We spoke to the experts at Purely Diamonds about the hot trends and top tips when it comes to buying bespoke engagement rings.
Everything you need to know about buying bespoke engagement rings from diamond expert David Allen.
David Allen has worked with diamonds and jewellery for almost a decade. His knowledge and expertise have been seen on TV shows like This Morning and Made in Chelsea, and allowed him to give professional commentary on topics like diamond auctions, celebrity engagements and Royal Weddings.
He’s currently working with London based jewellers, Purely Diamonds where he is helping more couples discover their stunning collection of handcrafted jewellery. We spoke to David about the latest diamond trends and quizzed him on everything he knows about buying bespoke engagement rings.
Firstly, tell us a bit about the history of Purely Diamonds?
The foundations of Purely Diamonds stretch back to 1979 when Creative Director, Stephen Tyler created a diamond jewellery manufacturing company that used to supply jewellery to high street giants like Ernest Jones and Beaverbrooks.
In the early 2000s, when his daughters Emelie and Stephanie joined the company, they created Purely Diamonds as we know it today – selling bespoke jewellery both online and in their Manchester and London showrooms. Over 40 years later, Purely Diamonds is a multi award-winning, family run company making all jewellery in their London workshop.
How flexible is your bespoke engagement ring design service?
The beauty of the business model is that every item is made to order based on the specifications and requirements of the customer. Each piece of jewellery is unique.
When someone has a particular design in mind from outside their jewellery collections, they begin a bespoke journey with a member of the team involving a full collaboration involving technical CAD drawings prior to making their dream piece. It’s why we know so much about buying bespoke engagement rings.
What is the starting price for a bespoke Purely Diamonds design?
Prices for Purely Diamonds pieces range from £50 for a simple yellow gold wedding ring up to over £20,000 for some of their larger engagement rings. The customisation factor of their jewellery means all budgets and price ranges are catered for.
What advice would you give to someone looking to buy a bespoke engagement ring?
My advice for engagement ring purchases is always set yourself a budget first and then work towards that. You can get a beautiful diamond for any budget. Then you select your diamond shape and ring style, and then find a diamond that is a perfect balance of colour and clarity and carat weight (size) for your budget.
What do you find are the biggest difficulties for couples shopping for bespoke engagement rings?
The most difficult thing is men getting the finger size correct for engagement rings. Sizes run from A to Z – with A being the smallest and the average size in the UK is approximately size M.
I’ve been helping people find engagement rings for nearly a decade and heard some disaster stories – from men assuming “S” means “Small” – to measuring rings she wears on her thumb and just guessing the size.
The good news is Purely Diamonds offers a free resize for all orders within 30 days of receiving their finished ring.
Are bespoke engagement rings more popular now?
Whilst bespoke designs are more popular now than 10 years ago, people are still looking to select the exact quality of the diamonds in their jewellery, so that they can see the value they are getting.
Most high street stores don’t educate the customer on quality so many customers don’t actually know what they’re getting, something Purely Diamonds is very proud of.
WATCH: David talks all things diamonds on This Morning
Whick particular details (cuts, bands or settings) are especially popular?
Halo engagement rings with matching diamond wedding rings are still soaring in popularity. It’s a great way to maximise visual appearance without breaking the bank. Also, rose gold is still extremely popular, particularly with men for their wedding rings, it offers a softer and more contemporary look and feel to yellow or white gold.
What new trends are you noticing when couples are choosing their wedding rings?
It was once assumed that men and women get matching wedding rings – but when the bride has an engagement ring to pair her ring to, it can leave men with limited choice.
I see more and more couples getting completely different wedding ring designs, which I’m a firm supporter of.
What are your thoughts on coloured diamonds? Are they too risky or a bold choice?
Fancy colour diamonds are delicious – but they have to be done properly otherwise they can look like costume jewellery. I find complementing them with white diamonds – whether it is in a halo design or with side stones, it really accentuates the colour of the diamond and gives it a much more luxurious feel.
Do you prefer traditional rings or more fashion-forward designs? What’s more popular at the moment?
Personally, I’m much more traditional when it comes to diamond jewellery as those designs tend to be timeless. However, there are some amazing contemporary designers that have really broken the mould of fine jewellery design. One personal favourite of mine is Jessica McCormack who does the most amazing unique diamond shapes and oxidised metals.
What is your favourite style for bespoke engagement rings?
My favourite cut of diamond is an emerald cut, so I have a weak spot for an emerald cut diamond that is flanked by one smaller emerald on either side of it. I also love a pear shape diamond that is set in a halo. It always looks so majestic.
Have you ever advised against a certain style of ring or diamond cut?
Well, yes I have. But only because I felt a someone was making a massive mistake when choosing an engagement ring. He wanted a heart shape diamond with a pink sapphire halo, it just screamed Claire’s Accessories. Whilst there’s nothing wrong with a bit of bling from Claire’s, he had a budget of £10k and told me his girlfriend didn’t really wear jewellery. So this was a bit out there in terms of design. I twisted his arm and he went for a cushion cut diamond with diamond shoulders.
Are engagement rings for men becoming more popular?
I’ve been talking about ‘mengagement rings’ for as long as I can remember. There’s no rule that says men can’t wear diamonds, even if they are a girl’s best friend. After all, women get to have dogs.
How do we go about picking a ‘mangagement ring’?
Designs can be subtle with sparkle as well as the outrageous; you just need to buy a ring that’s right for you. With stylish men like Ryan Reynolds, Johnny Depp and Michael Bublé all sporting some man bling – it’s easy to see why they’re increasing in popularity.
Finally, the big question, how much should we be spending on a bespoke engagement ring?
How long is a piece of string?! There’s no right or wrong answer to that.
It’s what is right and realistic to the individual. My advice is always simple – pick a budget and try and stick to it. You’ll always get a beautiful diamond if you shop sensibly.
Companies like Purely Diamonds allow you to shop smart – selecting a compromise of size and quality so that it doesn’t empty your bank account. Just remember: shop for the intended wearer. Don’t be buying yellow gold if everything she wears is white, gold or silver.
And for the love of Elizabeth Taylor, don’t get a heart shaped diamond with a pink sapphire halo.
For more information and view the wide selection of jewellery, visit PurelyDiamonds.co.uk.
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