Learning how to buy jewellery can be a tricky issue for men. We tend to panic and throw money at the problem. Walking into one of the large jewellers located on Bond St can be a daunting prospect – does size matter? Should I go for a larger stone of lesser quality or a smaller stone of greater quality? Will she ever be able to tell? What about a pink sapphire, a yellow diamond, will she think I’m cheap if I buy a coloured stone? Will the sales assistant see me coming and lead me off like a lamb to slaughter?
Sidestepping this minefield, the concept of buying jewellery online has become increasingly popular over recent years. Instead of traipsing around endless jewellery stores and still emerging empty-handed, many men are looking to their screens for the perfect piece of bespoke jewellery.
Founded in 2007 as an online luxury jewellery store, Astley Clarke has been at the forefront of this quiet revolution for quite some time, expanding to open its own dedicated boutique in W2 and concessions in Harrods, Liberty and Selfridges. Web stores are often associated with detached aloofness instead of personalised service, but Astley Clarke’s brand of customer care goes far beyond the in-store sales pitch.
The process of how to buy jewellery is wonderfully simple at Astley Clarke. Customers sit themselves in front of their screen and dial up one of Astley Clarke’s four dedicated personal shoppers, who then talk them through all the different options available. The great skill the team have is determining and refining your search with the help of a few simple questions such as your budget, your partner’s style and her colouring.
The personal shopper then comes back with a selection of pieces from the website to start the ball rolling – most customers buy something off the website, while the remainder adapt existing pieces or even commission their own bespoke items of jewellery. Customers can choose the settings and find different stones to mount, or choose the stones and design a setting around it. Astley Clarke will source a selection of stones for novices to ogle and admire. Instead of relying on traditional stones (diamonds, sapphires etc) they specialise in coloured stones – something that a beginner might not normally be brave enough to buy. Morganite anyone?
Visiting their intimate (and undaunting) boutique in W2 is a treat – here the knowledgeable personal shoppers will talk you through their collection of jewellery and stones, or clients can meet with Creative Director Lorna Watson, who will help build up the perfect bespoke piece (you can even keep your design drawings as part of the process).
Over time the team build up a picture of their clients and a portfolio of their purchases, so that down the line they can advise on complementary gift ideas – necklaces to match earrings, rings to offset bracelets etc. Birthdays, Christmases and anniversaries will never be a problem again…
If you liked this, why not read our feature on the best hat shops in London?
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