By Claire Roberts
Several weeks ago I was invited to the launch of Harry Winston's Ultimate Bridal Collection - a new service offered by the New York jeweller that allows clients to tailor-make a one-of-a-kind diamond engagement ring.
The idea is not a new one - Harry Winston has always created bespoke jewels for its top clients - but the service has been refined and polished and given a shiny new title so that brides-to-be know exactly what to expect when they commission the New York jeweller famous for its diamonds to create a ring for them.
By special appointment at Harry Winston salons throughout the world, clients are invited to immerse themselves in the world of Winston by way of a carefully curated portfolio of five classic engagement ring designs. Each bears the indelible Harry Winston fingerprint: extraordinary diamonds, set in timeless settings that best show off the personality and fire of the gems.
The designs are intended to serve as a starting point from which the client can develop an idea of precisely what they want their own ring to look like, although I fell in love with the cushion-cut diamond solitaire ring with tapered baguette-cut diamonds exactly as it was. I might trade in the three rows of baguettes that extend all the way around the band for two single, impressive baguettes flanking the centre stone because, while it looked truly spectacular on my finger, I would personally feel a little overdressed. I certainly wouldn't meddle with that incredible cushion-cut diamond.
You can play with different ideas, diamond cuts and carats to your heart's desire. The only stipulation is that your ring remains true to the aesthetics of the Harry Winston brand. Once you have decided on every little detail, a designer will create a gouache painting of your bespoke ring for you to approve.
The whole process, from first appointment with a Bridal Specialist to completed ring, takes eight weeks - an impressive feat for a made-to-measure ring, particularly given the fact that each is crafted in Harry Winston's workshops in New York.
This is a high-end service with a high-end price tag. Available for engagement rings starting at three carats and above, each diamond is chosen for its rarity and character from only the top three colour grades (D, E and F) and clarity (VS2 and above) and will be sourced by Harry Winston exclusively for your ring. To schedule an appointment at a Harry Winston boutique to discuss the new Ultimate Bridal Collection service, visit the Harry Winston website.
From first appointment to finished design, your bespoke Harry Winston engagement ring will be ready in just six weeks.
Diamonds are sourced by Harry Winston exclusively for your ring from only the top three colour grades (D, E and F) and clarity (VS2 and above).
Harry Winston has a selection of classic designs which are intended to provide inspiration for your bespoke ring, including this impressive ring, set with two marquise-cut diamonds, with an undulating band set with round brilliant diamonds.
Another iconic Harry Winston engagement ring: a cushion-cut diamond solitaire ring with tapered baguette-cut diamonds.
This Harry Winston halo-style diamond engagement ring, with a pretty vintage feel, is a house classic.
In October 2013, Harry Winston launched its new bespoke Ultimate Bridal Collection service, with classic designs such as this one on show, which are intended to inspire you to create something unique.
The Ultimate Bridal Collection bespoke engagement ring service is now available at Harry Winston salons worldwide.
Once the design of your bespoke design is finalised, one of Harry Winston's designers will create a gouache painting for you to sign off before the ring is hand-crafted in the Harry Winston workshops in New York.