For many, the thought of going into a shop to spend more money than they've ever spent on one piece of jewellery before, is daunting enough. Selecting from rows and rows of seemingly similar (yet vastly different) sparkling stones can be overwhelming.
But suggest that a prospective groom doesn't even choose from anything in front of him, but instead dreams up his own design - as Prince Harry did - and it can quite frankly be enough to push him over the edge. Even if the bride offers her assistance (more and more couples are now opting to choose a ring together), it can still seem an impossible task, no matter how clear an idea you might have of what you want.
So where to start? When choosing to design an entirely unique ring, it's important to find a talented expert who does the right amount of hand-holding, while still inspiring you to design an ambitiously individual piece of jewellery. We spoke to some of Bazaar's favourite bespoke jewellers to get your creative juices flowing...
4. Bear Brooksbank
Bear Brooksbank excels at reinventing jewellery – taking heirloom pieces and transforming them into contemporary engagement rings – saving them from a lifetime of lingering in a dusty safe. “I start by asking customers what makes the piece special, which parts, whether stones, metal or shapes, would they like to use in the new ring?” she explains. “It’s up to the couple, whether they want an extreme change or just a subtle update.”
Previous pieces Brooksbank has worked on include a sapphire and diamond cluster ring mounted in platinum, which had belonged to the groom’s grandmother. “The bride was a yellow-gold girl, so I encouraged her to go for it, while keeping the grandmother’s stones.” Another commission used gems from a brooch that the groom had been given by his mother to make a ring for his wife-to-be; he was given half of the diamonds and his brother received the other half.
If, however, you’re struggling to see a new lease of life in great aunty’s fussy brooch, you don’t have to arrive with a fully formed plan. “I always say just come with as many or as few ideas as you want,” she explains. “As soon as you meet a couple you start to build a picture of who they are, and designing a piece that you think encapsulates their love is a real privilege.”