My Engagement Ring

A couple of weeks ago I probably had one of the most stressful/exciting dog walks of my life! Half way through the walk I asked Rosie to marry me... Luckily she said YES!

As you can imagine the engagement ring was very important to me. It had to be a great design, made with perfect execution. I knew Rosie wanted something different... Alongside this, I wanted to create a ring with a timeless look that Rosie would love forever. I also wanted to include was some pavé just because... I LOVE IT!

I came up with a swirl design that lifted up the centre stone, with subtle flowing lines either side. I've seen rings of a similar look before but the overall shape often has an oval appearance, due to the size and angle of the side diamonds going around the centre stone. I wanted to keep the overall look as round as possible so I angled the side diamonds out on a slant. After several CAD designs I was happy  and 3D printed a few mock-ups of the ring to check the dimensions and look in real life.

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Once I had thoroughly checked the design, I was ready to cast the ring. I chose platinum as the metal as I wanted the ring to be really hard wearing.

Below are a few design and making shots:

As you can see there were several making steps - from the CAD design to the prototype, then onto the metal making stages. I constantly checked the design against the stone to check it was held perfectly.

The claws for the centre diamond were added last so they would not be in the setter's way when creating the pavé.  The setter created the pavé sections by hand as this would enable him to get the spacing just right and ensure a good polish underneath each stone, helping the diamonds look their best and reflect the light fully. This is the key advantage of hand setting over the more common cast in place (something I never do!).

I'm pleased to say Rosie loves the ring and is looking after it impeccably! Below are a few photos of the finished piece. 

Engagement - Proposal Design Package

As I outlined in an earlier blog, it's sometimes hard to know exactly what kind of engagement ring your partner is hoping for. Although there are ways of sneakily finding out what your other half might like, it may feel all a little scary to create a bespoke ring without her having any input as to design.

To get around this problem, I've released an engagement ring proposal package for just £60. I'll create two bespoke designs for you in a presentation book, along with having talked you through diamond choices, metal and given you an idea of how much each of your designs might cost. As part of the pack I will also create one of your designs in solid silver so you have a ring to propose with. 

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This means you can pop the question with reassurance that your fiancé can have the ring she has always dreamed of, and she can be involved in the final design. After all she will be the one wearing her ring every day! 

If you would like to see a sample proposal book, please drop me an email at hi@jamesveale.com  

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Engagement Guide


Getting married is one of the biggest moments in your life and the ring will last a lifetime, so it's important to get it right! 

You have a few options of how to go about designing your ring...

1) Go it alone and grantee a complete surprise. Having worked on many engagement rings, I have an understanding of what works really well. I'm always happy to share my knowledge with you and guide you through the process.

2) Ask her/your friend(s) for help in the style and look of the ring. Both asking her friends and your friends for advice is a great option but choose who you ask carefully, you don't want them to let the 'cat out of the bag'. Also think about who she goes shopping with and who knows her style well. I've previously worked with clients and friends during consultations.

4) Propose first, buy the ring second. If you're really unsure it maybe best to pop the question first, then we can all work on the ring together to create the perfect ring for your fiancé.

If you have a design in mind, for a small extra cost I can make it in silver so that you can pop the question with a ring and then we can check the design with your fiancé before I create the final version.

Another option is to create a few different designs which I can print and place in a presentation pack, so you can discuss your ideas with you fiancé over your engagement. 

 

Spending within your budget


As a bespoke jeweller I create rings that cater for all budgets and I'm happy to work to yours too! I am often asked, 'how much should I spend?' and the answer depends on how much you can spend and what you are looking for!

 If are thinking of very complex design with lots of diamonds it's going to have more work than a single stone diamond ring. This is worth bearing in mind when looking at designs.

My prices start at £1,500 for a platinum and diamond ring and go up from there. 

 

How to choose a diamond?


If you are one of the 75% of men who go for the classic diamond engagement ring then you might have heard about 'the 4C's' - but what does this mean?

Diamonds are graded using the 4C's (Colour, Cut, Clarity and Carat). All of these will effect the 'beauty' of the diamond and its price. Please follow the link below to my diamond guide. 

My diamonds come with a GIA certificate, unless otherwise agreed. I would recommend being a little careful with which gemological body has supplied the certificate. As with driving licences, the standard vary between different countries in the world. This is also the case when it comes to diamond grading standards. GIA is renowned for being the most consistent and the most stringent in their grading which is why they have the reputation for being 'the best'.

Just remember diamond grading is subjective and "you're buying a diamond not the piece of paper it comes with."

I am a certified Gem-A diamond grader so I am very happy to advise you on stone quality and properties. I check all my diamonds before purchase. 

 

What Precious Metal to go for?


The main consideration is colour - does she like white (platinum, palladium or white gold), yellow (gold) or rose (gold). More information about metals can be found on the link below.

There are lots of different styles of ring and you may have one of these in mind. If you need some inspiration why not check out my blog post on engagement ring styles? 

If you would like anymore information about choosing the perfect engagement ring, please get in touch.

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Proposal Ideas in Cambridge and Hertfordshire

Having grown up in the Cambridgeshire / Hertfordshire boarder I thought I would explore some great options for popping the BIG question. 

 

Spring Proposals


One way to propose would be on a fresh spring walk when the daffodils and bluebells are coming into blossom.

There are plenty of beautiful walks around the Hitchin area where you can walk through gorgeous woods. Two of my favourites are Hitch Woods or Preston Woods. They are brilliant places to enjoy the beauty of nature and great for finding that special spot.
http://www.hnhs.org/place/hitch-wood-near-hitchin-bluebells

 

Summer Proposals


I think there is only really one choice for a summer engagement - punting down the Camb. It's a great way to have a laugh, enjoy a picnic (with some champagne) and find a wonderful secluded spot to pop the question, before returning up the river to see the sights of Cambridge.
 http://www.visitcambridge.org

If you are looking for something slightly different. I would recommend taking a look at the Hitchin Lavender Farm. It's in full bloom from early summer and with the aroma along with stunning views, she can't not say 'YES!'.
http://www.hitchinlavender.co.uk/

 

Autumn Proposals


Ely is a great place to consider for a Autumn engagement. It's a beautiful little city with history in abundance. It also has a couple of treasures to warm the blood after a cold Autumn's day. 

One of my favourite places is Peacocks Tea Rooms down by the river Ouse. It's a wonderful quintessentially british Tea Rooms serving 30+ types of tea and lots of other homemade bits. Just a warning, it does get busy so it's worth avoiding the lunchtime rush!
http://www.peacockstearoom.co.uk

 

Winter Proposals


I think it's got to be heading back to Cambridge for this one! A wonder through the city enjoying the Christmas buzz, before finding a great restaurant or a quite spot within a college garden.

Alternatively if you're prepared to head a little further a-field head to the North Norfolk coast (Blakeney, Holt area) you can enjoy the wonderful rugged natured of the winter coast. Personally it's my favourite time of year to be up there. Loads of great walks and pubs - what's not to love! 
http://www.visitnorthnorfolk.com

Engagement Ring Styles

Solitaire Engagement Ring


The solitaire is the most common style of engagement ring. Traditionally this is a single stone engagement ring but there are many variations on this theme.  I personally like to add a little extra sparkle going down the sides of the ring. This helps to add interest to the whole design. Below is a classic engagement ring with a few diamonds running down the sides of the ring. 

 

Halo Engagement Ring


This design has one centre diamond surrounded on the ouside edge by smaller diamonds creating a 'halo'. This style of ring is becoming more and more popular, with many celebrities opting for it.

It's a great option showing an intricate but still simplistic way of working.  I personally find that the halo design helps draw the eye to the centre of the main diamond.  Below are a few examples of halo engagement rings with different shaped centre diamonds.

 

Trilogy Engagement Ring


This is where three diamonds are all set in a row often using a larger centre diamond with two slightly smaller diamonds on either side. This style of ring is also commonly created using a gemstone as the centre stone. This is shown below with these sapphire and diamond trilogy engagement rings.

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Above are the three most common styles of engagement ring but due to every piece of my jewellery being unique there is nothing stopping you breaking the mould with your design.

Why not get in touch for your free design and consultation?

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Four of a Kind.

I was recently asked to make a sophisticated, half eternity ring. I was briefed that I should used 4 diamonds all of the same size. As you know by know... I went away and came up with some designs for my customer to consider. 

Above was the final design and below is the product photo of the final ring. 

The accuracy of my designs enables my clients to get a really clear understanding of how the final piece will look.

 The simple clean lines of this ring really work well, creating a ring that is perfect for every situation. I hope you like this piece as much as I do!

Diamonds are Forever

I wanted to share how I created a bespoke halo engagement ring from a client's family heirloom single diamond ring (the original ring is shown below). 

First of all I removed the diamond from its original mount. This enabled me to take accurate measurements of the diamond and give it a good clean ready for its new home.

I then created the design for the client to view by using the latest 3D CAD software. 

When I was happy with the initial design I sent it over to the client for approval. One of the computer generated realistic renders of the ring is shown below. This gave the client a really clear idea of what the final ring would look like.

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When the client was completely happy with the design, I began to create this very special engagement ring.

Firstly, each competent of the ring was individually cast into platinum. Once cast, each part was hand finished using a selection of saws, files and different grades of sandpaper to get the ring to an almost finished state. Each part could then be high polished before assembling the ring.

The components were then laser welded together, giving a seamless finish at the joints, before having all the diamonds set into place. The ring was then given one last polish before being handed to the client.

My work was now done so it was over to the client to pop the question... 

Below is the completed engagement ring.

I'm very glad to say she said 'Yes'! 

 

Eternity Rings

"For those who love, time is eternal"

Eternity rings are a sign of eternal love and are traditionally given to mark an important milestone in a couples life, such as an important wedding anniversary or the birth of the couples first child.

When looking into an eternity ring, what is there to consider?

1) Which finger do you intend to wear the eternity ring on?

Traditionally an eternity ring is warn on the same finger as your engagement and wedding ring but this is not to say that you can't wear it on another finger.

2) Do you want the eternity ring to match another ring?

If so, James will happily design an eternity ring to match another ring. This will be made into a prototype by James first, so you can check that your rings sit well together.

3) Do you want gem stones all the way round the ring or half way?

Rings with gem stones all the way round are known as 'full eternity rings'; rings with gem stones half way round are know as 'half eternity rings'.

4) Can an eternity ring be resized?

Half eternity rings can be resized in the traditional manner where as full eternity rings are a little more tricky to resize. A full eternity ring can only be re-sized by taking out metal from the inside of the band or adding to the inside of the band (by doing this you can only adjust the size by a small amount). James will help you make sure you get the size right! 

5)  How long does it take to make a bespoke eternity ring?

When the design has been agreed and the deposit paid, creating an eternity ring typically takes 4 weeks.  

6) What precious stones are your favourites? 

The most common gem stones for eternity rings are diamonds although there is nothing to stop you choosing other gem stones to  sit alongside the diamonds or by themselves.

In addition, there are many different types of setting which can be used in an Eternity ring. James will go through these with you to make sure you get the setting which best suits you and your lifestyle. 

If you need any more help regarding eternity rings please feel free to contact James on:

Email: hi@jamesveale.com
Telephone: 07929 117708

 

Elegance and simplicity

I was recently asked to create an elegant and simplistic diamond ring.

The client asked for a single stone but with diamonds down either side of the ring to represent the 4 years that the couple have been together. His original idea was to have two diamonds on either side but we decided upon four diamonds on each side to give a more balanced look to the ring.

Below is one of our first designs:

On this image he noticed a shadow line on the render which gave him a new idea... He thought it would be nice to add a groove into the ring, after the four diamonds, to represent the years moving forwards together.  I adjusted the design to incorporate this and he was happy to approve the ring . 

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I was really happy with the outcome and I thought that we added a really unique feel to a very classic design. Below are a couple images of the finished ring.

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This is what the client wrote in his testimonial...

"James designed an incredible engagement ring which my fiancé loves. I'm so pleased with the finished ring and the design is very bespoke and personal to us. My ideas were brought to life through consultation with James, making it a true one-off! Couldn't be better. Now we are planning our wedding bands with James."

#safetypin

After all the pandemonium over Brexit there have been some awful repercussions... As many of you will be aware, the number of hate crimes reported to police has shot up my a shocking 57% in the wake of Brexit. 

James Veale Bespoke is in solidarity with the #safteypin campaign. I've designed my own sterling silver safety pin for anyone wishing to buy a lasting symbol of unity.

Please get in touch at hi@jamesveale.com if you would like one!  

Natasha's wedding band

Natasha and Pete approached me with their wedding looming... They thought it would be really great if Natasha's wedding ring matched the detail of the diamonds across the bridge of her engagement ring (ring shown below).

We discussed setting the diamonds into the side of the ring to mirror how they appear on Natasha's engagement ring but decided it would be better to give the wedding band a little more sparkle.

To add sparkle, we put the diamonds on the upper, outside edge. The diamonds were set in the same way as they are set in the engagement ring and the band matched the thickness of the engagement ring band so they looked like a pair.  The final design is shown below.

Once the final design was agreed on, it was my job to create the ring and make it perfect, all in time for the big day.  Below is an image of the ring during it's making stage.

 

And here is the ring, alongside Pete's wedding band, before I passed them over to the very happy 'bride and groom to be'. I hope Natasha enjoys wearing this very special ring.

 

 

Emily's Sapphire Engagement ring.

A few months ago a friend approached me asking for the perfect engagment ring for his childhood sweetheart.

He wanted to surprise her during their travels around South America and as I've been on holiday with them before, he thought it would be extra special that the ring was made by me.

He was keen for the ring to use colour in both the metal and the stones. We started the design process by looking at using a gold setting for the centre stone and platinum for the shank (the part of the ring that goes round the finger).  

After this intial brief I drew a few designs for him, working with different centre stones. A selection are shown below:

 

He really liked the soft lines of the centre oval with the two round diamonds either side. His favourite was a sapphire in the middle. This represents how their relationship has grown through their shared love for the ocean. 

As with all my designs, I wanted to incorporate as many elements as possible to make the ring completely unique to them. We decided to play around with side holes... We looked into incorporating an accorn into the side of the piece but this sadly looked to fussy.  He mentioned to me that they've been together 10 years so we decided to have five side holes on each side of the ring. This geometric pattern suited the simplicity of the ring and the side holes also allow more light into the back of the stones, increasing their brilliance.

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Above is the final CAD design and below are two images the completed ring. I'm pleased to say that his now fiancé loved it! 

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Flower Inspired Engagement Ring

Over the last couple of weeks I've been working closely with a couple, designing a flower inspired engagement ring which needed to fit with the fiancé's active lifestyle.

We discussed the idea and I came up with a design using pear shaped diamonds for the 'petals' that surround a centre round brilliant diamond.  

Below (left) is the first render that we worked with. We altered this initial render to create a design that the couple was really happy with (below right).

I felt that using a cluster of six diamonds (as the 'petals') gave the ring a vintage feel whilst still being very contemporary in its look. The couple loved the detail and the way the pear diamonds worked with the centre stone.

However, there were some concerns that the petals of the flower would be 'too big' for the fiancé's active lifestyle, yet the design uses the smallest pear shaped diamonds available. Below is an alternative ring design that I drew which uses round diamonds as the flower petals, as an option for reducing the size of the flower. 

 

Never-the-less, the couple still asked me to make a prototype of the first ring (using the pear shaped diamonds) so that the fiancé could see how it would look and feel.

Using my state of the art prototyping technology, I created a resin version of the ring. This was perfectly to scale (in the fiancé's size) so that she could try it on and check the design for shape and size.

I'm pleased to say that she loved it and has asked me to proceed in making the design in platinum, with the pear shaped diamonds. A truly unique and special design. 

 

Signiture Rings Part II

It's been a week since my last post about my new signature rings collection. It's now time for an update...

All three rings have been created using a combination on the latest 3D printing technology and the age old technique of investment casting.

This process involves pouring a plaster over 3D printed rings (below image), then placing these into a furnace to melt out the wax and 3D print resin. A hollow is then left behind which the caster pours molten metal (platinum, gold or silver) into. This is allowed to cool before the plaster is broken away from the now metal pieces.

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This is no where near finished... They have big ugly feeds that are cleaned off using jeweller saw files and sand paper, before carefully working on each surface to remove any imperfections.

The pictures below are the rings on my bench being cleaned up and polished before going to my setter for the diamonds to be mounted. 

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I'm aiming to have the rings finished for my next show at the Sheene Mill on the 24th April. Why not come along and see them? It would be great to meet you!

Signature Rings

After the Luxury Wedding Show I decided it would be valuable for customers to see more of my bespoke creations. Each of my items are swiftly passed on to the client so I only have a photo. 

I'm super excited to be bringing out 3 eternity rings - signature items designed by me, rather than bespoke pieces designed with a client. From my experience of working with people with different tastes and styles, I hope these appeal to many...

The first ring is a classic eternity ring - a glistening band of 37 round brilliant diamonds set in timeless claws.

bespoke eternity ring Hitchin

The second is a bezel set eternity ring with offset marquise diamonds. This design really excites me by the way the unusually cut diamonds naturally interact with each other.

marquise eternity ring, made in hertfordshire

 

The third is a inter-twined pave ring using diamonds to differentiate between the two inter-linked bands.

pave eternity ring hertfordshire

 

These items are contemporary but timeless and could be worn in any situation. The above images are renders but stay tuned to see how the final pieces progress! 

Luxury Wedding Show - Luton Hoo

Last Sunday I exhibited my work at The Luxury Wedding Show held in the very beautiful Luton Hoo. 

The morning started early with loading up to arrive before the press call. The stand looked great and I was really happy with how it all came together (photo below).

wedding show Luton Hoo
luxury wedding show Luton Hoo

I met some really interesting people and made some great contacts, who loved the thought process involved in designing every one of my bespoke pieces. It was great to talk to different couples about their wedding jewellery plans and how I could work with them.

The other exhibiters couldn't have been more friendly and encouraging about my jewellery and the organisers did a great job of making the day run incredibly smoothy.

Diamond, Diamonds and more Diamonds

This week I spent my days at the Gemological Association in London, participating in their accredited diamond grading course. 

The course was really interesting. It was practical and involved loads of diamonds! I studied well over 100 stones myself and also learnt about many more wonderful gems.

Below is some of the equipment used to inspect diamonds. A x10 loop, stone tweezers and a stone cloth. It's really important that all diamonds are super clean and free from dust and hair as these can look like inclusions. 

diamond grading gem-A london

One of my favourite parts of the course was learning about 'uncut' diamonds and how the gem looks in its raw state. They had some great examples - my favourite is below. An Octohedron diamond still in the rock that it travel to the surface in. 

Natural Diamond

Whilst learning about uncut stones we discussed The Kimberley Process - the world's efforts  to stop the flow of conflict diamonds into the market. Responsible retailers must understand this battle in order to help customers buy ethically sourced diamonds. 

The week has been intense and, of course, finished with an exam! I had to examine 14 stones - some 'fakes' and the rest 'real' or 'treated'. If I missed a fake it's an automatic fail. 

I think the exam went well so I'm feeling hopeful. It's now a six week wait to find out if I passed!   

Design Week

This week was a design based week for me. Some of this was top secret engagement ring design that you will see in due course, but I can't say any more about that... 

Something I can talk about is a bespoke wedding band that I've created the initial designing for. 

The design process started by the client and I meeting for coffee. We discussed the kind of ring she liked and how it was important for her to have a one-off as her mother was lucky enough to have a custom wedding band as well. My client wanted her new ring to fit nicely with her engagement ring so I took some measurements to enable me to start designing. 

Below are a couple of the images I sent her. My new state of the art software allows me to send out high quality imagry before manufacturing. This allows my clients to have a really clear idea as to how their finished ring is going to look.

wedding ring bespoke design

The above image shows how the existing engagement ring and how the bespoke wedding band will fit together.

wedding ring custom design

The second image shows how the wedding band looks by itself and how the cut-away fits smoothly with the overall design. 

This will be created in 18ct white gold. As soon as the client okays the final designs this will be made with as much love as the ring symbolises.