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Tips from Nicole Mera Jewelry on Designing a Custom Engagement Ring

We’re so thrilled to introduce you today to Nikki Swift of Nicole Mera Jewelry. Nikki is a private jeweler and graduate gemologist who meets one-on-one with clients to help them select or design a piece of custom jewelry for any occasion, and can help bring a dream engagement ring to life. Unlike traditional jewelers, Nikki is able to meet with clients in their homes or offices, allowing for a relaxed setting where she strives to teach, rather than sell. She loves to educate her clients about jewelry so they leave feeling truly excited about their purchase. She takes pride in creating wearable art and putting passion into each project she completes through Nicole Mera Jewelry. Take a look below at Nikki’s answers to a few common questions. You’ll learn something, we’re quite sure!

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Photo: KT Merry

What are the top 3 things to keep in mind when choosing a jeweler?

1. One of the most important factors is to always work with a reputable company or individual. Just like many things in life, if it sounds too good to be true – it really is. Jewelers who have steep discounts, who push you to buy quickly, and those who don’t have a good reputation – stay clear. There are a lot of bad people out there but on the flip side, there are so many wonderful jewelers. Each individual has their certain preference of where and how they like to buy jewelry, whether it’s a big retail store, online, or a small private jeweler. Always do your research first and read reviews!

2. Talk to your friends who are recently engaged. Most likely, they will point you in the right direction. They have been there before, they have put in the work, and they either had a good or bad experience. 

3. Look to work with a graduate gemologist. A graduate gemologist is someone who has comprehensive knowledge in diamonds and colored stones. They are the ones who have a great understanding of the industry as a whole and most importantly, will help you beyond what a standard sales person can do. I myself am a graduate gemologist and have a passion for the items I am selling.  My goal as a graduate gemologist is that my clients leave more educated than when they came, and that they leave feeling knowledgeable and confident about the piece of jewelry or loose stone they just purchased. 

What does the process of designing a Nicole Mera Jewelry custom ring entail?

The process starts with an initial one-on-one consultation where my goal is to best understand my clients and their ultimate goals for their creation.  I start by helping establish a budget, a direction for the design, and then we start with procuring a diamond or colored stone. I will then work with my diamond contacts to curate a selection of loose diamonds to present. During the process of selecting a diamond, I work with my clients to educate about the 4Cs (clarity, cut, color, carat) and explore the world beyond the 4Cs. Once a stone is selected, I let my clients be the designers. With my understanding of hand-fabrication and design, I assist to bring their vision to reality. I work with incredible artisans in Los Angeles who I can trust to then bring the piece to life. My goal in the end is to manage the process from start to finish to make for a relaxed and pressure-free experience. I want my clients to enjoy each and every step and ultimately, I want them to have fun!

What are some things to think about when choosing a diamond shape?

1. Trust your gut! It’s really important to find the shape you love and have always loved. If you try to stick to trends or get something your friends have, you won’t be happy. Just remember, this is going to be a piece of jewelry that YOU need to love because you are supposed to be wearing this for years to come! 

2. Try on and explore various shapes. I think this is crucial when choosing a ring because you will be surprised at what shapes look beautiful on your hand and which ones don’t. For me personally, I have shorter, stubby hands, so I tend to love elongated stones on my hands (i.e. ovals, elongated radiants and pear shapes). Elongated stones tend to trick the eye and not only appear larger, but can also elongate the finger as well. 

3. If you are open to various shapes, talk to a gemologist about choosing a shape. There are diamond shapes that are more popular than others (like rounds and ovals) so of course, they are more in demand so the prices are a little bit competitive. If you or your fiancé are open to various shapes, especially ones that aren’t seen as often in engagement rings today (like pear or marquise), there is a lot of opportunity to find a stone at a great value. The wonderful thing is there are a lot beautiful options for everyone, it’s just about working with someone who is willing to take the time to educate and share their knowledge of diamonds and their value. 

To get in touch with Nikki or to learn more about the services Nicole Mera Jewelry offers, visit her vendor profile on Brides of Austin!

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Other Local Vendors: NICOLE MERA LLC, KT Merry