Each spring, London jewellery store Tomfoolery hosts alt.BRIDE, its alternative bridal jewellery showcase. This year, there’s been a snag – a big one. The government has ordered all non-essential retail shops to close during the Coronavirus lockdown, and so – as much as we wince at the term ‘non essential’ being applied to jewellery – the London jeweller has had to close its doors. This doesn’t, however, mean the show is off.
Joining in the spirit of many businesses that have embraced technology to keep going during lockdown, Tomfoolery has simply moved alt.BRIDE online. You won’t be able to mosey on up to the Muswell Hill shop to try on your favourite alternative engagement rings, but you can take part in all the excitement from home.
This year’s alt.BRIDE showcase, which can now be found online in Tomfoolery’s Wedding Atelier, features rings by a wide selection of independent jewellery designers. Each specialises in offering alternative engagement rings that are a little bit different, from Fraser Hamilton’s colourful gemstones snug in unusual wrapped gold settings to Ellis Mhairi Cameron’s ruddy-coloured diamonds set in roughly hewn gold rings inspired by buried treasure.
New designers joining Tomfoolery’s alt.BRIDE line up for 2020 include Flora Bhattachary and Sarah Straussberg. Bhattachary offers up contemporary bridal stacks with design flourishes inspired by India, while Straussberg specialises in simple, brushed gold wedding bands with unexpected twists like split shanks.
For brides-to-be who are looking for a more bespoke experience, the Tomfoolery alt.BRIDE showcase also includes a selection of ethically sourced loose sapphires from dealer TF Stones. These ethical gems, which are mined in open pits in Madagascar and hand cut in a small village outside of Rathnapura, could be the starting point for a personalised engagement ring.
To try and replicate some of the excitement of the in-store bridal shopping experience, Tomfoolery will invite jewellery designer Ruth Tomlinson, an aficionado of the granulation technique, onto its Instagram channel to host a live trunk show. The digital event will take place this Saturday – the 28th March, 2020 – and viewers will be able to view the designer’s alt.BRIDE collection, ask Tomlinson questions and discuss their engagement ring or wedding band needs directly with her.
While weddings, and large gatherings of any type, might be on pause for the next few months, there’s never been a better time for staying indoors and planning one. And with emotions running high, we forecast there will be more than a few proposals made during this uncertain time, and what better way to show support for craftsmanship and independent design talent than by buying a handmade alternative engagement ring.
While weddings, and large gatherings of any type, might be on pause for the next few months, there’s never been a better time for staying indoors and planning one