An engagement ring is meant to be a timeless symbol of love that will last and be handed down for generations. That’s something Hawke’s Bay’s oldest and most trusted jewellers, McClurgs, innately understand as they have been handcrafting exceptional jewellery for four generations. 

The business was established in the art deco capital of the world, Napier, in 1914 and is currently owned and operated by David McClurg and his son Hamish. McClurgs has built a solid and trusted reputation for their dedicated service, elegant designs and high-quality jewellery that is impeccably crafted to the highest standards.

Each piece of jewellery is designed and created on-site by McClurgs’ master jewellers, who are dedicated to their craft and utilise traditional and contemporary methods to create exquisite diamond and coloured gemstone engagement and wedding rings. The business is known for using only the highest quality certified

and ethically sourced diamonds for all of their designs.

McClurgs is a bit of a hidden gem being tucked away in the sunny Hawke’s Bay but thanks to modern technology the highly experienced team are able to offer their services worldwide, offering virtual consultations as well as face-to- face appointments and stone viewings.

While McClurgs have an incredible selection of jewellery to choose from to suit a range of styles, tastes and budgets, they also offer a popular bespoke service to create the piece of your dreams, or in this case, an ultimate symbol of love. When Sam Moore decided to pop the question to his fiancée Erin Huigens, he knew that he wanted something unique that was made just for her and reflected their love story. 

Being based on Australia’s Gold Coast he wasn’t able to work with the McClurgs team in person due to the pandemic travel restrictions but he reached out to Hamish McClurg and together they began the process of creating a gorgeous ring for Erin. The finished design was carefully delivered to Sam in Australia where he was able to keep it hidden until the time was right for the proposal.

TJ: When you were considering creating your ring, what drew you to McClurgs and made you decide it was a good fit for you?
Sam Moore and Erin Huigens: I always knew I was going to create a ring with McClurgs as Hamish and I grew up together and are still close today. McClurgs has also been the go-to jeweller for my family for years!

Did you have an idea of what you wanted? And if so, what was the inspiration for the ring design?

I had always loved the varying blue colours of sapphire stones and after doing some research on stones – as you do when you first start

looking at engagement rings – I learnt that the sapphire stone was my birthstone, and I loved this sentiment behind it. I initially saw a design I loved passing by a store in Bondi and knew right away that this was the style I would go for.

What are the stones and precious metal you decided on for the ring and why did you choose them?
Ceylon sapphire with baguette diamonds on a platinum band.

As you’re based in Australia and McClurgs is in Napier, New Zealand, how did you find the process of creating the ring remotely?
It was surprisingly really easy. I reached out to David and Hamish with a reference of what I liked with a loose budget. They were able to show me multiple options of different stones with some great design suggestions on placements and settings. They actually suggested the baguette diamond choice which was a great decision as it frames the sapphire beautifully.

How long did the process take from start to finish and what was your favourite part of creating the ring?
From the initial consultation to the finished product, it was about two months. The whole process was really enjoyable and It was really special working with Hamish on the design.

How did you find the service from the team at McClurgs during the process and what makes you recommend them?
I thought the whole process was going to be fairly daunting as I really knew nothing about diamonds or stones before designing a ring, but the whole process was completely stress-free. Both Hamish and David did a fantastic job at communicating with me, advising and educating me along the way, ultimately guiding me to design the perfect engagement ring.

How did it feel to have the ring arrive and see the finished design in person?

To my surprise, the Ceylon sapphire was so much more vibrant in real life – the deep blue colour and the exceptional handcrafted detail of the ring was incredible to finally see in person.

What was your proposal like?

I grew up in Hawkes Bay and have spent a lot of time at Ocean Beach, so I knew this would be the spot I would ask Erin. I took her for a walk along the beach and found a secluded spot, got down on one knee and popped the question! My sister had set up a beautiful surprise picnic when we got back to our family beach house so we popped some bubbles and took in the moment together, just us, before we celebrated with the whole family at dinner. It was such a memorable afternoon.

And how did it feel for Erin to put the ring on?

Well, apart from choosing a size that was more suited to her big toe, she was completely in awe. She didn’t stop asking questions about the design!

How does your ring reflect your journey as a couple?

Erin: I love that my engagement ring is moored in sentiment and creativity. With Sam’s line of work in design, I always knew he was going to create something unique and elegant and he totally exceeded my expectations. I think the ring emulates our love story in a way that it is effortlessly beautiful – that’s exactly how our love is and feels.

What is your advice to others who decide to design a bespoke ring?

Designing something bespoke gives a certain sentiment towards the ring which I know Erin really cherishes. I think there this idea that bespoke designs are a more difficult option, especially when you begin the journey without having an idea of what you want, but it can be the opposite with the right jeweller. I would highly recommend creating something unique – there’s only a few moments in life in which you can do so!

McClurgs team of passionate consultants and master jewellers can work within your budget and specifications to create a beautiful bespoke piece that is something truly special. The team will advise you on every step of the process so you’re getting knowledgeable and attentive service which will mean the best possible result for you that is delivered on time. McClurgs were voted the most trusted jewellers in New Zealand in 2021 (by Most Trusted Ltd.) so you know you are in safe hands and will get a memorable piece of jewellery that will last and be handed down for generations. After all, true love and wonderful jewellery are both meant to last a lifetime.

To find out more visit: / @mcclurgsjewellers

McClurg’s Jewellers are featured in issue #26 of Together Journal.

Words by Emily Simpson. McClurg’s store photography by Heather Liddell and Erin and Sam’s portraits by Trent & Jessie