Over the years, each of our showrooms have taken exceptional pride in creating the ultimate customer experience. That customer experience is based on the knowledge, expertise and experience of each of our dedicated sales consultants. In 1993, Joanne Mounter started her career with Prestons and 26 years later continues to share with our clients her passion and dedication to fine jewellery and watches. Here, Joanne explores with us the history of her exceptional career as well as her key advice for selecting a piece of jewellery, an engagement ring or your wedding rings.
In 1993, you first started your career with Prestons, where did you start this journey?
My first role with the company was in our now closed Bramhall showroom. I remember seeing the advert in the local paper for a jewellery specialist and although at the time I had no experience with fine jewellery I remember dreaming of working with a product that was so beautiful and that often symbolised so many individual’s special moments.
In 2006, after twelve years working together with a selection of fine jewellery and watches the Bramhall showroom was closed and I began working at our showroom in Wilmslow. Another fourteen years later, I am still a diamond specialist at Prestons Wilmslow and still love the products, clients and colleagues I work alongside.
To have worked with fine jewellery and some of the finest watch houses in the world for nearly three decades is an incredible achievement, what is it that you love most about your role?
I genuinely have a passion for sales – I think it may be the interaction with clients, the passion and knowledge I have the pleasure of sharing with each individual who visits one of our showrooms as well as our new colleagues. There is something so special about a client purchasing a wristwatch or a piece of jewellery. It is often to celebrate a moment in their life, perhaps a promotion or an anniversary, a milestone or a birthday and the experience of purchasing that cherished item becomes a memory in itself.
I have to admit that for me the most special moments in my career have been proposals. There is something so beautiful about a client sharing with you the special plans they have created for a surprise proposal and knowing you will forever be part of that memory.
Do you think your role as a diamond specialist has changed throughout the years?
Today, the world of sales is completely different to how I remember it when I started my career in 1993. The most significant change is that many of our clients’ now research or explore the jewellery pieces we offer online or on our social media channels prior to visiting our showroom. Our clients’ may have seen a piece of jewellery that has inspired them in a magazine or perhaps a selection of engagement rings on Instagram that they feel their partner would love, all of this information aids us in guiding them to the perfect choice.
It is so important that our showrooms are able to offer the same exceptional service we offer in our showrooms online. At Prestons, although we don't sell fine jewellery or wristwatches on our website, we pride ourselves on offering a comprehensive insight into our expertise, our showrooms and the experience of visiting us on prestonsdiamonds.co.uk.
In your opinion, what is considered to be one of the most classic pieces of jewellery?
I think every jewellery collection should contain a few classic pieces that you can wear alongside more statement personalised pieces. The jewellery often considered to be the most classic or classic in more traditional terms are pieces like a diamond pendant or a pair of diamond earrings. In most cases these are round brilliant cut white diamonds but for a more contemporary style many of our clients consider an understated diamond surround or perhaps a fancy cut of diamond, adding that subtle twist on a classic design.
If a client is looking to purchase an engagement ring, where should they start? I am sure there are so many factors to consider!
I think the most thrilling moment is when you decide you would like to spend the rest of your life with someone. I know that choosing an engagement ring can be a daunting experience but it is also incredibly exciting and choosing the perfect engagement ring is just an extension of that incredible memory.
There is not one engagement ring style that is universally the most popular option, it is however about choosing a ring that suits yourself or partner’s style perfectly. I like to ask questions such as, what metal or colour jewellery do you wear usually? Is your style more classic or more contemporary? There are so many questions that we as sales consultants can ask to delve into what could possibly be the right choice.
The next step is often to talk through the three key styles of engagement rings, solitaire, trilogy or three stone and halo, each of which can be set with or without diamond shoulders. It may be also that we discuss the idea of a bespoke design or combining elements from multiple designs to create something truly unique. Our engagement ring collections, shown here, offer a really exceptional selection of pieces, each charming in their own way.
Another key factor to consider when delving into the world of engagement rings is the characteristics of diamonds, more commonly known as the 4 C’s, which I explore a bit further later in this interview.
A diamond is an incredible gemstone, the way its characteristics and its features combine together to create each stone’s unique value. Is there a particular characteristic you feel is the most important?
Each of the four diamond characteristics, colour, clarity, carat and cut, are important for their own reasons. For every one of our clients it is about finding the combination of these four characteristics that best suits their needs. If I had to personally chose one characteristic, I would choose colour.
The colour of a diamond represents how white the gemstone is, the whiter the gemstone the greater the light reflection and brilliance. A diamond which reflects light well appears to you and I to have more vibrancy or more fire, essentially, more sparkle.
There is a diamond guide on our website here which explores in detail each of these characteristics and the role they play in creating a diamonds value.
Which cut or shape of diamond is your personal favourite?
This is such a personal choice and, of course, each diamond is completely unique. If I had to select one cut of diamond as my favourite it would have to be the oval cut, like the one shown here. I adore its delicately rounded corners, its softly elongated shape and its vibrancy and sparkle. I understand that it doesn't have as many facets as the more classic round brilliant cut but there is something so romantic about the oval.
Today, selecting or purchasing an engagement ring online is something many individuals may consider. Is this something you think a client should consider?
As a diamond specialist and someone who understands how complicated it can be selecting an engagement ring, I would support a client to follow the process they feel most comfortable with. In most instances however discovering this process and selecting the perfect engagement ring is a process I would suggest exploring in our showrooms, the best way to truly appreciate a diamond is in person.
The client’s or couple’s visit to our showroom often becomes a memory in itself. The moment you choose your perfect diamond, the style that suits you perfectly and the entire experience. The day is such a special moment that each member of our team wants to ensure you remember, cherish and love forever.
The team at Prestons talk a lot about The Prestons Experience – what is it about each of the Prestons showrooms that makes them so special?
It is so hard to explain in writing what The Prestons Experience is – I suppose it's a feeling, a feeling we hope to offer each and every client who visits one of our showrooms. The Prestons Experience combines an exceptional service level, an acute attention to detail, a wealth of product knowledge and the ambiance we hope that each of our showrooms creates with a little help from a glass of champagne or two.
I am grateful to work in a beautiful showroom and have so many incredible memories from those special moments I have helped create.
If you would like any further information or advice on our fine jewellery collections, our showrooms or our services, please contact us here.