Bridal Industry Q&A's with The Jewellers Guild
I wanted incorporate some useful content on all things bridal here in the blog section. So Q&A’s with some of the North Easts best wedding suppliers seemed like the perfect options. To kick things off I thought I’d stick to what I know…Jewellery, but on the subject of the all important Wedding Rings, and no better to ask than one of the company directors Matthew Peters…
How long have The Jewellers Guild been trading, and what’s the background behind the business?
We’ve been trading since 2001. My father started the business after working regionally for 25 years for various high street jewellery companies. During that time, he built up an extensive knowledge base on the jewellery industry, and he wanted to create a business that used all the positives that the multiples offered, but also offer everything that they couldn’t offer. And so, he opened the first branch in Morpeth, which was followed by two further branches. I myself have worked in the business for 18 years and I can honestly say, there isn’t an industry I’d rather work within. We are involved in some of the most exciting and emotional purchases people will ever make in their lives, and to be a part of their journey is an absolute honour.
What kind of services and products do you specialise in?
We have our own in-house workshop; therefore, we can offer a bespoke jewellery service, ranging from Engagement Rings to Wedding Rings, and Restorations to complete Restyles. If it is physically possible, then we can absolutely make it.
What is the difference between purchasing Wedding Rings through a family-run business and a well-known high street jeweller?
Firstly, I think the overall experience can be very different. I can only speak for our business, but every member of our team is invested in the couples’ journey, we genuinely care that they are purchasing the correct wedding rings for their needs. And we care that they are happy with the process; our process is lengthier than buying from a high street jeweller, with the rings being made to order. And secondly, we can create almost anything. We aren’t limited to a selection of designs, with the only option being the stone size. Our goldsmith can sketch ideas for the couple, or we can be completely led by their ideas. And with the ability to source stones varying in sizes, shapes, qualities and colour, the options are pretty much endless.
How would you best recommend a couple to find their perfect jeweller?
Like I said previously, this purchase will be one of the most emotionally driven purchases the couple will make, therefore they need to feel a connection with the person they are buying from, and this will only feel right if there is a mutual trust. Its important for our team to be professional, informative and polite. But that doesn’t really cut it for us, we pride ourselves in being genuinely interested in the couples’ journey, and that we can build a lasting relationship of trust. We don’t hide the fact that we aim to become their jeweller for life, enjoying the couples revisiting for gifts as they have children, anniversaries, and just general repairs and clean/polishes. I can’t generalise with all high street jewellers, but I’m not sure that kind of level of service is delivered within multiples.
How far in advance would couples need to start thinking about their wedding rings?
Depending on complexity of design, the length of the process can vary. But I would suggest approximately 6 months before the wedding date would be more than enough time.
How would you recommend a couple choose the most suitable metal for their weddings rings?
It’s really important to consider how you intend to wear your rings and how often. You would expect the wedding rings to remain on the finger for work and leisure but that’s not always the case.
The ladies wed will be influenced by their engagement ring. We would normally advise that the metals of the two rings were consistent, however it is ultimately down to the bride to make the choice. The reason for consistency is firstly a colour match and more importantly durability. Metals can slightly differ in colour but they also differ considerably in durability due to the alloys they are mixed with. Best to take advice from your jeweller on this. We often remount the engagement ring if the couple choose to upgrade the metal, and we can achieve exactly the same look.
As for the gents wed, it’s important to acknowledge their job and how often they intend to wear the ring. If the gent has a heavy handed job and wants to permanently wear the ring then he needs to opt for a much harder wearing metal than a gent that is office based. There are pros and cons to all metals and again it’s best to get advice from your jeweller.
There are so many white metals on the market, and with such varying prices. What is the difference between all the white metals?
The metals vary in properties. The best of the bunch is platinum, it is very white, doesn’t require rhodium plating and is the most durable of the white metals. It is also a great time to buy Platinum with the prices at an all time low.
The other alternatives aren’t nearly as viable either from a cost point of view or for their properties. White Gold of any carat will require plating and Palladium is a lot more expensive now than platinum and only shares the property of being a similar colour but is nowhere near as durable.
Diamond set wedding rings are beautiful, but if they aren’t practical or they aren’t within a budget, is there anything else you can recommend with a little detail?
Yes, we offer a diamond cutting service. This involves a pattern being cut into the surface of the ring. This looks amazing when a brush finish has been applied beforehand creating a contrast between the brushed surface and the polished cut pattern. The ring sparkles in the light beautifully. This is a popular choice with health professionals.
Are there any other finishing touches that the couple can add to make their wedding rings extra special?
Yes, definitely. We offer an engraving service, which can be on both the surface of the ring, or discreetly inside the ring. Couples typically have their wedding date or their initials, however we have also engraved special quotes and lines of their favourite song (we have split these in two, one half engraved inside the ladies and the second half inside the gents). The engraving can be carried out by laser, but we like to encourage hand-engraving. The detail in the hand engraving is beautiful, and it’s another element of the finished piece that was crafted by hand.
Would you typically receive your wedding rings in a nice gift box? Or would that be an additional cost?
With no additional cost all our rings come in one of our lovely branded keepsake boxes. They are perfect to keep the rings in whenever they aren’t being worn.
With social media, bridal magazines, blogs, wedding events etc, all offering advice and style ideas, where do your brides tend to find their inspiration?
A lot of brides will seek out specialists in their field for trusted advice whilst also considering advice from friends and colleagues and naturally social media plays a huge role in both informing and advising brides about all things wedding.
It is always worth seeking the advice and opinions of the experts though, they are doing what they do all day everyday and really live the whole wedding scene. They will also be best placed to give you the right advice on your specific requirements, use their social media pages and your friends recommendations to seek out the experts you can trust. Like us most of them will get their business from word of mouth referrals.
What are the 2020 trends starting to look like?
“We have seen a continuation of last year with brides looking for more interesting designs and to push boundaries to create something truly unique”
How do you keep up to date with trends? Is there a source you favour when looking for inspiration?
We always keep a close eye on trends. We follow social media closely, we pay close attention to bridal blogs, other jewellery and bridal websites and speak to other industry experts from different sectors. We also pay very close attention to our brides and what they tell us they want too.
Useful After Care Jewellery Information
How often should you clean your jewellery at home? And what is best practice to do so?
That would depend on how often you wore the pieces and how you wore them. For a ring you wear every day, rarely removing it, I would suggest possibly once a month. If you have a suitable cleaning solution, then follow the instructions and use that, Alternatively you can wash the pieces in warm soapy water, using a soft toothbrush in the hard to reach places, particularly the settings holding the stones, but be gentle. Then rinse with water, pat dry, and finish with a soft polishing cloth. If you happy to part with some gin, then drop your diamond rings in a little bit of gin for 5-10 minutes and they’ll come out gleaming!
How often should you have your jewellery cleaned professionally by your jeweller? And is the appearance any different to if you were to clean at home yourself?
We would suggest at least once every 12 months. The professional cleaning service creates a ‘brand new’ appearance if the ring is in reasonable condition, this being as a result of the tools and equipment being far superior to the cleaning solutions available off the shelf. The other aspect of this service is it gives us the opportunity to give the jewellery a thorough check. This is so important with rings as the settings securing the stones can become warn and fragile, resulting in stone loss. This can be an expensive repair, so if we can identify the risks and work on the target area before this occurs then we can limit the damage and cost to the client.
If you wear stone set Engagement Ring and/or Wedding Ring, how often should you get your stones checked?
At least every 12 months, but if there are any incidences where the ring has potentially been damaged in any way then we would suggest you refrain from wearing it until you have had it checked over and given the ok.
Is it easy to resize a wedding ring?
Generally, yes. In most cases a ring can take adjustments both enlarging and reducing in size as long as the ring is in good condition with a good weight to it. However, complex designs and multi metal combination rings can cause some issues. We would suggest that before purchasing a ring, you ask how easy the alteration process will be, this will ensure you aren’t left with a ring you can’t wear if your finger size changes.