Susie Saltzman has her Graduate Diamonds Certificate from the GIA and holds a number of other prestigious diplomas and degrees in jewelry fabrication and gemstone grading. She worked in the Engagement Ring and Wedding Band Product Development Division at Tiffany & Co. for many years and is connected with a network of the world’s best diamond dealers and jewelers. She offers a truly bespoke service with a huge emphasis on quality, value, and making sure everything, from the finished engagement ring to the personal experience, is as close to perfect as humanly possible.
Q&A with Designer, Susie Saltzman
Walk us through the process of finding a diamond for a client and coming to a decision on the ring design.
The process typically begins with an email quickly followed by a phone call where I learn more about the client…where they are in the process of searching for a ring, what style of ring they like, and I get to learn more about the couple personally. If the client is unsure of what they want, I help sort this out by asking a series of questions and showing designs and visuals to help land on the perfect design. Design is a very personal decision, so I take a lot of care with this first step. Once the design is finalized, I begin sourcing diamonds and/or gemstones. The client and I then pick from a small range of diamonds or colored stones to hand select the perfect center stone for their ring. My goal at this stage is to help advise the customer on how to get the most out of their money by balancing the four C’s in relation to their values. To some people carat weight is most important, to others color or clarity, and this is a very important detail to know, so that I can make the client a ring that is in line with their values and desires. Once we hand select and purchase a stone, we begin building the ring, and we do this either by hand or with CAD, depending upon ring design and client request. The diamond is then set and the ring finished and delivered to the client!
Do your clients typically have a design in mind when they come to see you?
Yes, most clients have an idea of what they want. I think most women/men find a way of letting their partner know what they want, so when the time is right, he/she usually has some sort of design in mind that their partner is after. If not, we work through that together.
What is your favorite part of working one-on-one with clients?
The personal interaction, without a doubt! It is an amazing privilege to be part of such a beautiful and sentimental time in people’s lives; it is really magical. I also love the fact that I am giving people unbiased, sound advice and helping them get the most out of their money. I am equal parts expert and friend, and my hope is that clients are comforted by that.
What changes have you seen in the world of bridal in the last couple of years?
CAD has caused significant changes in the jewelry world over the past ten years. It has really changed the way people design and fabricate jewelry; it’s an incredible resource. I also think designers and companies are being more socioeconomically conscious and trying to work more ethically, which is a beautiful thing.
Of the engagement rings you have designed, do you have a favorite?
Wow! That is such a hard question to answer. It is really difficult to pick a favorite! I think each ring, along with each client interaction, is completely unique and special, and I am thankful for that. They are all my favorite.
What is your favorite cut of diamond?
Round Brilliant Cut, for sure. It is so timeless and elegant, and the options for design and style of ring are endless with a round center diamond.
What is your favorite period of jewelry?
This is a tough call, but I would have to say Georgian. I love the Georgian Cluster Rings; they are so timeless and special. There is so much variance within this style or ring; I could collect cluster rings for a lifetime and still feel like I don’t have enough of them!
What is next for Susie Saltzman?
My hope is that I am lucky enough to continue what I do today, indefinitely. I am working on a collection, which I hope to share with the world this fall, and that has been very exciting and fulfilling. That said, I love the custom side of my work; you really can’t beat the personal interaction and the emotional connection that I get to see between the couple and the product. It’s incredible, and I hope that will remain a significant element of my work.
Below is a look at a few of the incredible engagement rings Susie has designed for her clients...