As the designer of Orsini’s engagement rings, director Sarah Hutchings is constantly looking out for new trends and inspiration in jewellery design. She strives to create pieces that emphasise the radiance of the diamond while also ensuring they are suitable for everyday wear. “The designs that we come up with are based on beauty, particularly of the diamonds, and longevity, because they’re meant to last for a lifetime,” she says.
Sarah is always keeping practicality in mind. Questions she might ask herself include: are there enough claws to hold the diamond in place? Are there any sharp edges that could be dangerous if the wearer is looking after a baby? Would the design be prone to trapping dirt?
She’s observed that many modern designs don’t take these things into account. When deciding what style of engagement ring to buy, here are some other considerations to keep in mind with the design:
How will a wedding band fit with the engagement ring?
It happens so often that someone will purchase a beautiful engagement ring only to find that its shape means a wedding band can’t fit next to it. Sarah always tries to create engagement ring bands that will allow a wedding ring to fit snugly, and together they make a beautiful set.
Do they want something traditional or unconventional?
Not everyone wants a conventional engagement ring. Orsini often accommodates clients who are looking for a style that breaks with tradition. Sarah can work with you to create a ring that’s unique to your tastes, or of course you can select a piece from our fabulous range of international designers. For example, a Nudo ring with diamonds by Pomellato is a unique choice for an engagement ring. “That’s designed to last a lifetime as well, if they care for it,” says Sarah. “And it's a really contemporary look that’s not as traditional.”
Do they want precious stones (diamonds, sapphires, rubies or emeralds) or semi-precious (aquamarine, citrine, topaz etc..)?
Some clients would prefer an emerald or aquamarine for their engagement rings. This may be because they love the colour or the gemstone, it has special meaning, or purely cost. Sarah is happy to accommodate this in her designs, but she does warn that the stone is not going to be as hard-wearing as a diamond. “Diamonds are at the very top of the hardness scale, and then if you drop down considerably, the next hardest gemstones are your sapphires and your rubies. Then you drop down again and then you’ve got your emeralds and you’ve got aquamarines,” says Sarah, who doesn’t recommend anything below a sapphire on the moh scale for engagement rings, including emeralds. “There are other options; you can actually get beautiful green sapphires. They’re not quite the same shade of green, but you can still get stunning colours in the sapphire family.” Occasionally a client requests a semi-precious stone, Sarah will accommodate this, but warns her clients that they are not designed for an engagement ring, which is designed to last a life time, and they will have to take extra care with the ring.
Which shape of stone?
The shape of the stone (or stones) is an important consideration in engagement ring design. Unless someone has strongly hinted to their partner what style of ring they like, Sarah usually recommends a round, brilliant cut diamond. “It's the sparkliest of all the shapes because of the facets, particularly if you get what we call a triple excellent cut diamond, where it's excellent symmetry, cut and also the surface is nice and shiny,” she says. “So we look for a whole range of different aspects to make it really sparkle.”
Which type of gold or metal?
When choosing which metal to use for an engagement ring, Sarah will often ask whether a person’s partner tends to favour yellow, white or rose gold. “Most of the time they know what their partner likes,” she says. “With the gold I generally always make the rings with 18K. With 9K gold, the rest of the alloys are silver and substandard metals, and you may get a harder ring, but it wears away more.” She says in Italy, you won’t find fine jewellery less than 18K gold. “It's just a standard in the jewellery world and so I tend to stick with that,” she says. “And it’s an engagement ring, it’s once in a lifetime so I think it’s nice to get an 18K gold ring".
If a ring is predominantly diamonds and a client wants a white metal look, Sarah always recommend using platinum for engagement rings. This is the 'gold standard' in durable long lasting engagement rings due to the hardness of the metal.