Do your research
It certainly helps to do some market research before picking a designer. This will help you identify whether you like delicate rings, big stones, colour etc. Go into as many shops as possible and try on as many different cuts, colours, sizes as you can. This is the best way to get an understanding of what you like and dislike. Even if you think you want a new ring, go into antique markets because you never know what you might discover.
Think about your personal style
Are you flamboyant or subtle, do you prefer contemporary or traditional? It helps if you have an opinion from the start. We often ask clients to send us photos of their inspirations perhaps sending us images they have found on the internet or clippings from magazines so we can build a picture of who they are.
Find family heirlooms or old pieces that you would like to use
Andrew often incorporates the metals or stones into newly designed commissions – not only does this enhance the sentimental value but it can help make the budget stretch further. Andrew can use any gold you may have and can even add extra should you not have enough metal to fulfil your design.
Keep an open mind
The idea behind a bespoke commission is to create something unique and personal not something you can pick up anywhere. A good designer will spend plenty of time working with you to tease out the details and influences that will shape your ring, so allow them to take you through this process – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome. I like to test and push a client’s design boundaries with a range of sketches and ideas, this really helps us end up with something they are proud of.
Colour, cut, clarity and carat aren’t everything
Whilst the four Cs are important, I’d advise away from getting too hung up on them. An engagement ring comprises shape, metal type, overall design aesthetic and all sorts of other details as well as stones. A central diamond of value is still a design concept that many clients want, but I’ve seen a shift to much more elaborate designs that use other stones and alternative shapes.
Keep the end piece timeless
You’ll want to wear it when you are 85 years old so be wary of trends and fads. That doesn’t mean a ring shouldn’t be design-led or untraditional.
Budget is, of course, important
It’s always best to communicate this with the designer from the outset, we can often produce far more that you could ever imagine on a tight budget with tricks of design and production.
Finally, just go on and do it
Creating a bespoke engagement ring is hugely satisfying, ultimately much more personal than off-the-shelf, and once you’ve started the process much less scary and expensive than you originally thought.