Fine jewellery isn’t just about buying the biggest diamond you can afford. It’s also about quality and craftsmanship, but more importantly, jewellery should express your personality and/or hold special significance. The right jeweller can help you achieve all that, and believe it or not, you don’t need to sell a kidney first.

2.70 ct peach spinel ring with emerald-cut side diamonds

The low-down on retail jewellery

The rings you see in any retail stores display case are never going to give you the best bang for your buck. Jewellery stores buy diamonds and ring settings in bulk, based on what they think will sell easily. For diamonds, this usually isn’t so much of an issue because of the standardised grading systems. It’s also not hard to find good quality diamonds in retail stores (price is a separate matter though). However, coloured gems are always trickier to source as the supply chains are less fluid.

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Customised or bespoke?

The two terms are often used interchangeably. Some jewellery stores are jumping on the customisation bandwagon, but this usually refers to picking from the options they already have available. For example, you could specify a white gold ring with pave diamond design, and a 0.5 ct diamond of your choosing as the main stone.

A true bespoke jeweller, on the other hand, would make the ring from scratch based on your specifications. This process often involves several stages – a sketch and/or 3D rendering to finalise the design, sometimes a wax mould, then the actual manufacturing and assembly of different parts to form the final product.

bespoke engagement ring with tourmaline
An elaborate bespoke engagement ring featuring a 1.89 ct tourmaline, white and green diamonds, and gold filigree done by hand

Because each piece is made to order, you can specify every little detail and come up with any design you desire. For example, you could have a design inspired by your partner’s favourite animal. Another great romantic idea is to have significant dates (partner’s birthday, your wedding date, proposal date, etc) represented in roman numerals in the metal, or in the number of jewels and embellishments that make up the ring design. Years from now, you and your partner will still fondly remember the process of bringing the ring to life, knowing that it is something truly one-of-a-kind that can never be purchased from a store.

Gemstone choices

While diamonds are still used as the main stone for the majority of engagement rings, coloured gemstones have become much more popular in recent decades.

Aside from picking your partner’s favourite colour, one simple way to choose a significant gemstone is to go by birthstones. These are stones which traditionally are associated with specific months of the year.

January: Garnet
February: Amethyst
March: Aquamarine
April: Diamond
May: Emerald
June: Alexandrite, Moonstone, Pearl
July: Ruby
August: Spinel, Peridot
September: Sapphire
October: Opal, Tourmaline
November: Topaz
December: Tanzanite

Whatever your favourite colour is, you’ll find a gemstone that you’ll love. These are spinels in a range of colours.

Since there’s no international standard for grading coloured gemstones, it can be very subjective and prices may vary wildly. It’s important to work with someone who can source gemstones from reliable sources, preferably with as few middlemen as possible to minimise the final price.

Exclusive deal for Knotz users

Gem Crafters was founded to help make fine gemstones and jewellery more accessible. They only work with suppliers who provide gemstones of the highest quality, ethically sourced from legal mines, and exported through the proper channels. These are then passed to experienced craftsmen who hand-finish every piece of jewellery.

Ready to start creating a truly unique piece of bespoke jewellery? Email us to arrange for an appointment.

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