Ilana's Journey

An engagement ring is the ultimate symbol of love, marriage and commitment.

For me, it is also the journey that you take as a couple when you are choosing a ring that is where the most intimate stories and interesting paths begin. It’s not just a ring. It’s a symbol of who the bride and groom are as a couple, as individuals, as personalities. Knowing each other as a couple and knowing your client is so vital to the whole process and only time and honesty can get you to the final piece.

My husband let me choose my own diamond – as a diamond dealer, he didn’t even propose with a ring!
He wanted me to choose my own and have something I wanted.

Most people are surprised by that. I think there is still that expectation that the groom has a ring ready. Most little girls have visions of knights in shining armour on one bended knee with a sparkler in one hand – but Elios’ proposal was still just as special and just as thoughtful. He knew me so well that he knew I would want to choose my own design and stone – even if I didn’t know it at the time. 

Ilana's Journey

In my job you have to become so involved with your clients and listen and understand them so well. Only then can you give them designs and colours and concepts.

Once the design is done it comes to choosing the stones – you would think this is the simple part. The design is done, now it is just a case of putting the stones in place, no?

Considering a diamond – especially an unpolished diamond – is essentially a collection of minerals, this should be easy. But with each client you can see the care and attention that comes with choosing the rock. Sometimes it takes me days and hundreds of stones before we find the right one.

And it is when we find the right one, that over the years I have come to recognize the moment when my client falls in love with their diamond. It’s either a softening in their eyes or an intake of breath – but there is a moment in the room when my client finds their perfect stone and the joy of what will be theirs becomes a reality.

It’s in the moment that I truly love my job.

My Mother’s Memories

Aside from my engagement ring, my most important and cherished pieces of jewellery comes from my mother.

She was an amazing woman and while she is not with me now, her memories are always alive when I wear her collection.

While there were some pieces I have kept as they were, I knew that I wanted to modernize others to suit my personality and how I wear jewellery today, which is was a huge challenge and required a lot of soul searching.

You would think as a jewellery designer that I would be thrilled by the challenge and excited to have them with me day-to-day, but it also meant that I would also be saying goodbye to what they were and the memories that they held. I love that they are no longer in a box and are with me every day. And I love that they will be passed onto my sons and their wives one day and probably go through another makeover with them.   

The making of the feather collection

I never knew how popular the Feather Collection was going to be – it definitely wasn’t planned, I just loved feathers and made a pair of earrings for myself in sapphire and diamond as I love big earrings. It was as simple – and selfish – as that!

Before I knew it, everyone wanted the earrings and the design expanded into rings and bracelets and became a signature style for Noble Fine Jewellery. It was only when I was finalizing the feather design into a stunning ear clip for a client that I looked into the meaning of feathers and how they symbolize an angel being nearby and sending you a sign of love and comfort.

I do consider myself a spiritual person, so while I was surprised to see how feathers had become so important in my work I was also comforted by it. Considering the journey my life has taken and the challenges I have had to face, it seemed quite fitting that the angels were watching over me and bringing me luck.

A Noble Art

Choosing a name for a company is always incredibly difficult – it was a bit like choosing my sons names: you wonder how it will define them, how it will shape them and more importantly will it suit them and who they want to be?

I choose Noble as when I considered the very essence of diamonds and the fact it takes nearly a billion years to make one, you can’t help but think of it as a noble gift to own and care for.

It’s a grand thing and a privilege to own a diamond. I have seen the time and effort and commitment it takes to bring one out of the ground, let alone incredibly skilled craftspeople need to polish and set it and the tradition and honour within the diamond industry. It is a very noble art form and one that I’m still learning from.

When a diamond really is a girls’ best friend

One of my favourite clients was based in Paris and could never afford a diamond ring for his wife – he had always wanted to give her this gift but didn’t know how he could make it happen, so we worked together and instead of a ring, we made her a bracelet with a beautiful stone that he could afford.

The amazement and excitement when his wife opened her surprise and realized that she owned her own diamond, was such a gift to her husband and to me, and made me even more committed to sharing the beauty of diamonds with everyone. There is something so special in having your own diamond. I love that I can make them affordable and possible for everyone.

Confidence is key

I would say it has taken a long time to get to where I am – my husband will probably say it’s still a work in progress!

At 41-years-old, my age has made me confident in what I do and confident in who I am and what I have to offer. When you are part of such an intimate journey – whether it’s an engagement ring or an anniversary gift or ‘push present’ – the role you have in ensuring it is the timeless keepsake your client wants requires a lot of trust and a lot of confidence in the jeweler.

I have made mistakes in the past and with some clients it has taken me three months to get it right. But over time I have learnt to stand my ground and believe in my designs – and it is now showing in my collections and the clients I’m working with.

Dare to Rough It?

While there are some trends in the diamond world they are subtle ones – the one I’m most interested in is a rough diamond collection.

At the heart of what I do is making diamonds accessible and exciting – revealing just what is possible with the stones that are beyond expectations. That is where rough diamonds are such a challenge and hold such great opportunities.

Girl Power

The biggest preconception is that diamonds are supposed to be on a pedestal – they are reserved for special occasions, big birthdays or engagement rings – but what I love in my work and in my collection is how many women are buying diamonds for themselves. Not for any special reason… but because it’s Tuesday and they deserve it and they’ve worked hard for it and they want it for themselves. 

A sparkler doesn’t define you, but it definitely does make you smile… and in today’s world women have more buying power as they know what they want and they aren’t going to wait to get it.

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