Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but this doesn’t mean she can’t be friends with opals, sapphires and pearls too. While there will always be a place for the classic diamond when it comes to engagement rings, there is a growing demand for more unconventional designs that focus on less-common gemstones. Brides are looking for less traditional rings that have elements of antiquity, tell a story or come from more sustainable, traceable origins. We’ve put together a list of six jewellery designers who will make you forget all about the classic 1.25 carat.
After establishing her label HLSK in Melbourne in 2013, Hannah Stewart’s unique and unusual designs have earned her attention in Australia and overseas. Combining her love of architecture and artisan handcrafts with inspiration drawn from natural landscapes, textures and minerals, Stewart has developed a distinctive style. Each of her pieces is made by hand and from the highest quality materials, making each ring entirely one-of-a-kind.
While some of her engagement rings do feature diamonds, many incorporate opals, topaz and sapphires, which are artfully encased by intertwining precious metals.
Prices range from $300 – $650.
The Mania Mania
Designers Melanie Kamsler and Tamila Purvis are the names behind this prominent and distinctive label. With studios in both Sydney and New York, The Mania Mania use the highest-grade metals combined with ethically-sourced gemstones. The label is notorious for it’s inimitable raw design and concepts, with each piece rich with elements of symbolic meaning, ancient and modern mysticism, the occult and astrology.
“We believe that the idea of adornment holds a personal significance and fine jewellery is the ultimate symbolic sentiment,” Kamsler and Purvis say. “Each piece holds a unique high-grade vibration, from the energy of the gemstones and metals. We work closely with our clients to create jewellery to cherish.”
Prices range from $1,800 – 8,800.
With a truly inspirational mantra when it comes to his jewellery, Todd Turner believes each of his designs should reflect the individual wearing them. Making fine jewellery for most of his life, Turner has been widely influenced by everything from art, literature and design to architecture and the natural environment.
Each of his engagement rings is meticulously handcrafted, created with subtle nuances that result in an individually suited, distinguished piece.
Price on application.
For designer Marina Antoniou, the meaning behind each of her pieces extends far beyond just the piece itself: each ring is an intimate conversation, a lasting relationship and a statement of love.
“A custom piece of jewellery is not just about how it sits on the finger or hangs off the lobes,” Antoniou says. “Each piece has it’s own story, and those are the stories that I love to tell.”
The designer’s rings are created in line with the technique and materials used by the craftsmen of old. Antoniou draws inspiration from the intrigue of ancient civilisations, which she uses to transcend the ages and blur the boundaries of jewellery design.
Price on application.
This New Zealand label will make you forget everything you thought you knew about engagement rings. And we mean that in the best possible way. Dark and moody stones, such as midnight sapphires and Thai garnets, are set in bold hexagons in weighty bands of metal, while fine diamonds wrap around bands and explode into unexpected, uniquely beautiful shapes. Brave and daring are what come to mind when you see these creations from Medowlark, making them the perfect choice for a strong, bold bride to be.
Pieces range from $300 to $15,000.
Looking beyond the “old fashioned” stigma that surrounds pearls, the gemstone is still coveted for it’s natural beauty and timeless appeal. Western Australian jewellery label Kailis Perals creates exquisite pieces using South Sea pearls, cultured from the Pinctada Maxima oyster. With Australia the only place in the world where this pearl can be cultivated, it is widely regarded as the most valuable and lustrous pearl in the world. Each Kailis pearl is as unique as the wearer, making it the perfect choice for a engagement ring.
Not only is each pearl treated with the utmost care and respect, but is set into precious metals featuring colours which perfectly compliment the stone.
Prices range from $880 to $16750.