You may be starting your engagement ring shopping by casually browsing the web or visiting your local jewelry store. By doing so, you’re probably not only getting a taste of what the process is like, but even more importantly, how to anticipate and budget for costs. Every jewelry store is different, some specialize in manufactured pieces that may be in stock and come in a wide variety of metal colors, diamond and gemstones types, colors, and sizes. Some jewelry stores even offer brands or collections that specialize in “bridal jewelry.” Some of these brands may be known best for one or more of the following: price point, quality, or design. The price of these types of “bridal engagement rings” may be dependent on various contributing factors above and beyond precious metal and diamond or gemstone selection, more specifically the brand itself, the geographic market area you live in, or even the specific jewelry store you’re visiting.
The thought, consideration, and the care that goes into the process of designing an engagement ring is what makes the process so special. Don’t be shy about gaining a sense of direction from your significant other, whether it’s direct input like designing the ring together, or a few cues in order to ensure your partner’s design preferences.
There are a ton of misconceptions regarding custom fine jewelry and whether or not to consider a custom engagement ring. Let’s be honest, the word custom even sounds expensive. Custom can mean different things to different people. Some want to partake in the jewelry design and diamond selection process ensuring there’s no compromise in the end result. Some may have a specific design in mind that they haven’t been able to source, whether in store or online. There may even be two to four ring designs that if you were able to take bits and pieces of, you’d be able to create an entirely new ring with the features you love. Or, maybe you absolutely love one ring design, but just wish it had a certain feature that would make it perfect. Many think that custom engagement rings costs $10,000 to $15,000! That’s absolutely not the case and is dependent on the jeweler you’re working with.
You may want to watch out for jewelers who lead with or imply that there are certain minimum dollar spends in order to qualify for a custom engagement ring. A jeweler should above all, ensure that the client experience is transparent, engaging, and that proper expectations have been set. You want to choose a jeweler who treats a $2,000 custom engagement ring equally as important as a $20,000 custom engagement ring. It’s not about the dollars spent, it’s about bringing to life an heirloom that is tailor-made to the client wants, needs, and most importantly, expectations.
In any case, you should be prepared to know that there are two basic elements that make up the price of an engagement ring: the center stone (diamond or gemstone) and the mounting (ring).
First, let’s focus on the centerstone. You can reasonably assume that approximately two-thirds to three-fourths of the price of an engagement ring is dependent on the centerstone selection. There’s some variability, depending on whether or not the center stone is a diamond, colored gemstone, or moissanite. Second, the remaining one-third to one-fourth of the price is made up of what we call the mounting (ring). The mounting is made of precious metals, sidestones, and other intricate design features that serve either as functional and/or aesthetically pleasing elements.
Make sure to ask your jeweler for a clear explanation on the different precious metal choices. A thorough explanation of the precious metal types, colors, and benefits of each are necessary in order to fully understand how and why it’s the right choice for you, your ring design, and how that affects your overall budget. Likewise, if you’re interested in diamonds, make sure to fully understand the 4Cs of diamonds or if you’re interested in colored gemstones, narrow down the type, quality, and size so you’re able to work within certain parameters.
Generally, you should be prepared to budget around a month (timing-wise) for a made-to-order custom engagement ring. The average time it takes can vary jeweler to jeweler, but estimate between 3-4 weeks for production after you green light the project details. The exact timeline will be based on various factors like the complexity of the design, precious metal choice, and even time of year.
A few things that add a significant amount of time and costs are the complexity or intricacy of the design you’re creating. If it’s a simple modification, like changing the precious metal type/color, or changing the center stone shape/size then it may cost little to nothing and add no additional time to the design process.
Some ways to save money on your next custom engagement ring would be to choose a minimalist engagement ring with little to no side stones. This small compromise will place the emphasis on the centerstone’s beauty, while at the same time minimizing the precious metal and sidestone costs. If you’re going this route, you still have plenty of customization options to choose from. For example, you could incorporate two tones of precious metal (think white gold and rose gold), change the type and quantity of prongs which hold your centerstone, the profile (shape) of the ring, and even add a subtle yet distinctive design feature like vintage inspired scroll-work or even a symbolic elements like an infinity symbol. There are plenty of ways to tastefully design your engagement ring to represent all that you find aesthetically pleasing.
If you can’t tell by now, there are a ton of benefits of having a custom engagement ring. Like most things in life, you get out what you put in. If you value the input you and your partner’s design preferences, style, character, and want to incorporate a symbolic aspect of your lives together, then custom may be a great fit for you to have your stamp of personalization on something you’ll wear daily for the rest of your life.