September 25th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
While weddings can be viewed as very indulgent occasions that are all about the bride and groom, they can also provide a beautiful opportunity to think about others, and even to help raise awareness of a charity, foundation or project close to the couple’s hearts.
We’ve seen caring brides and grooms make charitable donations in place of favours or instead of requesting traditional wedding gifts. Others have picked settings or venues that are linked to community projects or whereby the hire fee will support the ongoing maintenance of a historic building. Then there are those that recruit suppliers who pride themselves on offering eco-friendly products – from vegan-friendly bridal shoes and gowns to recycled card invites and organic cakes.
And the considerate supplier we’re introducing you to on the blog today also falls into this latter category by producing beautiful engagement and wedding rings and accessories made using lab-grown diamonds and recycled metals. So, join us as we welcome the wonderful team from MiaDonna to the blog.
Keen to see an end to unethical diamond mining and spread the word of eco-friendly jewels, they’re taking over Brides Up North this afternoon with a special post to highlight the benefits of lab-grown diamonds while showcasing a selection of their gorgeous wedding and engagement rings, for sensitivity that sparkles.
miadonna say: Imagine being the first among your friends to claim your engagement ring is entirely conflict-free. Well we have great news for you! MiaDonna is an online-based jeweller that offers completely affordable and ethical engagement rings, wedding rings and accessories that have the environment’s best interests at heart.
When purchasing a diamond engagement ring, it’s important to consider the physical qualities like cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. But have you ever asked where the diamond came from or who was affected in the process? Consider lab-grown diamonds! They are becoming increasingly popular in engagement rings, but there are still many who don’t understand the excitement and benefits behind these ethical diamonds.
In 2005, MiaDonna began its journey to create an alternative to conflict diamonds. The company upholds their mission to provide consumers conflict-free lab-created diamonds that support global rehabilitation and the prevention of harm to societies. Ever heard of blood or conflict diamonds? These terms highlight the reality of the active diamond mining trade around the world. To this day, these diamonds are mined in war zones and sold to support insurgency.
In 2000, the United Nations established the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) in an effort to prevent “conflict diamonds” from entering the rough diamond market. Unfortunately, this process has proven to be unsuccessful. The KPCS defines “conflict diamonds” as “a rough diamond mined in an area controlled by insurgent forces whose sale is used to finance anti-government military action”. As a result, diamonds that are being mined under horrific conditions but don’t directly fund armed forces are still considered “clean” and sold to unassuming diamond consumers who think they are purchasing conflict-free stones. Not only does this directly contribute to the abuse of diamond mining communities, but it also damages the earth. Each year, more than 150 million carats of diamonds are mined from the earth, which leaves behind gaping holes and large amounts of displaced soil.
March 30th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
Far more than a pretty piece of jewellery, engagement and wedding rings represent the commitments a couple make to one other and therefore it’s important that they last a lifetime.
To ensure top quality as well as a design that’s perfect for you and your partner, we’d always advise spending time discussing all the various options with a professional; with varying metals, jewels and settings to choose from, not to mention the 4Cs of diamond quality.
Fortunately for you, we have a gem of an expert taking over the blog today to explain all the considerations of ring buying while telling us about his personal and professional jewellery business – welcome Gareth Graham, managing director of Luv Olivia.
Covering the North West and Central England, including the Midlands, Luv Olivia offers a bespoke wedding, engagement and eternity ring design service with quality and value at the core of its business ethos.
Bringing a stunning collection of rings direct to the homes of its customers, Gareth and his team go above and beyond in the journey to designing rings which are perfect and unique to each couple. The Luv Olivia team also regularly attend our Luxury Wedding Fairs, sharing their fabulous knowledge and showcasing their stunning collections direct to visiting bride and grooms-to-be!
Can you tell us a little about your background and how Luv Olivia came to fruition?
gareth says: Luv Olivia Jewellery was born in September 2016 out of a desire to combine my wealth of expertise in the jewellery industry with providing a quality customer-centric design service. I fell in love with selling jewellery early on whilst managing a team at Goldsmiths. I developed a passion for sourcing the perfect piece for customers to mark the most memorable occasions in their lives. The company has great values, many of which are instilled in my business today.
However, after eight years it was time to push boundaries and I began building relationships within the trade side of the industry. I worked for a company selling diamonds and for a bespoke wedding jeweller, thus sparking my inspiration to launch Luv Olivia. I have always had an eye for design and coupled with my ability to connect with customers I knew this was the beginning of an exciting and successful venture.
I started by carefully selecting suppliers who I deemed highly skilled, ethical and reputable. After 30 years in the industry I trust that they can produce exceptional quality jewellery.
What does Luv Olivia offer to couples?
The main objective of the business is to be able to offer customers unique rings which are value for money whilst maintaining the quality of the product. The item is most likely a lifetime purchase and it is essential the craftsmanship is of high calibre and durable.
Luv Olivia is so confident in our product that we offer a lifetime manufacturer guarantee as long as the ring is brought back to be checked at least once a year!
Where did the name for the business come from?
The name Luv Olivia is very special to me. Family is the most important part of my life and is the ultimate motivation for success. Olivia is the name of my daughter who amazes me every day with her boldness and determination. She represents the strength behind the brand and evokes a spirit of ingenuity and innovation. The term “Luv” reflects the eternal love between couples forever imprinted in the rings they wear to symbolise their unity.
Can you give us an overview of the rings you stock and how you pick collections for Luv Olivia?
The rings I bring to an appointment are selected from the most popular collections in the UK and Europe. There are more than 100 styles of ladies wedding rings, 80 gents’ rings and 80 engagement rings of different widths and diamond weights. The styles range from plain to very sparkly with diamond sets. There are also options of various shaped wedding bands to fit around all types of engagement ring settings.
How do you advise couples on the right ring(s) for them?
I always advise that the style of wedding ring should enhance the beauty of their engagement ring as that is the pièce de résistance. The rest is decided by the client. I guide them through my collection to ensure that they have seen enough options to make a decision.
What elements should couples think about when picking their wedding rings?
The main elements are the width of the engagement ring band and style of shoulders. It is also important for a couple to decide if they would like an eternity ring in the future. This will affect the width of the wedding band to ensure there is enough room for another ring.
You also offer a bespoke service. Can you tell us a little about this process?
Every ring is made specifically to the bride’s tastes. Although I bring my collection it is only used as a guide for styles, settings and size. Each ring is designed by taking a 3D scan of their engagement ring for the most accurate detail. Then the wedding ring is made to complement both the width and the depth of the engagement ring as I know all too well stock rings can vary in all these aspects.
I come to the comfort of their own home at a time that suits them. This allows for a relaxed environment with no time restraints. I offer advice and educate couples on all of the C’s and which metals are suitable for them.
I am available after the high street stores close and am always on hand to answer any questions. The entire process takes three months to make the perfect wedding ring.
March 8th, 2018 | Rachel Parry
As something special that stays with you long beyond the wedding day, the engagement and wedding rings are without doubt one of the most important purchases on the big day list.
We therefore feel it’s an important area to do your homework in, and to entrust to professionals that have a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping couples to find their perfect bands. Our wonderful Sponsor Lister Horsfall, which has two beautiful Yorkshire stores, is one such professional that can assist.
Having opened its first store back in 1902, the family-run firm has built a glowing reputation over the past century for their personal and efficient service, and now boast stores in both Halifax and Ilkley.
Keen to make the ring-buying experience enjoyable and memorable, the Halifax store houses a luxurious Bridal Suite, giving grooms- and brides-to-be the perfect place to choose their engagement and wedding rings, while receiving expert advice and complimentary drinks.
In addition, all customers benefit from the Lister Horsfall promise, meaning that every piece of jewellery purchased is entitled to a lifetime of clean, re-size and polish. And, if couples buy an engagement ring from Lister Horsfall, they also receive 10% off wedding rings. Plus, up until the end of March Lister Horsfall are offering a pair of 6.5mm cultured pearls worth £100 with every wedding ring set purchased in store.
So, let’s waste no time in handing over to General Manager Gemma Moody, to tell us more about the jeweller’s dazzling offering…
Can you tell us a little about Lister Horsfall’s history and its experience in wedding and engagement rings?
gemma says: Lister Horsfall opened his Halifax jewellers back in 1902, a year after Queen Victoria died – and our proudly family-run Yorkshire business is still one of the crown jewels of the county’s top-end shopping experiences over 115 years later.
It’s this experience, passed on through the generations, that brings customers to us – we understand that it’s both an emotional and exciting time when someone is about to propose or get married, so we make sure that couples get the best experience to help them make their day as perfect as possible.
We stock a range of styles to suit all manner of tastes, and at the heart of that is our commitment to providing our customers with exceptional quality. We pride ourselves on enabling our diamond customers to know exactly what they are buying, which is why all our diamonds are certified through the GIA’s Diamond Grading System. We only stock what we consider to be the best in Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight, carrying certified diamonds at the top of the scale, from D to G.
Whether it’s help choosing the right ring, working to a specific budget or even designing a bespoke piece, all our customers receive a personal service that’s second to none.
Where are Lister Horsfall’s showrooms located and can you tell us a little about them and the jewellery stocked?
You can find us in Ilkley and Halifax; both stores have undergone huge refurbishments in recent years. Pre-Christmas, our Ilkley store was completely refurbished, it looks amazing and the feedback from customers has been fantastic.
Our Halifax branch also houses our luxurious Bridal Suite, giving grooms and brides-to-be the perfect place to choose their engagement and wedding rings.
We stock a range of jewellery from the likes of Mikimoto, Furrer Jacot, Messika, Ponte Vecchio and CARAT. These brands offer stunning ranges and if you’re looking for bridal jewellery, bridesmaids’ gifts or even something special for the mother-of-the-bride, you’ll find the perfect choice.
In addition, we hold watches by Rolex, Tudor, Omega, Breitling, Tag Hauer, Longines and more, both new and pre-owned.
The Halifax showroom has a dedicated engagement & bridal suite, can you tell us about this and the experience it provides for couples?
We have a traditional commitment to a high-quality, personal service, which is why the wedding showroom was a must for us.
Couples can sit down and relax in comfort and privacy, as it’s to the side of the main store floor. Our in-store bar is where you’ll be treated to complimentary drinks whilst you mull over your options for engagement and wedding rings and beyond.
And, if you’re not sure exactly what style you’re looking for, our experienced and down-to-earth team will assist you in finding just the right style for you. It’s a buying experience that treats such a significant life-moment with all the ceremony and care that it deserves.
Can you tell us about the choice of wedding and engagement rings that you stock?
We have an array of exquisite engagement rings from Diamonds by Appointment, true specialists in the field. We are also proud to be one of the few jewellers to stock the UK’s own Brown and Newirth, a wonderful brand that offers customers a wide variety of styles.
Both companies have an absolute commitment to high-quality workmanship, which is why we love working with them.
Do you also offer a bespoke service and, if so, can you tell us about the process of having a ring especially designed and made at Lister Horsfall?
We do, and it’s a very popular service! Customers often bring in images from magazines or drawings they’ve made as initial inspiration for the design. They’ll sit down with Darren, our working jeweller, who will work hand in hand with them to bring their ideas to life. From that, we will produce CAD designs to show what the finished piece will look like and then, once approved, we’ll go ahead and make the ring itself.
It’s a very personal experience that takes about six to eight weeks, and at the end of it you have a truly unique piece of jewellery.
August 3rd, 2016 | Rachel Parry
All wedding journeys tend to start with a ring that will remain on the bride’s hand from the engagement to the ‘I dos’ and throughout married life that follows. As such it’s important that the chosen ring will last a lifetime and offers the most sparkle for your buck.
To help you and your partner pick a winning rock, we’re handing the blog over this morning to GIA Diamonds Graduate Paul Gian. Keen to ensure that couples are clued up on the clarity, cut, color and carat of diamonds before making their ring purchase, expert Paul has set up handy website Beyond4cs.com and is here to share some of his gems of advice with you today…
Images from real weddings featured on these pages and not provided by Sponsor. Please see image credits for photographer details – we love these talented folk!
Can you tell us a little about your background in the diamond & jewellery market?
paul says: My story began back in 2012 when I needed to buy a proposal ring for my fiancée. It started months of frustrating online research as there was a lack of reliable information. As I started reading up, my interest in gemstones and diamonds grew. Since then, I’ve completed the GIA Diamonds Graduate program and built up my own gemstone collection.
When and why did you set up Beyond4cs.com and who is it aimed at?
A diamond engagement ring is possibly one of the most expensive purchases someone would make in their lifetime (besides a car and home). Beyond4cs.com was started in 2014 and it is targeted at fellow consumers to shed light on the engagement ring buying process.
What are the most important elements that should be taken into consideration when shopping for a diamond engagement ring to get the best quality diamond for the budget?
The cut quality of a diamond matters the most because it directly affects how much sparkle the diamond will have.
What would you say to those who have quite a modest budget, what types of diamonds should they be looking at?
It really boils down to personal preferences and needs. There isn’t a particular shape, color or clarity that’s going to appeal to everyone on the same level. In the current market, the most popular diamond shapes are round, princess and cushion.
December 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
There’s no doubt that an engagement ring is one of the most important purchases during a couple’s lifetime. It’s a symbol of your love, and will always remind you of the day when you promised yourselves to each other forever. For many brides it’s also a piece of jewellery that speaks about her personal style – especially if you have an unusual design in mind. Whether you love vintage, diamond clusters, halos or side-stones, your ring should be as uniquely ‘you’ as possible.
To talk about unique engagement ring styles, the team from the luxury London online jeweller TheDiamondStore.co.uk are taking over our corner of the internet with some expert tips and key pieces from their newest collections.
if in doubt, add diamonds
When it comes to engagement rings, there are more options than we tend to realise. The classic solitaire is just a start. Right now the focus is on innovative shapes, big designs and multiple diamonds. Yellow gold is making a slow but elegant comeback. Stones on the ring’s band, or forming a halo around an unusual centre stone, add extra radiance and romance.
It’s good to understand the basic diamond quality factors of the 4Cs – cut, colour, clarity and carat weight. But ultimately it’s the style of a ring that should influence your decision. If you want an antique look, pick detailed Art Deco patterns, multiple diamonds clusters or yellow gold. Minimalist or asymmetrical shapes are instantly more contemporary. And if you want to combine the two, look for a ring that has Old World opulence within sleek, modern geometric lines.
Also, you don’t need to forgo classic design to be unique. Just choose a simpler ring with hidden detail that only you know about. Such as intricate gold work in the shape of a heart underneath the mount.
the bigger the better?
Another important factor when choosing any ring is identifying the right size of the mount. Small hands tend to suit delicate designs. Longer fingers or wider hands can accommodate big settings, as they cover more of the finger without looking too heavy.
follow your heart
Style and size aside, the most important aspect of choosing a unique engagement ring is that it suits your personality. For this, allow yourself simply to be drawn to the right ring. Whatever your heart says will be right.
Visit TheDiamondStore.co.uk to check out their range of rocks. Like you needed telling twice…
July 17th, 2011 | Julia Braime
I’m a bit of a magpie for sparkly pretty things, and the DiamondLove collection by Assuntina Oliva certainly fits that description. Today on the wedding blog I chat to DiamondLove all about their gorgeous range of vintage inspired genuine designer jewellery at affordable prices.
Fancy a bit of Sunday shopping?!
Tell Brides Up North a bit about DiamondLove…
Successful bespoke jewellery designer Assuntina has always had a dream to design beautiful ready to wear jewellery under her own brand name for everyone to wear and enjoy.
Finally this dream has come true in DiamondLove by Assuntina Oliva. A sophisticated, timelessly elegant, vintage inspired range of jewellery dedicated to the bridal/wedding sector.
DiamondLove is about timeless love, love that is unconditional and permanent.
Receiving and giving pieces of ‘DiamondLove’ means that you truly love and are loved. Each piece plays its special part in your journey of love throughout your lives together. By adding diamonds we are symbolising the permanence and strength of that union. All our jewellery is designed in house by us.
What pieces make up the DiamondLove collection?
The DiamondLove range consist of Engagement rings, Wedding rings, Eternity rings, Pendants, Earrings, Bracelets, Tiaras, Sash Brooches, boutonnieres (Lapel flower holders) and cufflinks and is constantly growing.
Tell Brides Up North about your Engagement, Wedding and Eternity rings?
Our Engagement, Wedding and Eternity rings are all individually made. When you place an order for a DiamondLove ring you have to wait 6 weeks for it because this is how long it takes to make and hall mark each one.
All the rings are available in 18ct white and yellow Gold, Platinum or Palladium. Every DiamondLove ring has at least one diamond in it and in some cases, especially for the gentlemen the diamond is discreetly placed on the inside of the ring allowing for the classic look of a plain wedding band but with a touch of chic that the diamond brings to it.
What inspires the DiamondLove designs?
When Assuntina worked on the DiamondLove range she let her imagination run riot through all the classical intense detail of Victoriana, Baroque elegance and topped it off with a swirl of Edwardian grace. Assuntina’s signature style of scroll work and elegant detail is very evident in this range especially the pendants and earrings with lots and lots of glitter and sparkle in the stones and timelessly beautiful fresh water pearls that she has used, making these pieces perfect for all types of wedding and bridesmaids dresses, just have a look and you’ll see that there are plenty of pieces to choose from that will match perfectly.
Assuntina’s inspiration comes from an absolute passion designing jewellery. This is evident in the intensity with which she works. Her research is constant and involves all aspects of peoples’ lifestyles and fashion tastes both current and historical. Nature, Architecture food, art, in fact anything that catches her eye as unique is a potential source of inspiration. Assuntina is an “out of the box” type of thinker, by this I mean she does not limit her research purely to jewellery trends and tastes as she considers this to be limiting. She is never without a pen and sketch book even when she travels as far afield as China or the USA her sketch books and pens go with her.
Who is the DiamondLove bride?
I can sum up in one word what the DiamondLove bride is like, “beautiful”. The DiamondLove team truly believe that on their wedding day all brides look beautiful and our ambition and satisfaction is to be part of that of that celebration of her beauty on her wedding day through our jewellery. So in answer we say all brides are DiamondLove brides and we design everything with them in mind.
What are your best selling pieces?
To be honest all our jewellery is very popular but I would say at the moment our strong sellers have pearls in them. Pearls are very popular at the moment especially for earrings and neckwear and having a pair of pearl set earrings and a matching pearl necklace is proving a “must have”.
Would a DiamondLove piece make a good bridesmaid gift?
All our pieces make excellent bridesmaid’s gifts. We sell a lot of our jewellery purely for that purpose but for bridesmaid’s gifts I would strongly consider what you will be wearing on your wedding day and match the gifts to that. So if it’s pearls for you think about pearls for them as well. If it’s stud earrings for you maybe it should be stud earrings for them as well. I’m sure that you will know your bridesmaids tastes in jewellery quite well so make sure that they will like and be happy to wear what you choose.
What would be your top tips for choosing your wedding jewellery?
When we exhibit at the Wedding shows we are asked for lots of advise from brides to be about what to wear as jewellery on the big day because nearly all of them are doing this for the first time and are coming to the shows and to us for inspiration and ideas and the questions and requests are many and varied but I think the strongest tips are:
Make sure that you have got your dress before you choose your jewellery for the wedding day, this is important for coordinating your look.
Decide how you want to have your hair for your wedding day, up, down, long, short. All of these things can affect which type of pendants and earrings you should wear for example if you have your hair down you may need to have bolder earrings that can be seen easily or maybe you will need greater emphasis on the pendant if you’re going to wear one.
Think about the jewellery that your bridesmaids are going to wear, it can look very chic and elegant if the jewellery you wear relates to that of your bridesmaids and entourage and don’t forget having some jewellery pieces for the groom and best man as well, subtle things like cufflinks or cravat pins and tie clips that relate to your jewellery is very nice.
Don’t neglect your wrists, a graceful, delicate bracelet can really stand our, even if your dress has sleeves like Kate Middleton’s.
Finally, DON’T leave buying your jewellery till the last minute. If you do you will nearly always get something that you don’t really like and will struggle to make it match your dress also you will probably never wear it again which is something you can do with our jewellery
What celebrity bride would you like to see wearing DiamondLove?
We’d love to see lots of celebs wearing our jewellery on their wedding day but for home grown stars I think Cheryl Cole would be a must have because she is a classic beauty.
Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?
Our prices are very reasonable for such lovely designer jewellery, with prices ranging currently from £29.99 up to £67.99 for earrings and pendants which considering they are all diamond set is pretty good.
How can Brides Up North get in touch with you or find out more?
We’re always contactable by either e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.diamondart.co.uk or give us a call on 0845 688 5004. you can even visit the design studio by making an appointment if you want us to design something bespoke for you.
Is there anything else that Brides Up North should know?
We are currently working with Wedding TV to do a series of programmes about how to accessorise for brides on their wedding day. The show is coming out later in the Year and we are hoping to be filming some time in August!
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