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  1. Luxury
June 22, 2024

Where to buy bespoke engagement rings in London

Whether you opt for an independent designer or a big name, creating the perfect bespoke engagement ring for you takes time and a degree of soul-searching

By Sarah Royce-Greensill

Just as investing in a made-to-measure suit can transform one’s understanding of tailoring, commissioning a bespoke engagement ring is an experience that will change how you see and buy jewellery.

Commissioning a bespoke jewel is a deep dive into your taste and personality, especially so an engagement ring. Creating the perfect bespoke engagement ring for you takes time and a degree of soul-searching. When done properly, it should push you outside of your comfort zone and result in a one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery that can be rightfully called a future heirloom.

Couples are increasingly buying engagement rings together, and women are opting for rings that are bolder, braver and more distinctive. Even if you prefer a classic style, bespoke jewellers can add subtle design touches to make it unique.

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Browsing for an engagement ring online is a bit like trying to buy a house based only on listings on Zoopla – addictive, but ultimately pointless. You need to touch and try on as many engagement rings as you can. Try diamonds and coloured gemstones in different shapes and styles, everywhere from the big brands to tiny antique dealers to get a true insight into what feels right. Then, find a jeweller who specialises in the style you like. 

[See also: Are diamonds still forever? The changing world of engagement rings]

Whether you opt for an independent designer or a big name to create your ideal bespoke engagement ring, you should feel confident that they’re transparent on everything from choosing a diamond to the provenance of the gemstones and gold, as well as the manufacturing process. If they use CAD (most do), ask for a 3D-printed wax mould you can try on for size and proportions before finalising the design.

Prioritise the quality of their craftsmanship and the connection you feel; it could be the beginning of a long-lasting collaboration. Specialised jewellers in London offer exquisite and personalised options for you to create a one-of-a-kind piece that perfectly captures your love story.

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Bear Brooksbank  

London-based fine jewellery studio, Bearbrooks Bank

East London-based Bear Brooksbank trained with the renowned antique jewellery dealer Humphrey Butler before establishing her own brand in 2012. The antique influence is evident in her bespoke designs, which are handmade in the UK using traditional techniques. Her signatures include Art Deco-inspired target rings, updated perhaps with a circle of coloured gemstones, like the ruby and diamond design she made for Cressida Bonas in 2019, as well as chunky gold Gypsy-style rings which have won favour with a fashionable crowd. This September she will launch a new range of wedding and engagement rings, including one which she describes as her ‘most out-there design to date’ – providing even more inspiration for a glorious bespoke creation. bearbrooksbank.com 

Blackacre 

Blackacre’s St Lucia Signature engagement ring

A lifelong interest in gemmology led Samuel Stirrat to launch Blackacre, a bespoke jewellery business that prides itself on its client-centric approach. ‘Our clients are busy people, connected by a common theme of exceptionally high standards, he says – which is why the house puts as much emphasis on education and guidance as it does on design and craftsmanship.

Every piece is designed around a sustainably sourced central gemstone; the house has a curated selection in its ‘vault’, mainly procured during the team’s expedition to Sri Lanka, and it can source stones to fit any brief. Rings are handmade in London using recycled precious metals, and the house prioritises transparency throughout its supply chain – efforts that have led to it being B-Corp certified. blackacreldn.com 

[See also: Why the provenance of precious stones matters]

De Beers Jewellers  

De Beers Jewellers is synonymous with diamonds

De Beers Jewellers is synonymous with diamonds, and the house offers a range of engagement ring styles, from classical to contemporary. But for clients seeking something extra special (to the tune of six figures and up), it also offers a bespoke design service.

After an initial appointment in-store or virtually, clients are paired with a designer from the house’s creative team who’ll work to bring their dream engagement ring to life, blending their brief with the De Beers DNA, which is all about lightness, elegance and showcasing the beauty of the diamond at the centre.

The brand specialises in sourcing rare diamonds in myriad shapes and colours: from top-quality, D-Flawless beauties to rare coloured diamonds. It can even procure rough diamonds to cut and polish into a specific shape: a truly remarkable creative journey that makes the end result all the more meaningful. debeers.co.uk 

Hancocks 

Hancocks & Co was founded in 1849

Founded in 1849, Hancocks & Co has made jewellery for countless aristocrats and monarchs; including Queen Victoria, who awarded the house its first of four Royal Warrants. One floor of its sumptuous St James’s townhouse is devoted to its in-house jewellery, handmade in the UK using repurposed antique diamonds and gemstones.

Managing Director Guy Burton chooses every stone for its distinctive character. ‘When these diamonds were originally cut, the goal was to create the most beautiful polished gem possible; something with character, life and charm,’ he says.

‘Each one is truly unique, which means every single ring is one-of-a-kind.’ Bespoke designs often take inspiration from the era in which the stone was cut: antique cushion-cut diamonds might be set on intricately hand-engraved gold bands, while original Asscher-cuts might be housed in platinum to emphasise their geometric, Roaring Twenties appeal. hancocks-london.com 

Hattie Rickards  

Hattie Rickard’s ‘Jimmy’ ring

‘I’m a naturally intuitive person – I really enjoy reading people and finding out what makes them tick,’ says Hattie Rickards, who specialises in bespoke engagement rings and pieces that mark milestones throughout a couple’s lives. She is beloved by clients for her ability to draw out what they really want, and to distil their personality into a one-of-a-kind design that’s timeless yet distinctive.

[See also: Sky’s the limit for sustainable diamonds brand creating jewels out of thin air]

This year she launched her Icons range, which encapsulates her design signatures: bold gold, custom-cut gemstone arches and a refined sensibility which makes carat-heavy designs feel effortlessly wearable. Her mission, she says, is to transcend trends and create pieces that represent her clients’ story. ‘I want brides to look down at their ring and still adore it when they’re 85,’ she says. hattierickards.com 

Jessica McCormack 

Jessica McCormack is renowned for her preciousness and wearability

The New Zealand-born jeweller counts Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Victoria Beckham among her clients. She is a fashion-crowd favourite thanks to her distinctive blend of antique-inspired design and contemporary styling. She’s best known for her signature ‘Button Back’ engagement rings, a twist on a traditional Georgian technique in which diamonds are enrobed in blackened gold.

But bespoke engagement rings are where she flexes her creative muscle, working alongside clients to devise one-of-a-kind pieces full of whimsical, romantic details. Specialising in antique diamonds, designs can feature anything from a 0.5-carat round brilliant to seven or eight-carat showstoppers. With art-filled townhouses on Carlos Place and Sloane Street, the experience is opulent yet relaxed, reflecting the combination of preciousness and wearability that’s catnip to her army of fans. jessicamccormack.com 

Lily Gabriella 

Lily Gabriella is based in Mayfair

A pink-walled penthouse in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade is home to the by-appointment-only showroom of Lily Gabriella, a contemporary private jeweller whose artistic and gemological pedigree is beyond compare. The Fine Arts-trained designer interned alongside revered Parisian jeweller JAR, having grown up surrounded by her grandmother Lily Safra’s museum-worthy collection of gems.

Lily hand-paints every design herself, working alongside the industry’s top suppliers to procure rare diamonds and coloured gemstones that become the focal point of sculptural, feminine creations. From pink diamonds to sought-after spinels, she might frame rich coloured stones with an artistic ombré of sapphires, set them in titanium or surround them with marble, every piece crafted by artisans whose talent is evident from the impeccable craftsmanship of the finished piece. lilygabriella.com 

Ming Jewellery  

Ming Jewellery’s the Spinel Ceramic Ring

Beloved by jewellery connoisseurs, private jeweller Ming Lampson creates one-of-a-kind artworks from her by-appointment studio in Notting Hill. Having trained alongside gem dealers in Jaipur, she delights in top-quality, untreated gemstones, which she sets in bold yet streamlined designs that often have a hint of Art Deco.

Every piece is unique, but unified by a design language that celebrates the warmth of gold and unexpected colour combinations, perhaps using a hint of enamel or ceramic. Her mission is to push clients beyond their comfort zone to create a unique piece that’s cooler and more creative than they ever imagined. Everything is handmade in the UK by master craftspeople with whom she’s worked for decades – a process that can take up to six months and is more than worth waiting for. mingjewellery.com 

Sarah Royce-Greensill provides personal shopping services via srgjewel.com

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