A second generation jeweller and incurable romantic is ensuring Cupid can still work his magic during COVID-19 and that love can flourish, even during lockdown.
Rita Shanahan has just launched Ireland’s first ever home try-on engagement ring service. It’s something she’s plotted for months as her online trade continues to flourish.
But it’s a brand new service and potential lifeline she’s fast-tracked with the help of Kilkenny Local Enterprise Office (LEO) to meet current demand as romance continues to blossom, even in the shadow of the COVID-19 lockdown.
“We’ve had silver and cubic zirconia samples made up of 25 of our most popular engagement ring styles,” Rita, who runs Lorimat Jewellers from Patrick Street in Kilkenny City and Harcourt Street in Dublin, explained. It’s an exciting time for Rita and the staff of Lorimat who won the Irish Wedding Awards Jeweller of the Year 2019 and again this year.
“Customers choose three ring styles to match their requirements and their budget from the images in the home try on section of our extensive VintageEngagementRings.ie website.
“We charge €60, post them out and give them seven days to return them in the prepaid envelope. They’re all from our classic style and all the samples are made up in the standard M finger size. But we also include a plastic ring sizer so we can custom design the real ring for any finger size with a six week turnaround.
“Our classic engagement ring range varies in price from €1,950 to up to €10,000. We deduct the €60 home trial fee from the cost of any ring order placed, making it even more attractive for couples in the current climate.
“We source all of our diamonds ourselves. All of our stones are ethically sourced, quality diamonds and every ring we custom order is specially designed with fantastic attention to detail. Most can be custom-made within weeks by our trusted international supplier."
“Our personal touch and our attention to detail has been the hallmark of our industry since my mother, Teresa Brennan, set up Lorimat Jewellers here in Kilkenny over 25 years ago. We’re continuing this with the home try on service and all of the additional supports we offer to help couples make the decision that is right for them.”
Rita says any couple who find it difficult to make their final decision can get in touch and she will arrange a WhatsApp video chat to help them make the right choice. “We give couples 7 days to mull over their decision and return the samples as we want to give them plenty of time and flexibility when choosing their special ring. We chose to offer them three as we know for years of dealing with customers in Kilkenny and in Dublin that it typically comes down to three rings.
“If they’re literally stuck between a rock and a hard place I can arrange a video chat with them and help make that decision a little easier. I’ve done it several times over the past week and it’s been very well received,” Rita added.
While styles and preferences vary, Halo-styled engagement rings in white gold remain the most popular at the moment, followed by oval-shaped designs. “While we have 25 sample rings, we can always custom design a ring. If someone likes the overall style but wants something a little different, we can change the diamond size, make it up in any precious metal and give them something extra special. It’s part and parcel of what we love doing.”
While Rita is focusing on engagement rings for now, she plans to extend the home try on service in the coming months to include wedding and eternity rings. But for now, she’s intent on ensuring that diamonds truly are a girl’s best friend and that she brings a little sparkle to people’s lives–even in these dark times.