Q: How much will my engagement ring cost?
The price of engagement rings depends very much on the size and quality of the centre stone. Also your choice of metal (18ct gold or platinum) will affect the price, so what I usually ask is for you to set a budget and I can suggest what's possible within that range.
Q: Once I've decided on a budget and a design what's the next step?
I make everything up to order so what I would normally do is ask to be sent a couple of diamonds or sapphires that meet your requirements and then let you decide how we proceed. If you love the stone we keep it and start making the ring or if not we send it back and ask to see something else. You're involved in every step of the process and in the end you have just the ring you want at the price you've determined.
Q: Do you need a deposit?
When we've agreed on the stone, design and metal I will ask for a 50% deposit before I start making you piece, with balance due on completion.
Q: How long will it take?
Once I've sourced your ideal stone and we've finalised the choice of metal and design it will take about 6 weeks to complete your ring.
Q: Can my piece be hand engraved?
Once your piece is finished it can be hand engraved. The lead time is about 2 weeks and the cost depends on how many characters are required.
Q: How does the remodelling process work?
A: First we'll go through all your pieces to make sure everything is gold and is suitable to be remodelled (some things are of greater intrinsic value as they are or are simply too lovely to melt!) and then I'll weigh the metal. Usually we'll talk over designs and I'll do some sketches for you to choose from or adapt. When we've settled on a design I'll estimate the finished weight of the piece and calculate how much extra material if any is required to make it. At this stage I'll give a quote to do the job and once that's approved and the deposit paid I'll go ahead and melt the gold and start to work the resulting nugget into your finished piece.
Q: Can I remodel old silver?
A: It is possible to remodel old silver, but it is not economical because the increased labour cost is not offset by the saving in the raw metal cost as is the case with gold.
Q: What advice would you give someone who's thinking about remodelling their jewellery?
A: Don't melt stuff just for the sake of it. If you think you'll wear it again or you know someone who would, then it might be nice to explore that avenue first, but then be brave! If you have a lot of material something like a bangle is relatively labour effective, so while the resulting bangle could be very high value it doesn't cost the earth to make. Light earrings or chains on the other hand may not use much material, but are labour intensive and so don't offer the best value for money. That said almost anything is possible when remodelling so it's always worth asking the question.
Q: How much does remodelling cost?
A: The cost of remodelling varies depending on how intricate and time consuming the design. Rings start from €150 and bangles from €300.
Sizing and measurement
Q: How do I check my finger size?
A: If you live locally I'll happily measure your finger for you. Your fingers will differ from one hand to the other so if at all possible I'd recommend having your finger professionally sized in a jewellers before committing a size to metal. Failing that, measuring against a current ring of a similar width to the new ring is the best alternative. Paper measuring templates while tempting are unfortunately less accurate as they cannot take into account the shape of your finger and the size of your knuckle.
Q: How do I know what size bangle to choose?
A: Bangle size has little to do with the size of your hand and more to do with how flexible your hand is and unfortunately the only reliable way to figure that out is to try one on. Ideally it should be a struggle to get the bangle over the hand so that it sits neatly on the wrist.
If you have your own oval bangle that is a good fit it is sufficient to place it on a piece of paper and draw a line around the inside of it to know what the inside diameter of your bangle will need to be. From that template your bangle can be made up in the perfect size.
Here is a list of approximate dimensions of our oval bangles:
Extra small: 59mm x 50mm
Small: 62mm x 53mm
Medium: 64mm x 57mm
Large: 69mm x 60mm
Extra Large: 72mm x 62mm
Q: My ring is too big, can it be sized down?
Ring resizing and repair is just one of the services provided. Plain bands can be compressed or expanded to fit while stone set bands can have a piece taken our or added depending on your needs. In either case there will be no visible sign of the repair and your ring is returned to you like new.
Q: What metals do you work in?
A: I make jewellery in 9 and 18ct yellow, white and rose golds, platinum, palladium and sterling silver. Titanium is not a material I work in, however I have some excellent suppliers I can call on for bespoke titanium rings.
Q: What are the differences between silver, white gold, platinum and palladium?
A: Silver is the whitest of all the precious metals and by far the least expensive. Unfortunately it is a soft metal and is prone to wear making it unsuitable for finer work.
White gold is made up of between 37.5% (9ct) and 75% (18ct) pure gold. It is then alloyed with different metals such as palladium and zinc to subdue the yellow colour and give it a whiter tone. White gold will always draw a certain amount of yellow as a result of its makeup, however finished jewellery is typically rhodium plated to make it appear whiter.
Platinum like palladium is an element in its own right. It is a steely grey colour and does not need to be plated. It is the most dense of the precious metals as well as currently being the most expensive per gram.
Palladium is very similar to platinum in appearance but closer to 9ct gold in density and price. It is a durable and popular alternative to platinum for wedding bands.
Polishing and plating
Q: What's involved in polishing and rhodium plating a ring?
Polishing and plating involves emerying your ring to remove all the little scratches and dings that have accumulated on the surface of the metal before finishing it to a high polish on the polishing motor. The ring is then cleaned of all grease and rhodium plated by a process of electrolysis.
Q: How often should I get my rings rhodium plated?
Typically people will replate their white gold rings once a year. More frequent plating is not recommended as a fine layer of metal is removed each time and would affect the strength of the ring over its lifetime. Rhodium plating or "dipping" is a purely aesthetic procedure and is not vital to the integrity of the ring.
Q: Can yellow gold jewellery be rhodium plated?
Yellow gold jewellery can be plated, however in the case of something like a wedding ring which is worn everyday, the plating will wear off within a couple of months and the true gold colour will peep through. Plating pendants or earrings is much more successful as these don't get the same kind of wear and tear as rings.
Q: Do you restring pearls with knots?
Your beads can be restrung with or without knots. Depending on how much you wear them restringing should be done every couple of years, but usually people wait until the thread breaks! One of the benefits of knotting between each bead is that in such instances you will only lose one bead rather than watching all your beads scatter to the winds. Typically you can expect you pearls to be slightly shorter when freshly restrung - not due to any bead loss, but rather to the thread having stretched with wear.
Q: How much does restringing cost?
A standard 18 inch necklace costs €50 to restring with knots. Optionally your beads can be converted to Clasped's interchangeable system which costs €90. Once fitted with the interchangeable system you can then choose from hundreds of unique gemstone and precious metal clasps. Worn to the front the clasp is both the feature and closure of your necklace (to see more please visit Clasped.ie).
Bracelet restringing costs €30.