From the Professionals...Choosing your rings

30 / 11 / 18

Love to Plan professional wedding planner for your South West wedding day

Each month we delve deeper into subjects to find out more and bring you some useful snippets of advice! Your wedding rings are one of the few lasting mementos of your wedding day, so choosing them well is key. There are so many styles, designs, colours and gems available it really can be a minefield that only a jewellery designer and/or goldsmith can assist you with!

We are very lucky to some talented jewellery designers on the Whitewed Directory. First up is Tom, the owner of The Middle Green who is an expert in the field and knows just how to design and create the most exceptional wedding rings and jewellery, which will last a lifetime.

How do you differ from a high street chain?
'd like to think that the level of personal service I offer is much higher. I'm not trying to move on stock that I have already bought, I am trying to create exactly what you are looking for. The finished rings will meet all your expectations including the design, the quality of the craftmanship and the budget. As I am the individual making your piece, I can advise you on the long-term care for it as well as keeping you informed during the creation process.

How would a couple start choosing their wedding bands?
For brides, I always look at the engagement ring first. As they are worn together it’s important to have a complimentary style and it may also require a fitted wedding band next to it to look its best. For grooms, this might be the first time you've purchased any kind of jewellery for yourself. It's going to be a ring that you are now wearing every day, so comfort should be a big factor. I think it's nice to have something in common on both rings and that can always be possible when you are having them made just for you.

What do you do to help in the design process?
If you are coming to The Middle Green, it's because you want something original and I am more than happy to give you plenty of options. Personalisation has been a big trend recently and I can sketch up lots of ways to make both rings unique to you. There is also the technical side where I can advise on the most suitable materials and make sure the jewellery is of the highest standard to be worn every day for years to come.

Where do you work?
Since I started The Middle Green in 2016, I have been working from the studio at the bottom of my garden. I have a meeting room in Old Town, Swindon for consultations but also visit customers either at their home or workplace if that is more convenient. I would love a workshop where clients can visit me and see their jewellery being created so that is my next step. I have a few possible location options around Swindon, so I just need to choose which one works best and then after the Christmas orders have all been completed, I'll be packing up to settle somewhere new. It's a very exciting time!

How did you get into the industry and what do you love about it?
I started working at Deacon and Son Ltd in Swindon before I had even finished school. I had a wonderful apprenticeship there before moving to other prestigious jewellers in Cheltenham and Bath, but the dream was always to work for myself. Since I began making jewellery, I haven't ever wanted to do anything else. It's an intriguing blend of science, art, maths, design and manual work and you are constantly learning new techniques. No two days are the same and it’s even more rewarding now. Before Middle Green, pieces of work that I had been making for weeks would leave the shop and you just moved on to the next job. Now I get to see the reaction from my customers and see just how much it means to them.

Does bespoke mean expensive?
I think this is a common misconception. I don't add any premium on to my services just because it is bespoke just as I don't add anything on just because it's a wedding. A piece will be more expensive if it takes longer to create obviously but I think a lot of people would be surprised in a positive way at my prices. Being a smaller more personal company, I don't have the overheads other jewellery shops have so I can pass this on to my customers. You might be paying a similar price (or even slightly less) for a ring from The Middle Green but it could well be twice the weight, you know it was made just for you and you have been part of its creation. Bespoke doesn't mean expensive, it means having an experience rather than a transaction.

Top tips for choosing a wedding ring?

  • You should make sure it is solid enough that it will withstand daily wear and be able to have the size adjusted as the chances are that you may require that over the following decades! So many rings bought from high street stores are thin, hollow and poorly produced that they can't be worked on.
  • Make it yours. My wedding ring has the date my wife and I got married hand engraved on the inside. It's simple but it’s ours, not because I forget when it was!

Next up is Holly from Holly Robinson Jewellery who is always on hand to assist couples searching for a truly unique piece of jewellery, which will last a lifetime.

How do you differ from a high street chain?

Research has shown that the number one complaint received by the large high street chains is that clients don’t feel valued or listened to.

I provide a one on one personalised consultation, teamed with my 8 years jewellery experience & diamond/gemmology qualifications to design your unique piece, select your own diamond or gemstone and finally deliver in good time for your special day – all in the comfort of your own home.

I have personally selected every one of my goldsmiths after working with them for many years. My own jewellery, my clients jewellery and my family's jewellery has passed through their trusted hands as they apply skills that have long been forgotten by others.

The goldsmiths expertise includes CAD Design, wax carving, metal work, hand creation, setting, sizing and polishing working in variety of precious metals and gemstones.

How would a couple start choosing their wedding bands?

First, describe your perfect ring, secondly, discuss wear ability of your perfect ring and finally, investigate the specification you require. For clients that are unable to describe their perfect ring I have a range of 450 designed wedding bands including; diamond set, brushed, bevelled, platinum & gold. These are a great way to find your ideal ring or begin designing your own unique piece.

What do you do to help in the design process?
For ladies wedding rings the first part of their discussion is how she wishes her wedding ring to complement her engagement ring. Some ladies will require their wedding ring to be shaped around their engagement ring which usually requires them to be without their engagement ring for up to 12 weeks whilst a jeweller creates her bespoke wedding ring to fit. With this in mind, I have implemented a new procedure which means your engagement ring no longer needs to leave your finger; using measurements, design specs and CAD design. I am able to work with my jewellers to create your perfectly shaped wedding band without the emotional loss of being without your engagement ring.

As this is a lifetime purchase I am very honest in regards to durability and wear ability. After many years experience selling and creating wedding rings I am able to advise on stone selection, metal choice as well as ensuring your ring remain aesthetically pleasing.

A wedding jewellery consultation can range from 30mins to 4 hours, my patient and thoughtful approach assists in choosing from a selection of my 450 pre-designed rings, matching bands or the bespoke process. Once your consultation is complete, I will send you images of your bespoke design along with CAD drawings for you to approve your final design. Many of my clients also choose to have an additional wax/resin model made of their bespoke ring to try on with their engagement ring before their ring begins final production. This step add reassurance to your purchase and ensures you are confident in the matching element of your bespoke design.

Where do you work?
My appointments have taken me from West Wales to Romford in Essex! I am very flexible in terms of travelling to meet my clients however home is North Swindon. My hand selected goldsmiths are located in 5 studios across the UK including Cornwall, London and Cardiff meanwhile my diamond suppliers are based in New York, London & Antwerp.

Top tips for choosing a wedding ring? The 5 C's to consider...

Take your time, never be rushed by a sales person and chose the ring you can imagine wearing for a lifetime!

Colour

Colourless diamonds are graded from the alphabet letters D to Z. With D being the rarest of the colourless spectrum. Most retailers will supply diamonds in colours F,G.H & I as these remain colourless but are still available in great quantity.

Clarity

There are many clarity variances but it worthwhile to remember that the less inclusions and blemishes a diamond has the rarer it is and therefore the more pricey!

Carat

The carat weight of a diamond refers to the weight of the diamond, this is commonly described incorrectly as how large a diamond is.

Cut

The cut of a diamond is the only factor influenced by man. When shopping for a round brilliant there are three grades of cut to take into consideration; the polish, symmetry and overall cut grade. With all shapes other than a round brilliant only the polish and symmetry are taken into consideration. Cut grades range from Excellent to Poor.

Certificate

Certification is now considered the 5th C of the 4Cs due to the value it adds to your purchase. Purchasing a GIA certified diamond will provide you with much confidence and value. A diamond that has been certified has been assessed by respected and trained gemmologists. The gemmologists will assess the diamond based on many important quality factors including; colour, clarity, carat weight and cut. The certificate is issued in the form of a report and includes the stone’s characteristics that have been measured and evaluated.

Important factor – conflict free Diamonds

All of my suppliers are part of the Kimberley Process – a scheme set up to ensure that all diamonds traded come from conflict-free zones.

So there we have it-loads of insider knowledge and top tips for you to think about when seacrhing for your dream rings. For more information about our brilliant contributors check out their pages- Holly Robinson Jewellery and The Middle Green

Happy planning!

Love Team Whitewed x