Set to supply wedding rings for our Win Your Dream Wedding 2015 bride and groom, jeweller Grant Bagnall of Carats shares some expert insights – and insider tips that’ll ensure your rings slide on easily at the altar.
Your jewellers are trained in the English tradition – what are the features of this approach?
Traditional handmade techniques using fairly basic tools – saws, files, drills and emery paper – starting off with a raw bar of metal, then rolling, hammering and bending it into the desired form to create beautiful jewellery.
How can you work within a couple’s budget?
By using a variety of different metals; we like to work with 18-carat gold and platinum, but if the budget is limited we can use nine- or 14-carat to reduce costs. If gemstones are involved, we can source a variety of gems of different qualities and sizes. Also, some jobs can be time intensive, so we might discuss a different approach to reduce the cost while staying in keeping with the desired design.
You’re committed to the Kimberley Process to ensure your diamonds are ethical. Where do you source your rocks from?
New Zealand has restricted rough diamond imports since January 2005, in order to implement the Kimberley Process certificate scheme and reduce the number of trade conflict diamonds. Any rough diamonds without a Kimberley Process certificate will be seized at the border and their importer could face prosecution. Carats sources the vast majority of its diamonds from De Beers Diamond Trading Company Sightholders to ensure our diamonds have come through the correct channel.
What’s a classic look for wedding bands that will never go out of style?
If you want a classic look that will stand the test of time, you’re best to keep things simple and not go for anything too over the top: simple diamond-set bands and plain wedding rings. But at Carats we like to create pieces that break away from this and would suggest that you go for something you love today, rather than purchase a ring you’re not head over heels for, hoping you’ll still like it years down the line. I suggest not picking your partner in this way either!
What materials are the most durable and will last a lifetime?
All precious metals are subject to wear and tear as they’re worn pretty much 24/7, but if you treat your jewellery with care, they should last you many years. Small things like taking them off when you’re doing the dishes or going to the gym – activities such as these will take their toll eventually. Platinum is a durable metal to set diamonds in as it’s hard-wearing, but you also need to be careful here. In many ways the metal doesn’t matter as much as ensuring that the item of jewellery is made to a good thickness suitable for the purpose.
How can a couple ensure their rings slide on easily at the altar?
There are two things you can do: put a little bit a moisturiser on the inside of the wedding bands, or your finger if you have time. Or, when your partner puts the ring on your finger, have him slide it up to your knuckle so you can sneakily push it on the rest of the way.