6 hours into my marriage my new bride/wife started dropping hints about leaving. Our own wedding. Before 90% of the guests. At 11 pm.
Obviously, I had no objections.
The photographer had packed up her toys, the wedding cake was finito, and the ceremonial early leavers had broken the ice with entertaining, awkward reasons to leave.
We started our final lap and said our goodbyes and thank you’s. What a great evening.
We slipped into a darker hallway leading to the parking area and power-walked to ensure the Captain Morgan Clan who were convinced it’s blasphemous to leave a wedding before 12 pm wouldn’t catch up to us.
“Slooooooooowwwww down, my feet are killing me!”
I was confused since I knew she broke in her wedding shoes diligently.
Turns out she saw this new pair a day or two before the wedding and decided they’re so gorgeous the slight discomfort was a small price to pay. The price was torture.
Your very special, moderately uncomfortable day.
Everyone goes a bit coo-coo when it comes to wedding planning. No day in a woman’s life is more loaded with emotion and over the top expectations.
Making all those dreams a reality comes at a hefty price – financially and otherwise.
Terribly uncomfortable shoes, crash diets, corsets, wedding dresses that weigh more than a third-grader, exotic dishes you’ve never even tried (salmon tartare with caviar anyone?)... you get my point.
It’s not a very comfortable event all round – in planning or execution.
Imagine you had the chance to relive that “best day of your life” every day for the next 20 years.
You’ll change everything. All the comfort alarms will go off and 99% dream-items would fall into the NFW (No Way) basket. And with good reason.
Don’t let the "wedding blur" near your engagement ring choice.
Your engagement ring is obviously an integral part of how you ended up in the wedding chapel.
If you didn’t end up liking the tartare it’s one starter. Just don’t order it again for yourself or 150 guests.
*Yummy salmon tartare with caviar.
Please continually remind yourself that one week after the wedding you’re stuck (hope it’s in a great way) with a diamond ring and a new surname.
The ring you chose will be on your hand every day, all day for a few decades.
Sure, you can have it remodeled, but sentiment and life tend to get in the way of these easier said than done rectifications.
Don’t let wedding bells blur your vision. Pick a ring you’ll be comfortable wearing and that fits seamlessly into your lifestyle.
#1. The environment you work and relax in.
Comfort isn’t merely a physical issue- it includes your state of mind.
You should feel loved and amazing as you wear your engagement ring. The last thing you want is to feel awkward or unsafe as your ring joins you on your daily rounds.
If you’re a social worker that routinely works in poverty stricken areas a R200 000 ring might send the wrong message and draw the unwanted attention.
In a different sense; fitness junkies that feel a ring needs to withstand daily cross-fit sessions would be better off with more secure settings that can take a little extra wear and tear.
With over 70% of our work being custom engagement ring designs, we’ve matched rings to lifestyles thousands of times. Drawing on a wealth of real world experience we have some very neat ideas to ensure your ring is as close as possible to a carefree companion on your journey.
#2. The ring size.
*Typical slightly too big size...
You’ll be aware of your new engagement ring in an obsessive way for the first few weeks.
Stare all you want, but it shouldn’t be due to stress surrounding damaging or losing your ring. That’s just a buzz kill.
In the long run, a ring size too big or too small is equally uncomfortable and risky, but if the ring barely makes it over your first knuckle when future-hubby is down on his knee you’ll have some awkward engagement photos.
When in doubt we recommend the gent goes for the larger size.
Even if the ring initially fits just fine, you’ll notice your finger size can differ quite a bit according to the temperate and your activity level. Keep mental notes about how often the fit seems less than perfect, and if you see a pattern emerge visit us to do a complimentary final sizing. Give it 4 weeks to settle in.
For interests’ sake – close to all resizing's are smaller. Ladies are legitimately scared of losing their diamond engagement rings.
Pro-tip; Your boyfriend can’t guess your ring size and if he’s way off the whole ring will need to be remade. Seriously consider a visit to our studio where we can accurately measure your finger size, and where you can try on some rings to see what fit you prefer.
You’ll have fun and won’t be “spoiling” the surprise, I promise.#3. "Comfort Fit” – not just for gent’s bands.
Men don’t like wearing uncomfortable rings – or anything for that matter. To ensure gents bands are easy to slide over the finger and off the inside of their rings is often very slightly domed.
We’ve been using this “comfort fit” on ladies’ rings for well over a year now and the feedback has been exclusively positive.
This profile also allows you to go slightly smaller on the size without sacrificing comfort. It’s just a win-win situation.
#4. The prongs that hold your diamond(s) in place shouldn’t catch and hook onto everything.
The prongs that hold your main diamond in place will catch a thread every now and then, but when it seems excessive it warrants further investigation.
Constantly picking threads out of your engagement ring’s prongs is not only irritating - it poses a significant risk. One day a prong catches onto a stronger thread and it’s hooked slightly out of place. That’s where your countdown to diamond less ness begins.
Jewellery manufacturing technologies and techniques have improved over the years but finishing these claws comes down to spending good old time on carefully filing these claws till they’re safe and smooth. Imagine tiny mushrooms holding your diamond in place.
Claws/prongs should not merely be small “rods” bent over your diamond.
Although “pointy prongs” look amazing, they are a tad more susceptible to hooking. We’ve nailed this finish, but I’d be very hesitant to make a blanket recommendation on it.
*Not so nice. Common poor manufacturing quality. (See Pro-Tip below to avoid this)
Pro-Tip; We don’t price match quotesand never will. Whenever we quote on a ring we’ll give you our absolute best price, first time around. Most jewellers are open to some negotiation, and go as far as to promise they will beat any written quote. It’s a very misleading tactic and the public who don’t know the ins and outs of manufacturing might assume the discounted price would not affect the quality of their jewellery piece. Once you start negotiating on the price a few things are fixed - your metal choice, the design, the number of small diamonds that will be used, and the centre diamond you have chosen.
With those elements fixed the jeweller only has wiggle room in the following areas to ensure you pay less, and he still makes his full profit;
The quality (colour, clarity and cut) of the small diamonds can be dropped. Sure, it may not have be massively detrimental to the overall look of the ring, but perfectly colour matched smalls that are free of visible inclusions just ups the whole ring to the next level. A jeweller should have your back on this, and not drop quality in areas you’ll have a hard time spotting.
- The vast majority of jewellers outsource their manufacturing (we don’t) and have negotiated certain rates with manufacturers. Your ring will not give a jeweller extra bargaining power. The only way to cut costs here is to allocate less time to the finishing of your engagement ring. The compromised quality might not be apparent at first, but the moment you hold it next to a properly finished ring you’ll see it just... lacks.
- A jeweller might recommend an alternative centre diamond. Even if the specs seem pretty much spot on, this new diamond would be cheaper for a reason. Once again, I think these switcheroos are misleading. You’re not a diamond concierge and tiny quality issues might be hard to pick up on. A common route is to switch a GIA graded diamond for one graded by more lenient laboratories.
Further reading on quality and common compromises;
- Negotiating The Best Price On A Diamond Engagement Ring. (link)
- Lifestyle Considerations When Choosing An Engagement Ring: Wear & Tear. (link)
#5. Not everyone wants a very delicate ring, but overly thick shanks are uncomfortable.
Two years ago, a gentleman visited us for his wedding band and tagged (dragged…) his fiancée along. They rang the bell and had no idea that we could overhear their conversation over the, now active, intercom.
I heard a “don’t ring it again” as I approached the intercom, and a “what were you thinking?” before I buzzed them in. Poor guy needed some saving so I spared the “Hi, welcome to Poggenpoel”.
I remembered the gent well. He had a very set idea for a chunky triangular shank for his fiancée’s ring and wasn’t open to our suggestion of a thinner, comfier band.
We spoke about his band, but curiosity got the best of me and I asked her if she was still enjoying her ring.
I got a sweeter tone but after a few uncomfortable months, she really wanted to know what the benefit was to this torturous triangular shank.
There was no benefit. It was a design detail he really believed she was in love with.
He told her to pause that chat till they’re back in the car. She gave us a call about a month later to completely redesign the ring.
We offer a very immersive experience at our studios (Rosebank and Pretoria). You’re more than welcome to visit us and have a no-strings-attached chat with one of our designers. The quality of our work in unsurpassable and I’m sure you’ll agree as you try them on over a nice cup of coffee.
You can get in touch via quite a few channels to book a session; (Contact details here).
As always, you're more than welcome to reach out to me directly on [email protected]