Engagement ring designing has come a long way in the past 20 years, just ask Ashleigh Woolly of Beyond Measure Jewelers. Gone are the days of jewelry counters and guessing what ring the bride would like best; today ring designing can be done from anywhere and Woolly makes sure every couple she works with gets the perfect engagement ring.
“It is very rare these days that a man picks out the engagement ring,” Woolly laughed. Nine times out of 10, the couple has shopped together or she [the future bride] has come in with friends or family to try on different styles. I then keep notes for her fiance' to make the final purchase, that way she gets exactly what she wants, but there is still the element of surprise.”
From a young age, Woolly said she knew that she wanted to create custom jewelry for her career. The girl from Gulf Breeze was enamored by the glittery gems and the way they brought people together. Woolly got her first job in jewelry sales while in high school and quickly fell in love with the gems that seemed to mimic the emerald waters of her favorite beaches in Destin.
“I was drawn to the industry because every day is a celebration,” Woolly said. “In this business, the clients are happy and often celebrating something special.”
Five years ago, Woolly took the plunge and decided to open her own jewelry store, Beyond Measure Jewelers. The name, she said, came from a phrase often said when explaining deep emotion.
“People tend to say they are ‘excited beyond measure’ or ‘blessed beyond measure,’ she said. “It is also a phrase my husband and I have said to each long before we knew we would start the business. Now, I feel blessed beyond measure to get to do what I love for a living in Destin, Florida.”
“I’m very grateful to the community who kept the business thriving during the lockdown,” she said. “During the pandemic, as always, women went through their jewelry boxes and would bring in old jewelry that they no longer enjoy. We then repurpose the materials into a current design they will love.”
When creating her business, Woolly said she wanted Beyond Measure Jewelers to focus on three important things: Create a unique customer experience, focus on custom design and build strong relationships with every client.
“What makes my store unique is truly my personal touch,” Woolly explained. “I meticulously curate my showroom with pieces that I'm proud to see my clients wear. My custom design experience sets my shop apart.”
So what exactly does the custom ring design process look like?
First, Woolly and her team will have a client try on rings in the store to get a feel for what aspects they like or dislike. Next, it’s time to look at any inspiration photos or sketches the client may have on hand. Then comes the exciting part, Woolly creates a mock-up of the ring using highly realistic imagery software and creates a 3D model of the design. Finally, the ring is cast with the client’s precious metal of choice and the stones are set. The entire process typically takes about 4-6 weeks.
“Custom engagement rings are my absolute favorite because I can design exactly what the bride wants at a budget that works for their needs,” Woolly said. “I also have an endless supply of new design ideas filed away in my head just begging to be created.”
Although in-person designing is still optimal, Woolly said working with the global economy we have today means expanding her business to online designing via social media. Designing custom pieces can now be done remotely thanks to online video calls and social platforms.
At the end of the day, Woolly said it’s not the diamonds, the gems, the creativity, or the location that makes her job the best job in the world.
“The best response to my designs are the relationships they create,” Woolly said. “Oftentimes my clients are so happy with their jewelry that we become genuine friends, and in a small community, that is what it is all about.”
People tend to say they are ‘excited beyond measure’ or ‘blessed beyond measure'...I feel blessed beyond measure to get to do what I love for a living in Destin, Florida.