A young woman works hard, earns herself some money, and decides to spend it on her dream diamond ring; it's not rocket science. But how common is it? Women buying themselves beautiful jewellery is certainly not a new trend. We happily choose chains and pendants to layer, stacking rings, and the latest cult-brand earrings in greater numbers than ever before.
But would you buy yourself a diamond ring, and a bespoke one at that?
The conventional 'man chooses woman a diamond ring' purchase is a dynamic that is changing, and according to many independent jewellers more and more women are uninterested in waiting for someone to buy them a diamond and approach the designers looking to commmission a piece for themselves. I personally have a few diamond rings on my wish-list, with fine jewellery feeling like a worthwhile investment if I can afford it, as well as the everlasting nature of diamonds feeling like an appropriate way to commemorate my children, for example, or a career success. Financial independence is an important outcome of feminism, and a hot topic - the feedback I got over on instagram when I posted about this ring was huge.
Commissioning a bespoke ring is not the same as picking out some jewellery for yourself as a payday 'treat', it goes much deeper than that. It's a considered, intimate journey with the jeweller, requiring careful but exciting decision-making - and not insubstantial sums of money.
The owner of this diamond and sapphire ring had been thinking about getting a bespoke ring made for herself for quite a while, the designer Hattie Rickards explains, and initially felt quite embarassed about defying convention. "Despite initially seeming shy and nervous, as our meeting progressed and we got to know one another she became more relaxed and really got into it; she felt this was a ring to celebrate herself."
This feels important; is it the ultimate act of self-worth, valuing yourself highly enough to just buy your dream ring rather than waiting for someone else to do it?
"To wear this ring every day", the designer expains, "is a real affirmation of confidence and independence. This dream ring is important, meaningful and such a brilliant example of a woman who is financially independent and empowered in her life choices, celebrating themselves."
It certainly feels like a bold statement to commission a bespoke diamond ring for yourself, particularly when it resembles an engagement ring. But it can also just come down to having the money and confidence to create something that is exactly to your own taste, and dismissing the connotations and questions it will invite, as the designer reminds me. "My client just wanted a diamond ring in a style that she loves, and the engagement style just happens to be what she likes and wants to wear on her right hand."
And that to me is why bespoke jewellery is the ultimate modern luxury - the freedom in being able to create something exactly as you want it, without compromise or explanation; something that you love completely, and exists only for you. Whether you bought it for yourself or not.
If you have your own dream design ideas and would like to discuss them further, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more about the designer in our feature 'The Kaleidoscopic World of Hattie Rickards.'