There is no doubt making that formal commitment to each other is one of the most exciting times in a couple’s life — and choosing the right engagement ring is symbolic of their love.
Most couples want a ring that is unique, as they are. No off-the-shelf ring will do for most couples who think it is worth splurging on a fine piece of jewellery with so much meaning. And when it comes to bespoke engagement and wedding rings in the Hills, you cannot go past Robert Cliff Master Jewellers, situated in Castle Towers.
This is truly a family business that has grown in popularity for more than 30 years — a business started as Robert and Susan Cliff were expanding their family with twins James and Daniel, who joined sister Kate to make the family complete.
Today James, or Jim, heads the Cliff workshop. He and a team of three band together to fulfil the dreams of couples getting engaged, married, or anyone who is after some special jewellery.
At the helm is master jeweller Robert, who usually takes the order from couples in the store, working with them on the design they want. Jim often gets involved from this point as well. Next, the design is sent through to Shannon Simon in the workshop, who processes the order and passes it on to Jim to start the manufacturing.

Jim is assisted by jeweller Nathan Kiddle and apprentice Morgan Sloane in making the design a reality before the client gives the thumbs up.
When it comes to engagement rings, Robert said it was rare for a man to decide on a design without his fiancée there.
“It does happen but usually the couple decides together. The surprise comes in the way the ring is presented, the formal proposal,” Robert said.
With women not being so surprised by the actual ring these days, it is easy to see why men sometimes go to extraordinary lengths for the perfect proposal — up in planes, on mountains, in expensive restaurants. The woman might know what the ring is going to look like, but she invariably does not know when and how it will be presented. So, there is still romance in receiving that perfect ring.
Robert said white diamonds in white gold or platinum was still the most popular design, although yellow gold still popped up.
“There are still times when people incorporate a grandmother’s ring or diamond in the design, as long as the design is modern,” he said.
Men also often want more elaborate wedding rings than in days past, with a bit of bling in the band.
A ring might take three or so weeks to create, depending on how much to-ing and fro-ing occurs between designers and customers. Diamonds are usually from Australia, although many are sourced from overseas suppliers of African diamonds.
Apart from engagement and wedding rings, Robert Cliff designs rings, pendants and bracelets when people want to spoil themselves — or someone else.
“At the moment, we are designing a tanzanite stone ring for a woman celebrating her 60th birthday,” he said.
Robert and Jim clearly love what they do, which is why their Robert Cliff reputation has grown over the years.
Robert Cliff and his wife Sue are more than successful businesspeople. Like many business owners in the Hills, they make huge contributions to the community, taking part in events such as the Hills Relay for Life Ball, the Mayor’s Winter Sleepout and donating glittering prizes.
They are, in short, real gems in the Hills. ❐

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Going bespoke