1. How do I begin to design my own jewellery piece?
The simplest starting point is a House of Solus design appointment. These are taken by CEO and Creative Director Gemma Perry who works alongside each and every client throughout the design and creation process to create something they are completely in love with. We would not need to know exactly what a client is looking for to have an appointment, ideas as simple as whether it is a ring or a bracelet could be the perfect starting point to develop into a piece that will be treasured for years to come.
2. What if I don’t like the design you come up with?
The beauty of bespoke is that the whole design is completely client led. A design is built and developed by the client with the help of our creative director meaning there can be a number of design options before the creation is the way it should be and all before it goes off to be manufactured. Clients can worry about being too demanding or picky about their designs however the team are happy to go back and forth as necessary to develop the perfect design.
3. I don’t know anything about diamonds - Where do I even start?
Diamonds is a fairly complicated subject, but most people just know that they sparkle and size is usually what they look at. The media version is the bigger and sparklier the better; and for the most part this is true. However, diamond certification comes down to 4 categories known as the 4 C’s - Cut, Carat, Colour and Clarity.
The Cut of the diamond is usually what the client is most specific on as this is the shape of the stone and there are certain shapes that are more popular and fashionable than others, decision about which shapes you might like could be made by looking at social media sites such as pinterest or instagram. Having this starting point in mind will direct your design appointment and allow Gemma and the team to have some stones in for you to look at whilst you are in the studio.
The Carat size of a diamond is also known as the weight and this will have the most effect on the overall price; Deciding upon which carat weight you are looking for can be influenced by a few different factors such as design or how large you want your piece to look.
Colours of diamonds also differ considerably and the classic colour is, of course, white and yet this also differs by classification. The colour of a diamond is classified by a letter, the purest colour is ‘D’ all the way through to ‘Z’ which would be more yellow in colour. Again this will influence the price of the diamond in the same manner as Carat weight.
Finally, Clarity is how clear and flawless in appearance a diamond might be. Ordinarily, most clients will be looking for a clarity that has no ‘inclusions’ visible to the naked eye. An inclusion is a mark or cloud within the diamond which of course are normal with a natural stone.
The easiest way to sort through the intricacies of selecting a diamond is to have a design appointment at House of Solus during which you can be presented with options and can discuss your requirements and learn about the stone you’re purchasing.
You may not know much now, but by the end of your appointment you’ll be an expert in the stone you are taking home.
4. How do I know my piece has been made for me?
Throughout your bespoke journey with House of Solus you will be kept abreast of all updates and stages that your piece goes through from the design process, through 3D printing, casting, setting and polishing. Meaning you will have images and contact so that you know exactly which stage you are at and that you can be assured your jewellery has been made to order from design concept through to collection.
5. I don’t know my other half's ring size - What should I do?
Getting a ring size right is of course important, however if you’re purchasing an engagement ring for that important question, the most important thing is that he or she can get the ring on after that ‘YES’. Following that, should the sizing be slightly incorrect, House of Solus offer a first resize completely free of charge on any piece we have created.
There are some designs that this may exclude however this will be explained during your design appointment and throughout the process.
6. My girlfriend is really picky and I don’t want to get the ring wrong - help?!
There are a number of different ways to make sure you achieve a design that she’ll love - from dropping hints or stalking her instagram to casually strolling around shops trying to see which kind of designs she picks.
Whilst we think that whatever you design she’ll love because you pick it we also offer jewellery redesign services if she’s not completely happy.
The key part of designing an engagement ring is choosing the centre stone; as this is your key investment and the element that makes up the largest portion of the overall cost. Once you have your stone we can do whatever you like with it after that.
We’ve even had people propose with just the diamonds and gift the whole bespoke experience as part of their proposal allowing her to design her own ring and giving a unique story to the beginning of the rest of your lives together.
7. I’ve got the ring but I’ve heard I can’t insure it until it’s been worn is this true?
This is a complete old wives tale and just like you would not drive a brand new car without your insurance in place we would also recommend insuring your new piece as soon as possible. We can provide you with insurance valuations and can direct you to the specialist jewellery insurers we work alongside all as part of the service we offer.
8. Can I get the ring resized later on if it doesn’t fit?
Of course, it is extremely common for the sizing of a ring to be slightly incorrect even when the finger has been sized in store as weight loss and heat can be factors of the sizing. Equally, comfort of wear over time is an important element and it may be that whilst the ring feels perfect in the few minutes it is worn in the studio; over a number of days and weeks it may need to be larger or smaller for comfort and safety. As part of the House of Solus bespoke service we offer the first ring resize completely free of charge and would only require the piece for a period of around a week.
9. The person I gave it to doesn’t like it - what can I do?
It is obviously quite disappointing if someone doesn’t like a gift especially when it is something special such as fine jewellery. However, the beauty of bespoke is that we can redesign any piece to that special someone’s taste, we can also redesign pieces not made initially by House of Solus. As a specialist redesign centre we can work alongside the recipient to alter the final design and create something he or she will love that much more.
10. I need to get the jewellery insured - what do I do?
Firstly, the piece will need to be valued which is a service that House of Solus offers to all of our clients. We can then recommend the specialist jewellery insurers that we work alongside - T H March however you are able to add fine jewellery to most ordinary house insurance policies. The benefits of using our nominated insurer is that should you ever need to make a claim then the insurers are able to work directly with us to verify the value of the pieces.
11. What is a hallmark and why do I need one?
Hallmarking of precious metals is a requirement by law under the Hallmarking Act 1973 and the introduction of the act made business transactions involving unmarked metals illegal. Put simply, a hallmark is an engraved mark on a metal which states the metal the item is made of, the purity of the metal and the mark of the assay office that tested the metal. The UK has 4 assay offices in London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh. House of Solus uses only Birmingham assay office and therefore all of our pieces contain the Birmingham anchor mark. House of Solus also has our own sponsor hallmark meaning each and every piece will be marked with hos.
Finally, we are registered with the National Association of Jewellers and are a member of the Created in the UK scheme as part of this our pieces are also struck with the UK mark specifying that the piece is wholly created within the UK; and in our case wholly in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.
12. I’ve inherited a number of jewellery pieces but they’re not to my taste - Can I do anything other than scrap them?
Scrapping metal and stones is an option but House of Solus would always recommend looking at redesigning pieces and using the metal and stones you have to create new pieces that hold all of the sentimental value of your original piece but lend themselves more to your individual taste. Redesign can be as simple as resetting stones into an alternative metal or more complicated such as using stones and metal from a ring to create earrings or a pendant. The options for your pieces can be discussed at an appointment within the studio if you’re not sure what would work.
13. I don’t live in Birmingham or even the UK, can I work with you?
The simple answer is YES! We offer shipping worldwide as well as offering virtual appointments and virtual design processing. Through Zoom, Email and other electronic communications we can complete the whole process without you ever having to have been in the studio and we have accomplished this perfectly with rings being designed from Australia and collected in store as well as rings being designed and shipped to Singapore and the United States. We can work with whatever works with you most logically.
Whilst these are our most frequently asked questions, we understand that this is in no way exhaustive and encourage any and all clients to contact us with any queries that may have.