engagement-ring

How to buy the perfect bespoke engagement ring

hellomagazine.com

Bespoke engagement rings are rising in popularity, with more and more grooms getting involved in the design process and looking for those one-of-a-kind showstoppers. London jeweller Gee Woods has shared her top tips on how to pick the perfect engagement ring and what to look for...

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Budget...

"Firstly, decide on how much you want to spend. It's always best to come with a fixed budget in mind. There is no point in the client having a dream which isn't achievable but on the flip side, it's my job to try and suggest other more affordable ideas to help create that dream ring!

"Find a jeweller that can source gemstones to suit any budget. There's a misconception that bespoke must mean hugely expensive but that's just not true."

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When to start shopping...

"Start early and have an initial phone conversation with the jeweller to discuss what you have in mind and to go through the brief. For example do you want to create the ring from scratch or perhaps you have an old unloved family heirloom that you want to rework. Remember, the process of making a ring can take weeks, sometimes months.

"It's important for the client and the jeweller to meet in person. This is the fun part where you start putting some ideas and sketches down and go through them. This is the opportunity to talk about your style, likes and dislikes, job, inspiration etc. so that everything comes back to the ring. She'll be wearing the ring every day so it has to work with her lifestyle and be practical, not just look pretty."

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If the ring is a surprise...

"Sometimes I only meet the guy as he wants to create a surprise ring to pop the question! We discuss budget, ideas, his girlfriend's style, what jewellery she wears, what's in her wardrobe etc. to gather together a full picture of her. It's really useful if they bring a photo of her as I can then gage her ring size and also take a cue from her existing jewellery and style.

"If possible, bring a ring she already owns (ring finger) as I can then get the exact size and if they can be trusted, I suggest that the guy speaks to her friends and family to get an insight, but swear them to secrecy!"

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What stone to choose...

"There is an assumption that an engagement ring has to be a diamond however, there are so many other fantastic options... Think about substituting a central diamond for a beautiful deep blue sapphire or blue/green aquamarine. Bespoke coloured stone cuts are getting more and more popular and are also gaining in value so can be a worthwhile investment.

"On a practical level, you need to think about wear and tear. It's likely that you are going to be wearing your ring everyday so stick to a hard stone. Diamonds are hard but emeralds for example, aren't. I generally advise people to stay away from emeralds as an everyday ring wherever possible as although extremely beautiful, they don't take well to being knocked about and can be brittle. If you love that vibrant green hue, why not choose a tsavorite instead. It's a beautiful rich green and is more hard wearing and affordable.

"Rubies and sapphires are corundum stones so are very hard (second only to diamonds) so are also a good choice. If you want colour pops, go for sapphires as they come in a variety of shades and I'm also finding that aquamarines are becoming more popular. A big hit this year has been yellow diamonds and sapphires which when combined with yellow gold, can look stunning."

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What style to choose...

"Flick through magazines for inspiration, research online, window shop. Think about whether you prefer minimalist and modern, traditional, art deco inspired, vibrant colours or subtle stones, yellow gold, white or two-tone etc. It's your design and your ring that you will be wearing at the end of the day so you need to feel 100 per cent happy with how the process is going."

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And lastly...

"Generally, if you have short and wider fingers, then a slim band with a large head that goes up and down the finger is usually a winner.

"If you have long slim fingers, chunkier bands look great and will fit the hand better. Be wary of rings that are too tight – remember that your fingers can change size. Always go slightly bigger than too small."

For more information visit geewoods.com.

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