascends down towards I, J, which is what you see in most of the commercial diamond stores. However, DDS try to stick around D-G colour rage. D and G both present really nice colours, and there isn’t too much difference between the two.
Clarity needs to be above an SI2, which is where you’d need a microscope to find any inclusions in there. SI3s or P1s are where you begin to see inclusions in the stone. Nice SI2s are perfect, SI1s are even better and they continue up from there. VVS is the highest level, however we don’t sell too many VVS stones because they are so expensive. The highest quality we stock are VS, but there are clients who want the next range up which is a VVS, and we will get those in for people who want something extra special.
We generally cut in excellence, which is where the light goes down, hits the bottom of the stone and comes back out the top. The way the diamond is cut makes it really bright, and excellence cut does a fantastic job at letting the light bounce through. It all goes by budget though, if the stone is small it may not sparkle as much as larger stones.
What style of setting will show off a stone best?
If you can have a setting that allows a lot of light getting underneath the stone it makes it a bit shinier. However, this is more relevant to coloured stones, as with white diamonds the light comes in from the top and leaves from the top so you can really have it set however you want. Generally girls prefer having more cut out settings on their rings so you can see as much of the stone as possible.
What is involved in creating a ring for a customer?
We always start with the design. Some people know exactly what they want, they bring a design in and we can make pretty much exactly that. If they have no idea what they want we start by going through a process of looking at multiple designs and we tweak a number of them to eventually find something the customer wants. We always draw the design as we go along, so when we’re done the customer knows exactly what their ring will look like once it’s made. Once we’ve worked out the design we start figuring out how much they want to spend so we can work out the size of the stone.
What styles do you think are rising in popularity right now?
We were doing a lot of one stone solitaire rings, until Princess Kate got her ring, and that changed everything. Suddenly everyone wanted stones around their diamonds, which works really well if you don’t have a big diamond as putting a halo of stones around it makes the centre stone look bigger, but is more affordable. Currently, 80% of what we do is set in white gold, and then a bit of yellow gold, rose gold and some platinum.
What tips do you have on cleaning stones to make them last longer?
The easiest way to clean a diamond is by using a very fine bristled toothbrush with some hot water and a little bit of soap. It enables you to get under the stone and clean underneath, which lets the stone stay nice and bright. You can apply this to all jewellery, not just diamonds.