10 Tips to Buy Custom-made Engagement Rings

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With the recent changes in technology for designing jewelry, custom-made engagement rings are no longer for the rich and famous. CAD CAM, 3D printing and online design services mean that more couples can choose to get a unique piece of jewelry that tells their story… all without breaking the bank.

When it comes to getting a custom-made engagement ring, there is so much choice and variety that at first, it can feel a bit overwhelming. So, to help you out here are our top ten tips for buying a custom engagement ring:

  1. Start Early

You don’t want to get a custom-made engagement ring in a rush as it’s definitely going to take a couple of months from start to finish. Plus, if you change your mind about the design half-way through, you will need even more time to have the ring completed.

It’s up to you to set the pace. Some jewelers describe clients who spent a year designing their jewelry and others that walked away with a piece of jewelry in a few weeks. We would recommend scheduling at least three months to get a custom-made engagement ring.

You’ll want to take your time and enjoy the process as it’s a one of a kind experience.

  1. Budget

Custom doesn’t have to mean expensive. If you are honest, and upfront about what you would like to spend then a good jeweler should be able to advise you about the best decisions to keep within your budget. Although a custom-made engagement ring can be more expensive than a pre-set ring, it will allow you to get precisely what you want and you can decide which aspect of the engagement ring is most important to you.

  1. Made To Order Vs Modified To Order

There are lots of different routes to a custom-made engagement ring and our budget will often guide your decision.

You can look at sites, such as James Allen, which offer a fantastic “Build Your Own Ring” service where you can choose a gemstone or diamond and pick you’re preferred stone setting. There are hundreds of combinations on these sites so although you’re not actively designing the ring from scratch, it’s highly unlikely someone else will have the same ring as you.

Another route is working with a local jeweler or online design service to design an engagement ring from scratch. This can be more expensive than using a build your own ring website, but instead of choosing from a predetermined selection you’ll be working with a designer to get something one-of-a-kind.

During the early stage of the design process make sure you’re not over charged for any design work. CADs and sketches are relatively affordable but lots of changes and modifications can increase the price of the ring and jeweler fees quickly and quietly. If you don’t understand a price change, make sure you clarify with the jeweler so that there is no confusion.

If you want to find out more about the difference between a Build Your Own Ring feature on jewelry websites and working with a bespoke jeweler read our guide here!

  1. Choose a Reputable Jeweler

It’s essential that you find a jeweler who you click with as you’ll need to be able to trust in their expertise and advice. The jeweler will need to be willing to work with you until you are 100% satisfied with your ring, so patience is crucial.

The last thing you want is to start working with a jeweler and have to start working with another if you’re not happy. The more research you do on choosing the right jeweler and what services they include, the more straightforward the actual design process will be.

  1. Try Lots of Different Rings

For a lot of people, an engagement ring may be the most expensive piece of jewelry they will ever own. If you usually wear costume jewelry, or you don’t wear many rings, you may not be sure of what suits you or what you like.

As part of your research try on lots of different styles so that you can get a feel for the setting and the diamond shape that you want. You may find that a particular style, such as a pear cut stone, will suit your hand more than a cushion cut stone.

  1. Express Your Creativity

By choosing to get a custom made or bespoke engagement ring, you get the freedom to create a unique piece of jewelry and play with lots of different designs. It’s great fun to research different style and techniques to see what looks unique. Unusual stone settings or polishes, such as brushed metal, can look charming and stand out from classic engagement ring styles .

If you’re designing a ring for someone else, then be a good detective! Have a look through their jewelry box for inspiration or to show your jeweler what kind of things they like.

Custom made engagement rings are an excellent option for a couple who would like a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry or perhaps want to incorporate a gemstone that was passed down by a family member.

If you’re unsure about whether to go for a diamond or a gemstone there is lots of advice a jeweler will recommend. Gemstones make beautiful alternatives to diamonds and as you are designing something unique then getting a colorful gemstone can add to the uniqueness of the ring. If a diamond takes your fancy, then it’s best to go to a jeweler that has experience working with diamonds so that you can get the best advice on choosing the right diamond.

Always arm yourself with lots of information first so that you know what to look for. Our guide on diamond 4Cs is a good place to start.

  1.  Be Prepared To Be Involved

There is a significant difference between buying a custom engagement ring and getting one “off the shelf”. There are numerous times you’ll need to see the jeweler during the design process. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to visit the jeweler six times or more!

Get ready to collaborate and if you’re getting a custom engagement ring made in secret, be prepared to have a good cover story for where you are.

Nowadays, with everything going online, many retailers offer the option of remote bespoke services. Even online giants such as James Allen  now offer similar options. This means that you can have your ring designed and created without ever having to leave your home.

  1. Think about the Wedding Band

When you get a custom-made engagement ring, think about the type of wedding band that you want to get as well. Ideally, your engagement ring should match the wedding ring band as you’ll be wearing both rings together. The jeweler or retailer that you’ve chosen will be able to help you with this as well. It may even be cheaper to get the wedding bands and engagement ring created the same place!

JamesAllen Engagement Rings
  1. Use Your Imagination

Depending on the route that you choose, you may not get to see the ring before it’s finally finished. Some jewelers can offer you a 3D models or sketches of the ring. Other offer a wax mold of the ring. Even if you have a clear idea of what the ring will look like in your head, you won’t be able to feel the weight or touch the ring until it’s finished.

  1. Warranties and Aftercare

Make sure you get everything in writing and have confirmed details of information such as purity of the metal, agreed delivery date and a final price.

See what the jeweler or retailer offers for warranties or aftercare. When a ring is bespoke, it’s important to know how easy it will be to get a ring resized if needed and if you have any problems, what the jeweler can do for you.

Make sure you get the ring insured; you’ll need to include a note that your ring is custom made and who made it for you.

Although these details don’t sound as much fun as designing a ring, they really are some of the most important steps as your custom engagement ring will be worth so much more than just monetary value.

With all these tips in mind, you’ll be sure to have a wonderful time getting a custom-made engagement ring designed from scratch. If you’re not sure whether a custom engagement ring is for you check out our comprehensive guide on the six top reasons to get a custom-made engagement ring.

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