When my husband and I first got engaged, we were in a shopping mall in Australia and he had gone to buy a fishing rod.  While he was busying himself with manly occupations, I was browsing the jewelry shop windows – when I found it.  My dream diamond ring.  We left the mall that day with an engagement ring, but no fishing rod.  My husband-to-be went missing, and I found him 10 minutes later, sitting on the pavement outside.  Head in his hands, he was saying to himself, “What have I done now?”

Design a diamond ring for a dream wedding

Men’s total fear of commitment is interesting in itself – and a subject for another day!

But never fear.  This story has a happy ending.  This was 14 years ago and we are still very happily married today.  On our 10 year wedding anniversary, I was working at Brides by Solo selling many beautiful wedding dresses, and I was keen to renew our vows.  My husband said, “I’ve married you once, I’m not doing it again.” (Eternal commitment-phobe?)

He did, however, agree to upgrade my engagement ring!  My dream ‘daisy of diamonds’ ring just wasn’t cutting it for me 10 yrs later.  A friend knew a diamond dealer in Israel, where I could choose my own stone to my exact specifications  – I could design my very own diamond ring, exactly as I liked!  When I later flew to Israel to collect my ring, it felt very exotic and special.

I recently found a similar company, Smoky Mountain Diamonds, who provide the same service.  Intrigued, I interviewed owner Valerie, to get her take on what makes diamonds so special – and why designing our own diamond ring is a dream for many.

I could design my very own diamond ring

Asked where she got the inspiration for her Smoky Mountain Diamonds gem-setting business, Valerie says…

‘I got inspired while I was shopping for a gift for my sister-in-law.  I wanted to get her a matching jewelry set for when she gave birth to my second niece.  I went into the jewelry shop and was upfront about what I was looking for and what sort of budget I had in mind.  Not once was I listened to.  They had me going to the most expensive pieces.  I finally got tired and walked out.

I felt completely lost in a sea of choices.  I felt very small.  It frustrated me to no end, every time I entered a jewelry store.  I definitely believe that the jewelry industry, for a long time, has eluded the consumer.  It has made them feel like they can only buy the greatest and latest if they pay a small fortune for it.

My mission is to give my customers luxury, beauty and quality on any budget.  Buying an engagement ring or any piece of jewelry is a very emotional process.  When I speak to a couple, or any customer that comes to me, I make sure that they are being acknowledged.  I want to make that special occasion even more memorable for them to remember.’

Smoky Mountain Diamonds are forever

A Diamond Fascination

‘Our fascination with diamonds is just like any other fascination.  At a young age we are told that our main goal is to marry and live happily ever after.  So we dream of that day, we dream of that man that will sweep us off our feet and we plan out every aspect of that moment.  I remember playing dolls with my cousin and somehow we always ended up playing the bride.

Diamonds, to me, are like blank canvases.  They are waiting for you to paint their life story.  That’s when a diamond has a deeper, more interesting layer of meaning.  I have a diamond that was worn by my husband’s great grandmother who came from Ireland.  It traveled the North Atlantic to America, to end up travelling through time until it got to me.

I wasn’t really fascinated by diamonds until I married my husband.  My favorite piece of jewelry is, of course, my wedding ring.  The diamond is a family diamond – and I designed my setting alongside my husband.  So it was a more personal and intimate experience between us.  It’s a platinum solitaire with a carat diamond, and 11 melee diamonds along the sides of the diamond.

My diamond has seen more than any person living and passed has seen, and it makes it incredibly special to me that I’m wearing such a great piece of history.  It was worn by a woman born in Puerto Rico, who moved with her family to the states, to end up marrying a man in Tennessee.’

‘Diamonds, to me, are like blank canvases’

Design your own Diamond Ring

‘You can choose every cut, color, clarity and carat under the sun when you design your own ring!  We also give you the choice of metals from silver to gold to platinum.  When a customer contacts me and they know exactly what they want in a diamond, it makes the process move along quicker.  We can spend more time on the actual setting.

Our best sellers are definitely engagement rings.  We’ve done everything from diamond engagement rings to gemstone jewelry.  I’m always surprised and excited by what someone is looking for in a ring.  Every customer is unique.  The only trend that I’m seeing is the precious metal.  More and more of our customers are drawn to a rose gold setting, and most of them love ‘the halo’ design.

You can design just about anything that your heart desires – we’ve done pink sapphires, jade, manganite, rubies, emeralds, or a combination of three or more.  The only thing holding a customer back is their imagination.  If you have a family stone or just something you want upgraded, we can do that for you.’

Individually set gemstone rings

Diamonds are Forever

‘We also use Lab Grown diamonds – there’s so much I can tell you!  This is one thing consumers get confused with.  Many people believe that lab grown diamonds are not ‘real’ diamonds.  Well that’s false. Lab diamonds are synthetic diamonds and have the same composition and physical structure of those diamonds found naturally.

More consumers are drawn towards a lab created (synthetic) diamond due to the diamond being a conflict free diamond.  Believe it or not, some lab grown diamonds can be more expensive than a natural diamond; it depends on the size, the clarity, the cut, etc.

I want my customers to come back to me and say how special it was to have exactly what they wanted, and how that made everything come together for them.  There’s not a single customer that I do not still communicate with via email or facebook.  I’ve had customers send me pictures of their growing family;  it’s an amazing feeling to have had such an impact on their lives.’

The dream diamond ring

‘I do not come from a family of Diamond dealers.  I was raised very poor.  I’m the first in my entire family to do what I am doing.  At Smoky Mountain Diamonds, I feel like I’m selling a realization: that having something way beyond what my customers thought they could afford, is actually really obtainable.

Actually, I think I’m ring bi-polar.  I like every style that I see.  Every time I create a ring for someone, I end up wanting to have one just like it.’

Thanks to Valerie for sharing the secrets of her diamond trade!  If you, too, are thinking about designing your own diamond ring, Smoky Mountain Diamonds have the expertise you need.

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