The alternative bridal market is growing, but hunting out engagement rings that are genuinely different can be a frustrating process.

An arena populated mainly by independent designers, there is no “alternative” hub online where you can browse makers, and the definition itself is confusing. For some people, an alternative engagement ring is anything that isn’t a classic diamond solitaire, while for others it is a design that doesn’t look much like an engagement ring at all.

This Shimell & Madden engagement ring plays on the concept of perfect geometry. The result is a strikingly original diamond engagement ring from this London-based design duo (£1,530).

I spoke to several designers at London Fashion Week recently about the lack of alternative engagement rings out there, but there is one boutique in London that is addressing the gap in the market.

Tomfoolery, a bijoux boutique in Muswell Hill, N10, should be your first port of call if you are on the hunt for a unique ring. With an in-house collection and a roster of contemporary jewellery designers from all over the world, it is a shop that I have recommended to several friends when they have announced they are planning on getting engaged.

The real pull factor here is the variety, with every definition of alternative catered for. A quick browse throws up out-of-the-ordinary metals – matte gold and titanium – rough diamonds, coloured gemstones, original designs and unusual diamond cuts and settings.

Polly Wales will be flying in from LA for a Trunk Show on 1-2 April 2017 as part of Tomfoolery’s popular Alternative Wedding Showcase.
  • Brit designer Polly Wales' alternative engagement rings are a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. This ring is set with an unusual teardrop cognac diamond (£5,625).
  • Tomfoolery’s own collection, metiér by tomfoolery, includes cool and contemporary engagement rings like this triangle and baguette diamond design (£4,800).
  • London-based Ruth Tomlinson’s designs have a natural, organic feel. I love this ruby engagement ring, with smaller rubies sprouting from either side of the centre stone (£1,970).
  • One of Tomfoolery’s newest recruits, Fraser Hamilton offers a stylishly original alternative to the traditional solitaire diamond engagement ring.
  • Fraser Hamilton is one of the newest designers to join Tomfoolery. This engagement ring, set with a teardrop-cut ruby, has echoes of the fede gimmel rings that were popular throughout 18th-century Europe (£1,000).
  • This Shimell & Madden engagement ring plays on the concept of perfect geometry. The result is a strikingly original diamond engagement ring from this London-based design duo (£1,530).
  • Tomfoolery’s in-house designers offer a refreshingly modern take on the classic diamond engagement ring.

    Tomfoolery has a growing online presence, with a wide range of rings to buy online and fast and reliable delivery within the UK (International Fedex is available on request). But if you want the hands-on experience, the boutique has just launched its Alternative Wedding Showcase.

    Now in its fifth year, this annual event, which runs from 18 March to 6 May 2017, is the perfect opportunity to browse engagement rings, wedding and eternity bands, and bridal jewellery. If you want something totally original, you can discuss the possibilities of a bespoke design – most of the designers offer this service, as does Tomfoolery, which has its own workshop on site.

    London-based Ruth Tomlinson’s designs have a natural, organic feel. I love this ruby engagement ring, with smaller rubies sprouting from either side of the centre stone (£1,970).

    Names to look out for are Jo Hayes Ward, Fraser Hamilton, Hannah Bedford, Shimell & Madden, Hélène Turbé, Maya Selway, Michelle Oh, n&a New York and wwake, as well as two of Tomfoolery’s most popular engagement ring designers, who are putting on trunk shows over two different weekends.

    Hugely popular in the US, a trunk show means you can meet the designer in person. First up is Brit Polly Wales on 1-2 April, who will be jetting in from LA – she relocated there from London in 2015 – with Ruth Tomlinson on Saturday 8 April. Both will be bringing a wide selection of rings with them, in addition to those already for sale at the boutique.

    Accompanied by bubbles and tasty treats from the local French bakery, the Alternative Bridal Showcase is open seven days a week. Visit Tomfoolery’s website for opening hours.



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