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How to Design and Purchase a Custom Engagement Ring Like a Pro

A custom designed engagement ring is the ultimate in personal expression. If you want a ring as unique as you, sprinkled with personal significance, a custom design may be what you’re looking for. Here are 7 tips on how to go about purchasing your custom design.

Observe: Notice the jewelry that she or he wears to get a sense of your loves ring personality. Do you want the ring to incorporate an element of personal significance or to have a particular style, like modern, vintage or art deco, to help streamline the search? Look at rings people are wearing at work or at social events. When you see one you like, ask who designed it or where it was purchased.

Visit: Go to local jewelry stores and galleries to see what styles and design elements you like and don’t like. Make notes and sketches of elements that catch your eye, do you like prongs or bezels, halo or solitaire, ornate or simple. Then research designers who do custom work, read any reviews you can find and visit the designer to view the work in person.

Communicate: Communicating a design idea can be tricky, try writing about the ring you envision, or browse the internet for elements and designs that speak to you. It doesn’t need to be jewelry, it can be architecture, nature, art or even clothing.

Wedding Band: When designing engagement rings you need to keep the inevitable wedding band in mind. You can design until your hearts content and let the engagement ring stand alone, possibly to be worn on the right hand after the wedding. Or design a beautiful engagement ring that considers the wedding band as part of the whole look.

Price: A custom ring will be more expensive than a ring bought out of the case, two to three times more expensive. A custom design is a one off, part of its personal appeal and also what makes them more expensive. In addition to your designer working out the structural and aesthetic elements, there are sketches, any design changes, and fabrication all unique to your one job.

No Rushing: A custom design takes time and a six to eight week delivery date is not unusual. You also need to find a jeweler who’s work you like and trust that they have the experience to make your piece the best it can be. A jewelry store, like Laura Preshong, with a staff of trained jewelers making the work they sell is the best place to have a custom piece made.

Your Perfect Designer: Try to get referrals for designers or jewelry shops from friends, family and recently engaged co-workers, or take to the Internet and search for designers doing custom work.

Once you find a designer whose work you like, ask how long they've been in business and where you can see their work in person. It's a good idea to handle your prospective designers rings to see that they're skillfully constructed, and you like the over all work style. A rule of thumb for a jeweler’s individual style is, it’s like handwriting. If five people write the word ring, all five will look completely unique to the person who wrote it. The same is true with jewelry and anything else handmade.

Speak with the designer or salesperson and make sure you feel confident working with them. Stand by your design ideas but listen to the designers advise, they know what works structurally on a ring and can guide you through un-wearable mistakes.

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