Gabbi Fogarty of Matthew Stephens Jewellers, O'Connell Street Limerick, showing a five-carat diamond solitaire ring, priced at €40,500 Picture: Adrian Butler
THE average spend on an engagement ring in Limerick is between €4,000 and €6,000 according to a leading jeweller who sold a “masterpiece” ring worth just over €100,000 prior to Christmas.
According to Matthew Ryan of Matthew Stephens Jewellers, engagement rings worn by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian have had a huge influence on styles and trends, with many women bringing in pictures of the desired design in the hope of creating something similar.
“It’s becoming more and more frequent that girls are sending us images of rings that they have seen on Instagram or even on other websites. From these images we can create exact replicas in Cadcam software or sketches to make the style at any price point – most often from €1,000 to €20,000 but we have had a big increase in much bigger masterpieces valued at much more, especially during our customer events where our customers can buy direct from international diamond dealers,” Matthew explained.
A customer event last November saw the store on O’Connell Street welcome suppliers and jewellers from all over the world with security in situ to protect the valuable pieces on display.
“We invite our customers in, lock the door and have security. Our customers can view and see their ranges and buy from them at unbelievable prices,” Matthew said.
“The suppliers and jewellers have their amazing pieces which we would ordinarily never be able to buy or would never be able to have a whole selection of, so they come with their ranges - they might have a range for a couple of million or whatever.”
Last Christmas, Matthew said, was “a record Christmas and a record event because it was customers buying stuff we would never have even thought of stocking.
“I suppose in the past few years with the recession people were nearly afraid to be seen to be buying.
“A lot of our really, really big sales mightn’t necessarily be engagement rings - it would be older ladies maybe celebrating a 60th birthday or a 25th wedding anniversary whereby the kids are done in college and they have loads of disposable income.”
The most expensive “masterpiece” sold was a ring valued at just over €100,000 which was sold in November.
“That had exceptional colour and clarity and it was also an absolute rock.”
The average spend on an engagement ring is between €4,000 and €6,000. “Classic styles like solitaires and three stones are always in style but the store has seen a big increase in the sale of diamond halo rings which are becoming so popular.”
For Wedding bands, it’s diamonds, diamonds and more diamonds.
There is currently a position in the store for a goldsmith/bench jeweller. “We have three in the workshop so it is really a case of getting someone who can just slot right in. They will be doing everything from repairs to remounts, redesign and there is a design aspect with the Cadcam.”