Can you tell me about your role as a jewellery designer, and how you came to where you are today? I feel incredibly lucky when I talk to people about what I do. I’ve worked within the jewellery industry for the last ten years, mostly for long-standing independent jewellers who gave me the opportunity to find my passion in fine jewellery. One role saw me travelling the length and breadth of the UK as a designer for a huge multiple and this allowed me to recognise the difference in trends in various regions. It also helped me to understand that fundamentally clients love quality and craftsmanship above all else and, in terms of design, the UK loves a classic.
My role as Head of Design for Preston’s allows me to travel to incredible places to hand-select the most beautiful loose stones. If I fall in love with a gemstone I start to imagine what it could be, and I can’t wait to sit and sketch my ideas down, whether it be an engagement ring or a pendant and earring suite.
I’m largely based in Cheshire but I often travel to our Leeds and Guildford showrooms for appointments and design events, I love to share the bespoke experience with our customers. It is incredible to hear the stories of why these pieces of jewellery are coming to be - whether that be an heirloom that is need of reworking so that it is safe to wear; something to signify an anniversary or new baby; or simply that a client would like to create a completely bespoke engagement ring, from start to finish.
My role is so versatile, and I can honestly say I love every minute.
What advice would you offer people looking for wedding rings? My advice would be to set a sensible budget for a quality ring as it will need to stand the test of time. This will be an item of jewellery that will be worn every day for the rest of your married life and will go through the same strains and struggles that your hands go through. Choose a ring made from precious metal – the likes of titanium and carbon fiber, although tempting, are not really suitable as a life-long option. Choose a solid ring – hollow bands can appear to be good value, but they lack durability and trap bacteria. And finally, allow at least 6 weeks before your big day for your rings to be made. Most wedding bands are made to order and it’s best to have a little extra time just in case the size needs tweaking.
What advice would you offer people who are looking to choose an engagement ring? Do a little research at home before venturing to your trusted jeweller. It’s a good idea to see which cuts of stone and colour of metal you prefer, and whether you’d like the classic solitaire or something a little more adventurous. Take your jeweller’s advice on which stones are best for engagement rings. The likes of pearls and opals are best left for special occasions, but there’s a huge variety of exciting coloured gemstones to choose from if you don’t want a traditional diamond. I love getting the opportunity to design something out of the ordinary, and this year we’ve made so many colourful engagement rings which are simply delightful. Consider how the ring will look when it’s stacked with a wedding and eternity ring, and ask your jeweller about making the ring ‘wed-fit’.
What are the new trends for 2020 when it comes to engagement rings and wedding jewellery? Although the classic round solitaires and traditional settings are still dominating our workshop, we’re seeing a definite popularity increase for ‘vintage’ inspired designs. Rose and yellow gold tones are once again on the rise, and intricate, Edwardian and Victorian inspired pieces will be making a bold statement in our Spring/Summer launches for 2020.
Diamond baguette wedding bands are set to be popular, as well as all things ‘Art Deco’. The halo engagement ring has been hugely popular these past ten years, and now we’re starting to see trends evolve, or devolve even, back to the infamous cluster ring, similar to those dominant in the 1920s. We’ve recently sourced a selection of six loose ‘old cut’ diamonds, and I can’t wait to get started on this collection. Inspiration will be taken from the designs prevalent in the early 1800s, up until the 1930s.
You’ve recently opened a new showroom in Leeds, tell us about the idea behind this? We relocated our Rolex boutique in early November to the Victoria Gate shopping centre and so the team behind the scenes have been working tirelessly to relaunch our new Commercial Street showroom in time for Christmas.
This Prestons showroom will specialise in fine jewellery and bridal alongside an extensive selection of pre-owned watches, and so for me, this has been incredibly exciting. The showroom’s interior is stunning, with pale blue and pink pastel shades and chic Scandinavian design. The store will truly reflect the exquisite jewellery pieces we have created for it’s opening, not only will we have a principal range of classic, traditional pieces, such as solitaire engagement rings and diamond eternity rings but also some show-stopping contemporary collections and striking coloured stones.
Our Leeds showroom has an enthusiastic design team delivering the very best of ‘The Preston’s Experience’ – warmth, passion, and unparalleled customer service. Myself and the team at Prestons look forward to welcoming you.
This article is featured in the January edition of Yorkshire Life.