In the past, the idea of creating a custom engagement ring was an expensive undertaking that seemed too out of reach for most people to consider. But today, with advances in technology and the development of new jewelry fabrication techniques, this process has become more accessible and is now a popular option for those who have a unique vision for what they want in their engagement ring. If you’re thinking about proposing, how do you decide if you should go the custom route? And once you have decided, how do you go about having a custom engagement ring made? Below are some common questions and helpful tips for you to consider as you begin your journey to finding the perfect ring for your partner.
Preset vs. Custom Designed
What's the Difference?
A preset engagement ring is any style that’s already a part of a jeweler’s existing collection of designs. This is a great option if your partner has their eye set on an existing design and doesn’t want to change a thing about it. Or, maybe you aren’t sure you have a clear vision of what you would want in a custom ring and you don’t like the idea of not being able to try on the ring before you buy it. With a preset engagement ring, typically there will be an option for you to choose from among a pre-defined range of center stone shapes and sizes that could fit in the setting. Outside of that, the options to personalize a preset engagement ring are limited. Adding a special engraving to the ring is a popular way of adding a personal touch without having to go the custom route.
A custom engagement ring, on the other hand, is exactly what it sounds like. It is a ring that is made from scratch especially for you, so you have a lot of flexibility on the design, and diamond or gemstone selection. This is perfect for someone who has a vision for what they want but can’t find it in the preset marketplace. You’ll have freedom with a custom design, so you can choose to keep it simple by using an existing ring as inspiration and altering only a few elements of the design, or you can choose to create something completely original. You’ll get to be involved in the design process and maybe even incorporate a detail of your love story that may be meaningful to your partner.
So, what are some questions to consider when shopping for a custom engagement ring?
Choosing an Experienced Jeweler or Designer
Choosing who to work with is an important step for any engagement ring purchase. But when going the custom route, it is especially important to work with a jeweler or designer who has extensive custom design experience and an aesthetic that is complementary to your tastes. You may have a sense of what you want your engagement ring to look like, but the jeweler you work with will ultimately be the one to translate your vision into reality. You’ll want to work with someone who has done enough custom work to be able to advise you when they think an idea won’t look good or offer you alternatives to achieve what you’re going for.
One of the pitfalls of designing a custom ring is that it can be very easy to get carried away when you have a completely blank slate in front of you. You may have the romantic notion of creating a heavily symbolic ring design that captures every special moment of your relationship, but keep in mind that symbolism doesn’t always conveniently translate into a ring that your partner wants to wear.
For any couple looking to go down the custom route, it is best for both parties to be involved in the design (at least during the conceptual stage). But, if you really prefer to keep it a surprise, you should at least have had a confirmation from your partner on some of the basics such as the center stone type, shape & size; the general style of the ring; or any must-have design elements. And, remember to keep it simple!
The center stone you choose is going to be the star of your engagement ring: it will inform the design choices to follow and probably take up the larger portion of the ring’s total cost, so you’ll want to go into your custom design with at least a general sense of the shape, size and type of center stone you envision for your partner.
Knowing the ballpark cost of your ideal center stone along with your total budget will help your jeweler understand what kinds of customizations are possible for you. One budget saving tip is to go with a semi-custom piece by making a slight alteration to a preset ring as opposed to designing something completely from scratch.
Our last tip for a successful custom design experience is to allow yourself plenty of wiggle room in terms of the timeline. If you have an important date you want to propose on, make sure to allow enough time for a custom piece to be made. You may need to go through a few revisions before you are completely happy with the design, or, your jeweler may need a little extra time during production to perfect your one-of-a-kind piece. Whatever it is, you’ll feel a little less stressed if you aren’t in a hurry.
Last but not least, enjoy the design process!! There’s something truly special about being able to collaborate with an artist to create something that your partner will treasure for the rest of their life. If you're interested in the next step, start here to learn more about our custom design process.