Master Jeweller Q&A
Have you ever looked at a diamond ring and stood mesmerised by its lustre and gazed in awe of the intricacy of its design? If you have, the questions we put to our master jeweller who provide some insight into this fascinating world of diamonds and previous metal. Our master jeweller shares the rigorous training he went through and some of his favourite diamond pieces.
What training did you undergo to become a jewellery maker?
It is a very hands on trade. All the theory is learnt on the job from the masters. I actually began with a metal engineering apprentice, which took me four years. Learning the nature and limitations of the metals. I then did a jewellery apprenticeship, learning all the ways to create rings, hand making jewellery and learning all the ways to set a beautiful stone. I then got to work designing and sculpting jewellery myself, and built a team and a reputation as the best in the business!
What criteria do you have to meet to be recognised as a ‘Master Jeweller'?
A Master Jeweller must have a thorough knowledge of all elements of jewellery and metal crafting. Each piece must be designed to be beautiful but also have impeccable quality and finishing. After all, jewellery is to be worn, not just displayed. It must be strong!
A masterful jeweller has an eye for design, detailed and meticulous in creating, repairing and even re-designing a piece. Most importantly they need to be patient and listen. They devil's in the detail, which is my favourite part!
Some jewellers can call themselves a master jeweller in name only without meeting the training and criteria, what would you say to people who aren't sure about their jeweller's credentials?
To me it's about setting a standard for myself. A ring that is well made will last a lifetime. We offer a lifetime guarantee because we ensure that our settings are made with care to be as strong as possible. Of course, we can't stop using our hands, things will happen and a piece may need to be repaired. A claw pulls on something… I have even had a couple run over their ring! It's about ensuring that everything that leaves my work shop has been made or repaired with the same master precision every time.
Check that your jeweller is JAA accredited and that they adhere to the code of conduct, nationally recognised as the standard in the Australian jewellery industry.
What metals do you work with? Do you have a preference for any particular metal, why: you enjoy it?, it's great to work with?, etc?
They are all so different! We have definitely seen the growing trend of Rose Gold and Yellow Gold coming thorough over recent years. People are going back to the classic look they may have seen their mother or grandmother wear. My preference with rose gold and yellow gold is to set the diamond in white gold and create a two tone look. This ensures that the tone of the white diamond is matched and that no yellow or warmth is reflected within the diamond. I feel that this is the secret with working with rose/yellow gold rings (shh don't tell anyone). Platinum is the most difficult metal to work with because it is the least malleable. I usually recommend platinum for 4-claw settings as it is less likely to bend if caught on something. Every ring is different, so I recommend asking your consultant what is the best metal for you.
What are some of the popular engagement ring design choices you're custom making for Diamond Exchange customers?
We are seeing many customers opting to have a double halo around their centre diamond. This creates a very intricate and glistening piece which enhances a sparkling centre diamond. It is a great design if you have a smaller budget for a centre diamond because it adds width giving the illusion of a bigger stone. There is a lot of work in setting each individual diamond, but the effect is beautiful!
What's one of the most extravagant requests you've ever had?
Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds everywhere! The more involved the design, the more it excites me.
We have had a customer want to create two rings to give to the woman that he loves and her young daughter to show that he was ready to spend his life with both of them. Two identical rings, only one much smaller. I thought that was extravagant!
Have you ever turned down work because you thought their design ideas were too crazy, undeliverable etc.?
Nothing is impossible... However, if I feel like a design may not be structurally sound, or won't look how the customer is picturing I always offer alternatives. The priority is creating a piece that is beautiful and wearable. We don't want diamonds falling out!
Another trend we have seen is setting the diamond particularly high off the setting, this creates amazing depth of field and makes the centre diamond the hero of the piece. A real statement!
What are some of the most requested diamond cuts received for custom engagement rings?
A round brilliant cut diamond is always the most popular cut because of it's amazing fire. But, trends are leaning towards oval and pear diamonds in halo or side stone settings. They have a similar facet arrangement to round diamonds and so offer great sparkle and add length to your fingers.
Are larger carat diamonds easier to work with for placement in settings? Or is it relative to the band and setting chosen?
Small diamonds take time to set, it's true. But the larger the diamond the larger the setting so it is all relative. I recommend discussing the best setting for your diamond with your specialist, sometimes larger diamonds are safer set with an ‘under bezel' or bar that reinforces the claws. All of the designs you see on our website can be customised. Ultimately we need to create something wearable.
What Diamond Exchange Collections have you created/worked on and are most proud of?
Each design you see on our website or in our showroom has been created by myself and the diamond exchange team. We are constantly aware of trends in jewellery, especially engagement rings and we aim to provide as many styles as possible. I am most proud of our upswept halo ring (DEX226) because it is a truly elegant and different design. It has gorgeous structural detail in the underbridge. We are very proud of it and I hope to offer it in all diamond shapes very soon!
Brooke Hogan is a Diamond Exchange Ambassador and recently launched her own collection – what role did you play in bringing that to life?
Working with Brooke was a great experience, creating a collection that was modern and very stylised. Brooke had a strong brief to create something different, which was a fantastic challenge for my team! We worked with a lot of two tone and rose gold. My favourite is the stunning two-tone split band solitaire ring. We saw a lot of bezel set diamonds in Brooke's collection, the offset marquise is another stand out piece.
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