I went to Villarreal Fine Jewelers for an engagement ring based on the recommendation of a friend. My girlfriend (now fiancée) and I had looked at designs at various jewelers and I had a sense of what we liked. Several friends said they “had a guy in New York” but given we weren’t looking for a normal solitaire setting I didn’t want to risk trying to describe what I wanted (I only kind of knew what that was) and potentially end up with a ring that we were not happy with, so I decided to meet with Malcolm at Villarreal. That was a great decision. I initially emailed Malcolm a link to the style of rings we liked and then I met with him. During our first meeting he started with the ring I had presented and talked through many options using details from previous rings he had designed to help me, and him, get a good understanding of what it was that I was looking for. He then clearly explained the process that they work under, then he asked me to take some time to think about whether that would work for me – no pressure sales here. I decided to work with Malcolm.
“Over the next couple of weeks, he developed some sketches and concept drawings. We made some adjustments as we went along and Malcolm was always willing to accommodate changes. He would also make suggestions and wanted to hear my thoughts on them. At the same time, he is very clear about how the ring manufacturing process works and where what you see may vary from the sketches. Needless to say, our ring came out beautifully.
On the business side, Malcolm is in the business of designing jewelry not selling it, he wants to work with you to design a piece of jewelry that you are happy with and not just sell you metal and a stone. For jewelry, their pricing is competitive with what I saw at “discount” jewelers and I was getting something custom. On the actual stone, they will be higher than what your friend’s “guy in New York” or an online site will sell you a stone for, but the premium is not great and the difference is Malcolm is working with you to find a nice stone with good value. He is acting as your advisor on this side of things. In my case we looked at several stones on paper. Malcolm had them shipped in so we could look at them in person. When they came he told me he had an opinion about which he preferred but want me to select and then we would discuss. I went with what looked best to me. While my choice was the same as his, he then explained that while they all looked good on paper, he would not have let me purchase some of the other stones after having seen them in person as they did not present good value. You can always buy stones of a better grade but are you getting value for that. More importantly how do you choose between the fifteen SI1 stones on a website other than price – this is where Malcolm comes in to help making note of what is providing value.
Overall my experience working with Villarreal Fine Jewelers and Malcolm was a great one, I did not feel pressured into buying anything, felt my opinions mattered and ultimately ended up with a ring I truly liked. I would highly recommend Villarreal Fine Jewelers and Malcolm for anyone who is looking at buying jewelry and is not an expert.
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