Your engagement ring should not only shine bright, but also glimmer with every facet of your personality. Some couples may want to create engagement rings that are as unique as their relationship. After all, a ring is something you will wear every single day and it should be something you truly love and adore. Here's everything you need to know about designing custom engagement rings, with expert advice from jewelry design pros Meredith Kahn and Jennifer Gandia of Greenwich Jewelers.
1. Start Early
Customized engagement rings take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months; be sure to start the journey early if you're in a time crunch.
2. Have Inspiring Images on Hand
"I think the most important thing to have is visual cues, visual inspiration," Gandia advises. The creative director cites Pinterest boards and Instagram images as particularly utilitarian starting points for creating a custom ring. Maybe you like the band on this ring, the setting on that ring, and the color of the stone on yet another ring; when you're creating your very own design, you can borrow ideas from anywhere.
3. Find a Highly Recommended Jeweler Whose Aesthetic Mirrors Your Own
Ask family and friends if they have any recommendations when it comes to jewelers. You want to go through the custom ring process with a jeweler that's reputable and has done this before. In addition to the trust factor, you also want to look for a jeweler who is already creating rings that mirror the style you're looking to create. Working with a jewelry designer whose quintessential style appeals to your design sensibility will ensure you end up with a ring you adore. "Most clients like to work with my collection as a base but put their own special touches on it," Kahn explains. Gandia adds that many designers welcome slight tweaks to their signature designs as well as completely custom creations depending on the bride's preferences. You can also completely start from scratch.
4. Choose Your Metal
Traditionally, engagement rings are made from yellow gold, white gold, silver, or platinum. But when you're creating your own engagement ring, you can really choose any metal you prefer. In addition to those classic choices, consider rose gold, palladium, titanium, and recycled metals (which are made from a blend of metals).
5. Select a Special Stone
Kahn advises brides to let logic fall by the wayside and allow instinct to lead the way in selecting a stone. "A diamond is not only about what it says on the piece of paper, the GIA rating, or how much it costs," Kahn reminds brides. "They all sparkle in their own unique way. The best thing to do is to hide all the specs and choose with your heart."
6. Choose a Cut
In addition to choosing a stone, you'll also need to choose a cut. Traditional ring cuts include round, cushion, princess, oval, emerald, pear, radiant, Asscher, marquise, or heart. For a unique look, you can also choose to leave your diamond uncut. Uncut or "raw" diamonds aren't cut to fit any setting. They are placed on a band exactly as they came from the earth, and the setting is made to fit the stone.
7. Decide on a Setting
There are even more settings to choose from than there are diamond cuts, including halo, cathedral, prong, tiffany, bezel, bar, flush, suspension, tension style, channel, pavé, vintage, cluster, shank, and three-stone settings.
8. Don't Forget Your Wedding Band
It can save a lot of time and money if you design a wedding band at the same time as you're designing a custom engagement ring. Not only will it ensure they are seamlessly paired, but jewelers can often work out a deal when you create both together.
9. Collaborate on a Sketch and Wax Model
Gandia explains that brides will first be presented with a rendering, or sketch, of the ring from their jeweler to ensure that the ring visually satisfies their requirements. Once the sketch is approved by the bride, the jeweler will fashion a wax model of the ring. Gandia notes that some jewelers will provide a computerized rendering of the ring for particularly detailed designs.
10. Allow Time for Casting and Further Customization
Once clients have approved the sketches of their custom-made engagement rings, jewelers will move into casting. The ring will be cast and cleaned, and then the stones are set. Customizations such as micropavé, Gandia elaborates, are created by hand by the jeweler in this stage. After the ring is set and polished, the statement sparkler is ready to slip onto the finger of the lucky bride-to-be.