Designing a Custom Engagement Ring: What You Need to Know
Shopping for the perfect engagement ring? Don't just put a ring on it: give her (or him!) a one-of-a-kind custom engagement ring. Whether you have the stone and just need the setting, or want an entire ring designed from scratch, this guide will get you started.
- Understand your style and setting options.
Chances are you’ve already browsed jewelry stores in the past, so you’ve got a general idea of different popular styles. Your sweetie may have even helped you out with a few subtle “hints” about their preference for an art deco setting, a simple stunning solitaire, or a three stone ring. If you’re an engagement ring newbie, take time to learn about the 4 C’s (cut, carat, color, and clarity). The largest diamonds are not always the most expensive! Color and clarity matter, too. Finally, keep in mind that the cut will influence the setting, and vice versa. A cushion-cut or emerald cut diamond will be a natural complement for an art deco setting while a round or princess-cut will sparkle on its own.
- Keep the wedding band in mind.
That engagement ring won’t be worn solo on her finger forever! When designing the engagement ring, think about how it will fit with a wedding band. One popular trend is selecting a wedding band that is contoured to fit around the diamonds in the engagement ring. This is an increasingly popular option for estate rings and art deco-style rings that feature larger diamond settings. Another option is to embrace a slight gap between the engagement ring diamond and the wedding band. This is a useful solution for rings that simply won’t sit flush with an engagement band. When designing a ring from scratch, keep in mind that more complex settings may require custom-made wedding bands to match.
- Find the right designer.
While custom-made engagement rings generally will cost more than an already-made ring, you don’t have to be a Hollywood celebrity to afford design assistance. Many jewelry stores offer salespeople who can work as a liaison with their jewelry designer. Before committing to any designer, ask about their professional affiliations, request to see samples of their work (in person is best), and ask for customer feedback/testimonials. While it’s important to find a designer that matches your artistic vision, it’s equally important to find a designer who’s willing to offer candid input. At the end of the day, the designer knows what will (and won’t) work on a ring in real life– even if the idea looks great on paper.
- Integrate family heirlooms.
One option for custom engagement rings is to re-use a diamond or other precious stone (sapphire, diamond or ruby) that’s been in your family for generations. It’s not uncommon to have a family heirloom jewel re-set for a more contemporary look and feel. If you’re at a loss for inspiration, it can be helpful to snap photos of rings you like and don’t like to share with your designer. Together, you can work on the best way to integrate a precious family heirloom into your engagement ring.