By Alannah Sparks
Everyone knows that Hatton Garden is the place for wedding ring shopping in London. The moment you step off the tube you are bombarded with images of sparkling diamond rings and schmaltzy couples as the merchants vie with each other for your custom. Hatton Garden is a great experience, and with 55 jewellers in total, it's one best explored when you have lots of time. However, don’t be afraid to look outside the Hatton Garden box. Here are a few great wedding ring shopping experiences I’ve had - both in and out of said box - though I still haven’t found the ring, so if you do happen to spot any extraordinarily beautiful half eternity rings set into yellow gold, preferable antique, shout me a holler.
A.R Ullman: Tucked away off the main Hatton Garden drag is a tiny Aladdin’s cave of antique jewellery dating back to Georgian times. It’s where my fiancé got my engagement ring, and it is a charming place that has been run by the same family since 1902. The great thing about this place is that they know their stock inside out, and also, they don’t employ the huge mark-up that many Hatton Garden stores do, so take your time looking through the extensive collection of jewels, and you might come away with a real gem.
36 Greville Street,
London EC1N 8TB
Emma Franklin: I love Emma’s jewellery; her chunky animal adornments have a timeless quality despite being quirky and cool. Her own engagement ring is a stunner (she designed it and her boyfriend had it made behind her back before presenting it to her halfway down a black slope on a skiing trip) and I was delighted to find out that she makes bespoke jewellery. Take a look through her gallery to see some of her beautiful creations, which can be made exactly to your specifications, but with her artistic flare.
Astley Clarke: If you are unsure of what you want as a wedding ring, Astley Clarke is a great place to start. Browse the easily navigable website for rings from Astley Clarke’s own bridal collection, or from a wonderful array of designers including Solange Knowles and Carolina Bucci. If you see something you like, make an appointment at their lovely Paddington showroom, where you will be well looked after by their extremely competent and utterly charming personal shoppers.
This is the daddy of the Hatton Garden antique jewellery stores – and be warned, you will pay a premium for that. But it is worth going in just to be enchanted by the rows and rows of exquisite gems dating all the way back to the Byzantine era.
88-90 Hatton Garden City of London, EC1N 8PN
Lucie Campbell: The divine Madame Campbell started her career as a jewellery collector in France in the 1960s, and fifty years later she has her own store on New Bond Street which has been dishing out fairytales to young couples since 2002. A beautiful place to go for diamonds.
26 New Bond Street
London W1S 2RJ