Aurum Jewellers, Norwich

Aurum engagement ring

This review of Aurum jewellers in Norwich comes courtesy of The Chap, for reasons that will very quickly become apparent…

Yesterday I opened a little box with a ring in it and asked Lucy to marry me.

She said yes, cried and then stared at the ring until we went to bed 11 hours later.

Today she asked me to write a blog about getting the ring to help all other gentlemen to achieve the same result.

Here goes…

Making your mind up

So, you decide that you want to marry your girlfriend.

You’re looking at her and think, ‘yep, let’s do this’.

You don’t say anything but your heart races.

Big moment.

And breathe.

First things first: ring.

You’re a Millennial guy. You can discuss the Premiership as easily as Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. But do you know where to start with buying an engagement ring?

You can discuss the Premiership as easily as Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. But do you know where to start with buying an engagement ring?

It’s a ring. How hard can it be?

You don’t have to assemble it, it won’t need upgrades and it can’t be hacked. It doesn’t need an MOT, it won’t shrink in the wash and it will be fashionable forever.

But the problem is, while you might be able to pick out a skirt or croissant she’d like (based on experience), how would you pick a ring? What do you base that decision on? The only other rings she’s got are from Accessorize and a vintage family heirloom.

Read more: The Wildbeest

If she’s been sending you pictures of her friend’s engagement rings for 18 months and always seems to walk you past high-end jewellers, then what was annoying may now come in handy. But most of us (human men, I mean), will be in the dark.

First, say you’re going to Thorns for some mastic, then walk around Norwich and look in all of the jewellers’ windows – Bullens, Winsor Bishop, H Samuel (the Greggs of jewellers). What might she like? What would she think is tacky, ostentatious, neat, beautiful, fussy?

What do you like?

A single episode of Don’t Tell The Bride is enough to erode the confidence of the most attentive boyfriend. The look on the bride’s face as she sees the hideous dress/ring/venue he’s chosen. ‘They’ve been together for eight years! How did he get it so wrong?’ Can you choose the right ring, based on what you know?

Also, what’s your budget? What’s the right amount? You don’t want to seem cheap, but… it’s a ring.

You’re having a panic, I know. Everything is nice, but not quite right. Analysis paralysis is stifling your every breath and you can’t Google ‘best ring for Sarah/Sophie/Suzi’. I’m sorry. But don’t worry, I can help.

I was like you once: a 38-year-old marriage cynic finally deciding to pop the question because she’s just too awesome to not marry. And I needed to choose a ring. The perfect ring.

So don’t just buy a ring, get one made – the perfect ring.

Engagement rings at Aurum

Go and talk to Jon Maddocks at Aurum jewellers on Bedford St. in the Norwich Lanes (just down from The Wildman, near Frank’s Bar and Bedford’s, opposite Turtle Bay). You’ve probably walked past Aurum, even stopped to admire the beautiful and modern pieces – your girlfriend definitely has.

The shop specialises in contemporary jewellery – unique designs, stones and metals from sterling silver to platinum and gold.

Jon and his company have been in business in Norwich for 40-odd years and while he carried some exquisite engagement rings, he can also work with you on a specific design and have it made to your budget.

This is exactly what I did six weeks ago.

Designing the perfect engagement ring

Jon started by showing me a number of the rings he had in stock to walk me through the options – various styles, settings, stones and precious metals. We also discussed budget and how to work within it to get the ideal ring – a bit less of this means you get a bit more of that.

We also discussed budget and how to work within it to get the ideal ring

Jon asked lots of questions about Lucy and we started to build a picture of what she might like. It all started to come together. We settled on a simple circular stone with a ‘rub-over setting’ – not a claw setting, in platinum (super strong).

I wanted the stone to sit in a ‘basket’ so that the light could hit the diamond from behind and not be completely enclosed. It would be bold and modern, not fussy and structurally sound.

Aurum ring 1
The first ring design

So far, your ring is just a conversation. How do you know what it will actually look like? Jon noted the specs and said that he’d email me a CAD render of the design in a week or so to see what I thought.

A week later, it arrived.

I sat and stared at it for ages.

Finely tuned jewellery design

It was just as I’d imagined and it was beautiful. But it wasn’t the perfect ring. I went back to see Jon and we discussed how to inject some personality into the design. I knew that Lucy liked art deco designs and I wanted something that would stand out from all of the circular rings on fingers, but didn’t know how to feed this into a design.

After another discussion, we came up with a new spec and a week later, a new CAD image popped into my inbox.

Aurum ring
CAD ring design

Jon also sent a more detailed rendering to really give the impression of what it might look like. He added that while it helps to bring the concept to life, it is still a computer image and the final ring will, of course, have slightly softer edges.

It was perfect.

But not finished.

Getting the right diamond

We had to decide on a stone (or, more specifically, a diamond). Jon explained the four Cs: colour, cut, clarity and carat.

To you and me, that means: is it clean or a bit yellow? What shape is it and how sparkly is it, due to facets? Does it have any ‘bits’ in it – inclusions? And is it a rock or a grain? He ordered a number of ‘princess-cut’ (square) diamonds for me to look at and one lunchtime he talked me through what I was looking at through the cool little eyeglass thingy.

Aurum engagement ringThe key is that these variables impact price, and by choosing which matter the most, you can get the best deal for your budget. Want a massive finger boulder? Then get a yellow diamond with loads of inclusions. Want a brilliant diamond with multi-coloured sparkles, then you may have to get a smaller stone. It’s a trade-off.

The choice is ultimately up to you, but luckily Jon answered all of my awkward questions and guided me to a beautiful stone – one away from the clearest (E) with the odd inclusion (SI1) and still 0.5 of a carat.

Read more: Veeno

Now all I had to do was wait… and not accidentally talk about it.

The final product

Six weeks later Jon emailed and I went in to pick up the ring.

Wow.

It was the perfect ring – beautiful, handmade and I had designed it and chosen the stone. Most importantly, Lucy thinks it’s gorgeous, knows that a lot of thought went into making it just the way it is and, of course, she said ‘yes’.

PS: it’s hard for a photograph to do it justice, you need to get it in the sunlight and just see the light sparkle as its refracted into reds and blues and yellows.

Right, now for the easy part: organising a wedding in Italy.

Check out Aurum’s bespoke engagement rings online, or just go in and chat to Jon.

Lucy

Hi, I'm Lucy. I've lived in Norfolk since 2001 and in that time I've grown to love this fine county. From the city of Norwich, to the countryside villages and sweeping coastline, there's so much to explore and hope to share my experiences with you here.

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