Singaporebrides | Essentials

May 2019

Fall MADLY In Love With Your Bespoke Gemstone Engagement Ring

If you’re just embarking on your engagement ring buying journey and don’t know how to start, know that you’re not alone. But don’t worry, bespoke jeweller MADLY seems to have cracked the code on making gemstone purchasing and bespoke engagement ring shopping an unpretentious and fun experience.

It starts out simple enough: your relationship is stable and you know she’s the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. You have both discussed a wedding in the near future and have window-shopped at IKEA together, pointing out preferred home decor styles. The next step would be the proposal. Maybe you’ve got it all planned out. Maybe you haven’t. But there’s one thing weighing on your mind. The engagement ring. That, and the tiny 1% chance that she may suddenly not say “Yes”.

You’ve sounded her out and know that diamonds are not her thing, so you have to start afresh with your research. Both of you want something unique and not store-bought, because otherwise it would look like any other #shesaidyes post on Instagram. You want something special and bespoke, something meaningful and from your heart.

And speaking of Instagram, you recently saw that gemstones, as an alternative to diamonds, have become more popular these days, and loved by both royalty and celebrities. It is no longer about Grandma’s amethyst ring, but Kate Middleton’s (originally Princess Diana’s) sapphire ring, and Eva Longoria’s ruby ring. Now, more than ever before, it’s all about being different and embracing individuality, so a store-bought solitaire diamond ring isn’t going to cut it anymore. That’s right, gemstones are making a comeback, and this trend is likely to stay for a while.


Now you get to the hard part: you’ve Googled for gemstones and are confused by the dazzling varieties you see online. Despite hours of reading, you still don’t know the difference between an alexandrite and a tanzanite, but you do know there are blue stones and pink stones and red stones. Do you have enough information, then, to walk into a jeweller confidently today, and leave a couple of months later with a ring that your girl can’t possibly say no to?

You probably already have more information than you think you do. Don’t be too caught up with “getting it wrong” and forget about listening to your heart. But to convince you further, we sent a mystery shopper to MADLY, a jeweller located at a hidden location within Tiong Bahru that has been around since 2014. Over the last four years, MADLY has quietly become the gemstone jeweller of choice that insiders know of and only share within their circles.

The MADLY Experience

Our mystery shopper, Dylan, made a Monday afternoon appointment to go down to the newly renovated MADLY on the pretext of looking for an engagement ring for his girlfriend. He candidly told the team that he had no idea what he had in mind but was immediately reassured that most of their clients don’t, and that it doesn’t matter, as the team at MADLY will help them through the process and make his experience as stress-free as they can.

The first question Dylan was asked was about colour. After saying that his girlfriend’s colour was pink, the team selected a variety of pink gemstones from their inventory, explaining that when it comes to gemstones, colour is the most important aspect. As every single gemstone is unique, every morganite, or pink garnet, or pink spinel will look different, and you’ll never find any other stone with the same hue. Pick the one that speaks to you the most. You are welcome to keep looking until you find one you love, but remember that once you give up on one stone, you will not find another one with the exact colour.


Before you pick your stone, you will, of course, need to know the cost of each of them. The team asked Dylan for his budget, which we had decided earlier was going to be $10,000, for versatility’s sake. As with a diamond, the cost of a gemstone depends largely on its quality and size, as well as rarity. For comparison, Dylan’s budget of $10,000 could get him a 1-carat diamond, but he was shown an almost 4-carat pink gemstone! Generally speaking, rubies, emeralds and sapphires are more expensive to purchase than other gemstones, so again, it all depends on your preference.

Once Dylan decided on a gemstone, they moved on to the design of the ring. Even if you don’t have a design in mind and have not scrolled through endless Pinterest boards of engagement ring ideas, you can browse through MADLY’s Instagram account for the rings they have designed for their clients over the past few years. Looking through actual clients’ engagement ring designs, Dylan was able to narrow down his likes and dislikes, and worked with MADLY’s designer to come up with a setting that was truly bespoke and within his budget. Too bad he wasn’t actually purchasing the ring!


MADLY in Love

We interrupted the appointment, revealing Dylan’s actual purpose of visit, and as such, ended the MADLY experience. While we were doing the photoshoot, the team was able to better explain the other gemstones that are available at MADLY, which are said to be selected from the top 1% of gemstones mined from around the world and from their trusted network of partners. On the wall of gems, we were introduced to colourful Burmese spinels, intensely blue Sri Lankan sapphires, violet tanzanites from Tanzania and vibrant Namibian tourmalines.

Founded by radio personality Maddy Barber, MADLY hopes to prove that buying gemstones and engagement rings, especially for such a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, should be a fun and stress-free experience. With Maddy’s passion for gems and personal experience with jewellery purchasing, she has trained the team to make the daunting task of purchasing such an important item more approachable and unpretentious, and perhaps that is why gemstones have become increasingly popular among young Singapore couples in the recent years.


In a separate interview we did with Maddy, she tells us that gemstone buying has its own journey. Most of the time, customers don’t know what they want. She trains her team by telling them to “not only listen to what customers are saying, but also to be aware of what they’re not saying.” More than just selling a stone, the team is encouraged to follow their own instincts and, more importantly, to always want the best for the customer. “We want the customers to love their purchases so much that they’ll want to tell everyone about MADLY and show off their rings,” she says.

Just like Dylan’s experience above, Maddy tells us that the process is actually very simple. Once you’ve chosen the gemstone, you have to first purchase it. This ensures that the stone is now yours and yours only. Only then do you move on to the next step, which is designing the engagement ring. A lot of customers get too hung up on the design, but the design of the ring is very much dependant on the shape, size, and colour of the stone. “It’s like dressing a girl. I first need to know her body type, then I need to take her measurements so I know what best fits her,” says Maddy. After the design of the ring has been confirmed, it will then take 10-12 weeks before the ring can be ready for collection.

At MADLY, the popular stones for engagement rings are sapphires, spinels, tanzanites, tourmalines and colour-changing gemstones—many of which are rarer than white diamonds, yet offer much more in terms of variety, size and pricing. Although MADLY doesn’t specialise in any one particular type of gemstone, you can find, for example, rare garnets with colours you never knew existed, colour-changing alexandrites, and exceptional gemstones of the finest colours that are not readily available or seen elsewhere.


Maddy agrees that gemstone shopping can get quite overwhelming because everything looks shiny and beautiful; it can be difficult to choose just one. Rather than finding your favourite out of the lot, you need to find the one that speaks most to you. “It’s like having to choose between Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt, and Chris Evans, you know?” She jokes. “You just can’t, right? But ultimately, only one of them has got your heart.”

Gemstones really do come in an array of stunning colours, each with its own character. Unlike the diamond, you don’t have to be set on a particular stone, and can choose one that you will love looking at every day. You also will not be too put off by the price of the gemstone engagement ring. Prices can start from $3000 and will increase depending on size, quality, type, rarity, and the setting you decide on. In fact, Maddy is confident that you will find something you and your fiancee will love at MADLY, with the help of the team. “‘Make us your last stop,’ that’s what we tell our clients,” she said. “If you’re not sure about what you want yet, take your time and go take a look around elsewhere. If you find yourself thinking about that one piece you saw, then you’ll know you’ve found the one.”

Now that advice sounds very familiar, doesn’t it?

MADLY is located at Blk 72, Seng Poh Road #01-63, Singapore 160072. Schedule a free, no pressure consultation with them between Monday to Saturday, 10:30am – 6pm, via email or tel no.: +65 6650 1544. Visit them at for more information.

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Fall MADLY In Love With Your Bespoke Gemstone Engagement Ring