Jewellery to excite
your imagination
British Jewellery Association

Are you looking for a bespoke piece of jewellery?

Aqua and diamond ring

 

The beauty of bespoke jewellery is that you can personalise it lots of different ways – from something standard, to something super special! By its nature jewellery tends to be a very personal item, often given as a token of love, affection or gratitude to someone special – but there are plenty of ways to up the ante in the personalisation stakes.

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As a bespoke jeweller we only do custom-made, but there’s lots more to personalising jewellery than just making a ring to fit. Here are some more of the ways we can create the ultimate personalised piece of jewellery.
Personalisation ideas for jewellery

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One of the more obvious personalisation techniques is laser engraving, but rather than a regular font and a name or a date, how about something more unique?
• Stylised engraving in your own handwriting
• A symbol, sign or quote (check out our gallery to see the Superman logo we put on the inside of a wedding ring)
• A genuine fingerprint – Your partners finger print or thumb print!!
Of course there may be limitations on what you can have engraved, depending on the type of jewellery – but our team are always on hand to advise and may be able to offer some ideas you’ve not even considered.

The perfect, personalised fit
Rings can come in all shapes and sizes, just like the fingers that wear them, so it pays to ensure your design is suited to these personal dimensions. And we’re not just talking circumference – there are lots of ways we can style your ring to suit…• Personalised gems and diamonds – we can source gemstones to order, to your exact specifications, so we can ensure that you get the right shape to suit the finger it’ll sit on. Some cuts will make short fingers look shorter, while longer pointed shapes can help to elongate, so think about the overall, finished effect• Future proofed personalisation – want 10 diamonds but only have budget for five right now? Our flexible design service means that we can create a ring to suit your current budget whilst leaving you flexibility to add diamonds in the future.
• Stack and shape – we can shape your ring around existing jewellery, so that the bands and stones won’t overlap or create gapping, personalising it to the exact fit required
Unlike in high street jewellers, because your item is completely bespoke and crafted to your unique criteria, you also have total flexibility when it comes to metals (platinum, white gold, rose gold, palladium etc), and also stone colours – diamonds looking pretty in pink or a sophisticated black anyone?!

Gents wedding band with Superman logo

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Anything is possible!
We’ve had all kinds of unique requests for unusual jewellery pass through our studio, and we love rising to a challenge! Check out our necklace crafted from coal and our coal shovel charms , or some of the personalised men’s wedding rings we’ve created for previous happy customers – they might inspire some of your own exciting ideas.
One of the reasons we’re able to develop such unique pieces of jewellery is thanks to our fantastic CAD software. We can create an initial concept as a 3D visualisation, so you can see exactly what the piece would look like before committing to production – giving you the chance to adapt and tweak until it’s absolutely perfect. If you have an idea for a personalised piece of jewellery, a friendly chat doesn’t cost anything – so give Iain and the studio team a call on 01274 551224 and we can make you an appointment to talk through your ideas.

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Looking after your wedding and engagement rings on honeymoon

 

It’s likely to be one of the best trips of your life and you probably want to show off your new rings, but looking after your wedding and engagement rings on honeymoon is a must.

When you’ve invested money in rings you intend to wear for life it’s important to take good care of them, so here are our top tips for looking after your engagement and wedding rings on honeymoon.

1.       Be sure to insure

Looking after your rings on honeymoon starts before you even set foot in the airport – you need to make sure you have the right insurance for them. Now we’re not experts, but it’s worth checking the small print of your travel insurance to see whether you should be declaring your rings specifically on the policy to make sure they are covered. Speak to your insurer if you aren’t certain. Some insurers ask to see a valuation certificate. If they do, we can help by producing one of these for you. Prices start at £45.00.

2.       Grit, sand and other nasties

Even the strongest metals will scratch and sand is one of the biggest culprits for causing damage. We’re not talking big gouges out of the metal, but lots of small, light scratches will soon make a ring look dull. Remember, diamonds are made out of sand; it’s one of the hardest substances known to man. Don’t underestimate the damage it could do to the shine of your new rings.

Other things to watch out for are grout and tiles around the swimming pool. Think about the pressure you’re putting on the ring as you pull yourself out of the pool and how abrasive the tiles can feel; great for not slipping when they’re wet, not so great for a newly-polished ring.

The metal hand rails on the steps of the pool could also affect the condition of your new ring, causing tiny scratches as your ring rubs against it when you grab the rail.

And, don’t underestimate the sea! When you hands are cold your fingers can shrink a little. We have known clients lose their rings in the sea when it slipped off a cold finger, or the force of the waves has caused the ring to simply get washed away.

It’s a fact that you can’t keep your rings looking brand new forever but avoiding wearing them on the beach and by the pool will go a long way to keeping them looking like new for longer.

3.       Lotions and potions

We all know the importance of wearing sun screen, but it can get into crevices in rings and be tricky to get out. Stone-set rings in particular will suffer from cream getting underneath stones and making them appear dull, so it’s probably best to take your rings off while applying sun cream.

If you do get cream on your rings, here are a few tips for cleaning them without damaging them:

Use a bowl rather than the sink – if you’re unfortunate enough to lose any stones while cleaning your rings, earrings or necklaces you can easily retrieve them and there’s much less chance of them disappearing down the plug hole

Hot soapy water goes a long way – make the water as hot as you can stand, add washing up liquid and allow the jewellery to soak in it for a little while before starting the cleaning

An old electric toothbrush head gets into nooks and crannies – save an old electric toothbrush head, put it back on your toothbrush and, having soaked your jewellery in hot soapy water, use it to get into the hard to reach places. Remember that stones need to be clear underneath as well as on top to sparkle at their best

Once clean, pat – don’t rub – your jewellery dry with a clean soft cloth and use another to give it a polish. Changing cloths is important because any debris that comes off on to the cloth when you dry the jewellery could scratch it when you polish

4.        Better safe than sorry

There’s an easy way to avoid all of these holiday jewellery hazards – take your rings off during the day. Just make sure you put them in a safe place, preferably one with a lock. It’s unusual to find a hotel without safes in the room these days and it’s worth the small charge to hire it for a couple of weeks for the peace of mind of knowing your new rings and other valuables are safe.

5.       If all else fails, call in the professionals

If your rings are looking a little lack-lustre, whether that’s because you’ve worn them on honeymoon or they are just suffering from every-day wear and tear, we can professionally clean and polish them for you. Your rings will be returned to as-good-as-new condition. Give us a call for a quote and to arrange to drop them at the studio. The images below show the before and after shots of a gents wedding band that suffered from general wear and tear on honeymoon and then the way it looked after a quick clean and polish from us here at IHD.

Gents wedding band damaged by general wear and tear on honeymoon

Gents wedding band damaged by general wear and tear on honeymoon

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Gents wedding band refinished to look like new after the honeymoon

 

If you’re still planning your big day and honeymoon and want some advice about wedding rings, give our friendly team a call to book an appointment at our studio on 01274 551224.

 


Engagement rings and sparkly things – are you proposing this Valentine’s Day?

 

2016 is a Leap Year, when women traditionally propose to men on 29 February, the extra day of the year. There are various traditions around the world linked to the extra day. In some countries men have to give the women a gift if they refuse (anything from a silk dress to pairs of leather gloves).

Since we’re in the 21st century, much of the stigma of women proposing to men has disappeared (thank goodness). At IHD we’ve helped women propose to men and women – and vice versa too!

So regardless of who you are and who you want to marry, if you’re wrangling over whether or not to pop the question this February there’s still time to have something in your pocket – just. Here are our top tips for last-minute proposals:

Do it somewhere you both enjoy being – whether that’s at home, on your favourite walk, or on holiday if you’re lucky enough to be jetting off. You don’t need to create an elaborate scene for the proposal to mean something

Plan ahead – your intended may not appreciate being the centre of attention as soon as you drop to one knee, so if you have a special place in mind for popping the question, think about when you may have it (almost) to yourselves

Put them first – think about what they would like, whether that’s hearts and flowers, or a simple proposal at home over dinner. There’s no need to create a big spectacle for the proposal to be meaningful

Think about what to say – having someone ask you to marry them is a big deal for anyone, so think carefully about what you want to say to your intended. What do you love about them? Why do you want to marry them? It’s the words which will make the moment even more special

Think about what’s in the box – it’s traditional to have purchased a ring before proposing and we can still create a beautiful one for you in time for a Valentine’s Day proposal, but this might not be what you (or your intended) would want. Our unique propose with a diamond concept gives you the drama of opening a box and involves your intended in the design of the finished item (and it avoids that awkward moment if they don’t like what you chose)

 

Mark recently proposed to his long-term partner Cat with a beautiful brilliant cut diamond. (This is the only part Mark knew he’d got right!). They came to the studio to design the ring together and will be picking it up next week.

We love this image taken by Mark himself!

 

Mark said: “Cat has particular taste and getting this substantial purchase wrong would be a disaster. Anyone can walk into a jeweller’s and pick a ring, but I wanted her to have some control and also the experience of meeting the jeweller and trying on lots of rings before arriving at a decision. You can’t get it wrong if you do that.”

We’re always delighted to help people plan their perfect proposal and can be flexible around your budget and timescales (within reason!). Why not give us a call to book an appointment in the studio. We have more than 100 samples of rings for men and women which will help you decide what’s best for your intended. We’ll put the kettle on and you can take your time discussing all of the options. Call us on 01274 551224 or get in touch through our contact form.

Our very own logo, designed in 18ct yellow gold and platinum!

Our very own logo, designed in 18ct yellow gold and platinum!

Did you know we also offer a CAD service here at IHD?

Well we do!

So, what is CAD, and what does it mean to you?

Well, for those that don’t already know, CAD stands for computer aided design and is software used by many different industries (including jewellers) to create precision drawings or technical illustrations. CAD software can be used to create two-dimensional (2-D) drawings or three-dimensional (3-D) models.

So, how does that help you when you want to create a piece of jewellery? Well we often find here at IHD that customers come to us because they are not able to find what they are looking for elsewhere. This might mean that the piece of jewellery they are looking for is a completely unique, one off piece, maybe you have several pieces of jewellery that you no longer wear or has been passed down to you and you’d like to make them into a new design or it might mean that you simply need a certain ring design to fit with your existing engagement ring and it’s simply not available on the High Street. Either way, the customer is looking for something that can’t be bought off the shelf. That’s where CAD comes in. Karl, our CAD expert can talk to you about your ideas, take some measurements, perhaps draw a quick sketch then go away to design your ring (or other piece of jewellery) for you. He is able to design the piece in any metal you like, add the stones you like and even show you images from several different angles so you can see how your piece is going to look.

We can offer you this service in two different ways, either as a stand alone design service whereby you can take the finished design away and have it made anywhere you choose, or (and this would obviously be our preferred option) we can do the design and then make the piece for you.

This is how it works.

The CAD service is a one off fee of £265.00 payable up front. Each design normally takes around three hours to complete. If the design takes longer then we don’t charge any extra. The turnaround time from listening to your ideas to having a design that you can look at is approx. 10 working days. We will then send you the images, talk about any alterations you may want to make and how you want to proceed. (we don’t charge for any minor alterations to your design as we know there will most likely be a few tweaks to make here and there! However,  if you change your mind completely and a major re-design is required then a complete new CAD would have to be made and will be charged for at £265.00).

If you choose to take your design to another jeweller  then we will gladly supply you with your CAD file to take elsewhere.

We specialise is designing engagement rings here at IHD, but we will also happily design pendants, wedding bands, brooches or bracelets. The only limit is your imagination! If you’d like to know more about our CAD service then please do get in touch, we’d love to hear all about your ideas and how we can help make them into a piece of jewellery.

Here are just some of the beautiful pieces Karl has designed over the past few months.

Rose gold wedding band with 1.2mm diamonds set in a sweeping channel across the ring

Rose gold wedding band with 1.2mm diamonds set in a sweeping channel across the ring

Platinum engagement ring with 1.0ct pear shaped diamond centre stone and 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders

Platinum engagement ring with 1.0ct pear shaped diamond centre stone and 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders

Platinum engagement ring with 1.0ct pear shaped daimond centre stone and 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders - side view

Platinum engagement ring with 1.0ct pear shaped daimond centre stone and 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders – side view

Rose gold engagement ring with 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders and 0.35ct diamond centre stone

Rose gold engagement ring with 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders and 0.35ct diamond centre stone

Remodel in platinum with customer's own diamonds set in the centre and alternate princess and baguette cut diamonds set in the shoulders - top view

Remodel in platinum with customer’s own diamonds set in the centre and alternate princess and baguette cut diamonds set in the shoulders – top view

Remodel made from customer's own diamonds (from a ring), reset into a palladium pendant

Remodel made from customer’s own diamonds (from a ring), reset into a palladium pendant

Platinum wedding band set with 1.75mm citrines

Platinum wedding band set with 1.75mm citrines

Platinum eternity band with 4x2mm black baguette diamonds and 18ct yellow gold eternity band with 4x2mm rubies.

Platinum eternity band with 4x2mm black baguette diamonds and 18ct yellow gold eternity band with 4x2mm rubies.

Platinum engagement ring with a 12x10mm oval shaped citrine centre stone and diamonds on the shoulders

Platinum engagement ring with a 12x10mm oval shaped citrine centre stone and diamonds on the shoulders

Platinum engagement ring with 12x10mm oval shaped citrine centre stone and diamonds on the shoulders

Platinum engagement ring with 12x10mm oval shaped citrine centre stone and diamonds on the shoulders

Platinum engagement ring with 1.0ct emerald cut diamond centre stone and 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders

Platinum engagement ring with 1.0ct emerald cut diamond centre stone and 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders

Platinum engagement ring with 1.0ct emerald cut diamond centre stone and 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders - side view

Platinum engagement ring with 1.0ct emerald cut diamond centre stone and 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders – side view

Platinum engagement ring with 0.90ct princess cut diamond

Platinum engagement ring with 0.90ct princess cut diamond

Platinum engagement ring with 0.90ct princess cut diamond centre stone

Platinum engagement ring with 0.90ct princess cut diamond centre stone

Platinum engagement ring with 0.40ct sapphire, 0.40ct  emerald and 0.40ct diamond

Platinum engagement ring with 0.40ct sapphire, 0.40ct emerald and 0.40ct diamond

Palladium ring with white and green 3mm and 1.5mm diamonds set alternatively.

Palladium ring with white and green 3mm and 1.5mm diamonds set alternatively.

Palladium ring in a horseshoe design with 1.2mm diamonds on the shoulders and a 0.40ct centre stone

Palladium ring in a horseshoe design with 1.2mm diamonds on the shoulders and a 0.40ct centre stone

A remodel of customer's very traditional engagement ring into something more contemporary. 18ct yellow gold ring set with customers own stones in a palladium head.

A remodel of customer’s very traditional engagement ring into something more contemporary. 18ct yellow gold ring set with customers own stones in a palladium head.

A remodel in platinum with customer's own emerald cut and baguette diamonds set in the centre and alternate princess and baguette cut diamonds on the shoulders

A remodel in platinum with customer’s own emerald cut and baguette diamonds set in the centre and alternate princess and baguette cut diamonds on the shoulders

18ct yellow gold wedding band with tourmalines going all the way around the ring

18ct yellow gold wedding band with tourmalines going all the way around the ring

18ct yellow gold engagement ring with 2 white diamonds and 1 black diamond set in a platinum head

18ct yellow gold engagement ring with 2 white diamonds and 1 black diamond set in a platinum head

18ct yellow gold engagement ring with 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders and 0.75ct opal centre stone

18ct yellow gold engagement ring with 1.5mm diamonds on the shoulders and 0.75ct opal centre stone

18ct rose gold engagment ring with 1.0ct diamond centre stone and 1.2mm diamonds in the shoulders.  Wedding band set with 1.2mm diamonds to match engagement ring

18ct rose gold engagment ring with 1.0ct diamond centre stone and 1.2mm diamonds in the shoulders. Wedding band set with 1.2mm diamonds to match engagement ring

 

Our most unusual bespoke jewellery challenge yet.

We love to make bespoke jewellery and regularly make engagement and wedding rings for excited brides and grooms. You may also have read about the bespoke necklace we made to house a piece of coal which had been carried by a bride on her wedding day and which, as mother of the groom, she now wanted to wear on his special day.

Coal necklace made from the original piece of coal given to the bride on her wedding day.

Coal necklace made from the original piece of coal given to the bride on her wedding day.

We had the honour of making two more future family heirlooms for the same lady who wanted to give something special to her grand-daughters for their christening. This time we made two miniature shovels which can be worn on necklaces – and although a shovel isn’t a traditional christening gift, it was chosen for a very special reason.

The girls’ parents had met through a shared love of heritage railways and their grandmother – our enthusiastic client – had carried a piece of coal, given to her by her father, on her wedding day not just because it was considered lucky, but because her intended was also a heritage railway enthusiast and steam train driver.

The piece of equipment the charms are modelled on is a railway firing shovel (we’re reliably informed it’s a Lucas, for those in the know!) We made two identical ones from silver, and gold plated the handles, then oxidised to give the shovel an authentic dirty look. Both charms are actually scale models of the real thing (here’s our jeweller Karl’s first working sketch) and our client was as delighted with the result as we were with the challenge.

Raw materials and design plan

“As usual the team have excelled themselves in producing fabulous pieces of work, I know for sure how much effort Karl in particular put into getting them absolutely right…” wrote Andrea.

“The IHD team are perfectionists indeed, and these little silver shovels will provide the girls with a permanent reminder of what brought their parents together!”

Here are a few images of the shovel in various stages of production – we think you’ll agree the end result is perfect!

The silver wire and silver sheet that the shovel was cut from

The silver wire and silver sheet that the shovel was cut from

The base of the shovel has now had the top part soldered to it to give the distinctive scooped shape

The base of the shovel has now had the top part soldered to it to give the distinctive scooped shape

The individual parts of the shovel are now ready to be soldered together.

The individual parts of the shovel are now ready to be soldered together.

The handle and the base are now soldered together and the shovel is ready to be polished

The handle and the base are now soldered together and the shovel is ready to be cleaned up

The shovel is now cleaned up ready to be oxidised and gold plated

The shovel is now cleaned up ready to be oxidised and gold plated

The finished shovel. The handle is gold plated and the base of the shovel is oxidised to give it that 'dirty' look

The finished shovel. The handle is gold plated and the base of the shovel is oxidised to give it that ‘dirty’ look

 

 

If you have a bespoke jewellery challenge for us – whether it’s a new ring you’ve been thinking about, some family jewellery you want re-modelling or something a little more out-of-the-ordinary – make an appointment to come and see us at the studio and we can talk it through together.

Give us a call on 01274 551224 or email us on info@iainhenderson.co.uk or contact us here

 

Choosing the right wedding ring for men

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A wedding ring and the photos are often the only permanent reminders of the day, so it’s important to get that special symbol of your commitment right.

We’ve made a wide range of bespoke men’s wedding rings and know that choosing just the right one can feel intimidating and confusing because of all the options.

Don’t be fazed by all of the choices you’ll need to make. Here are our top tips for picking the perfect men’s wedding ring.

Go bespoke for the perfect fit

It’s no surprise that we recommend having a bespoke wedding ring, it’s what we do. But why would you buy something in a shop that hundreds of other people could be wearing when you can have something unique and designed by you?

If that’s not enough to convince you, how about an almost infinite number of variables to make sure that your wedding ring is the perfect fit? From profile, width and weight to colour, metal and finishing touches, our expert team will work with you to design your dream wedding ring and will make the process feel easy.

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Think long-term when designing the ring

For some men their wedding ring is the only jewellery they wear apart from a watch. It’s important then that a wedding ring fits your lifestyle and will be suitable in the long term.

If you have a job where you use your hands a lot you will need to consider the metal you choose for your ring to make sure it’s hard-wearing. Titanium is a hard-wearing white metal and we’re doing an increasing number of rings made from this metal for practical modern men. We’ve even made a wedding ring from stainless steel! And the great thing about titanium is that it can come in many different finishes, brushed or polished or a combination of both. Or we can add inlays in different metals such as white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, palladium or platinum.

A brushed finish may look great on your wedding day, but to keep it looking like that you’ll need to have the finish re-applied. Of course, this gives you the opportunity to subtly alter your wedding ring every once in a while, so could be an advantage if you wanted a bit of a change.  Because all the finishes are bespoke, if you fancied changing your ring from a matt finish to a polished one a few years after your wedding then you could, or vice versa. We do specialise in polished and brushed combinations which can be altered at any time to become all polished, all brushed or even a different combination of the two.

We do recognise that many men are not used to wearing rings, in fact most of the men that visit us here at the studio have never worn a ring before and they really don’t know what they want. What we try to explain is that the ring will most likely feel alien to you for the first 2 weeks. By the 3rd week you will be getting used to it and by the 4th week, it will feel strange if you are not wearing it!

If you aren’t used to wearing rings perhaps a lighter metal like titanium would be better as it won’t feel so heavy on your finger? Or you could alter the shape of the ring, making it more curved on the inside so it’s comfortable to wear, even if you choose a contemporary flat shape for the outside of the ring. Ask Iain or one of the team for advice on which metals will be best for your requirements.

Make it personal

There’s a multitude of ways you can create a ring which is personal to you, from choosing the colour and type of metal, to the design of the ring itself.

Increasingly men are choosing to set their rings with diamonds or coloured diamonds (black being the most popular), but you can also change the look of your wedding ring by making it brushed or matt-look, or designing a combination of the two. We’ve made dual-colour rings using different metals, as well as simple and understated ones from unusual materials such as stainless steel and palladium.

A brushed or matt-effect can be added to most rings and we can also make them half polished, half matt if that’s the look you want. Just bear in mind you’ll have to have the matt-effect re-applied to keep it looking sharp.

Engraving is also gaining in popularity, both on the inside and outside of rings. We’ve engraved a lot of dates and personal messages on our customer’s rings and can even use your own handwriting or add a fingerprint for that super-personal touch.

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Complementary or different?

A generation ago wedding rings were bought from a high street jeweller’s as a matching pair, but these days there’s less emphasis on how the rings look together, and much more emphasis on them being simply right for the person who is wearing them.

It will be down to personal choice between you and your intended about whether you want rings that match, are complementary or totally different. We’ve created a wide selection of bespoke wedding rings, some matching, some complementary, and some bearing no resemblance to one another.  What matters most is that you’re both happy with the choice of ring.

Katherine _ Rob May 2015

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If you’re still in need of inspiration check out our men’s wedding ring gallery here or make an appointment to come to see Iain and the team at our jewellery studio near Bradford by calling 01274 551224.

Your Guide to Bespoke Earrings

Citrine Earrings

Citrine Pendant with matching earrings

When thinking about bespoke jewellery, earrings perhaps don’t spring immediately to mind, but they make a lovely gift, can involve as much creativity as any other handmade jewellery and can be made to suit even a modest budget.

We love making bespoke earrings for our clients and have made a wide variety – from small and set with stones from family jewellery, to bigger, more statement pieces.

Bangle, Pendant, Ring and Earrings collection

Here are our top tips for commissioning bespoke earrings.

  1. If they are a gift, spend a bit of time looking at the kind of earrings the lucky recipient already wears. Some women prefer smaller earrings, some studs, some drops, others hoops, so get ideas from what you already see them wearing
  2. Think about whether they are for every-day wear or more for a special occasion as this could influence the design. Do they need to go with a certain outfit, for example? A prom or wedding dress perhaps. For example, Chandelier earrings make a wonderful statement at a party or event, but perhaps won’t be worn every day.
  3. Can you commission something to match an existing necklace or bracelet? It’s always nice to have jewellery you can wear as a set. Maybe the groom can surprise the bride by commissioning some diamond earrings that match the style of her wedding and engagement ring?
  4. Bring dimensions. Take looking at existing earrings to another level by measuring the length and width of an existing pair of earrings to ensure you get the right proportions. It can be very hard to guess
  5. Have an idea of what style you’d like – the colour of metal, studs or drops, set with stones or not? Other ways to add to the design include having a beaten or brushed effect on the metal, or combining two colours of metal
  6. Consider your budget. While we can help you design something to fit the money you want to spend it’s fair to say that a few hundred pounds won’t buy you large diamond-set hoops! Many of our customers love the classic diamond studs. We discuss with you size of diamond, whether you are looking for princess or brilliant cut, emerald or baguette cuts and what metal you would like them setting into. We can then show you the very best quality that your budget will buy.
  7. Leave enough time. Bespoke jewellery, by its very nature, takes time and effort to make. If you’re buying a gift for a birthday or special occasion we recommend giving us at least 3 weeks to make them. And you can add a few weeks for a couple of appointments to come up with and finalise the design. (these are rough guidelines, if you are in a hurry and need some earrings quickly its always worth asking us – we will do our very best to work to your timescales if we can).
  8. Fastenings are important. You don’t want your new bespoke jewellery to get lost – according to Direct Line, 3m earrings were lost between 2008 and 2013 (http://www.directline.com/home-insurance/advice/800-000-jewellerypiecesvanishdownthedrain) We’ll talk to you about the best way to ensure your earrings are secure during the design process
  9. Be allergy-aware. Some people are allergic to particular metals, so try to be aware if you’re buying a gift. One sneaky way to find out what the lucky recipient can wear is to complement a pair of earrings they are wearing and ask what they’re made from
  10. Bring pictures. For a simple way to describe the kind of earring you’re looking for, bring pictures of similar styles to the first design appointment. You could even bring a picture of the person you’re buying for so we can use this to help you make the right decision

 

Earring collection

Matching Rings, Pendant and Earrings set

Cross pendant & earrings

Our friendly team is here to help guide you through the exciting process of buying bespoke, handmade jewellery. Give us a call to arrange an appointment in the studio on 01274 551224 or contact us here 

 

Diamond earrings

 

Help with hallmarks – the stamp of quality

In the UK, consumers have been protected by hallmarking for almost 700 years. In 1999, the original Hallmarking Act of 1973 was updated to bring the UK in line with the rest of the EU, allowing this independently assessed guarantee to cover a wider range of purity grades (known as fineness).

Despite the updated legislation, a hallmark remains the official seal of approval, ensuring that the quality of your gold, silver, platinum or palladium jewellery is of the standard claimed by the seller – and of course, at Iain Henderson Designs, all of our handmade, bespoke jewellery carries the relevant insignia.

Why does it matter?

Items containing precious metals can represent monetary, sentimental and personal value – so you want to be sure that you’re getting what you’ve paid for. These marks of guaranteed quality clearly identify the purity (measured by the ratio of gold etc to the other metals contained in the item) and various other key details to show that they’ve been through the strict process required to earn them.

What they mean – your guide to hallmarks

Compare any two items of hallmarked jewellery and you’ll probably find that the marks are different – that’s because they consist of a variety of elements that each indicates a different thing. The main, current marks you’ll see on UK made jewellery are as follows:

 

The Sponsor’s Mark – this shows who sent the finished item for testing and hallmarking, and can be the manufacturer, importer, retailer or an individual who commissioned the piece. To obtain a sponsor’s mark, you have to register with, and be approved by, an Assay Office. 

 

The Standard Mark – as you can see, each type of precious metal has its own allocated shape, and the number inside indicates the fineness, or purity, of the metal, calculated in parts per 1,000: the higher the number, the purer the metal. And usually, the purer the metal, the more expensive it is. Because all of our jewellery is bespoke we will work with you to identify both the right metal and the right purity to fit your design and your budget.

The most common metals and hallmarks we see in the Uk are 9ct gold (375) and 18ct gold (750), (990 and 999 are for almost pure gold and used rarely due to it being such a soft metal), 925 for sterling silver, 950 for platinum and 950 for palladium. 500 palladium is also regularly seen in on the highstreet  throughout the Uk but we don’t work with this metal at our studio as it is not as good quality as the palladium 950. (Palladium 500 is made up of only 50% palladium with the rest of the metal being made up of other alloys.)

 

 

 

The Assay Office Mark – this shows which Assay Office tested and hallmarked the item.

Date Mark – the year that the item was made and tested will be represented by a letter.

 

Commemorative Marks – if the item was produced to mark a special occasion, it will also carry a mark to represent that event.

Traditional Marks – you might see these marks on older jewellery items, although they’re still sometimes used as a more traditional alternative to the newer stamps.

There are other types of hallmarks used for internationally produced pieces too – if you have marks on your jewellery that you can’t identify from the list above, a local merchant will be able to tell you what they mean.

Quality jewellery, no compromise

Regardless of your level of knowledge when it comes to the various stamps that make up an official hallmark, there’s one thing that’s essential to know: if someone’s tried to sell you an item of gold, silver, platinum or palladium jewellery and it doesn’t have a hallmark, they’re breaking the law, so don’t buy it!

If you require further information or advice, the friendly experts here at IHD will be happy to answer your questions – and if you have an item that you believe is of the quality necessary for a hallmarked approval, we can take care of that for you for a small fee.

We are Hiring

Here at IHD HQ we are looking for a new Administrative Assistant/PA! This is an exciting and varied role giving much needed support to Iain and Karl. The role will involve general admin duties, looking after clients from first contact right through to them picking up their jewellery, social media and marketing posts, invoicing and other day to day office tasks.

If you are interested or know anyone that is then please do get in touch. We’d love to hear from people who have a least 2 years Administrative experience and want to be part of our team.

Please email your CV and details of why you’d like the job to info@iainhenderson.co.uk - or give us a call on 01274 551224

All you need to know about diamond shapes

Commissioning your own bespoke jewellery is an exciting thing to do – but it’s a process which involves lots of choices that can sometimes feel overwhelming.

What colour metal do you want? What style of ring? Diamonds or coloured stones? What shape? And if the jewellery isn’t for you – perhaps it’s an engagement ring – you need to consider whether your intended will love it too.

Because everything we do at Iain Henderson Designs Ltd (IHD) is bespoke you can literally have anything you want (as long as it’s physically possible to make it!) so we’ve written a few guides to help you understand some of your choices and help you feel more comfortable with the design process.

In this guide we take you through the different shapes of stones. We source all of our diamonds through a specialist diamond merchant based in Belgium. They are a family business which has been sourcing high-quality diamonds for decades so we’re able to find stones that suit all tastes and budgets.

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Brilliant cut

The classic round diamond, this is still a popular choice. It’s easy to match a number of brilliant cut stones together, or even use one larger one enhanced by a series of smaller ones. This diamond has many facets cut into it which gives it a brilliant vibrancy and sparkle.

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Princess cut
This square stone shape has been a popular contemporary choice since it was created in the 1970s, especially for engagement rings. It’s another stone that’s easy to set with others, although it’s often enhanced with stones of a different shape, such as baguette. Small princess cut stones are commonly used to decorate wedding bands. It’s likely we can even fit them to your existing wedding band or design a band that can have them fitted at a later date.

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Baguette cut
Long and slim – literally like a French baguette – these are often used to enhance the setting of a larger stone of a different shape. It generally has less cuts meaning it has less sparkle than a brilliant or princess cut.

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Emerald cut
A rectangular shape, but not as long and slim as a baguette. It has a few more cuts than a baguette diamond giving it more vibrancy, here at IHD we prefer this cut to the baguette cut. As the name suggests, this was a shape originally used for cutting emeralds. The emerald cut is another popular choice for engagement rings and is often set on its own.

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Heart

Heart-shaped stones are unusual but stunning when set on their own – the ultimate romantic choice for an engagement ring, and also beautiful as earrings or pendants. It’s important that heart-shaped stones are symmetrical, which makes sourcing them from an experienced diamond merchant even more critical.

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Pear

Also known as a teardrop, this is another diamond shape which is popular for engagement rings as it’s often set on its own. The point can be worn either towards or away from the wearer, depending on preference. It’s another cut which is stunning as a pendant.

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Oval

An unusual choice but a beautiful one which combines the classic brilliant and contemporary emerald cuts. Looks beautiful when set with smaller brilliant cut stones. Its elongated shape creates the illusion of greater size and its slender shape can make fingers appear slimmer.

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Marquise
A truly stunning cut which looks like a boat viewed from above, being a slim, extended oval with a point at either end. Named because Louis XIV of France had a diamond cut for the Marquise of Pompadour which was meant to resemble the shape of her mouth, the marquise is classic and elegant as an engagement ring, but will certainly need a bespoke wedding ring to shape around its beautiful points.

Design your own jewellery

While these are the most popular stone shapes there are many more, and the options for setting them in your bespoke jewellery are almost infinite. To discuss your perfect piece of jewellery, book an appointment in the studio and our expert team can take you through all of the options. As we source stones to order we can work with almost any budget, so give us a call on 01274 551224 or contact us here.

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We create beautiful rings and jewellery for all occasionas, all hand made in house by Iain and his team of skilled craftsmen. We'd like to think that our creations are by far superior in value to its equivalent on the high street.

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Iain Henderson Designs Ltd.

Based in Bingley, West Yorkshire.

Telephone 01274 551224
Email info@iainhenderson.co.uk

Registered Office: Parkhill Business Centre, Walton Road, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, England LS22 5DZ

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