A diamond willed by her grandmother years ago was the start of a jewellery owner’s self-confessed “obsession about diamonds”.
In the quest to learn more information about diamonds, which was not forthcoming despite many visits to jewellery stores, a seed of inspiration was sown for siblings Michael and Michelle Wobcke.
“Transparency is a key value — that was a big thing for us.”
It showed a gap in the market for a business where information is fully disclosed to the client, only conflict-free ethically sourced diamonds are used and designs are made in New Zealand.
That was the start of their ’by appointment only’ jewellery company eight years ago.
“It was always our dream to have a boutique store. We needed to find the right premises and the right time,” says Michelle. So in 2015 the duo’s long-held vision came true with the opening of their first Diamonds on Richmond store.
The benefits of the showroom’s location is immediate. It’s private, perfect for discrete perusing with plenty of parking out front.
Men, Michael says, are the predominant patrons yet after starting a service called, ‘the proposal ring’, couples also come in after the fact to choose the real ring together.
Step in store to learn several valuable lessons in the pursuit for the perfect piece of jewellery. The experience feels laid back – not always typical of the industry. There’s no pressure to buy and complete candour. Education is a real focus here.
Michael and Michelle are true matchmakers. They pair up the right engagement ring for the right recipient. Forget about how many week’ or months’ earnings to spend. There is no “norm” Michelle says.
“For us it’s not about what people are spending — it’s about working out what is the best ring or other piece of jewellery for them.”
A lot of the time guys “have no idea” what to choose so the process is explained and they are shown many options to choose from in terms of diamonds and diamond grades, from the cheapest to the most expensive.
When it comes to custom designing jewellery other than engagement rings, they are seeing a trend towards re-designing and re-making older pieces of jewellery and combining them into one treasured piece to be worn every day.
Ladies come in on the look-out for the perfect “eternity” ring to drop hints about at home. “Many thoughtful men coming in on the hunt for that special birthday or anniversary present, it really is so lovely to be amongst the romance of it all,” explains Michelle.
Michelle designs the jewellery. She tracks overseas trends but believes some don’t always relate to the New Zealand market. Her real inspiration comes from knowing as much as she can about the person the piece is being made for. Are they a glamorous lover of many diamonds or a fan of simplicity?
“It’s all intertwined with how we relate to our customers because it really depends on the person I’m designing it for — whether they’re standing in the store or being proposed to.”
Timeless and classic is always in.
“A single solitaire round brilliant diamond is a a very popular option. Then with their wedding band, they can put their own flair on it. It can be plain or set so many different ways with diamonds which really can change the look of the solitaire.”
There is a charm about a family-owned bricks and mortar store based on old fashioned values. No need to worry about caveat emptor here which rings true for many contemplating online purchases.
“All diamonds are not created equal even if they are the exact same grade. They can be very different,” Michael says. “It’s been one of our most interesting findings since entering the industry.”
Words: Sarah Sparks
Photography: Emily Fei
09 376 9045
98 Richmond Rd, Grey Lynn
Mon-Fri: 10am – 5pm | Sat: 10am – 4pm