Five questions to ask

In Sydney, where Lizunova Fine Jewels is based, there are numerous jewellers, which can seem overwhelming. So how do you know which jeweller to pick?

Buying or commissioning an engagement or wedding ring that symbolises your love and commitment is a big decision. For many people, it’s the biggest sum they will spend on a single piece of jewellery in their lifetime. Ultimately you want to trust the jeweller who is making your ring. It’s a good idea to not only see but also touch and hold the rings they have previously made – jewellery can look amazing in carefully photographed and retouched images, only to disappoint in real life. You might also want to look closely at the quality of the rings: the neatness and symmetry of settings and quality of metal and craftsmanship.

Some of the things to look out for, and questions to ask, are:

  1. Is enough metal used in the ring shank and gem setting to last 30 or more years? Thin bands might be on trend right now but will not wear well over time – metal thins out with wear, especially at the base of the ring shank. Dainty bands that don't have enough metal will bend and warp with wear, and any diamonds or gemstones set into them will likely fall out as settings become compromised when a ring gets bent out of shape.
  2. Are the stone settings appropriate for the gems that have been set into them, considering the wear they will get as an engagement or wedding ring? Softer stones need to be set in protective settings, otherwise if worn daily, they will chip and scratch after a few years.
  3. Where is the jewellery made and by whom? Is it made in a sweatshop or ethically crafted by a local jeweller who is paid well for his or her work?
  4. Are the diamonds certified and conflict free?
  5. Are the gemstones natural or man-made (synthetic/lab grown)?

    It’s always a good idea to look at 2-3 jewellers, ask questions, and hold and closely look at a variety of rings to start getting a better understanding of what quality looks and feels like.

    What about going direct to a manufacturing jeweller?

    If you go direct to a manufacturing jeweller, you’re relying on their taste, the way they’ve always done things and their ability to understand and translate your design ideas to the finished piece. They have a completely different approach and motivation to those of a jewellery designer, and while it may save you some money going direct to a manufacturing jeweller, I would recommend finding a great jewellery designer, whose style and work you love. A good jewellery designer would have an in-depth understanding of many factors involved in creating the perfect ring, not the least of which is how to take the design brief from you in such a way that you end up with the ring you love forever.

    What are the latest engagement and wedding ring trends and is it a good idea to buy on trend?

      Trends come and go. You’re going to have this ring for the next 30 or more years, so I think it’s a good idea to steer away from the fashionable and choose a ring design that’s stylish, well thought-out and inspired by the timeless.

      If I go with a bespoke ring, how do I ensure I like the end result?

        The advantages of having a bespoke ring designed and made especially for you is that, if you pick the right designer, you will have a beautiful ring that’s unique to you and expresses your personality and your love story. To ensure you’re getting exactly what you envisage, you need to be given very clear and precise, to-scale design sketches that show the ring from three angles – top view, and two side views. You also need to see and hold the stone that is going to be set into your ring and see what it looks like on your skin.

        Modern technology allows to create 3D colour drawings of your ring and you can order a real size wax model you can try on – so there are no surprises when you receive your finished ring.

        Is buying online a good way to save money? Are diamond wholesalers and jewellers without a retail shop cheaper?

        Jewellery is such a personal purchase. I believe it’s about connecting with the piece or falling in love with the stone. And if it’s a ring you’re going to wear for a lifetime, you want to absolutely love it – how it looks and feels on you, in real life. You also need to see what the ring and the stones look like in normal light, not perfect studio lighting on images found online. Diamonds are a particularly risky online purchase, as two diamonds that sound the same on paper may look very different when you hold them in your hand. If you are buying from a trusted jeweller online, there is less risk, as they will not want to compromise their integrity and reputation by selling you a sub-par diamond.

        There seems to be a misconception about what a diamond wholesaler is. A real diamond wholesaler doesn't sell to the general public, they deal only with jewellers and jewellery designers. The so-called diamond wholesalers are really just retailers working from an office.

        'Diamond wholesalers' and jewellers without a retail shop pitch themselves as being significantly cheaper – in reality this is not always the case. We’re not comparing big international brands with small local manufacturing jewellers of course, but generally, if they rent large premises in a busy area and employ several staff, chances are, their prices are on par with smaller, leaner, independent jewellery shops, and in some cases higher.

        There are so many wonderful, independent jewellers and jewellery designers out there, I believe there’s a right one out there for everyone. Someone you can trust with creating your most important piece of jewellery – I believe connection is a vital ingredient in a successful relationship between a couple and a jewellery designer. I always feel very responsible for the outcome and deeply honoured to be a part of a couple’s story via the rings we design and make for them.

        We would be happy to talk to you about pros and cons of different gemstones, diamond selection or engagement ring design in person. Drop us a line or call 02 9221 1900 to book a complimentary bespoke design appointment.