Do you dream of creating an utterly unique engagement ring? Does the idea of having complete creative control over the ring’s aesthetic fill you with excitement? Designing an engagement ring offers you an unforgettable opportunity to make a piece of jewellery that could sit on your partner’s finger for the rest of their life.
Even with the diverse range of engagement rings available from high street and online jewellers, sometimes you simply can’t find “the one”. If you’re struggling to locate a ring that accurately symbolises the story between you and your partner, a custom design engagement ring allows you to create a genuinely bespoke reflection of your love.
If the thought of undertaking this task feels overwhelming, our helpful tips will guide you through the process and give you the confidence to design your own engagement ring.
The joy of designing your own engagement ring
Undoubtedly the ultimate benefit of designing your own ring is having the ability to tick all the boxes. With the designing process in your hands, you can:
You may think designing an engagement ring is one of the more expensive ways to propose, but you may find the cost of creating a high-end self-designed ring through an online retailer is not vastly more expensive than purchasing a similar style and quality of ring from an independent jeweller.
Where to design your engagement ring
Before you start exploring the design process, choose where you’d like to design the ring. Your two main choices are through an online jeweller, brick-and-mortar jewellery store, or design studio.
Online jewellers that let you design your own ring are ideal for those who struggle a little with envisioning the overall look of a ring, preferring to have visual options such as templates to guide them through the process. If you’ve struggled to find the right engagement ring because you can’t find the metal and stone combinations you like, using these build-your-own ring creators could work well for you.
If the style templates aren’t to your taste, you may find that some of the “design your own” options from the major online jewellers are a bit limiting for your personal preferences. If you have a clear image of your engagement ring, it may be easier to bring this vision to fruition by working personally with a designer.
Though it will be cheaper to use an online service, you may prefer the opportunity to have face-to-face contact with a jeweller, and this can speed things up when you design your engagement ring.
How to create a winning design
Spend plenty of time familiarising yourself with the styles of rings that you want to emulate. Think about each element of the rings that you like and what it is that resonates with you. If you’re keen to let a jewellery designer take the lead after you’ve specified the key elements, select a metalsmith whose work you admire. When a bespoke piece is made, even with your input, the innate style of the artist will always show through – so make sure it’s the right fit. For example, don’t ask a jeweller specialising in recreating vintage pieces to design and craft your uber-contemporary engagement ring idea.
Designing an engagement ring involves making numerous decisions; understanding a few key terms will make creating your ring much more straightforward. You will need to choose:
Whether you’re using an online creator tool or sitting down with a designer, there are four main styles you need to be familiar with:
Although you may have a metal in mind for your custom-design engagement ring, there are some practical points to consider before you make your final decision.
Gold has long been a popular choice for engagement rings, and you can choose a higher-carat gold to improve the ring’s durability since lower carats are known to be a little “soft” and easy to scratch. You also have the option to choose white or rose gold, and these can feel more contemporary than yellow gold.
Though expensive, platinum is the best choice if you want a ring with optimal durability. The silvery colour of this luxury precious metal works a treat with diamonds and a range of coloured gemstones – allowing them to “pop”.
To save a little money on your ring, you can choose the more affordable option of silver for your band. It’s important to note that silver is less durable than silver, so think carefully if the engagement ring will receive a lot of wear and tear.
The main stone is the star of the show in an engagement ring; therefore, select a gem whose colour the wearer will love. A diamond has become the traditional stone of an engagement ring and produces a classy, premium aesthetic. Nothing sparkles quite like a beautifully cut diamond, and like any stone used in the ring, you can carefully choose this cut to offer the level of brilliance you desire and then the shape to augment your style aspirations. Popular engagement ring stone shapes and cuts include:
If a coloured gemstone is more to the recipient’s taste, sapphires come in various colours, while rubies and emeralds have long been used to add interest to an engagement ring. Remember that those passionate about designing an ethical piece can request lab-grown gems.
You don’t have to use expensive gemstones, and there are myriad lower-cost gems, such as citrine, amethyst, agate, peridot and topaz.
Higher-carat gemstones are ideal for the likes of a solitaire ring, where the stone will be the focal point. If your budget suits slightly lower-carat gems, you might prefer a style that showcases smaller rocks.
The setting of the stones not only influences how the end product will look but also affects the protection of the stones and the durability of the ring. Take your lead from the jeweller, who will also be able to advise on the best settings to let light into a diamond or to make a smaller stone look larger.
Choosing the right band style can be difficult. It plays a significant role in curating the overall vibe of the ring, and you need to make sure the band is visually in harmony with the choice of stones and their setting.
If your band is free from smaller stones, you can keep it classic and plain or impart a more modern feel by featuring the illusion of a twist, patterns or an engraved texture.
You can add design twists to your custom design engagement ring in many ways. Not only can you add an engraved inscription or symbols along the band, but you can also add birthstones or meaningful colour combinations to imbue the jewellery with that all-important personal touch.
When you design your own engagement ring, it can take up to three months to receive the finished product. This allows the jeweller time to source the materials to your exact specifications and craft the ring to perfection.
Some online “build your own engagement ring” services offer a faster turnaround, producing your bespoke ring within a month.
How to avoid ring designing disasters
You must forge a good working relationship with your jewellery designer to create the ring of your dreams. Remember, these artists are as proud of their conceptual work as they are of the end product, so don’t bring them a ring and ask them to replicate it. Instead, offer plenty of reference pieces to allow them to capture the essence of what you want with the materials and specifications you’ve given. This will also avoid the jeweller from creating a ring that isn’t quite what you expected. Many will now provide a 3D image of their suggested engagement ring, so you can sign off on the design before they start making it.
Design your engagement ring with the recipient’s personal taste in mind. It’s easy to get carried away when you have so many beautiful materials to work with – but what would the wearer want? Think about the type of fashion they wear daily and the nature of their career. What will be practical while still capturing all that sentiment?
Though your instinct might be to add a diamond, would the recipient actually prefer a coloured stone? But beware, just because your partner owns colourful and bold jewellery pieces doesn’t mean that’s what they’d want from an engagement ring – an item that they’ll wear daily with a range of outfits.
Bigger isn’t always better for the starring stone on your ring. Think about the recipient’s finger shapes. Though a super-sized stone can look magnificent on a long, slender finger, large rocks, especially in angular shapes, can look awkward on short fingers.
Don’t overcomplicate the design. If you want to do something unusual, try to add that uniqueness to just one aspect of the ring. This will stop the piece from looking too fussy or crowded.
Importantly, set your budget at the start of the process and stick to it. Be very clear with your jeweller about this budget, and they’ll be able to furnish you with all the best options to meet your vision within this budget. For example, if your budget requires you to work with lower carats of gems, there are specific cuts that hide imperfections, ensuring you can create a masterpiece without overspending.
Secure jewellery insurance for your ring when you’re ready to collect or receive it, to ensure it’s protected from the moment you have the ring box in your hands.
Finally, and perhaps the most crucial way to avoid a design disaster – select the correct ring size for your partner!
With a bit of help from a trusted jeweller, you can relish the opportunity to help create the most important piece of jewellery your partner will ever wear. Follow our tips, and you can work through the process step-by-step to design your own engagement ring and get a resounding “yes” when you pop the big question.