Making its debut during New York Fashion Week in November 2022, Julie Lamb’s Built for Love was the designer’s first venture into the engagement ring category.
Inspired by the city of New York—where the creator (pictured) was born and raised—rings from the collection take cues from iconic landmarks such as Rockefeller Center, the Chrysler Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
While the designer will work with customers to ensure each ring is ideal for them, many of the pieces, she says, are “perfect in platinum.” Besides, what better way to honor new York’s historic landmarks than in a sturdy but elegant metal that promises to last forever?
Here, Lamb talks with JCK about why engagement rings and platinum are “inextricably linked,” but also why the metal is a brilliant choice for everyday jewels as well.
How often do you work with platinum?
Often! It’s really my sole suggestion for bridal, as well as any everyday diamond jewelry such as studs, station chains, and solitaire necklaces, or resets.
What has been the consumer reception to your collection in platinum? Do you notice a demand for one metal over another?
Built for Love has garnered attention for its unique concept and design work, depicting NYC landmarks as engagement rings. Bridal jewelry and platinum are inextricably linked for me: Only a noble metal would do here, giving industrial strength to tiny architecture, and respecting the iconic status of my inspiration. The color and durability matter in creating an heirloom quality piece that will stand the test of time for my clients’ families. I don’t notice a demand for one metal over another within my bridal offering, likely because my suggestion to go platinum for significant pieces such as these is so strong.
How, in your opinion, does platinum transform your jewels?
Platinum is transformative in its weight, color, and durability. Take a thin cable chain set with diamonds in platinum: It may look delicate, but when you hold it in your hands the first thing you notice is the weight. Much heavier than it looks, it feels luxurious and has an unmatched high polish. For high-traffic items such as this—the ones you never take off—platinum is ideal. You want the strength and durability here and you don’t want the hassle of coming back to the jeweler every six months for polish and rhodium.
Platinum is a luxurious choice for a forever jewel, which makes it perfect for an engagement ring—but yellow gold still seems to dominate the zeitgeist. What are your thoughts on mixing metals? Any suggestions on how to do it well?
I love 18k yellow gold—it’s such a sunny, clean, bright hue. It’s the perfect warm complement to cool platinum. For the brides who love gold or have a yellowish center [stone], incorporating 18k is an option. If your diamond is really white and you want a gold ring, I would suggest doing the center setting in platinum before setting it into your 18k shank. Use the cool platinum to enhance the size and color of your diamond. I do like to use metal hues to enhance stone colors. This summer I had a bespoke request for long linear diamond earrings to celebrate a 40th birthday. My client always purchases platinum for his wife, but lately she has been into the yellow gold trend. I told him I could mix the metals and diamond colors to make a statement earring she could wear with any and all of her current collection. I chose light yellows and champagne diamonds of different shapes and set those in 18k. I mixed them in with top-quality white diamonds and handmade pavé earwires set in platinum. The result: a stunning balance of warm and cool, colors and shapes—mixed-metal firecrackers! All platinum with white diamonds would have been lovely, but read more wedding-day. The mix and contrast really added artistic interest and created a bridge across her jewelry wardrobe.
How would you describe a platinum offering to a customer, versus any other metal—in other words, what would you say to encourage them to pick platinum?
I start with platinum, pretty much as the sole choice when we are talking bridal or foundation pieces. I talk about how we can do delicate work without compromising strength and durability. I talk about how it is soft but strong, allowing for more flexibility than gold, as in you may move or stretch a prong but you are unlikely to lose or break a prong—platinum being a safer setting for your diamonds. I explain how white gold is most always rhodium plated and how it wears down especially on rings, adding additional maintenance over time. When gold is at a high it’s even easier to sell platinum—I explain the weight and price per ounce in the current market. You can really win here on delicate settings.
Do you have plans to create more collections in platinum?
Anything I add to Built for Love and bespoke bridal will be platinum. Custom resets for my clients who desire white metal I will continue to steer toward platinum.
Looking ahead to 2024, what are your plans and hopes for your business?
Definitely to add onto Built for Love with new platinum buildings! I need to flesh out the gallery style page on my website for bridal and make it shoppable. I’m investing in some of the back-end tools online. I will continue to promote my little showroom for in-person appointments; the one-on-ones with customers are invaluable. It’s the best place for us to envision together new adventures in bespoke.
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