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Hammers, chisels and a microscope: inside a diamond jewellery workshop

Updated : 2019-06-28 10:55:04

In a small workshop behind London's bustling Oxford Circus, a team of goldsmiths file, solder, and polish the metal castings that in a few hours will become dazzling diamond rings. The process can vary with the design and metal, but once completed and checked for quality control, the band is given to diamond setters who carefully add the sparkling stones. Belonging to jeweller 77 Diamonds, the workshop is an unusual sight behind one of London's busiest shopping streets, where many stores usually sell necklaces, rings and earrings often made in China or India. Some 60 items pass through the workshop each day. Engagement rings are 77 Diamonds' biggest seller. Beside hammers and chisels long used by the craftsmen, there is also more modern equipment - lasers and a microscope, which helps putting tiny diamonds on bands. 77 Diamonds produces its own collections and bespoke pieces, born through computer-aided design. Bespoke pieces, where clients pick the diamonds and design, take more than a month to make. Sometimes clients are inspired by celebrities' jewellery. A popular 1-carat solitaire engagement ring can cost around 5,000 pounds ($6,350), while a 3.5 carat sells for 55,000 pounds. The company, which has a showroom nearby and sells jewellery online, prides itself on its pieces being made in Britain.

Sophie Lomax, Head of Design, holds two diamond rings designed and made at 77 Diamonds in London, Britain, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Sophie Lomax, Head of Design, holds two diamond rings designed and made at 77 Diamonds in London, Britain, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Sophie Lomax holds a diamond ring and the 3D print in resin of it during the design process, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Sophie Lomax holds a diamond ring and the 3D print in resin of it during the design process, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Sophie Lomax shows a pear shape diamond, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Sophie Lomax shows a pear shape diamond, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Sophie Lomax shows a diamond ring production file on a tablet during the design process, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Sophie Lomax shows a diamond ring production file on a tablet during the design process, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Specialist tools are seen at the jewellery workshop, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Specialist tools are seen at the jewellery workshop, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A craftsperson shapes the jewel clasp of a diamond ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A craftsperson shapes the jewel clasp of a diamond ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A craftsperson works on a diamond ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A craftsperson works on a diamond ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A specialist craftsperson files a ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A specialist craftsperson files a ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A craftsperson holds a finished diamond ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A craftsperson holds a finished diamond ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A specialist craftsperson polishes a diamond ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A specialist craftsperson polishes a diamond ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Specialist tools are seen at the jewellery workshop, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Specialist tools are seen at the jewellery workshop, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A craftsperson shapes the jewel clasp of a diamond ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A craftsperson shapes the jewel clasp of a diamond ring, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A craftsperson works on a diamond ring mount, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
A craftsperson works on a diamond ring mount, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Specialist tools are seen at the jewellery workshop, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Specialist tools are seen at the jewellery workshop, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
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