Taylor & Hart Review

All you need to know about the most popular shape of engagement rings


Taylor and Hart Review

Did I heart their tailored service?


Taylor and Hart logo

Taylor & Hart is a young company which launched with one mission – to massively improve the experience of buying an engagement ring.

And, as we’ll see in this review, it looks like they have done just that.

Taylor & Hart have cleverly combined the best bits of e-commerce – incredible choice and lower prices – with the best bits of old-school personal service. Engagement ring buyers can either work with a jeweler to create their own completely bespoke engagement ring, or start with one of Taylor & Hart’s classic engagement ring styles.

Buying from Taylor and Hart

As with all my reviews, I’m going go through the process of ordering a three stone engagement ring, which will allow me to compare

  • Diamond selection and quality
  • Setting selection
  • Website design and ease of use
  • Customer service

Because of what it signifies, buying an engagement ring is about much more than just choosing a diamond and a setting, and this is where Taylor and Hart excel. As you’ll see, they make it a truly collaborative experience which means that even if you can’t be in the same room as the jeweler who is creating your custom engagement ring, this really doesn’t matter.

About Taylor and Hart

Taylor and Hart were founded in London in 2013 and originally called ‘Rare Pink’. The founders are two young guys who have taken a start-up mindset to creating a company to cater to what today’s engagement ring purchasers really want. What this means is that they started building their business from scratch, ensuring that everything they did was focused on the customer and ensuring that each customer’s experience is exceptional.

Currently Taylor and Hart have one bricks and mortar location – in central London. However, they also have plans to open a second, close to the New York diamond district on 47th Street.

This location in London means that they are close enough to Hatton Gardens and the diamond exchange that is located there. This means that they can take advantage of the supply chain and the expertise of the experienced jewelers and diamond setters in the area. But, they definitely aren’t a ‘Hatton Garden’ jeweler, and their service doesn’t reflect the salesmanship that is often associated with that area.

Taylor & Hart’s USP: Personal service

Taylor & Hart’s thing is personal service.

With other online retailers, the experience of choosing a diamond and an engagement ring setting can feel no engaging than buying a T-shirt and chinos combination from an online store. But with Taylor & Hart you feel that you are receiving genuine service that aims to make sure that the engagement ring you receive is the one that is going to make your proposal perfect.

This starts as soon as you visit their website, where you can chat with a jewelry designer through a chat service.

Taylor and Hart’s Chat service

I have mixed feelings about web chat services. The person on the other end invariably feels a little biased. While many retailers say that their chat assistants aren’t commission-based, it’s very rare that an ‘impartial’ customer service assistant will dissuade you from purchasing a diamond that you enquire about. Instead, they usually find a way to show you why you should buy it.

Taylor and Hart’s chat service feels different. They’re not trying to convince you to buy a particular diamond, but they are focused on helping you find the custom engagement ring that is right for you. This is a different interaction and its one that feels much more collaborative than other chat services on other retailers’ websites.

Building an engagement ring

Choosing an engagement ring can seem daunting to the uninitiated. There are seemingly endless options of diamond shape, quality size, setting style, precious metal and a hundred other things you could consider when making your choice.

Designing a custom ring, where you can combine any one of those variations is therefore opening a whole new can of worms where there is literally an infinite combination of elements that can be combined. Phew!

Taylor and Hart do a great job of making this significantly less intimidating by walking you through the whole process. There are two ways you can do this:

  • ‘Collection’ rings
  • Designing a custom ring

‘Collection rings’

If you’re not sure that you want to start with a completely blank sheet of paper, then Taylor and Hart have a wide selection of engagement ring settings available in their ‘Collection‘. They’re beautifully designed examples of classic settings and are competitively priced.

If all Taylor & Hart did was offer these rings, then they’d still offer more choice and selection than most other jewelers.

For instance, many jewelers only have one halo setting for oval diamonds. It’s a less common shape than a round brilliant diamond or a Princess cut. But Taylor & Hart have three oval halo engagement ring options to choose from.

 

Prices for these setting are extremely competitive when compared to other retailers, even those online:

Taylor & Hart Allure oval halo setting
18K white gold
£1,158 – US$1,554

77 Diamonds Medici oval halo setting
18K white gold
£1,475 – US$1,941.81

 

The 77 Diamonds setting is 27% more expensive than the equivalent oval halo setting at Taylor and Hart. Over a quarter!

This is extra budget that can be put into the size or quality of your center diamond – making sure that your ring can be as impressive as possible.

If you select one of the collection settings and choose to ‘customise’ the design, you’re then presented with a range of options where you can choose which precious metal the setting is made out of, the diamond carat weight and you can swap out the diamond shape for another.

Once you have got your setting as you want it, you can click ‘Enquire now’ to be linked to a jewelry designer, who will confirm whether the setting is as you want it, or it is your opportunity to request any changes to the design.

If you don’t want feel that you need a completely custom engagement ring, and would prefer a classic and timeless style that has already been designed, I definitely recommend checking out Taylor & Hart’s collection of pre-designed rings to see their wide selection of beautiful settings and excellent prices. Or, if you just want some inspiration to use as a starting point, it’s a great place to begin.

 

The purchase process:
Custom Engagement Ring

If you want a totally unique engagement ring that is made just for you then the process is a little different.

In this section I’ll walk you through my mystery shop of Taylor & Hart, show you what they do well and where you should make sure you pay attention.

Starting a custom design begins with clicking the ‘Design a custom ring’ button, where you’re taken to a screen which explains the process and introduces you to your personal designer who you will work with throughout the process.

The first stage of designing your ring is a simple form where you can tell Taylor & Hart what you are looking for.  I entered:

  • My budget – between £5,000 and £7,500
  • My  ring style – three stone
  • My gemstone shape – round brilliant
  • I also included that I was looking for trillion side stones

The form Taylor & Hart use is very similar to the form I offer people when they are requesting my help to find the perfect engagement ring for them.

Buying an engagement ring is a new process for most people, so this takes a lot of the thinking out of it and allows you to make some easy choices now, and leave it to the professionals to guide you through the finer points.

First follow-up email, including mock-up

Following my initial enquiry using the form, I received a follow-up email very, very shortly from Kate, the Head Designer at Taylor & Hart.

This email confirmed that they had received my enquiry and asked me to confirm whether I had a specific budget.

It also included something that I didn’t expect – a mock-up of the ring that I had requested, which confirmed the style of the setting and the shape of the diamonds. This was a really nice touch and, while the drawing was super lo-fi at the moment, it definitely started to make the process feel more real for me and that they had created something just for me.

 

Throughout the review, I’ll include my email correspondence with Taylor & Hart in sections that you can click to expand. If you want to see first-hand the level of service then click to expand and read the detail. Otherwise, I’ll summarise the interactions so that you can see how the interaction progressed and how Taylor & Hart coped with my questions.

Taylor and Hart: Initial email with mock-up image (click to expand)

From: kate@taylorandhart.com
Subject: Taylor & Hart: Your Ring Design

Hi Pete,

I’ve started preparing the quote for your ring design and selecting centre diamonds for you to choose from and I wanted to quickly check a couple of things with you.

1) Making the ring will be a set price so, are there particular size diamonds you were looking for or do have a price you would like me to keep to?

2) Have you seen a particular design previously that you are looking for inspiration with, or would you like to see some design options?

I am looking forward to hearing from you and helping you create the perfect design.

Kind regards,

Kate​

Starting off with some easy questions

Following the initial email, I wanted to start throwing in some requests and questions, to see how Kate, and Taylor & Hart, coped.

In my reply I confirmed my budget at £7,500 and asked my first question – about the relative benefits of white gold vs. platinum.

I also included some detail to keep my cover story going!

Alastair: White gold vs. platinum question (click to expand)

From: fakeaddress@outlook.com
Subject: Re: Taylor & Hart: Your Ring Design
To: kate@taylorandhart.com

Hi Kate,

Thanks for getting back to me and sending through the picture.

My budget is around £7,500 and I was hoping to get a 1 carat round stone together with the setting and the two other diamonds for that. Would that budget stretch to it do you think?

I know that my g/f wears a lot of silver coloured jewellery, but I’m not sure on white gold vs. platinum. Do you have a recommendation at all?

I don’t have any pictures that I’ve seen that I can use as reference, I just know that she likes the trillion diamonds because her Grandma’s engagement ring had them. I’d be keen to see any options you can give me to help inform the design

Many thanks,

Pete

Ring quotation page

Kate’s reply to my question about which metal to choose was informative, pleasant and told me exactly what I needed to know.

She also linked through to a personalised ‘quotation page’ which became my hub for the whole transaction. This page includes all the details of the ring – the diamonds, the setting etc – and it meant that I could go back and review the ring at any time.

As my conversation with Kate continued, the information on the quotation page was updated. This isn’t something that I have seen any other retailer do, but it’s a great way of ensuring that you as a customer have all of the information you need.

Good value

The diamond that she had selected for me was an eye-clean SI1 with G color, which is a great option to deliver the most value possible. It also meant that the ring was coming in at well under my quoted budget.

Recommending an eye-clean SI1 straight away is a clear indicator that Taylor and Hart were looking after me as a customer – they knew that I could spend extra to get a higher clarity diamond within my budget, but this would have had minimal effect on how beautiful the final ring was.

If they had offered me a Flawless stone in this initial email then I would have questioned just how customer-focused they really are. Luckily, there were no such concerns.

Kate also sent through some examples of ring setting styles, to help me narrow down exactly what I was looking for, as well as asked a some practical questions about delivery etc.

Taylor and Hart: Confirming my choice and sending through inspiration (click to expand)

From: kate@taylorandhart.com
Subject: Taylor and Hart Ring Enquiry

Hi Pete,

Thank you.

Please find I have added the price of your ring and selected 3 diamonds for you on Your Quotation Page.

The price is currently for Australian delivery and in GBP although we can change this to AUD/USD and can ship to most places in the world.

The metal

Platinum vs white gold:

Platinum is around 4 times stronger, the price difference is around £200 and white gold requires maintenance every 1 -2 years because it turns slightly yellow. Whereas platinum remains white, so we always advise this.

The diamond

In case it’s of interest to you, here’s some information about why I choose this centre diamond…

Diamonds are priced according to the 4C’s. Colour G, Clarity Si1, Cut EX EX EX is our most popular grade we recommend.

– Colour G Is exceptionally white whilst keeping out of the premium price bracket of a colourless diamond.

– Clarity Si1 is very competitively priced whilst this particular diamond is 100% eye clean, it looks like a flawless diamond to the naked eye.

– Cut EX EX EX refers to the grade of the cut, polish and symmetry and is also recommended to have the highest grades as this is the largest contributor to the light return and beauty of a diamond. This diamond is exceptional, very bright and full of life.

– Carat 1.0ct as requested.

Side diamonds

I selected large side diamonds. This does increase the price quite significantly although, I believe the total carat weight being 0.50cts. for the sides, will work beautifully next to the 1.0ct centre.

​The design​

​With the design, is it definitely a trilogy (three stone) ring you are looking for?

Engagement rings tend to be one of 4 styles:

– Trilogy

– Shoulder set

– Halo

– Solitaire

We can incorporate the trillion diamonds into any of these. For example:

With this in mind, please can I ask:

1) Would you like a trilogy, shoulders set, halo or solitaire design?

2) Which currency and the country of shipping is best for you?

​Kind regards,

Kate​

Is that the actual diamond?

The quotation page included a picture of diamond that looked perfectly eye-clean, so I wanted to make sure that the diamond featured on the quotation page was the actual one that I could buy, rather than just a stock photo.

Diamonds graded SI1 for clarity can either be completely eye clean, with no visible inclusions, or can have a huge dark inclusion in the center of the table. For this reason, VS2 and below diamonds should always be inspected.

S11 diamond with no visible inclusions

SI1 diamond with no visible inclusions

SI1 diamond with visible inclusions

SI1 diamond with inclusions clearly visible

 

I also asked a couple of diamond-related questions.

Trillion diamonds aren’t graded for cut quality – only round brilliant diamonds are – so I wanted to see whether Taylor and Hart would be totally up front about how these diamonds are assessed.

Lastly, I asked about shipping to Australia, where I live. Living in another country can actually make a ring less expensive than it would be in its original country if your import tax is lower than the VAT in the country of origin.

Alastair: More diamond questions and where best to send the ring? (click to expand)

From: fakeaddress@outlook.com
Subject: Re: Taylor & Hart: Your Ring Design
To: kate@taylorandhart.com

Hi Kate,

Thank you for getting back to me with such a thorough email

Diamond – the diamond that you recommend looks great. Is the diamond that is pictured on the quotation page the actual diamond that would be in the ring?

Ring style – I really like the trilogy ring style. How would selecting the trillion diamonds work? Are there cut grades for those, like excellent cut etc?

I live in Aus but am from the UK and will actually be back for Christmas – I land on 20th Dec. Would it be better for me to have it shipped to my address in the UK?

Thanks

Pete

International shipping advice to save me money

In my email, I had asked whether I should ship to Australia, or wait to pick the ring up when I was in the UK.

Kate from Taylor & Hart’s reply was that taxes and duties to import the ring to Australia would be around 15% of the value of the ring, which is less than the UK’s standard 20% VAT rate that is added to most purchases.

This means that as an international buyer, buying a ring from Taylor & Hart could actually be less expensive than it would be as a UK resident.

Kate also confirmed that the eye clean SI1 diamond in the image is an image of the actual diamond that I would receive, which is exactly what I wanted to hear.

Taylor and Hart: Great shipping advice to save me money

From: kate@taylorandhart.com
Subject: Taylor and Hart Ring Enquiry

Hi Pete,

Australian tax and duties are usually 5% import duty rate and 10% sales tax although, please be advised that Taylor & Hart has no control over the taxes & duties you may be charged. Therefore, the actual amount charged by customs may differ from the rates estimated. So, these prices are indicative to the best of our knowledge.

Shipping is free worldwide.

So, it would more than likely be more beneficial to you if we ship to Australia. You will save around 5% as the UK has the 20% VAT. We ship to Australia on a weekly basis and it has always been straight forward. Let me know your thoughts.

The picture of the diamond in your quote is an actual photo of the diamond.

With the side diamonds, they will not be certified. Our side diamonds are always EX EX, colour G and VS clarity with no fluorescence.

How would you feel about me creating a 3D drawing of the trilogy design using the exact dimensions?

Please let me know if you have any questions.

​Kind regards,

Kate​

Making sure it’s a great diamond

In my next email, I asked Kate to switch out the diamond that she had already found for one with very specific proportions:

  • Table % – between 53% – 58%
  • Depth % – between 59.5% – 62%

While the diamond that was previously recommended was graded as ‘excellent’ by GIA, this actually isn’t an indicator that the diamond will definitely sparkle brilliantly.

I’m sure you’ve see the diagram on the right which shows how light is reflected from the inside facets of a diamond and back to your eye. The thing to note is how the light is reflected from two internal surfaces and back out in the direction that it came from. In order to do this, a brilliant cut diamond requires very specific proportions and angles. If the proportions aren’t optimum then the light isn’t reflected correctly and it is lost.

Many diamonds that are graded ‘excellent’ by GIA and other grading organisations actually have a poor combination of angles, which don’t work together well to maximise the amount of light reflected.

So, my specific table % and depth % requirements were to see whether Taylor and Hart would accomodate a request to find a diamond that would be more likely to have a combination of angles that would sparkle brilliantly.

I also sent through an example of a setting style to see whether it is something that they could accomodate.

Light reflecting from a well cut diamond

 

Alastair: Specific diamond and setting style requests (click to expand)

From: fakeaddress@outlook.com
Subject: Re: Taylor & Hart: Your Ring Design
To: kate@taylorandhart.com

Hi Kate,

Thank you for sending through the update and the advice on the taxes etc – that’s great.  I think I will get the ring shipped to Aus then as it sounds like it is likely to incur lower taxes than the UK.

I’ve been reading online a little about diamonds and there are a couple of dimensions that I would like the centre stone to have. Is this something that you can accomodate?

– Table % – between 53% – 58%

– Depth % – between 59.5% – 62%

Trillion diamonds
Are the trillion diamonds assessed by in-house jewellers? Or by the people that you source them from? I know that it’s not the most important part of the ring, but I want to make sure that ever part of the ring is stunning!

3D drawing
Yes, I would love it if you could create a 3D design of the ring. I’ve been looking online and I really like the way that that the ring in the attached pic holds the diamond. Is this something that you could do for me?

Thank you,

Pete

3D CAD Engagement Ring Drawing

Kate replied to say that Taylor and Hart could accomodate my specific requests for table % and depth %, which is exactly what I hoped for and expected.

She also sent me through a link to my updated quote page, where he had created a 3D model of the ring setting. I was incredibly impressed by the speed that this generated – it incorporated exactly what I requested and was a really well thought-out design, with the prongs that hold the center stone looping through to become the prongs that hold the side stones. Perfect!

Kate also answered my question about the trillion diamonds, to say that they weren’t accompanied by a grading report from an independent lab, but rather were graded by herself and their in-house gemologist, who is a GIA graduate.

There is a cost associated with a diamond being graded, so this isn’t unusual. However, the two side stones are 0.25 carats each and their total cost is £1,432 (around US$1800). Having a diamond grading assessed does cost a retailer money ($65) which means that for smaller diamonds, it often adds too much to the cost of the diamond to be worth it. However, it would have been nice to be offered the opportunity to have ‘certified’ side stones used to give me confidence that they were of the quality stated.

Taylor and Hart: Meeting my diamond request and link to 3D drawing

From: kate@taylorandhart.com
Subject: Taylor and Hart Ring Enquiry

Hi Pete,

I can absolutely search through and select a diamond for you that fall within:
– Table % – between 53% – 58%
– Depth % – between 59.5% – 62%

​The trillion diamonds are accessed by our Gemmologists and myself​ ​. Our Gemmologists are GIA graduates, the GIA are the worlds foremost authority on diamonds.

I made the workshop bring 3 pairs of trillion diamonds to me today. I wanted to take photos so you could see, although, once I input the measurements into your 3D drawing, I found they need to be slightly smaller.

So, I thought it may be best for us to get the design perfect, then we can look at the diamonds. With this in mind, please find I have added your drawing to Your Quotation Page.

The design service is complimentary including 3 amendments, so if you would like to make any changes, please let me know and I am more than happy to make them for you.

Please can I ask for your thoughts on the design? Would you like to make any changes?

​Kind regards,

Kate​

ASET image request and hearts and arrows

I decided to become a really tricky customer and ask whether Taylor & Hart could supply ASET and Hearts and Arrows images of the diamonds.

‘Hearts and arrows’ are an indicator of the very highest symmetry in a diamond. When viewed from the bottom through a special tool known as a ‘firescope ‘, the facets of a diamond line up to create white hearts, and when viewed from the bottom the facets line up to create white ‘arrows’.

Achieving hearts and arrows is very, very difficult and very few stones have it.

When they do, they command a significant price premium, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a more beautiful stone or sparkle more. A diamond could have perfect hearts and arrows but poor overall proportions. So although perfect hearts and arrows is a nice to have, it isn’t necessary to get a diamond that sparkles beautifully.

hearts and arrows diamond

 

ASET images are another special way of taking a picture of a diamond, using a specific filter. This is not a common request  unless someone has been reading in depth about diamonds, but it’s the one way to ensure that a diamond will sparkle truly brilliantly, without seeing it for yourself.

Example ASET images which show light efficiently returned by a diamond as red and light lost as green:

ASET Diamond Poor

Poor

ASET Diamond Common

Average

ASET Diamond Above Average

Above average

ASET Diamond High Performance

High performance

Alastair: AGS Diamond and ASET image request (click to expand)

From: fakeaddress@outlook.com
Subject: Taylor and Hart Ring Enquiry

Hi Kate,

Thanks for everything so far – it’s looking great.

I’ve got a couple more questions about the centre diamond – sorry!

1) Are you able to provide ASET images to show how much light the diamond returns?

2) If I wanted to ensure that the diamond had ‘hearts and arrows’ symmetry, is this something that you could source?

Sorry to be so difficult!

Pete

 

Hearts and arrows secured

Kate’s reply delivered – she had had to source two new diamonds for me – one of which had a hearts and arrows image, and the other had both a hearts and arrows and ASET image.

Requesting these types of images reduces hugely the number of diamonds that are available to choose from. Most diamond suppliers will only go to the trouble of taking the pictures for stones with specific proportions they know are likely to perform well.

Taylor & Hart: Two hearts and arrows options to consider (click to expand)

From: kate@taylorandhart.com
Subject: Taylor and Hart Ring Enquiry

Hi Pete,

Please find I have added selected a exceptional diamonds for you. You can see them on quotation 2 of Your Quotation Page.

Quotation 2 has very good hearts and arrows, whereas quotation 3 has excellent hearts and arrows.

Due to the restrictions on the parameters we are looking for, the options available are very rare and limited.

I understand quotation 3 is quite a bit more in price, this is predominantly due to it being Internally Flawless.

Please view the videos. ASET’s were originally invented to help with understanding the light performance of a diamond, although now the industry have the 3D videos which are the best representation of a diamond.

Link to Diamond 2 video

Link to Diamond 3 video

We have Hearts & Arrows images for diamond 2:

Taylor & Hart hearts and arrows image

And please find the ASET images for diamond 3 below:

Taylor & Hart ASET image

Personally, I think you and I agree with diamonds; everyone has their favourite of the 4C’s and my personal favourite is the cut.

Can I ask for your thoughts on these 2 diamonds please

​Kind regards,

Kate​

Ready to purchase

At this stage, I came clean to Kate and let her know that I wasn’t going to purchase the ring on this occasion, but thanked her for her hard work in producing exactly what I was looking for and for her excellent service.

She had answered all of my questions, given me great advice on import tax, designed a beautiful three stone ring and sourced a high quality diamond for the center stone. I would have had no problem at all in selecting this ring and it offered excellent value for the level of service, the quality and carat weight of the diamonds.

Taylor & Hart Service

Buying an engagement ring online, especially a custom one, may seem daunting so I wanted to include some more information to help you understand whether Taylor & Hart is the right retailer for you.

Custom engagement ring timescale

One thing that many people worry about with customer engagement rings is how long they will take to produce, and this is a legitimate worry.

If you are hoping to propose next weekend, then a custom ring from Taylor and Hart is probaby not for you. They could help you out with one of their standard ring styles, and delivery time for those is within a week if you are located in the UK, or 2 weeks if you’re further afield.

But if you want a custom engagement ring, the process takes a little longer.

Once the design is signed off, a custom-designed ring will be delivered within 30 days. Allowing for 2/3 weeks to agree the design of the ring, it’s likely that the whole process will take around a month and a half.

I’d probably recommend leaving a couple of weeks buffer in there too to minimise the potential for stress, so if you are planning on I would allow two months from your enquiry to the delivery date.

 

Can the delivery time be reduced?

If you are really keen to work with Taylor & Hart to create a bespoke engagement ring, but your proposal date is looming, then Taylor & Hart can pull out all the stops to get you your custom ring within 12 working days.

There’s an extra cost for this, which depends on the complexity of the ring. The best way to check whether Taylor & Hart can help you is to contact them to discuss what you’re looking for and they’ll be able to tell you whether it will be possible within your timescale.

Returns

Many traditional jewellers won’t accept returns on custom made jewelry. Creating them is just too expensive and as they are working closely with a client there shouldn’t (in theory) be any need to return the ring.

Not so with Taylor and Hart, who are happy to a full refund within 30 days of delivery. This is exceptionally fair and should give you real peace of mind that they have the customer’s best interests at heart – they want to make sure that the ring you propose with is the perfect one for you. More details of Taylor & Hart’s returns policy can be found here.

Taylor & Hart Rating

If you are looking for a jeweler that will listen to your ideas, give you guidance, deliver incredible workmanship and stand behind their product with incredible after-sales service then Taylor & Hart is a fantastic choice.

They deliver a level of customer-service that I have rarely encountered in any arena and the value for money that they offer for this level of service is excellent.

Since conducting this review, I have actually had to go back to my other retailer reviews and dock them points for service, because Taylor & Hart has set a new standard that others should be measured by.

Whether you’re looking for a bespoke engagement ring or a classic style, I recommend that you click through to check out Taylor & Hart and see how they can help you create the engagement ring that is going to make your proposal perfect.

CHECK OUT TAYLOR & HART NOW

Diamond Selection

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