We are delighted to welcome Helen Dimmick as our in-house gemmologist at Chelsea Rocks. Each week we will feature your gemmological questions submitted by email and shall publish Helen’s answers on the 'Ask a gemmologist' page.
Helen, might you tell our readers about yourself and how you first came to work in gemmology and jewellery? What fascinates you about this area?
From the age of sixteen I first saw a picture of an Egyptian pectoral, (ornamental chest plate), from the tomb of Tutankhamun. I couldn’t believe anything could be so symbolic and yet so beautiful. I loved how this one piece of jewellery told the story of his divine kingship and yet was so aesthetically stunning. I came home from school and told my parents I wanted to be a jewellery specialist!
There was, and is, no straightforward journey to become a jewellery expert. I very much wanted to take an academic route, so I started by studying History of Art and Architecture at Manchester University. After graduating with my Batchelor of Arts (BA), I completed a diploma in Museum of Art Gallery Studies to gain further insight into handling decorative objects.
Whilst working at an auction house and the prestigious antique jewellery retailer Bentley and Skinner I completed my Fellowship of the Gemmological Association (FGA) and Diamond Grading Diploma (DGA) over three years. I was most proud to be awarded the Anderson Medal and Trade Prize for the highest national and international marks for my examination papers. I have always wanted to be very credible at everything I do.
Over the years, I have been so fortunate to gain further and wide-ranging industry experience at Tiffany & Co and owning the award-winning retail business Green + Benz.
Today, I combine my love of jewellery with my equal love of people and work as an independent jewellery consultant.
2. At a societal level, what do you think is the symbolic and emotional function of jewellery?
Since the dawn of time, mankind has adorned himself for reasons of status, religion, protection or decoration and it is no different today. The most important moments and occasions in our life are often represented by a piece of jewellery. Look at the simple wedding ring, an unbroken circle of precious metal which is the powerful and emotional representation of a lifetime of commitment.
I inherited my Nana’s wedding ring and today it is still the most precious object I own; not for its material value, but for the representation of love it embodied between my grandparents and the grandfather, whom I never knew.
3. As a gemmologist, what is your point of view on Laboratory Grown Diamonds?
A mined diamond and a Laboratory Grown Diamond are physically, chemically and optically identical - no question. However, by definition a gemstone, (of which I diamond is the ultimate representation), is rare, durable and beautiful; therefore, by the process of creating and generating the supply of Laboratory Grown Diamonds they are not necessarily rare. So, by definition they are different, but by inherent properties they are the same. Both mined and Laboratory Grown Diamonds have their respective benefits and magic!
4. Why do you think diamonds continue to capture mankind’s imagination since time immemorial?
I refer to the explanation above on gemstones. A gemstone is rare, durable and beautiful. A diamond is the ultimate of all of the families of gemstones. Every diamond is unique, just as we are all individual, though somehow belong together.
As well as appreciating all their gemmological properties, I find diamonds simply hypnotic, I get lost looking deep inside them and enjoying all their beauty, their fire, brilliance and scintillation. Then there is a deeper debate about price. I love how Laboratory Grown Diamonds offer value at a more accessible price point. I therefore fully endorse this opportunity for more customers to purchase their own diamond.
5. What would your advice be to someone who is interesting in buying a Laboratory Grown Diamonds for the first time?
Trust and transparency are the bywords here. Firstly, one should make sure one knows what one is buying and from whom. Gemmological Laboratory Grown Diamonds are fully accepted, as long as they are clearly sold and represented as such. I am honoured and delighted to be supporting Chelsea Rocks in this venture with Laboratory Grown Diamonds.