I am so excited to share this post with you. I had the privilege of speaking with Julie Hazell, founder of Jewels to bring you guidance on one of the most important details of your engagement and wedding – the rings!
Julie is a GIA Diamonds Graduate and jewellery designer, and has been in the industry for 12 years. She has factories in both Dubai and the UK, and spends her time traveling between both places. We asked her a few questions to which she has given her expert answers to help you purchase the perfect engagement and wedding rings.
1. Would you recommend custom designed rings over buying them from a store? Why?
“Absolutely!!! Wedding and engagement rings are probably one of the most important and expensive jewellery purchases of your life. They hold value and significance way beyond the monetary value of the ring itself. They will be worn every day, and eventually handed down to future generations of your family, so having input in the design of your rings provides a lasting experience and a story which will be remembered forever.”
Julie noted that so much time, effort, thought, and resources goes into customizing your wedding day. If all that goes into the customization of one day, how much more important are the details in the symbol that you will wear for the rest of your lives?
2. What do you suggest couples keep in mind when designing/buying their rings?
Julie mentioned that she could write a book on the answer to this question; from budget, lifestyle, and colour of the metal, to comfort, matching the rings, and engraving – so we have narrowed it down to 3 things:
Budget: “This is the first thing to keep in mind at the design stage. Be realistic about what you can afford and be honest with your designer before you get started. There are so many variables which can impact cost, so knowing the budget in advance helps your designer offer suitable options based on your taste and your budget.
Once you and your jeweller are on the same page with cost, your experience will be far more comfortable and enjoyable as you are carefully guided through your options without that little voice inside you screaming, “It’s gorgeous but I will never be able to afford it!” Instead you
might be saying, “It’s gorgeous, and I can’t believe it is within my budget!”
Comfort & Lifestyle: “Couples should also consider how they feel about rings in general. Do they already wear rings on a regular basis? Men especially can find rings uncomfortable if they are not used to wearing them, in which case they might want to opt for a narrow ring or a “comfort fit” (this means the band is curved on the inside making it more comfortable to wear.)
The shape, width, and fit of your wedding band can greatly impact comfort so the best way to find out what works for you is to try a few on. At Jewels we have samples in stock for our clients to try in order for them to get a better idea of what feels comfortable. Some people never take their wedding rings off so it is important that your ring not only looks the part, but that it feels as comfortable as a pair of slippers!”
Julie also mentioned that couples should consider how active they are. There are a few design elements that can be incorporated to protect your ring if you enjoy playing sports and do not wish to keep your ring in a jewellery box when you do so. For example, “Low set rings will not get knocked or caught so easily which makes them more user friendly for the active couple.”
Colour of the metal: This point was a big deal for me when I got married. I made sure my husband knew what colours I prefer wearing because my skin tone doesn’t allow for too many options. Julie shared what to keep in mind when choosing the colour of your ring:
“A good place to start when deciding on the colour of your metal is to take a look at any existing jewellery you might have. What colour is your jewellery at the moment? Is it white or perhaps yellow? Rose gold has become popular in recent times, or perhaps you have a mixture of both?Also consider the colour of your watch and how your rings will look with it if they will be on the same hand. When deciding metal colour you should also consider your skin tone; white metals tend to look better on olive skins, whereas yellow metals can look attractive on paler skins. The choice of metal colour can also be influenced by the gems which you choose for your ring.”
3. What is your advice for a couple who don’t know where to start when choosing a ring?
The Internet is a great place to start when you need inspiration for anything! You can also have a look at some of the jewellery you are already wearing. It is possible to choose elements from different pieces of jewellery that you like and incorporate them into one design. Julie shared her expertise when it comes to talking to a designer about the idea you have in mind for your engagement and wedding rings:
“Choose a reputable jeweller/designer who will take the time to get to know you and your lifestyle. They should listen to your ideas and from there make suggestions as to what will work/not work, and also thoroughly explain all elements of the precious stones and metals which will be used. Do not be shy to ask questions.
Be sure to ask if your stones will be laboratory certified and, if so, by which laboratory. Ask to see the certificate and understand if it is the whole ring which will be certified or just the centre stone. Ask your designer to explain the details of the certificate to you.”
Did you know that it is possible to produce a 3D computerized drawing/video of your ring design before production? At this stage, changes can be made quite easily if you feel it is still not quite right. Your designer can also produce a wax model which you can try on before your ring is cast in your chosen metal.
BONUS QUESTION FOR OUR GROOMS!
4. What is your advice for a man who wants to surprise his partner with an engagement ring?
“Firstly speak to her friends! Your bride will definitely have discussed this topic with her closest friends, and probably her mum. These people will be a great source of information in terms of size, shape, and quality of diamond/stone. They will probably also know which metal she would
prefer, and may also happen to have the design just lying around in their photo stream!”
If you end up with a ring that is not the right size, it is not the end of the world as it can usually be easily adjusted. When my husband proposed to me, the ring stopped halfway down my finger – obviously not an ideal situation, but it made for very good laughs – we got it back in three days and it fit perfectly! If you want to ensure that you avoid this entirely there are ring sizers available online with which you can check her ring size by using a ring she already has, or an experienced jeweller can make an educated guess with a little background information on your bride-to-be’s dress size, build, and photographs.
Julie added, “I think it can be daunting for a man to approach a jeweller to purchase an engagement ring – he knows he is going to spend a lot of money on something he doesn’t understand and he doesn’t have the first idea of what to ask (it would be so much easier if it was a car!) If you have been able to get some information from friends and family then do some
internet research around what you have been told in order for you to have a few questions up your sleeve when you speak to the jeweller/designer.
Also have a budget in mind and share this with them at the start. An ethical jeweller will have a duty of care to be completely transparent in the advice they give you.
Lastly, if you do go ahead and present a surprise engagement ring which she really doesn’t like, most jewellery designers will take back the value of the gold and remake a new design which should then only cost you labour again and any difference plus/minus in metal weight.”
I know my husband would have loved a reference like this when choosing our rings, so a big thank you to Julie for her insight and advice! You can go to Jewels website to find out more about Julie and the work she does. Jewels is also on Instagram!
I must start off by saying that I do not like that COVID-19 is now featuring on our blog, but I have been inspired to address some of the issues that have come up because of it.
Community is important to me, and it has been affected in that we can no longer meet up as freely as we used to. There are many ways this pandemic has affected individuals in our communities, and so here are ways to support the community as only a photographer can:
LinkedIn and CV Portraits
Set up a home studio and invite those who need to update their corporate head shots to make an appointment with you. This is a great way to support those who are currently looking for a job, or just looking to update their online profiles.
Keep hand sanitizer at your front door, and wear a face mask while you shoot. For added safety, do not schedule more than one person at a time to keep the number of people in your home low.
Social Media Content Creation
Support a local business by making a purchase and creating images for their social media. With the majority of the people staying home, most companies are focusing on their digital strategies. Use the content for your portfolio, as well as giving that business a shout out on your social media for your followers to support.
Partner up with other creatives
If there are any graphic designers, web developers, or other creatives in your area that you know, now is a great time to offer your services. You can do this by taking photographs for them to use in their work, or by sourcing images through different stock image sites, and resizing them as needed.
Doing this saves the designer time, and is valuable support on projects that do not have high budgets for images.
If there are any other ways you think photographers can support their communities right now, let us know!