Sophie knows all the hacks for making your money go further when it comes to investing in fine jewellery and engagement rings, and frequently shares her top tips with clients. From choosing a centre stone to refashioning an old family jewel into something new, we’re setting aside the nice, romantic side of buying a piece of jewellery for one moment to focus on the nitty gritty: the cost. More specifically, how to maximise your budget at Sophie Breitmeyer.
Our popular Transformations service was created to transform inherited jewellery and forgotten heirlooms into something completely new to love. Often, the assumption is that if you’ve already got the gemstones, then creating something new with them is easy and affordable, but that’s not necessarily the case. Just like all bespoke commissions, there are different degrees of complexity that can have a significant impact on price.
Thanks to modern technology, we can often keep stones in their original settings and tweak them, which really helps to keep the cost down. Turning an old pair of clip earrings into studs, for example, or transforming stud earrings into drops to wear with our SB Huggies, can be done for as little as £200.
At the other end of the scale, if you have inherited grandma’s brooch and want to use three of the diamonds in a new trilogy engagement ring, there is much more work involved. Including Sophie designing a new ring from scratch and taking the stones out and resetting them, this type of Transformation will cost closer to £1,800.
Recycling metal is another great example. Lots of people bring their own metal in and are keen to recycle it, however this is often a false economy. Getting a precious metal that might be 100 years old or more to the stage of reusing it is so time-consuming and expensive that, unless it has a huge amount of sentimental value, it’s not cost effective. Sophie’s advice is always the same: put the scrap value of the metal towards your new jewel.
As a benchmark, for a full Transformation involving removing the stones from an old piece of jewellery and designing something new, the starting price is around £1,500.
Bespoke Engagement Rings
It is increasingly difficult to create a bespoke SB engagement ring with a precious centre stone for less than £3,000. If you’re wanting something a little larger, the price could be £5-10,000 or more. Our One-Of-A-Kind rings, each a unique, bespoke creation that is available to acquire immediately, are a great place to suss out how far your money will stretch.
When it comes to diamonds, if you want to maximise the size of your centre stone, Sophie has some top tips on what to prioritise and what is worth compromising on. First and foremost, focus on mm size rather than carat weight – most important is how a ring looks on the hand, not how heavy the centre stone is.
It’s not all about the stats of a diamond either. Be prepared to look at lower ocular and clarity stones as they can have huge amounts of character and you’ll end up with a bigger stone.
Be aware that certain shapes such as cushion cuts carry a lot of their weight in the belly of the stone, whereas ovals spread their weight across a larger surface. This means an oval diamond will look bigger than a cushion cut stone of the same weight.
Finally, Sophie doesn’t recommend lab grown diamonds as some stats are showing a month by month decrease of 5% in value. On the other hand, natural diamonds have been shown to increase in value by approximately 3% annually.
If you have your heart set on a sapphire, Sophie recommends considering a teal gem instead of a traditional deep blue sapphire. A lighter shade of blue with a hint of green, teal sapphires make a stunning centre stone and are much more affordable than a classic blue sapphire.
Sophie also recommends exploring the world of coloured gemstones beyond the “big three” of rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Tsavorites are one of her favourite gemstones to work with because a racing green Tsavorite gives the same effect as an emerald but is much more durable and affordable. Similarly, good quality spinels are more budget friendly than sapphires and are available in a similarly wide range of colours. Explore our material page.
Sophie’s ready-to-wear jewels are designed to be more accessibly priced. The building blocks of a jewellery wardrobe, some are crafted in 9ct gold to bring the cost down as much as possible, while others are set with semi-precious stones, such as topaz, citrine and green amethyst, that offer vibrant colour at a much more affordable price point.
Chains in the Modular edit span the spectrum of prices and offer choices for all budgets. For example, for those who love the weight of an antique belcher chain, we have two options, Oval and Heavy. Because it is considerably lighter, the Oval Belcher Chain is very attractively priced and pleasingly chunky.
Please get in touch if you have any questions about what is possible with your budget. Sophie and the team work closely with clients to find the most cost-effective way of realising the jewel of your dreams, whether it is reworking a piece that you have inherited, creating a completely new jewel or offering a range of ready-to-wear options to suit different budgets.