The jewellery designers helping couples to make their own rings.
The trend for bespoke has been steadily picking up pace but for some couples ordering is not enough, they want to be the one to hammer out their own symbol of love.
Rachel Jeffrey Jewellery has a school attached to its workshop in St Albans and regularly welcomes amateur jewellers through the doors for jewellery making courses, and in November this facet of its business was thrust into the limelight in TV show Kirstie’s Vintage Home. The Channel 4 TV show, hosted by Kirstie Allsop, covers a variety of handicrafts, and when it decided to create a wedding special, producers called jeweller Rachel Jeffrey to ask if she could teach a couple how to make their own wedding rings. Jeffrey agreed and welcomed to her studio Craig Moore and Amy Green, who were organising a wedding inspired by the Queen’s 1947 nuptials.
During the filming she guided the couple through the processes of creating their own rings and helped them to become goldsmiths for a day. She also later taught Allsop how to make a silver bangle, which the TV presenter then gifted to the bride to be.
Jeffrey had offered a make-your-own wedding ring service at her shop before, and also sells nuggets of gold and silver which can be bought as gifts and exchanged for a session on the bench, but says that since the show aired in November, she has noticed a definite uplift in DIY brides and grooms.
“Demand for personalised wedding rings is growing rapidly,” she says. “I think the timing of the show itself is very interesting, and that craft is in fashion again with TV bigwigs and audiences. Channel 4 obviously recognise that consumers know and enjoy its value. If hand crafted and personalised is becoming a big wedding trend, will it be a growing general trend?”
The Jewellery School in London is also tapping into the trend. It offers a one-day course at a price of £420, plus materials costs, for which couples can come to the school and make each other’s rings in silver, gold or palladium. Once the rings are completed they are sent off to be hallmarked or have extra stones set in them, and to ease the wait the couple are sent home with a bottle of champagne to celebrate their day at the bench.
The school has had a decent take-up of this service, says The Jewellery School manager Sunita Patel. She adds: “There is a high demand after Christmas and New Year as that is when most proposals take place.In addition, most couples have a summer wedding, so January to April is very busy for us in terms of wedding rings. Another busy time of the year is September to November, with weddings taking place in spring.”
One of the brides who took the course was Marhna Bauer. She says: “We had a brilliant time making our wedding rings. They look amazing and it will be great to know that we made them ourselves.”
Jewellers Donna Barry and Hannah Louise Lamb in Edinburgh also run a service allowing couples to spend a day in the workshop making their own wedding rings, but for a slightly cheaper price of £275 per couple, which includes lunch and a glass of champagne but not the metal. An added extra that Lamb and Barry provide is a CD of photos that they take during the day to document the process.
Craftscotland chief executive Emma Walker is one of Lamb and Barry’s past clients and says that the experience is one that she’ll treasure for a lifetime. “I haven’t created much in my life that didn’t involve a computer or a pen,” she muses. “The satisfaction and the joy and the ‘did I really do that?’ that I felt when the wedding band that I had made for my soon-to-be husband came out of the polishing machine will never be forgotten. If we have children and grandchildren we will sit them on our knees and describe to them what we did in that studio, together and in love.”
Craft has certainly enjoyed a renaissance and with wider trends that lean towards products handcrafted in Britain it is not surprising that an increasing number of couples are looking to make their own rings. And for jewellers with a bench and patient goldsmith in house, it can be an excellent way of drumming up some extra turnover on slow days.
This feature was taken from the February issue of Professional Jeweller. To read it in full online, click here.