Engagement ring secrets – Q&A with Mavro Jewellery
Choosing a ring you’ll want to wear FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE can be daunting, but we recently caught up with Melbourne-based custom jeweller, Anny Apostolidis from Mavro Jewellery, for the inside word on what to expect and what’s hot at the moment.
When it comes to proposing with a ring, how do things usually unfold?
Obviously every couple is different, some people prefer to propose with nothing or a really simple temporary ring as a symbolic gesture and then choose the engagement ring together. Others like to have it all organised and surprise their partner with a ring they’ve specially chosen for them. There’s no right or wrong but the person doing the proposing usually has a fair idea of what their partner would be in to.
What’s the typical process when a couple come to see you?
If they’re based in Melbourne, they come to my studio and we chat about what they’re after or if not, we correspond via email. We chat about their partner, their likes/dislikes, what sort of personality they have etc. It’s a really great way for me to get a lot more insight into what the wearer of the ring will like. Then I’ll sketch some designs and email them and once they’re happy I get to making!
How long does it take to make a custom ring?
It does depend on how quickly a decision about the design is made, and whether it’s high or low season for rings. From the time that design is confirmed, I usually recommend setting aside about six weeks, but depending on what the ring is like, a more simple design might not take as long.
People bang on about the 4 Cs with diamonds. Are they all equally important?
The 4 Cs (colour, clarity, carat and cut) all play their part! In terms of colour, obviously a white, bright stone is the best quality and as you go down the scale the colour gets more yellow or brown. Clarity refers to the tiny imperfections in the stone, a lot of them you can’t really see without looking under a microscope. A stone with better clarity will have none, or very few imperfections and again, the scale goes down from there. Carat is the actual size or weight of the stone and cut is the shape – round (brilliant cut) square (princess cut), oval etc.
Once you take all these things into consideration, it depends on what the customer is after. If they’re not too fussed about the colour or clarity of the stone then they could compromise slightly on these and spend more of their money on the carat. Others want their stone to be the best quality in all aspects.
And it’s not all about diamonds, right? What are some other popular stones?
Yeah, not at all! I’ve been really lucky to have loads of customers who have wanted to challenge convention and use some really interesting stones like parti sapphires and champagne or black diamonds. Some people like to use their partner’s birthstones as well. There are so many really beautiful and interesting stones other than diamonds that get overlooked but they can be just as pretty, they’re also not as expensive.
What are some of the mistakes you see couples make in choosing their ring?
Overthinking is probably the main thing that makes deciding on a design hard for people. It’s obviously a huge decision and you want your ring to be perfect but when you start to overthink you can confuse yourself. My advice would be to go with your gut feeling, that way you can’t go wrong.
What should you do if you know what kind of ring you want? Is it better to tell your partner, or should you let them work it out?
When it gets to the point in your relationship when it’s time to propose, have faith in your partner that he or she knows you better than anyone and will choose something beautiful for you. I’ve had so many people come in and describe their partner – ‘she only wears white gold’, or ‘her birthstone is a sapphire’ so I don’t think you need to drop that many hints! It’s great when the partner has a bit of input too, that way it comes from them and it’s more meaningful. Usually my customers know their partners really well so it ends up being easier than you’d think.
Say you’ve got no clue about rings, how do you work out what’s ‘you’?
It’s tricky but I guess there are a few basic questions you could ask yourself. What type of gold do you like? What colour stone do you like? What shape of stone do you like? Do you wear delicate or more chunky jewellery? All the answers to these questions will lead you to a much clearer idea of what the best ring is for you.
Don’t be daunted if you don’t have all the answers. Just get started, because if a jeweller is doing their job, in meeting you they’ll be able to learn a bit about your personality and offer suggestions. It helps to window shop as well, that way you can see what’s out there, you might find that you’re drawn to a particular style you never realised you liked.
Any tips for working within a tight budget?
You can always make something beautiful, no matter what the budget! An engagement ring doesn’t have to be encrusted with diamonds. You can use a lower quality gold like 9 carat instead of 18 carat, or if you want a diamond you can get a stone that focuses more on size and less in colour and quality.
Otherwise there are so many stones other than diamonds that aren’t as expensive. Another way is by having just one special ring that is your wedding and engagement ring combined, rather than buying a separate wedding band.
Are there any styles that are trending for the year ahead?
At the moment I have a lot of people after parti sapphires, which is a sapphire that is sort of a mixed colour – they can be bluey/green or even have yellowy tinges too. Also rose gold is very popular at the moment, I think because the pinky colour isn’t as bright as yellow gold and it suits every skin tone.
And what about trends for blokes?
A lot of guys love a brushed finish with their wedding band. I think for people who don’t wear a lot of jewellery it’s not too shiny and flashy and that’s why a lot of guys go for it.
Of all the rings you’ve created, is there a favourite?
I love them all but the one that is probably the most special would have to be my sister’s wedding band (pictured here). It was a huge 3 carat parti sapphire set in rose gold with a mix of white and champagne diamonds and some smaller sapphires. It probably stands out for me as being my sister’s, it’s the most sentimental but also she gave me full creativity so I could really go crazy. It was hard to hand that one over!
Lastly, tell us – what’s the secret to a happy ring experience?
It’s an exciting time so don’t stress too much! Be open to suggestions, do your research, and trust that your jeweller will make you something amazing!
More on Mavro Jewellery
We’re a big big fan of Anny’s work. Not only did she create a beautiful engagement ring for author, Alex Miles, but she also made Alex’s wedding bands and some gorgeous rings for her bridesmaids.