Bespoke Engagement Rings Speak of Romance At Taylor & Hart
When You Are Ready For An Engagement Ring Go Bespoke To Get The Ring You Really Want
From its meaningful name which is a savvy play on words to its uncanny insight into how the modern couple desires to express their enduring love, Taylor and Hart is more than just a bespoke engagement ring company—it’s the space to go to find the one and only ring after you have found ‘the only one’ with who you want to spend the rest of your life. One of Taylor & Hart’s branding mottos is “love knows no limits, why should we?” And, the brand has lived up to that intention by offering bespoke rings with an unwavering commitment to working with couples to create the ring of their dreams. Nikolay Piriankov CEO, and his multinational team evolved the company to where it is now. Here we talk to Nikolay to gain more insight into the story behind the company, where it is now and its plans for the future.
Taylor & Hart Gouache art and diamond selection round diamond halo engagement ring.
Can you tell us how you came up with the name for Taylor and Hart?
NP: “We are quintessentially British in the way we run our personalized bespoke business. ‘Taylor’ pays tribute to the way Saville Row became renowned for their custom tailoring experience. We felt that the same type of experience is something we felt strongly needed to be addressed in the jewelry sector. We then combined that with ‘Hart’. ‘Tailor’ and ‘Heart’ is our way to play on words—suggesting that our engagement rings’ customization is directly suited to your stories that are deeply driven by the heart. The ampersand is the symbol of connection – the connection between tailoring and storytelling, but also the connection between two people throughout all of life’s milestones they are about to share.”
When did the company launch
NP: “Taylor & Hart was founded in 2013 when my co-founders, Dave Sutton and Shane Hunt, and I realized we could radically increase transparency in the jewelry industry. Initially, it focused on the wholesale diamond business but it soon became obvious that there was a major gap in the market for a truly bespoke experience.
Aren’t there a lot of companies that offer bespoke engagement rings? What is the difference you offer
NP: “Yes, there are companies that offer a fully bespoke service, but they expect so much commitment before you could see something. We wanted to give customers the confidence that what they were doing was the right thing before they had to pay anything, and that they were doing it at their own pace. This is why our London, and most recently New York, showrooms are so important for our customers and us. It gives us a chance to meet them but also gives them a chance to develop trust in the brand. The journey of our brand started as pure excitement about giving customers better value for money by taking away the costs associated with a retail store but has since evolved to be so much more.
What differentiates us is the combination of this personal design service in which the clients are involved in every step of the process. This truly enables couples to capture their stories through the building of the rings they are choosing, our fully developed individualized service and the value benefits of e-commerce shopping that makes us stand out.
What was the mission of the company and when it was in its first stages? What did they want to bring to the consumer?
NP: “In 2016, we went through an extensive branding exercise and we asked ourselves why are we doing what we do? and what are our values? As we went through answering these and other questions, we focused on bringing jewelry back to its roots, emphasizing the heartfelt emotions behind jewelry creation. Jewelry is almost always associated with significant or momentous occasions, small and large moments as we journey through life and what we wear is always surrounded by deep meaning, especially when it comes to committing to a life together. We wanted more people to access all of these sentiments, make shopping for an engagement ring an enjoyable process, while still keeping the price points affordable. We believe that any feeling, or emotion, or story we want to tell about getting ready to spend a life together is possible through custom design. Therefore we set out and continue to encourage the groom-to-be or the couple as a unit to be adventurous and active in the design of their ring. We’re there to provide expertise and guidance along the way, we listen first and there’s a high level of empathy.”
We talked about you distinguishing yourselves from other companies out there but are there other specific services you offer that you can’t find on other online companies?
NP: “The market for engagement rings is quite interesting because most companies have taken an approach in which they offer a product range; they design it, develop it, test it, manufacture it, create samples, produce stock and then promote those.
An engagement ring is the kind of product that has very little capability for customization once it’s manufactured. We’ve taken a different approach. Our entire business, systems and processes are designed to listen to the customers’ preferences, ideas and aesthetics first. Then we design a ring for them in 3D CAD where the customer can give feedback and tweak until it’s perfect.
So while our competitors sell pre-manufactured products, this offers little-to-no space for customization apart from little things like engraving, with the exception of an ‘extra service of creating customized rings. There are companies that have a line and will then re-design something based on their aesthetic. We want to challenge the status quo, break down barriers within the industry and to continue to innovate and allow the customer to help create their own aesthetic.”
What is the process of having a custom ring designed, from start to finish?
NP: “Our goal is for all customers to understand that customization is the way to go with an engagement and/or wedding ring because anything less feels less personal. When you bring a client’s dream ring to life, it’s the unique touches that make the ring that much more special. The custom process is all about communicating your story through a design–that’s what we love most about what we do. Each customer gets in touch with one of our design experts through their preferred channel, be it by phone, email, WhatsApp, or even by booking an in-person or virtual consultation.
From there, their design consultant will get to know a little bit more about the customer: how they met their partner and what they like doing together, as well as their initial design ideas and price point. Based on this information they’ll create a quotation, share their guidance and expertise on choosing a diamond or gemstone and create a 3D computer-aided design, based on the information they have gathered. That’s where we really encourage customers to give feedback and ask questions. Once they’re completely happy with the design, they’ll receive a final quote.”
In creating a Moi et Toi (me and you ) bespoke engagement ring, here are some of the visual steps that the designers work on to show the clients
Where do you get your stones?
NP: “Precious gemstones and diamonds are mined, cut and polished in a whole host of countries around the world–from Russia, Canada and Australia to Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. We purchase our gemstones directly from polishing firms, primarily based in India and Hong Kong, cutting out the middlemen. By cutting out the middleman, we’re able to pass the cost savings onto our customers.
We work with the very best suppliers, who have healthy reputations to maintain, and we trust their systems, processes, policies and transparency. We use the Kimberley Process as a benchmark, and offer customers the opportunity to purchase from suppliers that operate an even more discerning process than this, like Diamond Time Lapse and CanadaMark diamonds.”
Is the company sustainable? From the gold to the stones to the practices?
“Yes, aside from exclusively working with suppliers that have healthy reputations to maintain, we also have the tools to help us trace the diamonds we buy from different sources. These range from Canada Mark Diamonds and Diamond Time Lapse to Everledger, a system that uses blockchain technology to ensure the diamond purchase is secure, unmodifiable and completely transparent.
In addition to our standard metal selection, we’re able to offer fair trade gold and recycled gold and platinum engagement rings to those who request it. As an industry, there’s a growing desire for the jewelry supply chain to be Fairtrade certified at each stage, to ensure ethical standards are upheld industry-wide.
There is always room for improvement and we’re always looking for ways to improve our supply chain, systems and processes.”
What are the three most popular stones asked to be used?
NP: “Earth-grown diamonds remain our most popular stone choice, particularly the round brilliant cut. Compared to last year, the demand for earth-grown diamonds has remained the same, while the demand for lab-grown diamonds has increased exponentially. Amongst colored gemstones, we’re finding an increased demand for sapphires in both rich blue tones and light pink, peachy hues.
Who are the designers behind the collection and how do they work?
NP: “Whenever a customer comes to Taylor & Hart, they’re matched with an expert to collaborate on their design. When we’re hiring for these experts, we’re looking for creatives who have relevant jewelry experience and qualifications.
When we meet them in person, we’re looking for style, excitement, understanding, instinct and intuition and the ability to ask the right questions. We really want our design consultants to get to know the person for whom they are designing a ring. In our team there are gemologists, designers, industry experts and they all learn from one another. We even have masterclasses where everybody brings their expertise and shares it with the rest. Then the experts work with our team of CAD designers who actually inspire excitement.”
Advice on rings? How much does the company get involved if they don’t think that the ring is really right for a customer or if it will endure?
NP: “As you said above, we believe that if love has no limits, neither should we. This is evident by how far we go to help our customers design the perfect ring. When we’re looking for a gemstone to recommend for a design, we search among suppliers across the world and we’ll find the best options. We don’t just stop there. We even employ a team on the ground in Sri Lanka who visit the gemstone markets to handpick the very best gems.
We’ll say no to a customer if what they want is something that is going to be a bad choice for them in the long term. For example, we have a minimum requirement on how narrow and delicate the band will be, offering a minimum of 1.6mm. Or we’d advise against using a soft gemstone, such as an opal or a moonstone, as a center gemstone for an engagement ring.
These recommendations are to ensure your ring will withstand everyday wear. An engagement ring is one of the few things you’ll wear every single day. You have to ensure it will stand the test of time. We want our clients to have a ring that can be treasured for a lifetime.”
Do you repeat styles for other customers? And if so are those limited editions?
NP: “We create bespoke designs and photograph some of the designs for the website, so we receive a lot of enquiries about certain bespoke designs. However, our design consultants will make sure every design is redesigned and unique, from the choice of gemstone, the size of the side diamonds, or the signature gem, we always make sure every ring is one-of-a-kind.”
What are the shape gemstones and diamonds most widely used?
NP: “The most popular diamond shapes are the round, cushion and oval shapes, followed by the emerald and princess shape.
When it comes to colored gemstones, 90% of gemstone sales are one of three combinations – the octagonal emerald shape green emerald, the round royal blue sapphire, and the oval blue sapphire. It’s fantastic with sapphires because they come in every single color and are a really large majority of all gemstones sales.
With fancy diamonds, it’s overwhelmingly the fancy yellow cushion cut diamond in 2020 as this shape accentuates the appearance of color in the diamond.”
Taylor & Hart round solitaire bespoke engagement ring in platinum
What are the future plans for design, brand, and evolution of the company?
NP: “Exposure. How does the brand reach more people? We currently have three showrooms, two in London and one in New York City and perform very well at all three.
However, with the current global situation, it seems the world is changing. We’re trying to bridge the gap between the in-person and virtual shopping experiences by exploring innovative ways to ensure virtual customers have a more immersive, touch-and-feel-like experience. It’s all about the customer experience being so exceptional online, that most people would feel so confident in the brand, that they wouldn’t feel the need to visit a showroom.
We’re also exploring new design capabilities, products and materials to offer. We’re expanding our sustainable range by investing more and more into Fairtrade and recycled options, as well as gemstones and diamonds with provenance.
Finally, at our core, we’re a design company. We have an entire team of in-house designers and we want to elevate their presence in the business to really create timeless engagement and wedding rings that customers love and will eventually hand down as heirlooms.”
Taylor & Hart Bespoke platinum and diamond engagement ring
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TAYLOR & HART