I knew exactly what my engagement ring would look like when Michael proposed.
I helped design it!
The reactions I get when I tell people I took part in making my ring are variations of the following:
1. "That is so cool! How awesome you had a say in what the ring looks like!"
2. "Ohhhhh...you didn't want it to be a surprise? I can't imagine if it hadn't been a surprise for me"
The second version just really gets me. I don't go up to people who had their ring given to them in surprise and say "Ohhhh...you didn't design your ring? Oh..so..you just..settled with what he gave you?" That would be ridiculous and rude. And wrong. Because there's just no right answer when it comes to engagement rings. Heck, you don't even need an engagement ring if you don't want one.
Michael and I first talked about getting married after about 2 months of dating, so we were more than comfortable talking about rings. I'm INSANELY picky, and was so happy and appreciative that he knew me well enough to know that I would like to have some (read: alot of) control in what the ring looked like. Ironically enough, my ring ended up looking just like a ring that Michael jokingly told me he would buy me one day when we were still in college.
Also- let it be noted that looking at my ring, no one would ever guess it was "designed". It's a simple, platinum three-stone ring- but nothing out there I saw had the exact band width or profile size that I wanted- so we designed one that was exactly what I was looking for! "Designing" doesn't need to mean over the top crazy wild details- even the most simple white t-shirt was "designed!"
This post is for anyone else who is hoping to design their ring too- these are steps I took, and I hope they'll be helpful to you!
Step 1: Get inspiration online.
Go on Pinterest. Scroll through #engagementring and #theknotrings on Instagram. Search Etsy. There are so many easy, pressure-free ways to search for rings nowadays! I created a hidden Pinterest board with my sister who has a lot of jewelry knowledge and we bounced ideas back and forth of what looked good.
Step 2: Try some rings on!
Going into a jewelry store is just like going into a clothing store. You are allowed to try the merchandise without having to BUY anything. I know, it can be a little intimidating or awkward to walk into a store alone- so bring a friend! My sister and I went through a store about a year before Michael proposed and we both tried on a bajillion rings. See what you think looks good on your finger. See if you like a white or yellow or rose gold (or other metals). I kept gravitating towards 3 stone rings, so it's clear that's what I wanted to end up with.
Step 3: Find a jeweler you're comfortable with & ask about their policies.
A few friends recommended a local jeweler, which is both where I checked out rings with my sister, AND ended up designing the ring. The people were welcoming, not overly pushy, and incredibly knowledgeable. Michael and I found a guy in the store with an outgoing, honest view on picking out a ring that we loved. I asked about 20 questions about their policy on designing rings- and found out it costs ZERO money to design a ring, and if you don't love it when it's done, it's a full money-back guarantee. That took a ton of weight off of both of our shoulders!
Step 4: Share your ideas, and BE. SPECIFIC.
Oh lord. This isn't the time to be wishy-washy my friends. This is something you'll wear forever. I was very clear I wanted a platinum band, and valued quality/clarity of the diamonds over size. My biggest requests were to have the stones be low-profile and to have a narrower band. I personally don't like it when stones sit up really high on the ring, because I feel they catch on everything, and I have really short, sort of wide fingers (#truth). He found us a ring that was similar to what I wanted, and we went from there.
Step 5: Choose your diamonds & get a mock-up done.
Oy. This made my head spin. Our jeweler brought out loose diamonds of different sizes and it took a while to pick what what was right. Once we had an idea, our jeweler sent instructions to the designer and they sent back versions of what the ring would look like with different sized side stones (image below). I ended up not going with either of the exact below options- but here's what the sheets look like! FYI- it takes about 2 weeks to get the drawings back.
Step 6: Get a wax mold made.
Once you've approved the drawings and picked your stone(s), the designer makes a wax mold of your setting, so you can rest the stones in it and get an idea of what the tangible ring looks like. Keep in mind, if your ring has prongs, they'll look a little oversized in the wax mold form. From CAD to getting your mold, it takes about 2-3 weeks.
Step 7: Get the ring! (and get it insured!)
I chose to NOT pick up the ring with Michael when it was done, because I wanted to at least be surprised with what the final-FINAL product looked like. From wax mold to final ring, it takes about 3-4 weeks. Before you (or your partner) walk out the door, be sure you have your ring insured. Whether it's on an existing insurance plan, or through Jeweler's Mutual, DON'T be lazy about this! If you lose your ring or it get's stolen and you don't have it insured, you are seriously out of luck. HERE is a great, easy article about ring insurance!
I truly, 100% believe that the jeweler you work with can make or break your experience. If you're not getting a good vibe from the first person you work with, email the jewelry store and request someone else. Don't. Feel. Bad. You are paying a premium for their service, don't at all feel like they get the final say in who you work with. I can assure you that they'd rather you request someone new than go to a whole other store to purchase your ring!
If you designed your ring, what advice do you have?
Want more of the #BBWeddingSeries? You can find all the posts here!