If you love all things unique, one-of-a-kind and totally bespoke, then you might just love the idea of designing your own wedding ring. Perhaps you have something sentimental that you’d like turned into the ring of your dreams, to keep with you and wear forever. Rosalyn (or Roz as she prefers to be called) is the proud owner of the adorably innovative Rosalyn’s Emporium. Based just outside of Chesham in Buckinghamshire, Roz runs her bespoke wedding ring design and production line single-handed, after her love for making jewellery started over 20-years ago at a jewellery-making evening class.
Roz runs private workshops for just one couple at a time, after having a fully comprehensive consultation with the couple to determine exactly what they’d like before the day begins. The couples can make their own wedding rings, or, make each others (which we think is just so romantic….). Whether it’s tailor-made in gold, silver, platinum or palladium, Roz creates rings that are timeless and treasurable, only ever making one of each design.
There are so many memorable moments from a wedding day, but it’s not just the day that holds the dearest memories….sometimes they come from the planning! After all, planning is such a big part of the process and lasts much longer than the day itself. The wonderful experience of making yours or your partner’s wedding rings will certainly be one of those memories held dear forever.
Allow me to introduce you to Roz….
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi, my full name is Rosalyn, but I prefer Roz really. I’ve been married for 11 years, but together for 21 years which seems crazy. We have a 6 year old daughter & a 3 year old son. I run my business around their school & playgroup times so at the moment there are lots of early mornings & late nights, as well as weekend work so I can be around for them as much as possible. My previous job meant we needed almost full time child care & now that I work from home things have changed. Not without it’s stresses of course but I would never go back to a ‘regular’ job now. My husband is also changing career so we are in quite a period of upheaval for our little family. We’re hoping the hard work & leaps of faith now will pay off in the future. I’m a huge fan for following your dreams.
Rosalyn’s Emporium is just me at the moment. I do absolutely everything in the business from marketing, accounts, website building, social media, making bespoke jewellery & liaising with clients & suppliers.
My love for making jewellery started about 23 years ago when I went on an evening class making my own silver ring. I was hooked straight away. I completed a degree in Design Metalwork & Jewellery which explored multiple metalworking disciplines. I graduated with a First Class Honours in 2000.
Following that I worked as a Visual Merchandiser (window dresser) in fashion retail. I eventually landed my dream job at the time, spending 13 years in the head office of a large high street jewellery & watch chain as Visual Merchandise manager for over 500 stores. I learnt so much about business, jewellery trends, managing a team of people, planning ahead, marketing, budgeting & working in a huge machine of a business. It was a valuable experience. I enjoyed many parts of the role but it never fully satisfied my love for unique, truly bespoke jewellery & genuine romance.
For the past 12 years I have been lucky to have a tiny workshop & jewellers bench at home. In it I made most of my families, friends & a few clients wedding rings. I had no idea it would turn into a business but looking back I can see a very clear path to where I am now so truly think it was meant to be.
I got made redundant 2 years ago & saw my chance to break free at last. Having previously worked for a few independent businesses, plus having 2 young children at home the urge to work for myself one day was finally within reach & I grabbed it. We’ve traded 9-5 routines for ‘no day is the same’ (not for everyone, but I love it!)
If you had the chance to go to any music festival, which one would it be?
In 2016 my husband & I went to Glastonbury. It was my first Glastonbury & the line-up was perfect for me. My highlights were Gregory Porter & Michael Kiwanuka. I wish I’d gone when Glastonbury was smaller but I still enjoyed it & am happy to cross that off my bucket list at last. I’m a big fan of people-watching & Glastonbury did not disappoint. There was inspiration at every turn. I even spent 2 hours in the craft field whittling a spoon so I still got my creative fix as well as music.
Now I like to go to smaller festivals. We have a local festival called Buryfields which we can walk to & take the kids with us. Before we had children we spent quite a few summers going to little festivals. One memorable year we travelled round a few little random festivals with a friend who managed Lemon Jelly & it was brilliant.
Now we look for things that we can take our children to so things have changed a little. We want them to experience things like that early on & it to be part of our family life in future.
What made you decide to start Rosalyn’s Emporium?
For many reasons but ultimately because I have this incredibly strong vision of working in my own Emporium one day. I still can’t quite believe I have my own business at last & can boss myself about. I like being in control & being able to make decisions about my business. I found working for a huge company often creatively frustrating & slow. Now I can change something just because I want to & I love that. Not everything has been the right choice but I can separate the emotional connection with my work & make logical, business minded decisions. If I can see something isn’t profitable or won’t fit with my longer term plans I stop it before it becomes too ingrained in my business profile & reputation. I suppose ultimately I like the idea of being in charge of my own limitations & future, whatever that might end up being.
One of the best bits of my business is the variety of jobs & clients. I can get bored easily. My creative mind needs lots of new things to focus on & keep it entertained. Unusual, bespoke wedding ring requests are beginning to be my specialty.
Having the freedom to say yes to something that I know will be challenging & mean I have to learn something new thrills me every time. My confidence is building & my network of amazing contacts is growing so I can offer more & more bespoke requests now.
I’m grateful to every couple who commit to my business & I want to ensure every penny they spend is well worth it for them. People work hard for their money & I can see how important it is to give real, true value back to them. I want to provide the best service I possibly can every time. If I mess up (which I have) I correct my mistakes with honesty & openness.
Tell us a little bit more about your bespoke jewellery workshops where couples can make their own wedding rings?
The workshops are private for just one couple at a time. Before they attend the experience day we will have had a consultation, either in person, at a wedding fair or over email to ascertain what they want to make so everything is ready for them on the day itself. Couples can make their own wedding ring or make each-others. That question always makes me laugh because it divides opinion immediately & there is never a wrong way to do it.
We start with bars of precious metal cut to their exact shape, size & cross-section. I demonstrate on a silver sample ring & they can practice on this before they start on their real rings. By lunch-time both rings are sized & soldered as a ring.
For lunch they can wander into Chesham town centre which is only a few minutes away so a nice break for them & plenty of options to choose from food wise. On a Saturday we have a market & often local produce stalls or food vans which is really good.
After lunch the rings are filed, buffed & polished. Sometimes textured with hammers or satin features added. I like rings to be finished to a high standard so ensure the couples pay attention to the detail & I am so proud at the end of the day when we can see all their hard work. They can also make gifts for their bridal party so the workshop can be a very busy, noisy place for a few hours (my poor neighbours!)
Many couples say how lovely it is to spend the day together & focus so intently on something so special. A lot of wedding activities are split up so this is a day where they spend quality time with each other. It’s relaxing too. A bit of mindfulness going on by working with your hands & less digital distractions. We mostly use hand-tools so working with metal, woods & natural finishes is often a refreshing change for most people.
The workshops are aimed at complete beginners so I don’t expect anyone to know what to do. It’s also not really a creative thing so sometimes people who are adamant they aren’t creative make the most beautiful rings. I take photos of you making the rings at each stage too so you have another way to remember how much you progressed & to prove to disbelieving people that you really did make them yourselves.
What techniques do you use to make your wedding rings?
We use hand tools including hammers, ring mandrels & pliers to shape the bars into ring shapes.
Then a jewellers saw to cut off excess & ensure a perfect fitting ring. I solder the rings together using solder tabs & a hand torch.
Files & buff sticks are used to smooth the surface & shape any areas that need refining before polishing the rings.
I have a selection of textured hammers which can be used to add unique finishes on the edges or surface of the rings. Sometimes people satin finish the whole ring or add a stripe. The silver sample ring is often used at this point to make decisions on what finish to apply. However I make sure all the wedding rings are polished before any texturing is added. Sometimes couples who are so sure about texturing their rings decide against it once they’ve spent hours making them & then see the amazing transformation of polishing. It’s hard to hit something again when you’ve worked so hard on it.
Can you tell us more about your engraving, stone setting and casting service and the materials you use to make your rings?
Engraving, stone setting, plating & casting are all outsourced to experts in those areas. Most jewellers will outsource these specialist areas so it’s not unusual to have a piece of jewellery that has been handled by a few makers at some point along the way.
I want to ensure my clients wedding rings are finished to the highest possible standard so have sourced & sampled from every supplier I use before I will let them work on my clients rings.
Sometimes I have additional requests or specific jobs that require something new so will again source a supplier who can do it well. I’m currently working with a new laser engraving supplier for example so will add this to the additional extras soon.
Couples can work directly in any gold or silver. Platinum & palladium rings are made in silver first to create a ‘master’ This is then moulded & cast in the solid version of the chosen metal. I only work in precious metals & am also registered to sell Fairtrade Gold but this does have limitations at the moment.
Clients can also recycle existing jewellery which I can form into bars to make new wedding rings. I had a couple bring me a brass artillery shell to use as part of their wedding rings because they met in the army & wanted that reminder of how they met. This proved to be a technically challenging pair of rings. The bride-to-be’s engagement ring was platinum so she needed a platinum wedding ring to wear against it. Combining brass & platinum is not an easy thing because the properties of the metals are completely different. It’s also not good to have brass against your skin because it can make it go green so I had to think of a way to combine the 2 metals in a practical but also appealing way. I came up with a spinner ring idea with the base ring being platinum & a ring of recycled brass moving freely around the centre. The end result was just amazing & I’m so glad I said yes to that job when most jewellers wouldn’t have even considered it. The couple also asked for bridal party gifts so the shell was put to good use. A wonderful way to use existing resources in something new & for such a personal reason, very different to the reason it was created in the first place.
If our couples were to design their own wedding rings with you, what sort of service can they expect?
From start to finish I offer a bespoke service. I tailor everything to suit the couple, what they want to make & when it’s needed by. I have a format of working in order to get the specifics I need but aside from that I can tailor everything to suit the couple & this is something I am good at. Even down to working out payment plans if needed, I can adapt to suit each couple.
My previous client feedback tells me this is the right approach to have. They come back for other jewellery or gift items too so I know they trust me & like the way I work. Making your own wedding rings, or having a bespoke piece of jewellery made for you is not an every day event so I ensure that you don’t get an everyday experience.
“Once all the dust has settled, and the thrill of the big day is a delightful memory, it is all those wonderful people who helped make the day happen that jump to the forefront of my mind and none more so than Roz who has left a lasting and most special impression on us. Calm, gentle and most organised, we felt confident and at ease right from the off. Her clear and very reassuring guidance through the day was amazing! It left us desperate to get the rings on our fingers so we could be reminded of that wonderful bond now firmly wrapped around our fingers and our hearts. ” Andrew & Ros; Married October 2017
“It was very much a case of Roz showing us how to do it all, rather than doing most of it and us contributing. The finished rings therefore felt very special and personal. The rings themselves look fantastic and the service was top notch. I would really recommend this as a lovely activity to do and a way to make your wedding rings even more special and treasured.” Chris & Rachel; Married September 2017
“… A year on I find myself often looking at the ring on my finger, knowing that every part of it was lovingly crafted by nobody but my wonderful wife, for me, and that is something that I shall keep every day, forever. I genuinely think that you are missing out on something incredibly special if you do not go to see Rosalyn for your rings.” Mark & Rachel; Married January 2017
What’s your best piece of advice for couples when it comes to choosing their wedding rings?
Be true to yourself & don’t be too persuaded by trends. Wedding rings need to be ageless & will be the most worn piece of jewellery you own, aside from an engagement ring so really take time to consider what you want & invest in the long term. Making the rings yourselves or having them made for you is a wonderful way to treasure more than just the rings themselves.
Finally, what’s your life quote/motto at Rosalyn’s Emporium?
“Tailor made for you & by you” is how I sum up the MYO wedding ring experience days. My future business plans focus on quality, hand crafted goods & experiences so this will flow through into the real Emporium when I’m ready to take that step.