Welcome to Bruford & Carr

Frequently Asked Questions

Bruford & Carr Design
I want a bespoke engagement ring made prior to my surprise proposal. Can Bruford & Carr help?

Of course, we do this all the time! A surprise proposal with a ring is a fantastic way to ‘pop the question’ and we will be delighted to guide you through the design process. We have an extensive range of in house Bruford & Carr ring designs to browse on our website. They can all be adapted to your exact requirements, and delivered in the strictest confidence to ensure your surprise remains just that. Over the years we have helped many customers in this way; please get in touch to ask any further questions and to get the ball rolling.

How long does it take to commission a piece of bespoke Bruford & Carr jewellery?

Whilst many Bruford & Carr collection items are available for immediate purchase and collection, a large proportion of our work involves bespoke manufacture or finishing. The time involved depends on the complexity of the item and the time of year. In quieter periods, a plain wedding band can be made & delivered in just a few days. But more complex pieces at busier times may require a lead time of 4 - 8 weeks. Please call for advice as soon as possible if you’re in need of an item quickly.

What type of gemstones are available for a Bruford & Carr bespoke piece?

Bruford & Carr’s passion for fine jewellery means we scour international markets for the most desirable diamonds or gemstones to include in our collections and bespoke pieces. We take pride in sourcing the rarest gemstones from celebrated mines and suppliers around the world. The majority of our diamonds are sold with a GIA certificate.

What metals do Bruford & Carr work with?

Any combination of precious metals, including White Gold, Rose Gold, Yellow Gold or Platinum. Palladium is also a possible option but its status as a less expensive alternative to platinum no longer applies as its price has soared due to demand for industrial applications. Silver features within our fashion jewellery and cufflinks collections

Is Bruford & Carr gold hallmarked? Are Bruford & Carr diamonds certified?

All gold jewellery sold by Bruford & Carr is hallmarked as per the legal standard by the UK’s Assay office. Individual diamonds weighing over 0.30ct are normally accompanied by a GIA grading certificate detailing the weight, colour & clarity of the gemstone.

What is the difference between white gold and yellow gold?

Gold in its natural pure state is yellow in colour. However jewellers work with gold in varying levels of purity using ‘standards’ which include alloy metals in combination with gold. The level of purity is described by the term ‘carat’ when referencing parts pure gold relative to other alloy metals. 24 carat gold is 100% pure. 22ct gold contains 22 parts gold out of 24 total, 18ct gold is 18 parts of 24 (75%), 9ct gold is 9 parts of 24 (37.5%). The most common alloys used in gold are copper, zinc, silver, palladium, and nickel. In white gold, the alloys used are typically the white property alloys silver, palladium, and nickel. These alloys are what give white gold its appearance.

I am allergic to the Nickel in White Gold; does Bruford & Carr offer white metal alternatives?

We recommend Platinum as the best nickel free alternative to white gold. It is a superb fine jewellery metal with exceptional tensile strength enabling detailed design and is extremely hard wearing.

Why do pure metals need to be mixed with other metals?

You will find examples of jewellery made of pure metals like platinum, but pure gold is soft and isn't practical for daily wear. Other metals are mixed with gold to make it more durable and to lower its cost. For example, platinum or nickel can be added to pure gold to create white gold; adding copper produces a rose or pink tint; while silver gives gold a greenish tint.

How much pure metal is in my jewellery, and how can I tell?

The purity of the metal used in each piece of jewellery is described by the hallmark. Platinum is 95% pure (PT950).

  • For Gold:
  • 18ct is 75% pure (750)
  • 14ct is 58.4% pure (584)
  • 10ct is 41.7% pure (417) (10ct is the minimum for some countries to be classed as gold, eg. USA & parts of Europe)
  • 9ct is 37.5% pure (375)
  • Fine silver is 99.9% pure (stamped with a half moon shape)
  • Sterling silver is 92.5% pure (925)
What are the birthstones for each calendar month of the year?
  • January - Garnet
  • February - Amethyst
  • March - Aquamarine or Bloodstone(584)
  • April - Diamond
  • May - Emerald
  • June - Pearl,Moonstone or Alexandrite
  • July - Ruby
  • August - Peridot
  • September - Sapphire
  • October - Opal
  • November - Topaz or Citrine
  • December - Turquoise or Zircon
I have an old piece left to me by a relative. Can any parts of it be used again?

Yes. Gemstones can be unset and reused and precious metals can be melted down and incorporated within a new item.

Choosing Ring Styles
How do I choose an engagement ring style for my fiancé?

We suggest starting with an in depth perusal of Bruford & Carrs website gallery followed by a discussion with our expert team. It can also be worth seeking advice from your partner’s friends and family as they may have a strong sense of their preferred style. Bruford & Carr carries a diverse repertoire of designs, making it easier to shortlist possible design options which can if necessary be modified to create the perfect piece for you.

What are the main differences between Bruford & Carr’s wedding band profiles?

The four main ring shapes that we offer are as follows: D shaped: this ring has a cross section resembling a ‘D’ due to its curved outside and flatter inside. Court shaped: this ring offers the optimal level of comfort, making it the most popular profile; it is slightly rounded on the inside as well as the outside. Flat Court Shaped: this ring has a strong contemporary appearance with a flat external profile but the inside is slightly curved to achieve a really comfortable fit. Flat shaped: this contemporary style ring is flat on both the outside and inside surfaces.

How do I begin shopping for an engagement ring?

First, have a budget in mind, and the style you’re looking for. Find some inspiration pieces you and your future fiancé like. If you don’t know what kind of rings they like, ask their friends and family to help, and check if they have a Pinterest board of rings. Then, using the budget and style, talk to our designers more in-depth about metal choices, gemstone choices, and more. We have more information in our Buyers Guide pages.

How will Bruford & Carr help me design the perfect bespoke engagement ring?

In a nutshell, share your inspiration pieces and ideas with us, or work with our experts to find your style, and our designers will create a 3D CAD model for you to approve. If you have any tweaks you want, the designer will put them in and when you are finally happy with the 3D model, we can print a wax version for you to see what it will look like in person. Then, assuming you’re still happy with the piece, we will move it into production and create it.

How long does it take to design a piece of bespoke jewellery?

With the custom design process, the more time you can give us, the better it is for everyone. When an order is placed to move into the CAD phase, you can expect the initial design in 7-10 business days. Any modifications will be added within two business days. Once a design is approved, we would like to have 4-5 weeks for production. We do all of our work on-site, so we can be moderately flexible with due dates if absolutely necessary. The whole process can take 7-8 weeks, depending on how many modifications you need. However, we can sometimes rush a job if you need it by a certain date.

If I can’t decide on a design now, can I buy the diamond for my proposal & design the ring later?

Yes, absolutely. Bruford & Carr offers customers the option of a ‘Presentation Solitaire’. This involves purchasing an unmounted certified diamond, or coloured gemstone, in a beautiful presentation case along with a bespoke design credit, so that you can return to enjoy the ring design experience together.

Ordering & Payment
Is buying online from Bruford & Carr a safe easy option?

We've tried to make purchasing on our website as easy as possible. Navigate to an item you want quickly and easily then click the 'Add to Cart’ button. When you’re ready to proceed to payment, click on the 'Shopping Bag' icon in the top right of the screen followed by ‘Go to Checkout’. This leads you to our secure payment gateway. Of course you can contact us at any stage to guide you through the process or, if you prefer, payment can be made over the phone.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept all major credit cards - Visa, Mastercard, Maestro and American Express - as well as PayPal. We also accept bank/wire transfers and cashiers or bank cheques and personal cheques which will have to clear with full bank verification before an item is sent out.

Can I pay over the phone?

Yes. We are happy to take card payments over the phone. Please call +44 (0)20 7629 4289 if you would prefer to pay this way.

Do you offer financing?

We offer financing through XYZ interest free payment options. Please contact us for more information.

Shipping & Returns
After placing an order, how soon can I expect to receive my item?

Items held in stock will be dispatched within 24 hours of receiving an order. Most of our collection pieces require a degree of bespoke customisation which will determine the delivery timeframe. Please enquire in advance to receive accurate guidance for expected delivery timing for any specific item or commission.

What is your shipping procedure?

All items purchased through our website can be delivered worldwide. In the UK, we normally use Royal Mail Special Delivery or DHL Express, to guarantee next working day delivery. For international orders under £2,500, we use Royal Mail International Business Tracking and Signature Services (2 days to Western Europe, 4 days to Eastern Europe, 6 days to the USA & ROW). For items over £2,500, we use Fedex or DHL Express International. All items are fully insured at Bruford & Carr’s risk. Please note an adult signature is required to receive all packages.

Can I track my package?

Yes, we’ll email you your tracking information at the time of dispatch.

My purchase is a surprise. Will there be any reference to Bruford & Carr or jewellery contents on the outside of the package?

Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us! Your item will be sent in plain, generic packaging which works best in any case from a security perspective.

What is your returns policy?

We offer a 'no quibble', 30 day full refund guarantee on all online purchases. Items must be returned in the same condition we sent them in. The Buyer is required to cover the cost of return postage and any customs duties or sales taxes that may be incurred in the case of international returns. Please note that items which have been personalised, for example with engraving, cannot be returned.

Quality & Value
How competitively priced is Bruford & Carr jewellery?

Our prices are continually updated to ensure competitiveness on the international market. We pride ourselves on offering excellent value through competitive pricing linked with exceptional long term customer service. All our customers become part of our lifetime loyalty scheme which includes ongoing maintenance of their jewellery collections as well as preferential terms on future purchases.

Is bespoke jewellery more expensive than a ready-made piece of jewellery?

No. It simply takes a little longer because each piece is tailored to your exact specification, including your budget.

Bruford & Carr Service & Advisory
What level of expertise will Bruford & Carr provide me with to select or design my jewellery?

Expertise is central to Bruford & Carr’s service ethos. Our team includes a number of graduate gemologists with FGA, DGA and GIA qualifications along with many decades of combined experience working with fine jewellery and design. We will do everything we can to make your jewellery buying experience as exciting, fun and interesting as possible.

How can I upgrade my Bruford & Carr diamond?

An important part of Bruford & Carr’s service is our diamond upgrade commitment, which helps customers to enhance their collection over time. Subject to verification by our gemologist, a diamond purchased from Bruford & Carr can be returned at the full price paid in part exchange for a more valuable diamond, subject to the replacement piece having a purchase price at least 50% more than the original item being returned.

Does Bruford & Carr undertake valuation appraisals?

Yes, we offer valuations for a range of purposes: insurance; probate; and resale. An insurance appraisal describes individual pieces in written detail along with a photograph and assigns a replacement value that reflects the current retail value. Insurance appraisals are important to have in case jewellery is lost or stolen to help guarantee a fair reimbursement for the item subject to claim. The Bruford & Carr team includes certified gemologists and diamond graders with the requisite skills to ensure the accuracy of stone type, size, weights, qualities, and values. Probate appraisals which involve valuing an estate for tax purposes, describe items in similar written detail, however the value ascribed reflects the immediate second hand resale value as opposed to the much higher retail replacement value.

Would you recommend Vintage Jewellery as an alternative to new?

This really depends on the individual’s preference or taste. Bruford & Carr carries a carefully curated collection of vintage jewellery spanning multiple eras from late 18th Century Georgian jewels through to more recent decades. For many collectors, vintage jewels carry an enduring charm and distinction featuring unusual historic gemstones. We have decades of experience, knowledge and passion from dealing in antique jewellery and are always happy to advise on collections, or to help source unique vintage pieces and offer a full suite of services regarding valuations, trade-in or part-exchange, repairs, cleaning or remodelling.

Does Bruford & Carr purchase unwanted jewellery direct from the public?

We are happy to offer on the part exchange or outright purchase of unwanted jewellery items and are proud of our reputation for giving fair prices.

This method of disposal is particularly beneficial to the vendor in avoiding the high commission charges imposed by auction houses, which typically account for over 30% of an item's value. Further advantages over the drawn-out uncertainty of the auction process come from our immediate settlement at an agreed price. If you are thinking of selling, please email with photographs in the first instance, then either send items by registered post or bring them to store in person for valuation & sale guidance.

Sizing, Maintenance& Repairs
How do I measure my finger to determine my ring size?

Bruford & Carr will send a free finger sizer to your home address on request; just follow the manufacturer’s instructions to determine your ring size. Please enquire by telephone or email.

Does Bruford & Carr offer a ring sizing service?

Yes. Ring sizing can normally be completed within 3 working days but may take longer in peak holiday season. Resizing of a ring purchased from Bruford & Carr within the first 6 months will be undertaken free of charge. Depending on the type of ring, the cost of a typical resizing will otherwise cost between £75 - £150 per ring.

Does Bruford & Carr offer any warranty against damage?

Bruford & Carr offers a six-month warranty against problems arising with items purchased from us that are not a result of damage or negligence subsequent to purchase. We specialise in the sale of fine jewellery, which requires careful maintenance and it is important to choose jewellery that is appropriate for your lifestyle. Some materials or styles of jewellery may be especially fragile and not well suited to everyday wear. We can advise you on this. If you experience any problems with your Bruford & Carr purchase, please contact us to discuss this. Depending on the nature of the issue and the circumstances, we will either repair the item for you free of charge or provide a repair quote. Please note that if you commission repair work to be undertaken by a third party jeweller, the Bruford & Carr warranty will no longer be valid.

What does it mean to have your rings polished versus cleaned?

Polishing is a multi step process carried out in the jeweller’s workshop using a buffing wheel and multiple rouge compounds to remove tiny lines and scratches from a piece of jewellery. When complete the piece looks brand new. Cleaning is a a much simpler process, offered as a free service offered to customers for jewellery purchased from Bruford & Carr. This uses an industrial strength ultrasonic device with a cleaning agent & can be done quickly while you wait or have a coffee next door. So you can be in and out of the store in just a few minutes with your jewellery looking sparkly and new!

What is rhodium plating?

Rhodium plating creates a layer of semi-permanent of rhodium on white gold jewellery pieces to give a gleaming white finish. Over time the layer will wear through and the process will need to be repeated periodically to achieve the original level of finish. A jeweler will rhodium plate a white gold piece, after polishing, to give it a bright white shiny finish again.

Ethical Sourcing Policies
Can you guarantee the quality & purity of your precious metals?

Yes, absolutely. In the UK it is illegal to sell or describe any item as gold, silver, platinum or palladium unless it is hallmarked. All Bruford & Carr jewellery is made and hallmarked in compliance with the law. A UK hallmark is struck by an independent assay office to guarantee the precious metal content of the piece of jewellery you are purchasing. The grade of platinum we use as standard is 950 purity. The grade of gold is 18ct (hallmarked .750). We use these standards consistently unless a variation is requested by the customer. For example, if you have a preference for 22ct gold rather than 18ct gold for a wedding ring or in the case of cufflinks or signet rings, customers often request 9ct gold (hallmarked .375) for its relatively tough, harder wearing qualities.

How can I be certain that Bruford & Carr diamonds are completely ‘legitimate’?

All our diamonds are sourced from a small number of hand picked diamond companies with whom we have long standing business relationships. They rank alongside the world’s finest diamond polishers. Buying directly from these companies ensures supply chain transparency from mine to ring as well as enabling us to price competitively. We are able to guarantee that our diamonds are of the highest quality and that they are free of any treatments that some companies may use to artificially enhance the appearance of their stones. Similarly we can guarantee that we never trade in conflict diamonds.

Can you guarantee that the gemstones used in Bruford & Carr pieces are ‘conflict-free’?

es, this is extremely important to us. We can offer written guarantees that all gemstones, including diamonds, have been purchased from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict and in full compliance with the United Nations’ Security Council Resolutions. We will not buy, sell or handle any diamonds of unclear provenance and insist that all of our suppliers subscribe to to The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme.