The concept is simple: Love belongs to everyone.
But as a fine jeweller, we recognise that the wedding industry remains underpinned by some historic heteronormative notions, fraught with terminology and traditions that may cause some to feel as though their identities and relationships are disregarded. At least 1.5 million people identified as LGB+ in 2020, whilst 268,522 people married ‘same-sex’ spouses in England and Wales in 2021 alone. Why, then, almost a decade on from the Marriage Act was passed in the UK, do so many of our LGBTQ+ clients continue to find themselves overwhelmingly uninspired or under-represented by the industry that should be facilitating the happiest time of their lives?
According to Kathryn Bishop – vice-chair of the Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council, former editor of Professional Jewellerand co-founder of the Women’s Jewellery Network - diamond marketing needs a lesson in realism.
“You have to ask: Where are the LGBT+ individuals in these diamond campaigns? Where is the tattooed girl having a burger with her lover? Or the 50-something men holding hands as they watch their favourite rock band? They too might like a diamond one day.”
And Kathryn’s absolutely right. When identities are repeatedly written out of narratives – whether consciously or not - what’s perpetuated is the suggestion that there is no place for them within our society. The consequences of this implicit message are devastating, with respondents to the National LGBT Survey proven to be less satisfied with their lives than the general UK population. More than two thirds of respondents admitted that they avoid holding hands with an LGBTQ+ partner in public for fear of a negative reaction from others, and at least two in five had experienced some form of verbal or physical assault in the 12 months preceding the survey on account of being LGBTQ+.
Meanwhile, various studies prove that the ability to see oneself in public domains enables a person to foster a sense of affirmation in their identity, boosting feelings of self-worth. Visibility of LGBTQ+ people within the media also contributes to important shifts in social consciousness, playing a crucial role in changing widespread discriminatory attitudes.
The issue is glaring, yet for suppliers like us, the solutions could not be simpler. Gender-inclusive language. Imagery that serves as an honest reflection of our society. Vocalised support.
For us, symbolic jewellery is about more than metal and gemstones; it’s about the people wearing it. Our Creative Director Arabel Lebrusan is a multifaceted artist with almost two decades of experience in jewellery design, fuelled by an interest in human beings and a fine attention to detail. Whether you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, heterosexual or otherwise, we’re fascinated by what makes you, you. When you open yourself up to us, we recognise how privileged we are. In return, it’s our mission to realise your visions.
When Carolina came to us in search of an engagement ring for whenever the moment “felt right,” she quickly set her sights on our ruby-set Athena design. Through a series of discussions, we helped her choose the perfect red centrepiece and settle on a special message to be engraved discreetly inside the ring’s band, reserved specially for the eyes of her loved one.
"I loved the experience of buying an engagement ring from Lebrusan Studio,” Carolina later told us. “The design is exquisite, not your boring bog-standard rings, and the customer service provided by Ruby was really helpful along the way. It was really important to me to buy from a business which is a proud ally of the LGBTQ+ community all year long, and doesn't just use queer couples as an ad tool during Pride month. The ethos of the company also spoke to me, and knowing that both the stone and the metal used in the ring are ethical and not harming the planet or indigenous communities is another reason why I chose Lebrusan Studio."
When Jess proposed to Emily with the help of a sapphire-set Athena engagement ring, she was delighted to receive the gift of ‘Yes!’ in return. “Emily always wanted an intricate and beautiful sapphire ring. The Athena engraving is stunning and fit the bill perfectly,” Jess shared. “The service I received whilst purchasing the ring was amazing; I always had a reply within a day with any queries I had. Working with a company that we knew supported LGBTQ+ couples meant I felt completely comfortable in my purchase. I would not hesitate before recommending Lebrusan Studio to any couples, especially LGBTQ+ individuals, due to the inclusive and wonderful customer service I received - not to mention the stunning, ethical and excellent quality rings on offer.”
The traditional roles of the engagement ring, wedding band and commitment ring remain relatively rigid. Traditionally only gifted in that order, society holds some steadfast expectations of when they should appear, how they should look and how much they should cost. Today, we encourage our clients to shop instinctively.
Recently, we lifted the lid on Freedom, our brand new collection of mix and match commitment rings. This selection of combinable bands is celebration of love that offers exactly what it says on the tin: Freedom to express without limitations. Embracing a variety of band widths, shapes, details and colours, Freedom is made up of components for you to mix and match in self-curated combinations that transcend conventional restrictions. Finished rings can comprise of two, three, four or even five sections, ranging in stature from delicate to chunky. The collection’s flagship piece is the Freedom Rainbow Ring: A 3mm flat band set with a technicolour row of fancy Sri Lankan sapphires. It's our sparkling take on Gilbert Baker’s iconic rainbow flag.
Meanwhile, the made-to-order nature of our other collection engagement rings, wedding bands and commitment rings invites you to make your jewel yours; from ensuring the perfect fit to personalising with unique engravings or alternative gemstone colours. For an opportunity to really let your imagination run wild, our award-winning bespoke service invites you to work alongside our design team and create a one-of-a-kind set of your very own.
A special thank you to theGay Wedding Guide for educating us with their honest industry insights. ❤