It always starts off the same; with a conversation. Whether via WhatsApp, email or over the phone.
I always try and identify three main things initially from the client; time frame for when they need the ring, if they already have an idea or style that they like, and then a budget. This helps me start the journey of that client’s bespoke engagement ring. After this initial conversation, I put together a selection of diamonds and settings based on their own unique requirements. We then arrange a meeting at a time that suits them, usually at our showroom in Mayfair.
Firstly (and my wife would probably argue the most important), I offer my clients a glass of champagne; the process of creating a bespoke piece of jewellery, such as an engagement ring, is so special that I want the client to truly feel that.
I always start our first face-to-face meeting with the education. This, in my opinion, is the most important step of the journey. Only once you truly understand something can you start to enjoy and immerse yourself in the experience. We discuss the characteristic of what we look at when ascertaining the quality of a diamond, and once the client has a basic understanding, we move on to physically looking at the selection of pre handpicked diamonds. It is here the client starts to see the differences in cut, clarity, colour etc. This process starts to narrow down what is important to them, and what they may be happy to compromise on.
We then move on to the settings. If we are starting at the very beginning, we will go through all the basics; from four and six claw solitaires to traditional halos and modern under-halos, and many other attributes which can make the ring so personal. After this, clients will be able to point out things that they like and dislike, and this enables me to start the design process, which we bring to life via a bespoke 3-D CAD image.
After our first meeting, my objective is always to have the client walking away knowing exactly what parameters they want for their diamond and to have started on the building blocks for their design. When they come for their second visit, they are presented with three handpicked diamonds that meet their criteria, as well having the images and a wax model of their bespoke design if they so require.
After the diamond has been picked and we have finalised the design, the manufacturing of the ring can commence. The initial step is for the wax to be produced, which we will then cast in the specified precious metal. Once casted, we will spend a significant amount of time cleaning the ring, and assembling where required, to ensure it is in perfect condition for setting. After the diamond(s) have been set it goes to the Assay Office who hallmark the ring, to confirm the purity of the metal before it has its final clean and polish. And then lastly, it is sent off to an independent lab for photography and valuation.
The final step is the most exciting part; arranging the client to come in to collect their dream engagement ring. With a glass of champagne in hand, they will do the honours of opening the box for the first time and seeing the final product that they have put so much effort into. It is a process they hopefully enjoyed, creating something that signifies the next big step in their life! It’s literally simple as that.