While some elements of a wedding don’t last much beyond the big day, the bands exchanged are significant symbols of the commitments made that remain throughout the entirety of the marriage.
As such it’s important that the design and quality of the ring will stand the test of time and, of course, that the wearer is 100% in love with such a special piece of jewellery.
To further discuss these key prerequisites, we’re today chatting to Durham Rose, a family-owned independent jewellers that gives brides and grooms power over the design of their rings through its user-friendly website and expert design team.
Set up by husband and wife team Manu and Pip Bhardwaj in 2011 following Manu’s own struggle to find a jeweller that allowed him to have some input into the design of Pip’s engagement ring, the duo were keen to enable couples to easily access a more personal and creative approach.
And so today Durham Rose produces beautifully bespoke, hallmarked, quality-assured wedding and engagement rings that are designed to withstand daily life, be truly treasured and, eventually, become a generational heirloom.
Here to tell us more about the company’s innovative offering and memorable design experience, is founder, Manu…
Can you tell us a little about the background of Durham Rose?
Manu says: My wife Pip and I started this company back in 2011 following on from an initially unsuccessful journey to provide Pip with the engagement ring of her (and my) dreams. I must have visited 20 plus jewellers alongside trawling countless online retailers trying to find somewhere that provided me with the opportunity to request specific elements to be added or removed from an existing design – the idea of bespoke design existed only in the upper price brackets. With problems of designing, ludicrous pricing and limited manufacturing possibilities, I designed the ring using CAD software and then sourced a goldsmith willing to take on the manufacturing aspect, which was no easy feat.
I proposed to Pip, she agreed (not sure how much of that is because of the perfect ring design!), we got married and then began the company (formerly called Hot Pink). Soon after launching, all of our friends and family started to design and make their rings with us and then word of mouth spread and so did our client base! As the company and our family evolved, grew and matured, so did our name. Combining Pip and my middle names, we rebranded as ‘Durham Rose’.
And can you give us a brief overview of the products/services that Durham Rose offers?
We are extremely proud to offer high quality, truly unique and bespoke pieces through our expert design consultants and online software. Because of the inclusive and diverse nature of our products, we have been fortunate to work with a vast amount of clients since starting our company. Along the way we have co-designed and delivered a wide range engagement, wedding, anniversary, commitment, celebratory and event rings (all of which are showcased in our ‘Portfolios’ on our website or featured rings on Instagram). These designs are never reproduced and are always one-off custom designs.
You specialise in bespoke engagement and wedding rings – in your opinion why is having a ring bespoke made such a special experience and how does it enhance the end product?
Buying bespoke is a unique and momentous journey, varied for each and every client, we are privileged to play a part in it. Bespoke allows for personal, specific design elements to be incorporated – we have had birthstones, favourite colours, animals, mountain ranges to engravings added to designs – elevating a beautiful ring into something possessing an instant priceless sentimental value to the couples. It is a joy to see the excitement our client’s experience when they see these design features come to life.
Can you talk to us through the bespoke design process?
Our design process is completely centred around our clients. We see ourselves as more of a ‘facilitator of design’ in our relationship. We actively encourage the clients to have as much input as they feel comfortable with and if they do not feel comfortable, we try to empower them to be, after all it is their journey and design!
The process typically begins with an enquiry where the client lets us know requirements; inspiration, budget expectations, delivery deadlines and usually a preferred day/ time to contact them on. We then follow up with the client (via email and/or telephone) and arrange for an online design consultation where we discuss their specific design requirements, build relationships and begin the initial design phase together. This is followed by a transparent breakdown of costs and materials, once approved we move to the CAD rendering stage before submitting for our manufacturing process. We then receive the piece, perform quality assurance before preparing it in our luxury packaging and delivering it to our clients.
And what about the crafting process?
We have worldwide experts in workshops and manufacturers in the UK, USA and India where pieces are then handcrafted; each workshop specialising in particular types and styles of jewellery, allowing us to select and use the perfect manufacturer for their design. Our unique position in the industry also allows us access to a wide array of high-quality materials, from ring metal to types of gemstones. Depending on the client’s time frame needs, our usual crafting to delivery process is four to six weeks, but this can be altered on a select few occasions (details dependent).
Where do you source the metals and gemstones that are used to create Durham Rose rings?
It very much depends on what our client is looking for as to where so source our materials. We have an array of trusted sources all and we are part of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) so all our diamonds and gemstones are sourced ethically. We are also extremely honoured to be the sole provider in the UK of Crafted by Infinity diamonds.
Can you tell us the key elements clients should keep in mind when designing their ring?
We allow the client to lead their design consultation with their preferences and elements with our only facet of it; ‘if the laws of physics allow it, we will make it!’ The information our clients usually request from us does include matters on budget, type of metal, type of stone, cut of stone, ring sizes, functionality and manufacturing/delivery times, which we either answer directly during our consultations or we steer them to our comprehensive educational guides on our website.
What would you say to those worried about the cost of having a bespoke crafted ring?
It’s shocking what most of our clients think the ‘minimal’ price point of a bespoke piece is. They often come with notions of it being in excess of £5,000! They often do not realise that high quality service and products can also be absolutely affordable. We offer a range of transparent options during our initial quotation phase so that clients can allocate their budget to elements they place more priority on rather than us having a fixed marked up figure. My advice would be at any point during your decsion-making process, even if you’ve already got a quote, always enquire. You may be pleasantly surprised!
What is the feedback like from Durham Rose clients?
We’re in a very fortunate line of work where we create fantastic relationships with our clients at one of the most important stages in their lives. We offer a fantastic experience that is specific to them. This isn’t about selling them a product, it’s about creating a memory and this comes through in the service Durham Rose offers. The rate of returning clients is overwhelming which speaks volumes, with the common theme of feedback from our clients is based around the level of knowledge provided by our carefully selected designers and the personal approach to what we have to offer. You can see from our Trustpilot reviews how much value our clients gain from working with Durham Rose.
How does Durham Rose differ from other jewellers?
Durham Rose is unique in my opinion, for a lot of reasons. We have a studio that our clients can visit if they prefer that interaction type, but unlike many jewellers, we do not have a traditional store-front shop with surplus pre-existing stock. We allow our clients to have design consultations at times convenient for their schedule (lunchtimes, evenings, weekends) and they can do so in the privacy of their own homes through our software and online video sharing process. They are provided with expert advice and guidance throughout, but ultimately, we let them steer the ship so to speak. Finally, with transparent costing, we empower our clients to allocate budgets where it truly matters to them. We also provide our clients with a unique ringbook capturing their design journey with us from their initial designs often up to the proposal!
Any other exciting news to share with our readers?
It is an exciting time for Durham Rose, we have been nominated for the ‘Bespoke Jewellery Retailer of the Year’ category in the ‘Retail Jeweller UK Jewellery Awards 2020’, we have had members of the team pass several additional industry recognised courses, we have had some personal celebrations and we continue to grow our team welcoming two new Design and Sales Consultants last month!
How can our readers find out more about Durham Rose/get in touch?
You can get in touch with the team in by using any of the following:
Social Media: ‘Durham Rose’
Call: 0203 051 2387