The Creative Journey: 11 Essential Tips On How To Order Handmade Engagement Rings And Get Them Right
The engagement, pre-wedding time, and ceremony-planning process make up a very special period in the life of a couple. It is romantic, thrilling, and all, but it is also very stressful and full of hundreds of unexpected concerns. Getting a perfect engagement ring is one of them, and many people just feel at a loss while facing the myriad of options that still somehow do not feel like the right ones.
That’s where we’d like to step in and nudge you lightly toward a less obvious but totally workable solution: you can order a custom ring and hit all the points that you did not find in other rings. Definitely, the process may be a bit prolonged, but not too long to rule it out or to settle on an available ring you don’t like. We want to set you on the right path and show how you can make this process smooth, exciting, and resulting in the perfection of the ring that no one else will own. This goal seems totally worthy of the ordering journey.
Is It A Popular Idea To Order And Get Handmade Engagement Rings?
When you are faced with the tough decision of whether to order a custom ring or to buy a ready one, remind yourself of many reasons why people want their engagement rings handmade by a skilled artisan, in the first place:
- you can create the ring of your dreams, joining elements that you like in separate rings into a single harmonious whole (with help of a jeweler, of course);
- you can get a unique piece, one of a kind, that won’t be glistening on someone else’s hand;
- you can customize a stone, metal, or setting, or all components;
- you can take a high jewelry piece that is out of your budget as an inspiration and get a cool spin-off for a smaller price;
- you can order the matching unique duo of an engagement ring and a wedding band, or share your views of a perfect wedding band and get brilliant ideas on how to match the engagement ring to this very band. Customization opens plenty of new possibilities for matching and smooth jewelry pairing, actually;
- you can reduce costs, especially if a professional jeweler can prompt you on how to do it without compromising the beauty of the ring.
So yes, we believe it is a good idea well worth considering.
Key Advantages Of Getting Custom Engagement Rings
When you get to discuss the design and order a custom ring, you find out that there are unique advantages to doing so. A ready-made ring may look impressive on its own, but it is only with a custom ring that you get the following:
- it is made exactly to your taste and size;
- it can include heirloom stones or you can repurpose metals from the jewelry you already own;
- it can be matched to the beloved jewelry set you already own;
- it can feature particular stones that are important to the person who will wear the ring;
- it is crafted by hand with skill and care for you solely;
- it is unique in all senses and carries a special meaning.
What are you supposed to do if you want the ring to be made exactly as seen in some picture because you admire it but cannot buy it (because it is sold out, or discontinued, or you don’t even know where it came from)? Well, you have the right to get what you exactly want, so we can craft a practically identical ring. But mind that it won’t be a unique piece of jewelry, a wearable item of true art to be proud of. And this feeling is why you want your ring custom-made, in the first place.
As professional jewelers who love their craft, we will gladly create a ring after your individual draft, implementing skillfully your unique vision and design. Then it will be a one-of-the-kind item, in which inspiration meets experience fusing into a true jewelry wonder that speaks loudly about your deep affection and commitment.
The Journey: How To Design And Commission The Perfect Custom Engagement Ring
Unlike ordering a ready-made ring, ordering a custom ring takes more time and effort. However, the result is incomparable to getting the ring that was simply taken from the shelf and shipped to you (and that could get picked by yet another bride as easily). To get everything right, you need to start planning and ordering quite in advance and have a good jeweler to work with your ideas.
If you observe these two simple rules, your journey to the ring of the dream will be adventurous and cool, void of unnecessary stress, and worth recording for the next generation to admire. So here’s a rough plan of how to approach planning, drafting, introducing changes, and finally getting the ring delivered to you.
11 Essential Steps To Getting The Unique Handmade Engagement Rings
Plan Your Time And Allow Some Time For Jewelers
The one big ‘but’ that accompanies the otherwise interesting ordering process is the question of time. Time is required for you and a jeweler to come to an agreement over a final design, for a jeweler to source materials, especially if you have something particular in mind, to make a mockup setting for the first fitting, and to create the ring.
How long can it actually take? Be ready to devote a couple of months to the whole process. Yes, it is not as fast as getting the prefabricated ring, but wedding planning and organizing also take plenty of time. So if you start creating the ring simultaneously with the beginning of the wedding planning process and won’t delay it till the last week, it’s going to be fine. As experienced jewelers who design and make unique handmade engagement rings explain, it will take a few weeks to create the final design, from the first inspirational drafts to the ultimate ready-to-build version. Then it will take time to create the ring, especially if you consider that many good jewelers are booked out far in advance. Plus, allow enough time for delivery, if you order from some other region or country.
So, the sooner you start the process, the better.
Decide How Much You Can And Want To Spend
How much to spend on a ring is totally up to you. The price depends on a variety of factors, including the stones, the amount of precious metal used, the complexity of work, and urgency. It’s believed that custom made engagement rings tend to be more expensive than ready-made, but that’s not true.
You can get some pretty dainty engagement rings made to order for one or two thousand dollars, or you can splurge on something grand that will cost dozens of thousands. The same applies to rings on offer in jewelry shops – you can find options that will suit any wallet and taste.
So decide what the upper bracket of the price you are ready to pay is and then talk to the jeweler. A professional craftsman will be able to advise you on how to match your vision to the actual costs and what can be tweaked in your initial design to bring the two close together.
Find A Jeweler You Can Trust
Now we steer into one more crucial move: finding a jeweler who can implement your vision and create the ring of your dream as you see it. The best solution is to follow word of a mouth and deal with a jeweler who’s already completed similar tasks for your friends or relatives who can attest to his/her skills.
If you don’t know people that had their rings custom-made, follow the reviews on the web. Find a maker whose sample works do appeal to you and read what people can tell about the customer service and overall working process.
When you meet the craftsman for the first time, it’s important to have a detailed and honest conversation about expectations, timeline, and working process. When you are on the same page, everything is much easier.
Besides, don’t enter the dialogue with widespread preconceptions. A small shop is not worse than a big one, and a loud name is not the sole guarantee of quality and sublime taste. Look at their finished rings, and ask how many revisions of the initial design they can accommodate and how fast they can do it. These are the key things you need to pay attention to, no matter what jewelry shop you pick.
Imagine Your Dream Ring First
You cannot walk into the jeweler’s office (or a zoom call, for that matter) and say ‘make me a dream ring.’ It’s your dream and you need to have ideas about how this dream is shaped. Look through the wedding catalogs, and jewelry shops’ displays, and decide what elements need to go into your design. Or else, start with something that you know for sure and then let a designer prompt you on what will work best.
Like, you may want a center stone to be a baguette-shaped aquamarine and metal to be gold, and the overall design simple and classic. A designer may prompt you to look for art deco style and offer a sketch, or go for a minimalist shape and draw it accordingly, focusing on details that you may not even notice but that impact the overall look of the ring.
The key is that you start the conversation already knowing what you want, at least generally, and why you want it custom made, i.e. what is most important to you in this ring and what should be the core of the design.
Be Creative But Listen To What A Jeweler Has To Say
Don’t be afraid to fantasize, dream, go big, bold, or elfishly whimsical. You order a custom engagement ring because it has not been dreamed of and made true by someone else yet. Explain what you want in the ring in detail, as clearly as possible. That’s where the expertise of the jeweler will step in and set the boundaries or direct your creativity into a more reasonable stream.
The ideal process of ring designing and making is when you get what you really want but within the budget or time limits. An experienced master jeweler can offer alternatives or replacements that will fit your vision but make the ring more affordable or easier to make. It’s all about collaboration and understanding between you and the craftsman.
Decide On The Central Stone
It’s probably one of the most important steps in designing handmade engagement rings. A stone defines the shape and the size of the ring, the color of the metal, the adorning details (or their absence), and the general style of the ring. So decide on the stone and its color first.
You are free to select any stone you want, be it a diamond, a colored gem, a birthstone, a lucky stone, or just a stone you appreciate for its unique beauty, like sunstone or moss agate. Maybe you have heirloom stones passed down through generations and want them to be incorporated into the ring. Or maybe you picked up a pretty gem during your travels and want it to be a central feature of the ring. The decision is fully yours.
However, you need to know the stone when you start discussing the design with a jeweler. Then a professional will be able to assist you in adjusting your wishes to available options. For example, teal sapphires can be replaced with top-class topazes with the same effect, but they will be cheaper. Mined diamonds can be replaced with lab-grown ones or with moissanites, and the resulting ring will be no less dazzling and beautiful.
So have the stone idea as a starting point, a jeweler will take the cue, and then it all will get rolling.
Decide What Precious Metal Will Work Best
When you’ve agreed upon the stone, it’s time to select the metal to set the stone into. You may be surprised how metal shade can impact the stone's appearance. Rose and yellow gold look more classic, they give a nobler feel to stones and change their colors into warmer shades. White metals have a colder and bolder feel.
Yellow and pinkish metals will bring out yellowish tones in emeralds and peridots, will enhance the honey color of citrines and sunstones, and will give a more nuanced and richer look to blue stones like sapphires and topazes. Rubies also get a deeper tone when set in gold. White metals like white gold and silver tend to make the jewels look more avant-garde, modern and cool. White metals bring out the true tones of stones, making diamonds really stand out, bringing out cold blue and metallic undertones in blue and green stones, and diluting the rich warmth of yellow stones.
A good jeweler will prompt you on what metal to choose for the best effect, but it’s your dream ring, so the last word will be yours.
First Play With Different Ring Settings, Than Approve The Final Design
Most probably you have started your journey to a hand-crafted ring with something specific in mind, setting shape included. You may have envisioned a glorious solitaire on a slim band, a whimsical halo ring, or something equally interesting and unique.
However, have a look at the types of settings a jeweler may offer to you. The stone you prefer may work best in a setting other than what you envisioned. Or the setting you want may ask for a different type of stone.
A ring should be balanced and harmonious, so don’t reject the options a craftsman will list for you. It may turn out that one of the new settings is the one you actually wanted but could not describe to yourself (and a jeweler) properly.
The Sacred Duo: How To Match The Wedding Band And The Engagement Ring
Last but not least. An engagement ring is usually worn together with a wedding band, so they should a) match, and b) fit together snugly.
You may ask a jeweler to recommend the best wedding band to go with the ring you want, or you may start from the opposite direction and use a wedding band as a starting point to design or adjust the ring. In any case, don’t skip this step. Otherwise, you end up with a gorgeous ring that cannot be matched to any wedding band, and the latter needs to be hand-crafted as well. And, as you can guess, it takes time and effort.
You Are the Co-Creator Of The Ring, So Don’t Withdraw From The Process
You will be an integral participant in the process (maybe together with the lady you order the ring for). Don’t expect to send some inspirational pictures to a jewelry shop, choose the stone and metal, name the size, and then pick the completed ring. It does not work that way. You will have to look at the sketches of the ring, approve the final design, maybe try the mockup of the setting (or maybe not), and then approve the completed ring. It is a normal part of the process, not the kind of negligence of a designer who did not ask all the questions during the first meeting. It can be compared to making a custom dress or suit, where a couple of fittings are required to get everything right. When you see for yourself how much work is involved, then you will ask the question how long do engagement rings take to order with totally different time benchmarks in mind.
So keep in touch with a jeweler and provide the necessary responses and clarifications ASAP.
Mundane Matters: Warranties And Caring For The Finished Jewelry Piece
After you got the ring, admired it, and presented it to your loved one, the jewelry piece is actually put into service, i.e. worn every day. In such conditions, regular care like cleaning may be required, and you need to know what to do if a ring accidentally gets damaged.
Usually, a reputable jeweler provides some kind of warranty for stones and for the basic setting elements. The rest is negotiable, like repairing it at a discount. A jeweler should also instruct you in basic jewelry care, including how to clean the ring at home and in what conditions it’s better to take it off and put it back on later (a tip: in any conditions that require active hand working, like gardening or similar activity). It will prolong the life of the ring and will help it retain the shiny and spotless look of the day it was created.
Are There Any General Etiquette Rules For Engagement Ring Buying Or Giving?
The key steps of buying a ring include deciding if you will buy it alone or you two will do it together, learning the size of the ring, learning her style preferences (ask her mom or sister), ordering the ring, and presenting it. Don’t go overly cheap or too expensive, and pick a diamond if you don’t know for sure what stone she prefers. These steps are your insurance against disappointment or regrets on your and her part.
Are There Any Guides On How Big A Stone In An Engagement Ring Should Be?
It all depends. A more massive design will ask for more metal and for a bigger stone. A slim ring will need only so much material, and a stone should be small, correspondingly. The glossy wedding-themed magazines say that the average stone size (read: diamond size) for an engagement ring is 1 to 2 carats.
Yet if you pick a different stone, or you pick a specific design, the ratio ‘stone to metal’ will shift correspondingly.
Are There Any Commonly Recognized Styles For Engagement Rings?
Well, the only rule is that the person you give it to should like it. Yet, it’s a good idea to match an engagement ring to a wedding band. So start from this point.
Should An Engagement Ring Be Purchased Secretly And Given As A Surprise?
Not obligatorily. You can choose an engagement ring together with your fiancée to be on the safe side, or you can make it a true surprise (but consult her relatives or friends anyway, they are definitely equipped with the clues she provided about her dream ring). There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every couple does the engagement ring ritual on their own terms.
How Much Time To Allocate For Engagement Ring Ordering And Shipping?
Again, it depends on the complexity of a ring and the schedule of a jeweler. Allow a couple of weeks for agreeing on the final design and a month or so for making. Plus add the generous delivery time. In such a way, you get the idea of when to start the ordering process.
As you see, getting a custom engagement ring has its unique advantages. Yet the process is a bit more complex than just adding a ring you like to a basket and paying for it.
Nevertheless, if you allow yourself a generous amount of time and are not afraid to get creative, you’ll get the precious piece to admire for life and to proudly pass down to your children. Don’t delay the ordering process till the last moment, and it will be a great pre-wedding experience to remember together with your loved one!