Designing a bespoke engagement ring is one of the most exciting processes in life but it can be a little overwhelming because you've got to get it right. Whether you're designing a surprise engagement ring for the love of your life, or you're already engaged and planning to enjoy the process as a couple, there are lots of things that you'll need to think about to make sure you commission the perfect ring to symbolise your love. To design a custom engagement ring, you should consider:
- Ring Style
- Metal Type
- Band Style
- Adding Personal and Unique Details
- The Jeweller
1. Ring Style
There are many different ring styles to pick from, the four main styles being solitaire, halo, trilogy and diamond band. It's important to understand how they differ because this will help you to work out your preferred style.
This is arguably the most iconic of all designs. It's simple and effortless, featuring a single precious gemstone which is usually a diamond. The simplicity of this engagement ring design is elegant and loved by minimalists.
Halo rings also have a central stone which is usually a diamond, but this design differs from the solitaire as it's surrounded by a 'halo' of smaller gemstones. These additional stones add to the overall size of the ring which makes a larger impact. For this reason, a halo ring suits people who like a bolder style.
This design is quite different as there are three stones, one central gemstone and two slightly smaller stones either side. The two smaller stones in a trilogy ring are usually exactly the same size and shape so that they create a symmetrical overall design. People who want an impactful yet refined ring may choose this design as it's slightly simpler than a halo ring due to the number of stones incorporated.
Diamond or Gemstone Band
This design boasts a beautiful central stone similar to all other designs, and has smaller gemstones set into the shoulders of the ring band, so that you see an entirely encrusted surface as you look at the top of the ring. This is similar to the solitaire design but has a more luxurious and glamorous feel.
All designs have different characteristics and will appeal to a certain type of person so start by having a look at the different styles and decide which would suit you or your partner best. Read our blog for more information on preparing for a custom jewellery consultation.
2. Metal Type
Jewellers can create engagement rings in many different precious metals like gold, platinum, or even silver. Gold is often a popular choice for this type of jewellery as it's very durable and comes in different colours and shades. Yellow, white and rose gold are all popular, and the different carats have slightly different tones. For example, 9 carat yellow gold is a lighter, more subtle shade of yellow than 24 carat yellow gold which has a brighter, richer tone. Platinum is a more expensive option to select. Again, it is very durable and has a high resistance to tarnish and wear. Silver is becoming a more popular option as it's more affordable and has a beautiful shine to it, however it's important to note that silver isn't as durable as gold or platinum. For info on the benefits of sterling silver, click here and read our blog for more info on what to look for when buying jewellery.
Here at Duxford Studios, we would always advise that whatever metal you decide to opt for, it's best to choose ethically sourced materials as they have a lower negative impact on the environment and the workers in the jewellery industry. Read our blog posts 'What is Sustainable Jewellery?' and 'Ethical Metals - All You Need to Know' for more info.
Satin finished wedding band with flush set emerald, 9ct white gold.
Selecting your perfect stone is arguably the most important aspect of commissioning your engagement ring, because it's the centrepiece of your ring which will be the focal point. It's important to pick a stone which reflects the style and personality of the wearer and the couple as a whole.
You'll want to consider the colour, shape and size of the stone and of course your budget will also be a big factor here. Most traditional engagement rings feature a diamond as the central stone, but it's becoming more commonplace for people to play around with different stone types. Rubies, emeralds and sapphires are also all popular choices, or you may want to consider lesser known gemstones like Moissanite which are becoming a popular diamond alternative as they look similar but are more affordable.
Finally, you may want to consider whether you opt for a natural stone, or ones that are lab grown. As with most things, both have benefits and drawbacks and both have beautiful options. Read our guide on Sustainable Jewellery to learn more.
4. Band Style
The band style is also an important factor as it contributes heavily to the overall look of the ring. If you go with a diamond or gemstone band ring style, then your band will be set with small stones. Other bands can be plain, patterned, or textured, all of which will contribute to the finished look of your ring. Plain bands are seen as more elegant while patterned and textured bands are more contemporary and can allow more space for personalisation.
5. Adding Personal and Unique Details
This is a perk when designing a bespoke engagement ring which will make your design unique and personalised. There are many ways of adding personal flourishes to your ring design. Adding your birthstones to a halo or band can create a contemporary and eye catching finish. Introducing engravings of initials, dates or other meaningful symbols on the inside of the band is also a subtle way of adding a more personal touch. The options are endless and are completely up to you and your personal taste so think about the stories you have that are personal and significant to find your inspiration.
6. The Jeweller
Choosing a jeweller is a very important aspect to finding your dream engagement ring. All reputable jeweller's have a personal style and this should align with your preferences. If you're looking for a totally bespoke design, you'll need to find a jeweller who offers Handmade Bespoke Jewellery Services so that you can work with them to ensure all your ideas come to life.
Alongside finding a jeweller who works in a style that you like, it's important to look at their ethics to make sure that their practices also align with your values. Here at Duxford Studios, we promote our ethical practices of using sustainable materials and only interacting with companies who have fair labor practices. This is something we're very proud of as it ensures our jewellery as the lowest impact it can on the environment. Reading a jeweller's about page and their testimonials should give you a good understanding of a jeweller's working ethics, customer service and quality.
Our founder, Esme, working on a custom design in our jewellery workshop.
How Long Does a Custom Engagement Ring Take to Make?
It depends on several factors, but a custom engagement ring can take between 4 to 12 weeks. The complexity of the design and making process, sourcing of materials and the jeweller's workload at the time of placing your order will all effect the overall delivery time. We always advise that you start contacting your chosen jeweller as soon as you know you'd like to place a bespoke order and be clear about any deadlines you have.
When to Start Designing a Custom Engagement Ring?
You should start designing a custom engagement ring with your jeweller as soon as you've made a decision to propose, ideally 6 months before your proposal date. If you have a clear date in mind when you'd like to pop the question, the earlier you can start a conversation with your jeweller, the better. This will give you the best chance of receiving your dream ring well before the big day, which will save a lot of stress.
How Much Are Custom Engagement Rings?
The price of a custom engagement ring tends to start at £1000, but this depends on several factors such as the materials used, the method of creation and the jeweller's experience and expertise. If you have a clear budget in mind, communicate this with your jeweller straight away and they will be able to tell you the types of materials that will fit within your budget. If you have specific preferences for gemstones or ring type but you're restricted by budget, your jeweller will be able to give you guidance of cost-saving options and alternatives to ensure that you get a ring that you love within a budget you're comfortable with.
So, we'd say it's important to start researching jewellery designers and materials as soon as possible to start to become familiar with the styles, gemstones and metals you like best. Reach out to your preferred jeweller as soon as you can to start a creative conversation, giving any hard deadlines to them upfront. Think about your relationship history to get some inspiration for making the design unique to you both, and most importantly, enjoy the process!
Duxford Studios creates ethical handmade jewellery inspired by the human form, modern culture, and the sensation of touch. All of our pieces are cast from hand carved wax in recycled sustainable sterling silver, gold vermeil, and other precious metals. Shop our full collection on our website or get in contact about a custom jewellery design commission. Need help choosing a piece? Read our full guide on what to look for when buying jewellery on our blog page.