Lucie Loves… Sarah May Jewellery

Part two | Playing with diamonds and finalising my bespoke engagement ring design

We headed over to Sarah May Jewellery in Richmond for part two of our engagement ring design session. Since last time, Sarah had removed all of the stones from the rings that we had originally taken with us and this meant we could now set to work playing with different design mock-ups.

It was funny seeing the now skeletal gold rings, rather naked looking, minus their diamonds and pretty gems. But it was pretty cool being able to play with the loose stones. I literally had to hold my breath as I picked up each one and tried to arrange it on the whitetack-covered ring shank, to see how it might end up looking.

To go with the diamonds, gem stones, and gold we’d been given to reuse/melt down/cash-in - we selected a brand new diamond to be the focal point of the ring. Our budget for the new diamond was £180 - so not very much - but just enough to buy something beautiful.

This new centre piece played an important role in the design process. I wanted to be able to juxtapose old and new - the family stones and gold with our new diamond. I knew that I wanted to cluster the stones together - merging our two families into one. It was the sentiment behind the pieces as opposed to the value of them that made me feel rather precious about getting it right.

I’ve been pinning ring ideas for ages now, (since before he popped the question) I like to be prepared. Have a look at some of the styles that had caught my eye on my board 'Love is all you need' - there’s also a lot general love and wedding stuff on here too.

You can see from the photos some of the various arrangements we toyed with. I even tried an emerald in and a few rubies to see how I felt about adding a pop of colour.

After an hours session with Sarah we settled on two designs that made me smile. Both using the same amount of stones, but with slightly different settings required.

Sarah measured my ring finger and made a note of the size for working up the final design.

In around a months time my finished ring will be waiting for us to go and collect. I’m really excited to see how it looks.

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Photography © Lucie Kerley


Lucie Loves… Sarah May Jewellery

Part one | Designing my bespoke engagement ring

On Saturday morning, JMG and I headed over to Richmond to meet with jewellery designer Sarah May for our first appointment.

I took with me the rings I’d been given by various family members, including my mum and nan and JMG’s mum and dad.

Whilst JMG nipped out to get us both a coffee, Sarah showed me round the many jewellery collections in her shop. We talked about the styles I liked and selected a few to take into the back to look at in more detail. I’ve been pinning ringspiration for a few months now and have amassed quite a collection. 

I want something that looks quite organic. Something that incorporates the pieces that I’ve been given by loved ones. Something which encompasses that sentiment but also allows me room to add a new piece to represent my new love and our future together.

During our first session with Sarah, we laid out all of the rings and bit of gold and then looked at the colourful collection of new stones that Sarah had to hand. These ranged from not-so-precious-but-still-incredibly-pretty £7 indian emeralds, to the £70 semi-precious lemon citrine and the very-precious £2000 1 carat diamond. W.O.W!!! My eyes were on stalks when that beauty came out to play. 

However, our budget is very modest meaning the 1 carat diamond will not be the star of the show. We would love to include a new diamond to add to the little collection of existing stones that will be upcycled for my new ring, but it’s only going to be around the £100-200 mark. Watch this space…

Sarah brought out a ring shank for us to play around with. A shank is essentially the body of the ring. It’s the stage on which to place your beautiful stones.

By adding blutack to the the shank we were able to piece together various colour combinations and get an initial feel for what did and what didn’t work well together.

It was great fun trying to recreate some of the ring styles that I’d spotted using my own family pieces.

Our next appointment with Sarah will be once she’s removed the little sapphires, rubies, and diamonds from our family rings and weighed in the gold. We’ll be playing around with the loose stones, working out how much budget we have to play with to buy a new diamond and then finalising the bespoke design. I can’t wait!

If anyone has created their own ring or piece of jewellery from scratch, please share your stories info[at]luciekerley.co.uk - I’d love to hear how you got on.

Photography © Lucie Kerley

Photos taken using a combination of Nokia Lumia 1020 and iPhone 5S