Is there any better way to get down on one knee than with your partner’s dream ring—that you designed—in hand? We happen to think not. But how, exactly, do you get started with the design process and who should you trust to bring your custom-ring dreams to stunning, tear-jerking fruition? Not to fear, hopeless romantics—today, we’re breaking down 5 must-read tips for designing a custom engagement ring…minus stress, setbacks, and surprises.
5 Tips to design a dream engagement ring
- Know your inspiration.
Knowing your inspiration is key for getting to the end product you’re envisioning. Is the design based on a personal story or simply a desired overall aesthetic? Does she like an emerald cut because it reminds her of her grandmother’s ring? Do you have a stone from a family heirloom to work with? Understanding the inspiration behind the ring design will help you get a feel for which design elements are most important as you go, keeping you on track throughout the design process. Be sure to bring along any images of rings you have as inspiration to share with your jeweler (just make sure you don’t save the photos somewhere your future fiance might find them).
- Know your aesthetic.
Once you know the inspiration behind your ring, it’s time to think about what it should actually look like. Has she been dropping any major hints? Does she want something that feels modern and clean, storied and romantic, or timeless and classic? Are there cuts and metals she absolutely does not want? Practical considerations are important when considered the overall aesthetic as well (i.e. she needs a low-profile ring because she works with her hands). Before you begin designing, know what engagement ring metals you are interested in working with, what stones you want to look at, and what ring shape and cuts you are eyeballing. Not sure where to start? Check out our engagement ring glossary—getting a solid handle on important terms is a great way to kick off a successful design process.
- Know your timeline.
Designing a custom engagement ring takes time…and then you have to wait for it to be made. Give yourself plenty of time to go through the process and to account for any unforeseen setbacks—you don’t want to rush such an important investment. We recommend giving yourself at least eight weeks from the first time you meet with a jeweler to the time you’ll actually have the ring in hand to propose (possibly even longer for intricate designs, jewelers who are in high-demand, busy season, etc.). If you plan on proposing on a certain date, make sure you start the ring design process as early as possible so you can ensure you have the final product finished in time.
- Find the right jeweler.
An engagement ring is a major investment. Understand what to look for in a jeweler—and be sure to shop around before deciding on one. Visit multiple jewelers and have a conversation with each about their design and production process, their production timeline, their customer experience, etc. You ideally want your jeweler to be the same person who you go back to for ring cleanings and repairs, your upcoming wedding-band purchase, any future anniversary gifts, etc.—so don’t just think about interviewing jewelers for a one-time job. The jeweler you choose should be someone whose process you enjoy and who makes you feel comfortable. You want positive memories associated with the process and a relationship you can rely on for years to come.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget about the option of designing an engagement ring online. Smart shopping filters, real-time digital mockups, and the ability to compare countless jewelers from the comfort of your own home can often make for a more precise—and seamless—design and production process.
- Get to Designing
Don’t let a smaller budget scare you off from exploring the idea of designing your own ring—know that designing a ring can mean anything from picking a unique stone for a setting to a from-scratch custom design. It’s all about knowing what works best for your budget, your timeline, and your partner’s preferences. As you design, make sure you keep in mind both practical considerations (your budget, designing something that fits with your partner’s preferences and lifestyle, etc.) and design dreams (the overall aesthetic you want to see, that one detail that will bring your partner to tears, etc.) as you go. Listen to your jeweler’s guidance, but make sure you express your must-haves and nice-to-haves in terms of the design—and be sure you’re both on the same page about the overall look and feel of the final product.
Want to explore even more engagement ring options? Learn how to update a family heirloom engagement ring or browse our top tips for buying an engagement ring.