My lightbulb moment: Jeweller Laura Lambert, 29, reveals the inspiration behind her engagement ring business

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(Keywords: gem stone factory, jewellery, gemstone)

At 29, Laura Lambert is the founder of Fenton & Co, selling design-your-own precious stone engagement rings online. She lives in West London.

As a teenager, I’d spend hours in my bedroom browsing online, clicking from one shopping site to another. I wasn’t spending money, I was doing my research.

What fascinated me was what trends they revealed — why one was a success and another wasn’t.

I couldn’t code, but I was obsessed with getting under the hood of those sites and understanding the mechanics I found there.

I read history at university, but soon got a series of digital retail jobs, including for the shopping mecca Bicester Village, where my dad is the deputy chairman.

Realising that shopping sites often got sizing wrong, I worked on an algorithm that made online measurement charts more accurate. We launched on Stella McCartney’s site, worked with Paul Smith, and featured in Vogue.

I took the same forensic approach to engagement rings. I knew the trend for a big, blingy diamond ring, inspired by the likes of Kim Kardashian, put pressure on men to spend insane amounts of cash. Who can afford to spend £20,000 on a huge sparkler?

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Product:Round Rhinestone (F/C, F/B)
Item no:F100

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There had to be a way for women to get the size without the price tag. So I dived into the jewellery industry and found women don’t want the diamonds their mothers and grandmothers had.

They want something pretty and unique that won’t break the bank. Sapphires, rubies, emeralds are one-of-a-kind but still pricey.

My light bulb moment came in India last year. Touring factories and mines, trying to unpick the global gemstone supply trade — which is complex, unregulated and often unethical — I realised we could cut out the middlemen just as online fashion retailers do.

If we bought direct and sold online, without shops or dealers, we could offer stunning gemstones for a fraction of the price.

Buyers could even design their own ring using a drop-down menu. For as little as £950, you could get a ring to out-Insta even Kim.

My business partner Kathrin Schoenke, formerly of De Beers and Tiffany’s, and I have inspected every factory and know the gems are ethically sourced and bought.

Launched last year, it’s proved a big hit: women love the rings, and men love not having to agonise over endless trays of super-expensive jewellery. Win-win.

gem stone factory, jewellery, gemstone

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