If you’re in any way creative or want an engagement ring that’s truly one of a kind, a custom made ring is no doubt right up your street. There’s something very special about any piece of jewellery that you’ve helped create, but the added symbolism and meaning that comes with an engagement ring makes a custom-made piece all the more beautiful. If you’re thinking of going down that route, here’s what you need to know…
Do Your Research.
Yes, this is obvious, but it’s also absolutely vital and worth repeating a number of times. Do you research. Do your research. Do your research! It’s essential to have a reputable jeweller whose style you like, and who you can trust to create not just a beautiful ring, but a well made one that will last as long as your marriage does. Most will be happy to talk to you about their experience and their work with no obligation to agree to working with them.
You’ll also need to have at least a vague idea about what goes into making a quality piece of jewellery. Although your jeweller will talk you through everything at the beginning of the process, it helps to have some background already. You should also have plenty of ideas of what you like and don’t like. If you don’t really know what you want, browse magazines, Pinterest, Instagram, or jewellery shop windows and collect images of rings that take your fancy.
Even if you’ve already decided to get your ring custom made, it doesn’t mean you can by-pass the store visits entirely. Once you’ve gathered some ideas of what kind of styles, settings and stones you like and dislike, you’ll need to find out whether or not you like them in ‘real life’. You’ll be surprised how different certain engagement rings can look in a photo and on your finger. You also might find some shapes or styles irritate you when you move your hand, or feel to heavy on your finger, or just don’t look good on your hand. It’s a lot like trying on clothes! So visit some stores and try on some rings you like – remember there’s no obligation to go ahead and buy something, despite how pushy the salespeople may be.
Some people don’t realise how long the process of designing your own engagement ring takes. Research isn’t even the start! First there’s the conceptualising stage, where you give your designer some ideas and they work with you to come up with the overall design of the ring. This will involve a couple of in-person meetings with your jeweller and most likely another couple of email or phone consultations. Then, you or your designer will need to source the materials. Depending on what you want, this can take considerable time as stones may need to be imported or even examined in person.
After that, your part of the process is pretty much finished. Your jeweller will set about turning those materials and designs into your finished ring, and will update you on the progress at each stage. The time this takes will vary completely from jeweller to jeweller and from design to design. Obviously the more complex the design, the more time it will take. Once finished, your ring will be polished up, boxed off and presented to you. Overall, you’re looking at a timeline of months rather than weeks.
Get Your Wedding Bands Too
Most people will advise you to get your wedding bands from the same place that you purchase your engagement ring. The same is true for custom made wedding rings. Even if you just want a plain and simple bare metal band, there are certain issues to consider – namely your engagement ring’s setting. Its position and size will dictate what kind of band you can get, and you’ll obviously want to match up the metals too. Certain metals like rose gold or yellow gold may not match up exactly in tone even if the karat is the same, so it’s best to just have your jeweller create a wedding band for you at the same time as your engagement ring.
Ask About Upkeep
It’s very exciting when you finally receive the ring you’ve helped create. So exciting that some happy brides can get lost in thanking their jewellers and showing off their sparkler, forgetting to ask about what happens next. Your ring is unique and it will need maintenance over time, as all jewellery does. It’s essential to ask your jewellery how best to keep it looking brand new, what potential issues to look out for in future (prongs loosening, stones falling out, etc) and how to prevent them, so that you can brief whoever ends up doing that maintenance work.