The Rules of Engagement – Top Tips for buying your Engagement Ring

From time to time we like to have a guest blogger join us here on the Stylish Events blog, especially when they are an expert in an area of the wedding industry that we love! So when Diamonds Hatton Garden got in touch and asked if they could share some of their knowledge on DIAMONDS I jumped at the chance.

So over to you Alex ….

Hello, my name is Alex and I work at Diamonds Hatton Garden. We are, as the name may suggest, a jewellers in Hatton Garden, London, who has, for over 40 years, helped couples across the globe find their perfect engagement ring and diamond jewellery.

I would like to say thank you to Dominique for the chance to share our knowledge and help those wanting to tie the knot on their first step to choosing a diamond ring. So here are our top three tips on buying an engagement ring.

Firstly, one of the main questions we are asked is; PRICE. What influences the price of a diamond engagement ring and why it helps to have an idea about what you expect before you meet a jeweller?

The price of diamonds is influenced by what is known as the 4 Cs – Clarity, Cut, Colour and Carat.

Clarity is the number of small blemishes or inclusions found in the diamond and the clearer the diamond (FL being the highest grade) the higher the price.

Cut, interestingly does not refer to the shape of a diamond, but more about the skill of the cutter and is judged on a range of factors including symmetry, proportion and polish – key factors that relate to how the light is internally refracted within the diamond that gives it more sparkle. The better the cut the better the sparkle.

Colour, as you can imagine, relates to the colour of the diamond and is judged on a scale of D to Z. The higher on the scale, closest to D, the diamond is judged to be coloured meaning that the diamond is perfectly transparent with no hue, or colour.

Finally, the carat refers to the size of the diamond. Essentially, when buying a diamond all of these factors, or scales, influence the price of a diamond and those diamonds that are judged, independently by leading gemological associations, to be higher on the scale command a higher price due to their rarity and the combination of these 4 elements.

It is always a trade off in terms of the 4 Cs and we help each client to understand that if they go for a lower colour grade yet a higher clarity, for example, the diamond can and will still look beautiful. It is very rare that a client will ask for a D FL, the “perfect” diamond and we always work with the ideas and budget of a client. One thing we always say is to ignore the idea that an engagement ring should be the equivalent of three month’s wages! Go for what you and your partner like!

That brings me on to our next point, why avoid the chains and go to an independent jeweller?

When buying an engagement ring you are presented with a huge amount of choice. High streets across the country have both independents and chains. We believe that, whilst the chains may be more well known, for true value and service go to an independent. Why is this you ask? Independents, more than ever, are truly adding value to their service.

As companies across the UK look to attract loyal customers it is, generally, the independents that can adapt to the market and offer the very best service. What’s more, as De Beers sightholders with our own workshop, we are in charge of the entire line of production from mining, cutting and polishing to designing and setting. Within this, we are able to offer the very best in service and in value and, as a family run business, we welcome each client to visit us, meet our team and get to know who we are and what we can do. Chain jewellers will struggle to compete because of the need to adapt and evolve quickly in an ever changing market that independents, regardless of who, can readily embrace.

Engagement rings, like all jewellery, are influenced by styles, trends and tastes. What are some of the latest developments and trends in engagement ring that we are witnessing?

Over the last few years there has been an increase in interest for pear and radiant shapes. For me, they represent the very best value as the diamond is spread out and not concentrated and thus make it look larger.

Interestingly, in terms of the style of the ring, pave settings have always been popular (when the diamonds are encrusted on the ring). Another tip of the trade is to use a halo (when the ring has a halo where the centre stone sits) which makes the diamond appear larger too. Finally, there has been an increase in popularity in fancy coloured diamonds. I simply love them, due to their amazing colours and tones and they are simply spectacular.

The use of metals has changed too, yellow gold is no longer the most popular and we see white gold, rose gold and platinum being more popular. I think this is down to the internet, as more clients have access to more ideas we see a shift away from the traditional round stone on a round setting and people are becoming more adventurous. Not to mention the “Instagram generation” where certain people want to be able to take pictures of their jewellery for social media.

One again, we would like to thank Dominque for allowing us to participate in her blog. We hope that our quick fire guide to engagement rings can help you and we wish you all the very best for your wedding and future lives!

All images in this blog are from the Diamonds Hatton Garden website.

Planning Perfection!

Hi Guys,  I thought I would talk to you today about something close to my heart – no not Shoes! lol  – Wedding Planning, but more specifically the UKAWP – no I haven’t gone all “urban” on you and dropped some new-fandangled text speak; the UKAWP is the ‘UK Alliance of Wedding Planners’ it’s the Industry body for the wedding Market. Their job is to encourage, promote and ensure professionalism within the wedding planning industry  through seminars, events and  training courses for any aspiring and experienced event planners! They’re also a source of knowledge and guidance to all brides-to-be helping them to find a Wedding Planner they can trust; as any Event Planner the UKAWP recommend or promote is always and only a member of their organisation – like myself and Dominique are! and I have to say I couldn’t agree more with this ethos, I think it’s great that Planners are be able to add to their skill ‘tool belts’ through all the professional educations seminar and events they organise and also that the UKAWP is a a trusted source for Brides to be able to confidently search for a planner for their big day. Which is no small thing by the way! finding someone who you can trust to manage and organise your special day is not a easy decisions to make and on top of that, brides should be able to know that when they hire a Wedding Planner they’re going to receive the best service possible, from someone who is honest, professional and actually cares about the job in hand – their WEDDING DAY! lol

But what I really love about UKAWP  is that its managed by two ladies who are wedding planners themselves and are actively running their own events companies: Bernadatte Chapman of ‘Dream Occassions’ and Sandy Moretta from ‘Tern Events’. Being an Event Planner myself – albeit a new one – it’s nice to know that the organisation is under the supervision of ladies who have over 10 years experience and are really passionate about this industry! The Lovely Bernadette (the original founder of the UKAWP) took the time to let me know the reasons behind starting  the UKAWP, the importance of having an organisation such as theirs, their upcoming events and also the future for the UKAWP:

The Story:

“Back in 2003-2004 I was receiving phone calls from brides saying their wedding planner had disappeared with their money, at the same time I would get emails from people wanting to become a wedding planner and asking how I started Dream Occasions. It led me to think there was a need for a) professional training and guidance on how to launch a wedding planning business and b) somewhere to help brides choose experienced and reputable planners for their wedding. I spent time thinking about what made a good planner and how we could introduce a code of ethics to its members. The UKAWP has seen such growth since its inception and is now recognised as the leading organisation for wedding planning training and membership”

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September 2012 – Mix and Mingle – *Photo’s taken from UKAWP website*

The importance of UKAWP:

“It helps the bride choose a wedding planner that is experienced, that is insured, doesn’t take commission and can show references for past events they have organised. And for the planner? They can show brides they are serious about their career by continuing their learning at UKAWP events. Planners get a sense of community from the UKAWP, many freelance for each other enabling them to experience weddings different from their own client base. They also benefit from a much larger marketing budget then they would have, the UKAWP advertise on many of the major wedding blog and publications and are also striving for new ways to market our members to brides.”

UKAWP

October 2012 – UKAWP Study Tour to New York City – *Photo’s taken from UKAWP Website*

UKAWP Events:

April – We have a marquee workshop in London where we will explain the logistics of organising a marquee reception including the different types of structures available & how important lighting is.

May – A northern marquee workshop, probably in Leeds plus our last training course for the Spring will be Step by Step in Manchester. This is also the month for our annual members meeting whereby we discuss the past years activity and brainstorm new marketing plans for the forthcoming year, we actively ask members for input so we are spending money in the right areas.

June – a meet the planner afternoon is planned where those interested in the career of wedding planning can meet some new and experienced members + a director to really hear about what it is like as an active wedding planner. No glamour, just straight talking facts . Details of this will be announced very soon

September – our annual mix and mingle social evenings will take place in various locations across the UK

November – we are proud to be one of the speakers and exhibitors at the UK Wedding Conference http://theukweddingconference.co.uk

Also the training courses will start again from September and in November”

WINE

7th February 2013 – Matching Wine and Food for Weddings – *Photo’s taken from UKAWP website*

The Future:

“There are so many exciting plans for the UKAWP many of which we can’t share with you yet! We are working on a new bridal focus with bespoke branding, this will be ready to soft launch by May. We have plans for a new membership category which we have to keep quiet for now until we are ready to announce the details! We will also be holding more workshops come the Autumn, the next planned topics will be PR from a journalists perspective and floral emergencies and we will be growing the sister company to the UKAWP namely wedding venue excellence http://www.weddingvenueexcellence.co.uk

Well I hope you enjoyed todays post? especially all you brides-to-be out there? I think it’s really important to know there’s a organisations out there; such as the UKAWP that is truly waving the flag for industry professionalism and planning perfection! Make sure you head back over my way real soon, as I will be bringing you our ‘Supplier of the Week’ John Natlacen of  Churchmouses Cheeses and his lovely Cheese Cakes – thats  a savoury cakes made of ACTUAL cheese people! until then….

Stay blessed and we’ll speak again soon.

xx

A touch of vino!

I know, I know two posts in one week! what is happening?! is it raining cat’s and dogs, is the world actually flat? no it’s OK your not losing you marbles, I just happened to finally get some photo’s of the UKAWP (UK Alliance of Wedding Planners) Wine Workshop Dominique hosted a few weeks ago in February and I was just itching to share them with you!

Just in case you missed me tweeting and facebooking about it at the time (basically doing the usual rounds on the social media sites) The Wine Workshop was an evening Dominique hosted at her lovely home and UKAWP Members and Non-Members  were invited to come and learn all about matching wines to the wedding menu and also sneakily get to enjoy a few glasses of good vino ;-

It was a such a great evening! I think it definitely had the right balance of fun and education, which of course was more than helped by a glass or two..or three of some fine wine provided by Giles Smith Walker of ‘The Independent Vintner’ and a few plates of sumptuous canapes and nibbles prepared and cooked by Chef Dan (Dominique’s Husband)

But anyway, before I get lost in my own reverie, of how much fun I had stuffing my face with the wine and food..Oh the food, seriously MUCHO KUDO’S  to Chef Dan! he is definitely THE man! lol I’m sure all the ladies who attended the evening, would more than agree with me! lol Here’s some piccies of the night taken by the LOVELY Photographer Paula Broome  and as you can see it really was a fab evening!:

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Hope you enjoyed the photo’s?! Make sure you come back to check out next week’s ‘Supplier of the Week’ post, on a gem of a stationer ‘3 Egg Design’

Stay blessed and we’ll speak again soon

xx