I recently got engaged! I feel incredibly lucky and excited, and I have spent the last few months telling all my fiends my news and showing them my ring. People always ask how we chose the ring and I thought it might be nice to write a little about it.
A few months ago, my boyfriend took me into a few stores down Bond Street; Cartier, Tiffany and DeBeers, they all had beautiful diamond and platinum solitaires and while I thought they were stunning, they just didn’t feel right for me. I saw lots of other jewellery I loved in these shops, but I didn’t love the engagement rings.
Over the next few weeks he took me to some more shops for a little more browsing. Tiffany have a wonderful selection of coloured stones with diamonds. I tried a lot on and while they were a little more playful and fun, they still were not quite right for me.
Just off Bond Street there is a beautiful place called Burlington Arcade, there are so many amazing jewellers in there and many of them sell antique jewellery. I have often walked past and swooned at the jewellery in the windows, as some of the top antique jewellery dealers in the country are based there and they have some incredible pieces; vintage Cartier and Tiffany, Van Cleef and Arpels, as well as antique tiaras, brooches and pendants filled with diamonds, pearls and intricate enamelling. I also went to Bentley & Skinner, which is another amazing store which has an amazing collection of Fabergé and antique jewellery.
At first my boyfriend wasn’t sure about buying me a vintage or antique ring as he wanted it to be new and perfect. I think he was worried it would be someone else’s ring, rather than ours. While I preferred the designs of the antique rings, I wanted it to be a ring we both loved.
Modern diamonds are picked out depending on their clarity, colour and they are cut by machine to give the most scientifically perfect shape to make the diamond sparkle. Older diamonds were selected by eye and cut by hand. Diamonds are one of the hardest materials on earth so each stone was chiselled by hand, one facet at a time and the shape was made to give the best sparkle by eye, rather than machine. For me, there is something really romantic about the older ways of selecting the stones and cutting them, they weren’t inspected under microscopes and graded, they were picked out and painstakingly cut. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be sparkle. Vintage and antique fine jewellery is often a little more playful and there are some incredible designs out there and very rarely will you find two rings exactly the same.
I had seen a style of ring which was three diamonds in a row, the middle diamond being the biggest, on the sides there was beautiful cut out swirl detailing. I thought this design was really pretty and they seemed to suit my hand, so we started to look around for one of these. It was one Sunday when we were at Susannah Lovis in Burlington Arcade that we were looking at these rings. The jeweller commented on the ratios and proportions of the ring compared to the shape of my fingers and hands. Out of interest, I asked him to pick out some rings which he thought would suit my hand. We had been in the shop a few times and I think he understood what I wanted in terms of design, so considering all this, he picked out about five rings for me to see. One of which I loved, it was a victorian cluster ring, with one larger diamond in the middle and eight diamonds around it. Each diamond is hand cut and set in platinum with a 22karat gold band. It was somewhere between a flower shape and a classic diamond ring, I thought it was fabulous yet elegant and the mixed metals meant that it looks good with both my gold and silver jewellery. Our jeweller was professional, helpful and extremely knowledgable, in fact, he was so good, he showed us exactly what I wanted and I didn’t even know it until then. I hadn’t considered this shape before but I loved it and so did my boyfriend. I think he had that ‘this is the one’ moment, as next thing I knew, he was asking me to leave the store.
So there we have it, how we came to find my engagement ring!