With this ring…

So we’d already met (handy), fallen in love (helps), found somewhere to live (useful) and decided to get wed. Now what? We had to get ‘officially’ engaged, because in the Land of Grandparents, ‘we decided it’d be quite nice to get married!’ doesn’t count as being engaged. Not until there’s a ring on that finger, Sunny Jim.

Question is, WHAT ring does Sunny Jim put on the finger of his notoriously fussy, not-quite-sure-what-she-wants-for-dinner, convinced-she’s-really-individual intended?

 A bespoke one, of course! And one that, given the way in which we’d decided to get married, we’d design together. I’m aware-painfully so-that that makes me sound like a hoity-toity ‘buy me a diamond’ type…which I’m not. I promise. You’ve seen me, yes? Not hoity-toity. Nope. At the same time, we knew together that High Street wasn’t for us, not for this particular piece. Nor were we bothered about a ‘name’, as it’s commonly understood you pay (?%) more for the pleasure of that little blue/red/glass box. We both have Grandmothers with will-be heirloom engagement rings and we were oh-so enamoured with the idea that ours might become the same, one day.

We flirted with the idea of a vintage engagement ring, the romance of the idea was so enveloping. But the more I thought about it, the more it just felt quite sad. To me, that is. I’m quite an emotional girly at the best of times…when I thought about someone’s beloved engagement ring ending up in the hands of a jeweller or antique dealer, I came over all soppy. I wanted our ring to have a story, a solid history you could hold in your hands and pass down through the generations. With no gaps.

To Google! I know, not the most original way to find the creator of a magical piece of jewellery to span the ages…but bless Google’s cotton socks, it came up trumps. Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design-they have a STUNNING shop in the cobbled streets of Cambridge and a doubly incredibubble workshop/converted barn/farmhouse of gorgeousness in Hertfordshire. You can lose hours on her website, not only drooling over the examples of previous commissions and their ready-to-wear collection, but also learning about conflict stones, diamond and gemstone certification and all kinds of interestingness. The kicker for me was that even in their ‘ready to wear’ collection, there was only ever one of each piece. Designs could be commissioned based on previous pieces, but there would only ever be ‘your’ ring. Lovely.We’ll have us some of that, thanking you kindly.

We browsed for hours. Literally, hours. All I was certain of was that I didn’t want a diamond. Apart from that, we had a blank canvas-any cut, any colour, any metal. We had a budget and I was allowed to go crazy within that budget. Let’s be brutal and try and kill some of that budget-prejudice, ours was ¬£2000. In the end, we didn’t spend that much. So, I didn’t want a diamond. I did want a coloured stone and I was fairly sure I wanted white gold/platinum/palladium. I was keen on the idea of a big stone-not for status, to impress others, but selfishly and rather shallowly- because I have big hands! A small stone, even the most clear and perfect diamond on the planet, would look lost and insignificant on my ‘banana hands’. (I’m painting a wonderful picture of myself aren’t I?!) One evening, we found this little lovely,

It wasn’t love at first sight, rather a slow-burning, ever-increasing affection. I thought this ring would be a good place to start-you have to have an inspiration point after all. The shape of the stone and the use of lasers in it’s cutting was a big selling point for me-we’d stick with those points, maybe have a blue stone? Or green-emerald is my birthstone, that could be gorgeous? I wasn’t sold on the teeny diamonds in the shoulders either, so we’d get rid of those and have a plain band. Maybe make the shank and setting platinum for increased hardiness. Armed with our list of pints, we went forth to the jewellers. It transpires that talking through your options is the best way to make decisions-who knew?! The blue stone was vetoed, my Grandmother’s engagement ring is a sapphire and as the oldest granddaughter it’ll eventually make it’s way to me-hopefully not for a VERY long time. Emerald’s are largely a no-no for engagement rings, they’re too soft. And I am CLUMSY. Not a good mix. Platinum was a good option but those tiny diamonds in the shoulders were very sparkly… If not blue or green then what? Not red-it works better with yellow gold I think. An orange or yellow? I don’t wear either colour so daft to consider a piece of jewellery I’d wear every day in either colour. What about….pink?

Can you see where I’m going with this? I couldn’t. Phil had to spell it out to me in loooong, sloooooow sentences… Here’s my ring…

Turns out the cut, colour, shape, metal, teeny diamonds-they’re all perfect. When we ended up talking about making a ring that had a pink stone, with teeny diamonds, laser-cut and an elongated baguette shape set in platinum, we realised that we might as well have THAT ring that was all those things, just set in white gold. It made no difference to us in the end, given my lack of spacial awareness and general mobility issues (ie walking in a straight line=HARD) meant we’d have the ring inspected every 6 months anyway.

And so, it was mine allllllll mine! Gifted to me in the most wonderful way, the day we moved into the home where we’d celebrate our impending wedding. I would wholeheartedly recommend HK Jewellery Design, not just for engagement rings, but jewellery in general-their work ethic and range of talents are epic. Truly fantabulous. What are your stories? Where did your rings come from? And whilst we’re here…do you take your engagement ring off at all? Cleaning, cooking, showering? I take off my eternity band and engagement ring when I paint but keep on my plain silver band, to do anything without all 3 just feels weird!

Categories: Wedding Planning, Wedding Pretty
3 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted March 28, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Thats such a beautiful and unusual ring. It reminds me of a sort of art deco ring you'd see a flapper wearing-i love it. Mine is a typical solitaire diamond, although steve got it made for me in birmingham diamond quarter choosing the band and diamond separately based on what i'd said i'd 'theoretically like if we ever did get wed'. He produced it on one knee in the middle of the plaza de catalunya in Barcelona on a long weekend when he got back from a short stint in Afghanistan. I had no clue it was coming but he'd already asked my dad's permission, bless! I take my rings off to put hand cream on (obsessively several times a day!) but keep them on otherwise.

  2. Posted March 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    That is a lovely ring! And I am definitely going to have a look at their website.

    My ring is a round diamond with little diamonds on the the thin white gold band. I chose it and was terribly fussy looking back, even picking the diamond out of another ring, I promise you I am not some horrible person. And it was made in Hatton Garden just for me, and I love the fact there isn't another one exactly the same.

    Although I do take it off to wash the dishes and when I clean the bathroom. I lost one of the little diamonds and the lovely jeweller fixed it no problem for no charge, but ever since I have been a little more careful!

  3. Posted March 28, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Aisling I love your ring! I also love the way it became yours. I have a hunk of carbon set in platinum which I love. Tom chose it and I will love him forever for choosing so well. Turns out the ring had been in the jewellers window the same length of time we'd been together and I just love the thought it had been waiting for us all those years.

    I do take off my engagement ring for showers/ washing up etc. I don't plan to take off my wedding ring though because I quite like the idea of it being on there til death do us part…not that this is a requirement to a happy marriage of course, I'm just a sentimental soul xxx

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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