City worker offers Wharfers a helping hand to source bespoke diamond jewellery
No-one wants to be sitting at a dinner party with friends and find the girl next to them has got the same ring on," said Stephanie Herriger, whose new business is designed to take the pain out of sourcing and creating bespoke, diamond jewellery.
After offering a helping hand to many of her male friends struggling to find the perfect engagement ring, the City worker - armed with her connections to high end jewellers and global diamond suppliers - turned pro in April.
Describing her offering as a combination of diamond consultancy, sourcing and personal shopper, the 30-year-old spends her weekends and evenings out with clients to identify their preferred design.
Then she'll tap into her wholesale diamond contacts, built up through a network of family and friends, to source the perfect GIA certified stone, before selecting a jeweller to transform their ideas into reality.
"This service does exist in New York but I am the first to do it in London," said Stephanie, who juggles her venture with a full-time career working in the financial markets.
"Of course there are jewellers, there are designers and there are places on the internet where you can buy diamonds.
"I don't sell anything or design anything - I am completely impartial and I am giving people an education.
"I can scour the markets to find the best prices on stones. I am giving something a lot more personalised, exclusive and bespoke."
There's a broad scope to her brand's offering tailored to busy, time-poor City workers and Wharfers, whether they want to create necklaces, engagement rings or earrings.
Although they may not come with an iconic jeweller's box and bow, she said the end product would certainly stand out from the crowd.
Her client base is predominantly men seeking engagement rings but women also call on her advice.
"In the first couple of shops, the men are like rabbits in headlights," she said. "But they become confident with what they are looking at and what they want. They start to understand the prices.
"We are not about copying jewellery at all, it's about a bespoke piece of jewellery, where you have a one-to-one experience.
"The bottom line is you get something customised, with an average saving of 50% off the store price and comparative quality.
"You're going to have something absolutely fabulous that no-one else is going to possess."
Stephanie said her last client paid £12,000 for a platinum, bespoke engagement ring saving around £15,000 on the store price.
The Hyde Park resident said it was her personalised service and the promise of a lifetime of aftercare from the chosen jeweller, that made her firm sparkle. She said clients who decide to buy at one of the stores viewed instead were under no obligation to her service.
Stephanie said: "It's really nice to be part of a process that is positive and happy. I love to hear stories of how the men are going to propose with the engagement ring and what the lady's reaction was afterwards."
■ Stephanie's consultations are free. If you're still hunting for that perfect Valentine's gift, she said a bespoke pair of stud diamond earrings could be sourced and designed within three days in time for the big day.
Go to sh-diamonds.com.