On this page we hope to answer some of the questions we are often asked. Those below are the most common questions. You may either
scroll through the list of questions & answers or just click on a question below to jump to the corresponding answer.
How much should I spend on an engagement ring?
Contrary to what the jewellery industry might have you believe, there are no 'traditional' rules about how much you should spend on an engagement ring.
If you think it has to be one or two months'salary - all that is just marketing by De Beers. My advice is to spend no more than you are comfortable with, and to stick to your budget.
Take a look at Chapter 3 of my book. You can download it here
How much does it cost to have a bespoke ring made?
One answer is 'How long is a piece of string'. Rather more helpfully - it's up to you. We will design and make within your budget. We have created Bespoke rings for £800 and for £25,000 plus. Typically, the average ring costs between about £2,500 and £4,500 and remodelling your old stones starts at about £950. There is more information ¬ here
How does the process of commissioning a Bespoke Ring work?
We start with a free initial consultation to get an idea of how we can help, this is usually a 20 minute phone call followed up with a 40 minute meeting either in person, or online, if we are not able to meet up. Then we start thinking about the design and your budget. For more information do call me on one of the telephone numbers above, see here
What do I need to know when I am buying an engagement ring?
There is a lot more to buying an engagement ring than you might think, and a lot of misleading 'information' online. Practical things include style, ring size, the 'right' metal, what is a 'good' diamond or gemstone ... and there is much more. Get your comprehensive guide to everything you need to know here
What is White Gold?
To call gold 'White Gold' is something of a misnomer. Gold is yellow, not white. Therefore to make it white, it is mixed with a white alloy, such as Palladium and then it is plated with Rhodium. For more information on all colours of gold and other precious metals see
Which is better - 9ct white gold or 18ct white gold?
The short answer is - 9ct white gold.
Because of the way it is made, all white golds look identical whether it is 9ct, 14ct or 18ct. What you are seeing is the rhodium plating, so, it all looks the same. However, 9ct is whiter, harder, better for setting diamonds, stronger and less expensive than 18ct, leaving you more money to spend on the rest of the ring.
For a more detailed explanation, check out this video
What is Palladium?
Palladium is a white metal very like Platinum but half as dense, therefore lighter. It has many of the same properties as Platinum and, along with Rhodium, it is a 'Platinum Group' metal. It is also less expensive per gram than platinum making it a good choice if you want a white metal which won't turn colour. It is very popular for men's wedding rings. For more information, see this article
How long does it take to make a Bespoke Ring?
Once we have agreed the design with you, your ring will be ready within 4-6 working weeks, sometimes sooner, depending on the complexity of the design. But I do recommend that you allow as much time as possible in case it takes time to get it exactly right. I keep you updated on progress, so you know what stage in making we have reached. Occasionally, particularly when working with platinum, quality control may decree that the ring has to be remade, but usually this will only delay things by a few days. If you would like to know more about the process of making a Bespoke Ring you may find this useful
Can I see what my ring will look like before you make it?
There are a couple of ways to do this. The CAD software we use to design your rings produces excellent photo-realistic renders from all angles to show you what your ring will look like when it is made. We provide these to you to view online so you don't have to rely on impressionistic hand sketches. As well as this, you can ask us to make you a wax version of your ring so you can see it in 3-dimensions. You will need to allow more time for the wax to be produced and there is a small charge for the resin wax model.
What guarantees do I have when buying from you?
Julie has been designing and creating fine jewellery since 1998, so has a lot of experience and an excellent reputation with our customers. All our jewellery is guaranteed from any fault in construction or materials.
We also offer a free 'checkup' after 12 months to make sure all the settings are still quite firm - this is helpful especially for gold, claw-set rings - and will run a checkup when requested thereafter to make sure.
If you would like to see what our customers have to say about us, take a look at our Customer Reviews, here.
I want to surprise her, but what happens if she hates it?
First of all - that is very unlikely. We spend a lot of time and effort with you to examine her style and identify what she will love. In the worst case where it turns out that she doesn't love her ring, we will remake it for you both using the same gemstones or diamonds. There will be a making fee, but you will only pay for any additional materials if we need them.
Does my engagement ring have to be diamond?
The short answer is 'No'. Your engagement ring should be whatever you want it to be. The fashion for diamonds is just that and it is perpetuated by very clever marketing designed to maintain the diamond market. Coloured gemstones are becoming increasingly popular and offer much greater scope for individuality and a unique personal design for your ring. Find out more about gemstones here.
Can I use a diamond from the ring my Grandmother left me?
We certainly can incorporate clients stones in their rings, as long as they are big enough and in good condition for re-setting. We have converted many heirloom pieces into wearable modern jewellery. Generally, stones should be at least 0.25ct to make it worthwhile to reset them and we will need to see them to asses the condition before we start the design process.
Will you set a stone I supply to you?
We certainly will and we will design your ring around your own stone, providing that it is large enough and in good condition for resetting.
Can I choose my own diamond or gemstone?
Absolutely, that is part of our process. Julie will always identify at least 2-4 suitable stones for you to choose between. We use a number of different gemstone and diamond suppliers and we can source stones for you to see if you want to.
Are your diamonds ethically sourced?
Yes - emphatically! We are very concerned to make sure that all our gems are as ethically soured as we can and we vet our gem suppliers accordingly. We are also certified members of the Responsible Jewellery Council and supporters of the charity Diamond Development International - DDI.
See our ethical policy here
Is all your jewellery hallmarked in the UK?
Yes. All our Gold, Platinum, Palladium and Silver is hallmarked in accordance with UK and European Law. All our hallmarking is done either by the London or Sheffield Assay Offices in the UK, and our precious metals are tested by these Assay offices for purity and compliance with all UK and EU regulations. More information on hallmarking can be found here.
What can I get for my budget?
That depends on your priorities. The way we work is first to find out what is most important to you in your ring, we build these parameters into your design and then we source the stones which will enable us to make your ring within your budget. You are in control and it is up to you how much you spend. You will always be able to make an informed choice to get the best fit you can between your budget and your perfect ring.
How do I look after my jewellery?
For information about the care of precious metals, pearls, and gemstones see our Care Guide.
Can I change the design?
As many times as needed before you commission your ring. We work with you to achieve the design you want and we can adjust the design with you in real time. Normally, after your initial consultation and if we both decide to proceed, Julie will create a selection of designs for you to choose from and arrange a second appointment to refine your final choice with you.
Do you charge for your design?
The cost of our design service is included in the total for all our clients who go on to commission their rings with us.
Do you just sell the design?
You can commission just a design. The cost for this service starts at £450 and will depend on the time spent on the design work. For this, you will get a full set of rendered images together with sketches and dimensions. If you then decide to proceed to having your ring made by us, this design-only fee will be deducted from the final cost. If you choose to have it made elsewhere, we will provide a these to your chosen maker (copyright reserved).
Can I use my old gold?
Sometimes we are able to offer that service. However it is worth knowing that this can add considerably to the time it takes to make a ring and will saves little or nothing on the cost (and may cost more). All old gold has to be refined and made into the correct carat. Casting requires extra gold for 'sprues', so your piece may not be made entirely from your gold. But we can offset the scrap value of all precious metals against the cost of your new jewellery.
When and how do you take payment?
We take a 50% deposit when you commission your ring and sign the agreement. The balance is payable on collection or within 14 days of completing your ring, whichever is sooner. We accept payment by bank transfer (details on request) as well as most credit and debit cards (except Diners and Amex).
What happens if I can't collect my ring?
If we need to get your ring to you other than in person, we will end it either by Royal Mail Special delivery or by secure courier. There may be a charge for the latter. Both of these methods are secure and insured up to a value of £5,000. If your ring is worth more than this we can take out special insurance for you to cover shipping it to you.
How will I know how my ring is progressing?
We will send you regular updates at different stages of production, and let you know as soon as we do when we delivery is expected.
Do you give refunds?
We do not offer refunds on bespoke jewellery. However, we will remake your jewellery to a new design using your original materials. There may be a charge for this work.
What sort of packaging do I get?
We have sourced very high quality hand made leather jewel boxes from a small Fair Trade company based in Central London which works with skilled artisans in Balgladesh. Several tens of families are now supported by their work and this enables the workers not only to feed their families, but to help educate their children. We hope the knock on effect of this will be progress in the next generation. There is no government funded education, health care or unemployment benefit in Bangladesh, so it is important to support these efforts
What if it doesn't look like it did in the design?
It will, or we will remake it at no further cost to you. Photographic renders and waxes are still approximations, albeit good ones of the finished piece, so some slight variation must be expected, but this will not be such as to make a difference to the overall aesthetic of the design.
What if we get the size wrong?
Then it can be resized. See here for more on sizing
What aftercare do you provide?
We offer and initial free checkup and professional clean, after 12 months and the same every 2 years. See the FAQ on guarantees for more information
Do you do valuations for insurance purposes?
Only on jewellery we have made. When you collect it, we provide an insurance valuation based on the replacement cost of your ring or other piece of jewellery. This will represent our best estimate of the cost of replacing the item with a bespoke version of the same thing (or as close as possible in the case of specialist gemstones). We are not certified valuers and appraisers and will base the value of any stones supplied by you on the information available to us at the time.
How often do we need to update the insurance value?
I would suggest every 3-4 years. We offer a free insurance revaluation after 3 years on the same basis as the initial valuation given with your new jewellery.
When do I buy her an eternity ring?
Well, this really depends. In the past it used to be on a significant anniversary, such as 10 years or sometimes on the birth of the first child. Modern mores have changed all that, people do tend to get their eternity rings rather sooner, sometimes on the first anniversary, and often children are around before marriage. So it is really up to you now!