I have helped lots of people create their engagement rings over the years. It is such a privilege and one that I will never tire of. It is incredible to think that once I have designed the ring I will be part of its story forever more. I have created pieces for such amazingly open people and have made several friends along the way. For me, as it is such an emotional journey to create a piece of bespoke jewellery, I think it is hard to not be left with some sort of connection.
With this in mind, I thought it would be nice to share one of these journeys with you (with permission from the owner of course)...
Rob contacted me in July 2017, asking to discuss the possibility of having an engagement ring made for his girlfriend, Valerie. We arranged a consultation and chatted over a coffee about what he wanted and what he thought Valerie might like. It was going to be a complete surprise so it was imperative that I got to know as much as possible about the kind of couple Rob and Valerie were, as well as the sort of ring they were looking for.
Rob had decided that he wanted a blue stone, as "...Val has blue eyes." (I love little details like this, it truly makes the design unique to you and every little element that we add tells the story of who you are as a couple. It can be something as simple as adding a birthstone or a favourite colour, it doesn't really matter, what is important is that the meaning behind it is yours.)
I asked about the rest of Valerie's jewellery to try and get a feel for her style. Rob explained that it was all quite unusual, and that she didn't like "...standard designs". I drew out a few (very rough) sketches to show Rob the kind of thing we could make. He liked one of the sketches and so we agreed that I would draw up some options for him to view and source some stones, including a blue sapphire.
After completing the designs, Rob and I met for a second time. We had another chat and talked about Rob's plan to take Valerie away to Paris for their anniversary in September. He had decided that this was going to be the perfect opportunity to 'pop the question'. (It is these conversations that make my job such a privilege. At that moment there were only two people on the planet that knew of Rob's intention of asking Valerie to marry him, and Rob had decided that second person was to be me!)
Rob chose an asymmetric design that was to encorporate a single, central stone, with smaller stones in the shoulders of the ring. As I had promised I had sourced a blue sapphire for Rob to view, as well as a couple of wildcards; a blue diamond and a white diamond. Although Rob had originally wanted a blue sapphire, he changed his mind after seeing the diamonds and so we adjusted the design to add the blue sapphire colour in to the shoulders. It was truly going to be a one of a kind ring!
Rob picked up the completed ring, along with a surprise booklet that I had made, documenting the ring's journey, from the initial consultation, through all of the manufacturing processes, to the finished piece. It was just a little extra for Valerie, to show how much love and thought had gone in to this very special present.
I wished him luck for his surprise trip to Paris and asked that he let me know how it all went.
A few weeks later, I received this (which is why I do what I do)...
Dear Clare and all at Varoshe,
Just a small note to say thanks for all your hard work in making our (Valerie’s) ring.
I came to you with little idea really of what I wanted, just with an idea of budget and of a deadline, and you were able to meet both, which helped alleviate a lot of stress. I can easily imagine the whole situation getting a bit tense, but there really was no danger of that.
As well as being very happy with the final ring (she loves it by the way!), she is also in love with the other small touches. She even loves the box the ring came in! And as for the little book, she basically carries it round with her everywhere and will happily show anyone who shows even the slightest interest.
Most importantly of all, we feel like we have a unique story to tell. I don't know if I told you but we were foreign exchange students together over a decade ago and met up again years later by pure chance. I hate the idea that after all that story, I’d have ended up getting down on one knee with something I’d just picked up from a High Street shop, that had been made in a factory and of which there are a thousand copies.
Our story is one-of-a-kind and now, thanks to you, so is Valerie’s ring.
Thank you so, so much for all your help in making this possible; thank you for always being so prompt to respond when I was worried; and thank you for the beautiful ring. Needless to say she said yes!
We’ll be sure to send you some photos from the big day in June!
Rob (and Valerie)
If you want to create your own unique engagement ring, or start your jewellery story, then you can get in touch here. Not sure if it is for you? I have written a blog post about why you should have something bespoke made, you can read it here.
Our showroom opens in April, so we hope to see you in West Malling soon.